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Days since YA controversy: 0
msauvage purple
Internets, I may or may not go see X-Men today, so in the limited amount of time I have, I will simply give you a (a, not the) Twitter-reaction round-up to the Wall Street Journal article about how YA is bad and it should feel bad ("It was all vampires and suicide and self-mutilation, this dark, dark stuff"). I don't feel like I really have to take it apart sentence by sentence, because it is so incredibly, self-evidently wrong in its wrongness to anyone who has actually read YA books.

@maureenjohnson: The Wall Street Journal has done it again. I am going to have some kind of an episode. *quivers* http://on.wsj.com/lwuPNd

@maureenjohnson: Just curious, @wsj, do you have some kind of WRITTEN POLICY that you will only let idiots write about YA? Is it, like, a THING?

[As an aside, I just now had this conversation:

@annejumps: Meghan Cox Gurdon wrote that WSJ article about YA lit I've been seeing discussion about.

@cleolinda: I don't know anything about her?

@annejumps: She's a right-wing nut who once was dubbed America's Worst Mother in the halcyon days of 2004. I saw the byline and was like, Oh

@Salome: Meghan Cox Gurdon has made a career boasting of being a terrible mother. So it's no surprise that she wouldn't allow her children to read.

@cleolinda: BOASTING?

@Salome: How do you get a baby to sleep during the night? "...break the poppet's spirit."

@cleolinda: Is... is that an actual quote?

Yeah... it is.]

@maureenjohnson: I guess the @wsj thought what we needed was another fear-mongering non-reader to let us know what teens and readers REALLY need. Thanks!

@lilithsaintcrow: I find it interesting that the @wsj piece on YA fiction doesn't't have a quote from a single young reader.

@DreamingReviews: @maureenjohnson Do you perchance know of a way we can email @wsj or the writer about those problems? As a teen, I find it degrading.

@particle_person: Also that argument that it's up to adults to determine their children's tastes is just repellant.

@cleolinda: @particle_person Do people just really not remember at all what it was like to be a kid? Because kids are surprisingly knowledgeable.

@cleolinda: @particle_person They don't take off their baby bonnets on graduation day, for God's sake.

@cleolinda: Pretty much exactly. RT @sesmithwrites: @cleolinda Oh gosh, is the WSJ concerntrolling for page views again?

@particle_person: @cleolinda Hah, now I want a New Yorker cartoon: "Our page views are down this month, Bob. Time to write about YA again."

@cleolinda: @particle_person "We got anyone around here who flunked J-school?"

@keristars: @cleolinda Also, the gender-segregation of the titles. I knew lots of boys who *loved* A Tree Grows in Brooklyn in 9th grade.

@admiral_ryn: @cleolinda Things like that article make me wonder what peeps think about my daughter getting Bram Stoker for her b-day.

@cleolinda: Makes me wonder what they'd think of my 6th class reading a Dracula excerpt for our reading speed test. ~THINK OF THE CHILDREN~

@cleolinda: 6th GRADE class, rather. That's right: tender 11-year-olds were subjected to Lucy getting bitten FOR CLASS.

@cleolinda: Clearly this is why the world is going to hell as we speak. Eleven-year-olds are allowed to READ THINGS.

@fullofstars: @cleolinda Or reading The Lottery in 8th grade, it was in one of those reading skills textbooks.

@cleolinda: @fullofstars Absolutely, we did too. And "A Rose for Emily."

And I'm pretty sure both those stories are still taught in schools to this day. And the teachers do point out what the end of the latter means, because otherwise, it doesn't make any sense. Enjoy your necrophilia, kids!

@maureenjohnson: This has happened before, @wsj. You don't seek out knowledgable writers for these articles. These articles do damage.

@maureenjohnson: What non-readers don't get: READING SAVES LIVES, EVERY DAY. I mean that quite literally. @wsj

@maureenjohnson: Did YA help you? Let the world know how! Tell your story with a #YAsaves tag. And copy the @wsj for good measure.

(Many replies involve commenters saying that YA books were their only lifeline when they were alone, abused, depressed, harming themselves, afraid to come out, and/or considering suicide. The last thing I heard was that there was something like 10,000 responses with that tag.)

@neilhimself: I get letters from readers - 2 or 3 every month - telling me how my books got them through hell. & the Teens have the worst hells. #YAsaves

@libbabray: ...from @elockhart - "I have a responsibility to my readers to tell the truth. I'm writing for your kids, not for you." 

(Libba Bray then goes on to talk at length about the wrongheadedness of the WSJ piece.

