Saturday, February 9, 2013

"The Gate Keepers"


           So I was going through my e-mail and one of my newsletters had this link to an article from The Guardian an e-zine, written by YA/Children's Book Author James Dawson.
           It questions the use of profanity in Young Adult literature, and explains the How and Why it is not used. The meat of it gives me this Blog title and is a follows:
         "...but it was at this stage "the gatekeepers" were first mentioned. Booksellers, book groups, librarians and bookshop buyers form this steely line of defense  They are arguably the most powerful link in the publishing chain. These are the people who decide whether or not to sell your product. Without them, a book, especially a book by a debut author, is relegated to the internet and warehouse shelves thus limiting the potential contacts a reader can make with the book in the real world."

           How do you as a reader, or a writer feel about the labeling of books based on age group much like films? Does it seem fair that a book which uses profanity and or sex has to be labeled 17+? But a film that shows a woman's bare breasts may skirt by with PG13? One would think that seeing is the greater of two evils.
           Promiscuity doesn't actually run as rampant as we are lead to believe if seeing as most studies show that for (Us Heathens)in the USA the average teen loses his or her virginity between 17 &19 years of age, but in most public schools they begin sex education in the 6th grade, so by age twelve any kid that goes to a public school has seen at least one set, albeit diagram, of the opposite sex in all it's *Ahem.. Glory.
           They say that since parents are the real money behind younger readers, that these guidelines are in place so that the "Good Parents" can monitor what their kids are reading. I guess these people forget that the Library exists. I was in the second grade when I read Bram Stoker's Dracula for the first time, most would say that was WAY TOO MUCH, I mean the sisters..eating babies?? Wow, but if it had not been for that book, and Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles I would never have had the courage to really write anything.

         I got my passion for words from the works that I was in other's opinion too young for. I was actually suspended in the 8 th grade for reading Anne Rice's "Memnoch The Devil", being accused of Devil Worship! All because my elders didn't understand that just because the book had the word DEVIL on it didn't mean it was a manual for conjuring the Dark Lord. That book was in my High School Library. HAha. Anyhow, I think that censoring for books has more to do with people aka."parents" thinking that they can shield their children from a world that one way or another they will learn about. Let's face it, most kids have ideas about love and sex long before they hear about it in sex ed. Barbie had Ken for a REASON!! She didn't get knocked up on her own! Though that would be funny.. Barbie as Mary. As for Language, kids know it, adults use it, I had a mouth like a sailor by the time I was 5, then again my dad was a cab driving fisherman and my Mom a waitress in Bridgeport. Stereo Type? Probably, but also very true. Environment will, and does make for an interesting combination of situations, and it takes nature and nurture a long time to make an adult well rounded. But literature is here as a tool, to inform, entertain, to help, to show the side of man that we as "civilized folk" like to pretend we don't actually have.
             It must be that the majority believes reading material is like food, "We are, what we eat." Well if that is the case, then 31, million people (50 shades books sold world wide since march)in this world are in fact sexual deviants.
              Could be true, but mostly it is simply that people, and that includes young adults, will always be curious about the "naughty bits", perhaps if there were less stigma, less taboo, we as writers could have more freedom. It wouldn't make it any less entertaining, the truth of a subject is still good if it is a well told truth.
              Personally all of my work is marked 17+ because I choose not to censor my thoughts. My writing is a force, and I write what comes to me, no matter how it comes, if it is profane, so be it, it is profane for a reason. We Are As A Society Profane... Things are stigmatized because someone, some where had a pleasurable reaction and then felt dirty for it. Instinct is a powerful animal, and will always find a way. The fact is that a person will read what interests them, it is a purely subjective drive. A more mature mind will flock to more mature matter, I know I did, I know some of my peers did. If something is written that is beyond the scope of a person's understanding, they Will stop reading it.
              I think that this is true of anyone, no matter the age and "The Gatekeepers" well they can keep on keepin' on, the harder they push right, I as a writer will push left.
Published on July 15, 2012
This is the original article by James Dawson. Why Teens In Books Can't Swear