The one and only Liz Burns has a great post about swearing off YA because all the past year's articles waxing on its darkness or inappropriateness are just too convincing not to. (Hilarious; go read it.)


While I was writing up my April Fool's contribution in this vein, I kept getting mad! And so it was not funny, but ranty. Because those articles are crazy-making. Instead I just bring you two examples of foolish opening statements, which are remarkably similar and incredibly dumb, both from NYT articles in the last year:

"A literary novelist writing a genre novel is like an intellectual dating a porn star." – from Glen Duncan's ill-considered review of Colson Whitehead's Zone One (really, no one said it better than Charlie Jane).

And from this past week:

"The only thing more embarrassing than catching a guy on the plane looking at pornography on his computer is seeing a guy on the plane reading “The Hunger Games.” Or a Twilight book. Or Harry Potter." – from Joel Stein's screed–which I admit I didn't read past the headline and first paragraph of–about how adults shouldn't read YA.

So, no fooling…can we have a moratorium on opening your piece about some part of the literary world you think is downmarket* with a pornography reference to make it clear you really aren't being serious, but just baiting everyone? Also, NYT editors**, perhaps suggest a rethink when the next one of these comes in? It's getting a little obvious.

*In a perfect world, the people who write about these things would, I dunno, respect them at a minimum, but our world shall never be perfect.

**Kudos to Pamela Paul, by the way, for majorly improving kidlit coverage in the Times since she took over. Even the Stein piece was surrounded by far more sensible ones, which is progress.

2 Responses to “April…Fools”

  1. sarah

    Is pornography really about respect? Should we respect a business that denegrates women (even if women choose it)? Does everything deserve respect? Should you show respect to others actions that denegrate you?

  2. Gwenda Bond

    Since I’m talking about people writing about young adult and children’s literature and SFF genre literature (and comparing it to pornography purely to be sensational), I’m not sure this is a question for me. But I’d say that I think anything deserving of reference in a NYT essay is deserving of a thoughtful analytical comparison, not a kneejerk one. To equate YA and children’s literature or genre literature with pornography seems disingenuous in the extreme.

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