@ColleenLindsay: Comments on that @WSJ YA piece is hilarious. WItness this guy who thinks Ayn Rand will save our kids from trashy YA http://on.wsj.com/kctOKS  

@JackieKessler My response to the WSJ article that mentions [my book] RAGE: http://bit.ly/mUc6wr/ #YAsaves

@ZMarriott: The Zoë-Trope: RESPONDING TO THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ARTICLE (in which I get my RANT on) thezoe-trope.blogspot.com/2011/06/respon… 

@maureenjohnson: Basically, @wsj...and I am not being snide, I'm being literal...this article is so poor, kids from around the country are laughing at it.

@SaundraMitchell: Dear @wsj, #yasaves http://twitpic.com/57dl97  

Dear @wsj, #yasaves on Twitpic

[Regarding the picture:] @neilhimself: What books do to young minds (& old, if we are lucky).

@eruanna317: What I love about that pic is that if the kid can show enough others what he's seen, eventually they'll pull down that wall

And finally:

@wsj: What young-adult fiction means to you: a selection of touching #YAsaves tweets http://bit.ly/myZFgt (Scroll with arrow keys.)

Yeah, that was the least you could do.  

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I love that they're concerned about darkness in books...and then they recommend Fahrenheit 451. Am I the only one who was totally freaked out by that book? And way to go with gender segregating the YA books. How is "True Grit" not an awesome book for girls? Mattie Ross is a BADASS.

YA books help teens find themselves in a world that basically makes no sense half the time. That was the power of Judy Blume, and that's why books about contemporary issues are so popular, even if the "adults" of the world think that teens should be sheltered from them. YA for me was both an escape and a way to feel connected to the world and my peers. Books are a common language. I can't imagine my generation without the common experience of Harry Potter.

tl;dr YA rules, idiots who don't get YA's awesomeness drool

I love that they're concerned about darkness in books...and then they recommend Fahrenheit 451. Am I the only one who was totally freaked out by that book?

Nope. Somehow I managed never to read it, but it's on my list of books I need for my College Writing 102 class coming up this fall, so I figured I'd get it read and out of the way this summer, and something about it is unsettling me a LOT.

I had to read it for my 10th grade English class and I stayed up all night and then couldn't get to sleep. Also, notice the irony in the author recommending Fahrenheit 451 and then supporting book banning.

I find it incredibly appropriate, seeing as how Fahrenheit 451 is based on the premise that people want books burned for them so they don't have to think.

I love that they're concerned about darkness in books...and then they recommend Fahrenheit 451.

I'm glad that I'm not the only one that noticed that. Not that I don't think Fahrenheit 451 is awesome and should be read, but it definitely qualifies as dark in my mind.

I love that they're concerned about darkness in books...and then they recommend Fahrenheit 451.

And True Grit! Listen, I love that book, but as I recall it is LIKE 90% MURDER, most of it committed by the good guys.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure "a drifter murders your father in cold blood" is pretty damn dark, and that's the just the beginning of it.

Am I the only one who was totally freaked out by that book?

Uh no. Although, apparently I shouldn't have read it at all since it's for boys only.

They also talk about the ~*~horrible themes~*~ in books like rape and alcohol abuse and ~*~drama~*~ and then recommend A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Hi, talk about parental alcohol abuse and a rape. It didn't scar me, but the rape language wasn't obvious. (I had also read Les Miserables by that time, too.)

Well, clearly since it's a classic that was written ninety years ago, and lots of young teenagers read it, it can't possibly have any of that bad modern stuff in it!

I love that they're concerned about darkness in books...and then they recommend Fahrenheit 451. Am I the only one who was totally freaked out by that book?

Yeah, there's this. And added to that is their failure to understand what the book is actually about. From their recommendation:

Teenagers whose families are maddeningly glued to screens may find Guy's rebellion bracingly resonant.

No, the book is really not about people who'd rather watch TV and play computer than read. It's about a society in which books are considered something that needs to be kept away from people because of the influence they can have of them. And if that isn't ironic in the light of that article, I don't know what is.

They also recommend a retelling of Hamlet.</i. Fucking HAMLET. Shakesperean tragedy isn't dark now?

Ah, but in that one the girl fakes her death and get a man! It's not like she actually drowns or anything anymore! So it's okay for kids to read now! The original play is just too DARK, I don't know why they make kids read that stuff.

Eww, gross. Leave Shakespeare alone. Are teens supposed to avoid ALL the tragedies now? Also probably have to ditch the history plays, if Hunger Games is too violent. It's not like he wrote anything that reader might LEARN from or expand their mind or anything.


A soft-pedal retelling of Hamlet? WHY?

Maybe I'm just feeling particularly grumpy-old-man today, but seriously, that hurts my brain.

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