Welcome to my blog!

I am a lefty. I write vertically, cannot use can-openers and was recently foiled by a right handed ladle (I will have my vengeance...) but more than this, I generally seem to approach life from a different angle. I appreciate that this may have nothing to do with being a lefty and may just be my own dysfunctionallity, but after earning the nickname 'Lefty-Flip' after a frustrating game of Guitar Hero, it seemed an appropriate title for this blog.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

It's my blog and I'll rant if I want to

It’s not often I get political, mostly ‘cause I’m a wuss and fear the backlash, but this one has really got my back up.

Writers on Twitter will no doubt have seen the kafuffle that kicked off after GP Taylor announced on BBC Breakfast yesterday, that he thought some kind of book censorship should be introduced for children’s’ and teen books.

Okay first of all, this is a completely dead argument. You might want to do some research before you say such silly things on tv. How would anyone enforce this certification? Who would decide what is suitable for what age range? I can’t even be bothered to list the problems with this, as they are both boring and obvious.

Not only is the argument dead, it has been dead a long time. When I was seventeen I had this debate in my Media Studies class, with regards to age certification of music and books. This was when I was seventeen. That’s a whopping fourteen years ago*. Certification is not the way forward Mr Taylor, it is a huge step back.

*Edit - ahem - make that thirteen years ago. Apparently ranting has aged me a year in a day...
Jus to infuriate me even more, another argument that never fails to make my toes curl was made…

‘Back when I was a kid, books were about having adventures and drinking ginger beer…’

Okay, now I’m sure back in her day, when the world was all sunshine and lollipops Enid Blyton’s writing was much more relatable to her target audience, but here’s my point:

Enid Blyton wrote the majority of her work from 1940 – 1960…  Now I’m going to make a really crazy assumption here, try and stay with me… what if, just what if ...the world has changed since then? I know, I know, clearly I’ve had too much sugar this afternoon to be making such wild assumptions…

I digress – this wasn’t supposed to turn into an Enid bashing, I actually enjoyed her stories a lot when I was a kid, but please lets stop using her as the benchmark of suitability against which all children’s fiction should be judged. It makes me want to punch things.

One of the reasons I am so annoyed by this is that I actually really like GP Taylor’s books, he’s a great children’s writer and I can’t help but feel let down that he has come out with this claptrap. But that’s my personal issue, I will try and get passed it.

As for judging the suitability of books for kids, how’s this for an idea…  

If your kids are still young enough that you are choosing their books for them, take the time to do a little research. Look online. Read reviews. Read the books themselves. Visit the library, or you know, just ask in the books shops themselves.
If you’re 9 year old son is scared of his own shadow, then maybe don’t buy him anything by Darren Shan. On the other hand if he’s spending the weekend playing Grand Theft Auto and whatever shoot-em-up game is currently doing the rounds, then a little bit of teen horror might be more appropriate.

And if you’re kids are old enough to pick their own books, well I just said it. They are old enough to choose for themselves.

Patrick Ness put it perfectly yesterday:

Children are great self-censors: they know what they can read and they know what they want to read’

Yes. Yes they do.

He also said a whole lot of other lovely sensible things which you can read here.

The whole thing winds me up no end, because quite frankly all that is needed for this entire problem to go away is an ounce of common sense.

Thank you, I’m here all week!

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