05 June, 2014

Getting the Words Out (6) - YA and Other Things I'm Not Ashamed of

So Slate posted a piece today about why adults should be embarrassed to read YA. I won't link to it; you can Google it, if you like. (I linked to a Facebook discussion, which in turn is linked to the article.) It's b.s. anyway.
Listen, there's things we should be ashamed of, and things that we really shouldn't be ashamed of.
For example, I am not ashamed (anymore) of having this on constant repeat:
I'm not a Miley Cyrus fan, but I do love Jimmy Fallon and The Roots, and this rendition of "We Can't Stop" is just freaking flawless. I've listened to it probably a hundred times in the last two days (I ran for about an hour with this as the only song on repeat, which is probably why my data usage was so high, but I digress), what of it? It makes me happy, and it doesn't hurt anybody, so why should you care?
You know what I am embarrassed about? I'm embarrassed it took me two weeks to find out about the hundreds of Nigerian girls kidnapped from a school (during a test, if that wasn't stressful enough) and that they have been sold into slavery/captive marriages and the knowledge that I am totally powerless to do anything about it. 
You know what I'm not ashamed of? Ending sentences with prepositions, and punctuating incomplete clauses. The 15-year-old me would have been like OH HELL NO, whereas the 35-year-old me, who has taken linguistics classes, and writes a lot for both recreational and professional reasons, knows the rules and when to break them. Rule-breaking in this manner occasionally serves a purpose, whether it's rhetoric/stylistic, humorous, or otherwise. But being ashamed of reading children's/middle graders'/teenagers' books, or for that matter, feeling guilt over pleasure (which I believe was the point of the Slate article), serves no purpose at all. 
"Live long and prosper." Isn't that enough anymore?
More things I'm not ashamed of as an adult:
playing video games
watching cartoons
collecting action figures and toys
having crushes on celebrities
posting endless cat photos on Instagram
swearing a lot
I was molested when I was a child
Some things I am ashamed of as an adult:
I often can't do anything tangible to fix giant problems like oppression in Thailand
I associate with some people who are still sexist/racist/otherwise-prejudiced to a painful degree in this day and age
I'm 35 and I still don't have a driver's license (I can drive, just not legally yet)
I'm terrible at budgeting (though I was really good at it when I was 12 and had an allowance that was something like $1 per weekday)
I'm very disorganized (again, a skill set I seem to have let go since I hit puberty)
Look, I'm not angry. Everyone's entitled to their opinion; I just reserve the right to disagree. I'm sure we're just seeing the first of the angry rants and tweets about this. However, I also think the best of the backlash has already been written
Bottom line: read what you like and don't hurt nobody.


Yet more thoughts on this matter:

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