Friday, March 30, 2012

I Agree That You Don't Know

Joel Stein thinks that adults shouldn't be reading books published for young adults and children.

"I’m sure all those books are well written," he writes. "So is 'Horton Hatches the Egg.' But Horton doesn’t have the depth of language and character as literature written for people who have stopped physically growing." Then he goes on to explain that he doesn't actually know what any kids' books are like, because he doesn't read them, because he's a grown up. "I have no idea what The Hunger Games is like.... I don’t know because it’s a book for kids."

The condescension isn't particularly shocking -- it's commonplace. (Even the "I'm sure all those books are well written" part is condescending. Why should they all be well-written? Find me one genre of books in the publishing industry where every single book is well-written. Children's literature has the same range of quality as every other genre.) What's more surprising is that the New York Times considered this printworthy.

Hey New York Times, I don't watch HBO, because it's not for people with basic cable. Would you mind setting aside about 300 words somewhere for me to opine about their spring lineup and who should be watching it?

I can never get particularly worked up about people who critique art they've never experienced.  I can't get myself worked up about this article. Why? Because he's wrong. And he's the one who loses out. I'm happily here with a lot of good books he'll never read.