Fuse #8

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Spit Worthy

I may as well start getting the L.A. Times. They seem to have all the most interesting kiddie-lit articles. Gregory K. ofGotta Book brought this latest piece de resistance (emphasis on the "resistance") to my attention. In a bit of writing that Mr. K. refers correctly to as, "headscratchingly odd and wrong", one Mr. Tim Rutten takes a stab at the recent Opal Mehta scandal. His interpretation?

What this unfortunately driven young woman's rather sad little story suggests is that one of the major reasons other young people don't read books is that most of the stuff published for children and adolescents is abysmal, self-regarding trash.

Excuse me? Obviously Mr. Rutten has taken the time to systematically explore the wealth of published information found in the world of children and YA publishing. Then, and only after careful consideration, he reluctantly came to this devastating conclusion. Right? Right? I sought out a bio of the newsman to explore what must undoubtedly be his illustrious career in literature for young people. But goodness me and heavens to Betsy, what is this? The only tie he seems to have to that particular occupation are his two children. Two children, I suspect, that would rather read "The Chronicles of Droon" or "The Amazing Days of Abby Hayes" over Proust.

Ah, me. There is nothing I like more than a reporter ranting against something he has never researched or taken the time to understand. Please check out the link below to see if you agree with me.


At 11:07 AM , Blogger Zil said...

Having experienced my share of irritation at this kind of talk (and there's ever so much of it), I'm attempting to now serenely disregard such blather.
(That said, I want to especially point out the laughableness of this assertion: "The majority of books aimed at today's young people fall into this last category." Does that imply that the majority of books aimed at yesterday's young people were A-OK? Do we long for a return to the insipid/racist gendered genre fiction of the early to mid-century? Yes, I'm aware that implies an awareness of the history of children's book publishing that clearly is not present.)

At 12:48 PM , Blogger Dan McCoy said...

I think the odder thing about this is that it's such an unsupportable logical jump. One woman plagiarized because YA fiction is self-regarding trash? WTF? To borrow another phrase from the French, "it does not follow."

At 1:38 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

I'm glad you said that, Dan, cause basically that was my reaction as well. But I just thought I was too dense to follow the author's logic. Now I see there wasn't any. Phew!

And yes, the article does seem to be saying that there was once a golden era of children's literature that we've somehow left behind. Now was that before or after the publication of James Daugherty's, "Daniel Boone"?

hee hee hee.

At 6:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the contrary, many young adult novels are much more beautifully written than those that would be categorized as "adult novels". However, I can see how one could jump to this conclusion; quite a few YA books today ARE trash... But then again, when has that not been true? You just have to look through that and hunt for the good books.


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