Sunday, June 5, 2011

WTFckery Or Not? You Decide

Here comes the WTFCkery...

1. Those who love reading YA, write YA and support YA are more than displeased (or perhaps in an uproar) by the Wall Street Journal's article about the current state of YA. They state that "contemporary fiction for teens is rife with explicit abuse, violence and depravity", and perhaps is better not being published at all because it's so dark and full of depravity.

Mrs. Gurdon, the author of the article says:

"How dark is contemporary fiction for teens? Darker than when you were a child, my dear: So dark that kidnapping and pederasty and incest and brutal beatings are now just part of the run of things in novels directed, broadly speaking, at children from the ages of 12 to 18.

If books show us the world, teen fiction can be like a hall of fun-house mirrors, constantly reflecting back hideously distorted portrayals of what life is. There are of course exceptions, but a careless young reader—or one who seeks out depravity—will find himself surrounded by images not of joy or beauty but of damage, brutality and losses of the most horrendous kinds.The argument in favor of such novels is that they validate the teen experience, giving voice to tortured adolescents who would otherwise be voiceless. If a teen has been abused, the logic follows, reading about another teen in the same straits will be comforting. If a girl cuts her flesh with a razor to relieve surging feelings of self-loathing, she will find succor in reading about another girl who cuts, mops up the blood with towels and eventually learns to manage her emotional turbulence without a knife."

Now we can blame the current YA books published for the end of the world that's coming because they're filled with shocking real life issues teens can't know about. The horror of it all! What will we do if teens are reading these things? They're young, impressionable minds will be corrupted and they may end up acting what they read.

Now I admit, most of the YA book I've read lately, and are being talked about, seem dark, but the world is a dark place. You can't keep a children or a teen protected from real life forever and some of the YA books mentioned in the article are a way to speak to teens and bring to light hard hitting issues teens are dealing with both in the open and in secret. Also, YA is a great transition into reading more adult material. When I was a teen growing up in the 1990's, I went straight from reading Nancy Drew to adult books like VC Andrews, Beatrice Small and Stephen King. All these authors wrote explicit sexual situations, death, violence and had cursing. I wish I had the current YA's being published when I was a teenager. One very dark and disturbing YA I had to read in 8th grade was William Golding's Lord of the Flies. To this day that book still haunts me and it was written over 50 years ago in 1954. After I finished reading I didn't decide it would be cool to grab a few friends and go to a deserted island where I ended up impaling a pig's head on a stick and danged a jog around it naked. Give teens some credit here. They're not at stupid as some adults may think them to be.

Wouldn't parents want their children to read these books, rather then sit in front of a television or play video games riddled with cursing, sex, death and even depraved acts? ("depravity", like books are very subjective.) Perhaps these books give teens an outlook on like they don't find in the fashion or gossip magazines that are thrown in our faces. Maybe a dark and depraved YA book allows a teenager to go their parents and ask them about what they have read, or admitting they have a problem, thus opening the lines of communication between them.

The WSJ article is very one-sided and I hope the paper does a follow up article on this issue. It brings to mind another genre that 's treated like the redheaded stepchild of publishing. Thank you for Jill Myles's tweet on this:

Dear all YA people upset about the @wsj piece: Welcome to Romancelandia. We are the poster children for lack of literary respect.

2. Some of these WTF book covers are close to making me go blind....

Thank god for bikini waxing or this would have been much worse than it is

The statue man's gun really brings this cover down

3. I should probably know who VS Naipaul is since he's a Nobel laureate but his asshat comments about Jane Austen and how female authors could never be his equal cements I will never read him. Funny how after 200 years people still read Jane Austen's books and talk about her almost as much as Shakespeare. I wonder if the same will apply to Naipaul after two centuries? Me thinks not. From The Guardian UK:

"VS Naipaul, no stranger to literary spats and rows, has done it again. This time, the winner of the Nobel prize for literature has lashed out at female authors, saying there is no woman writer whom he considers his equal – and singling out Jane Austen for particular criticism.

In an interview at the Royal Geographic Society on Tuesday about his career, Naipaul, who has been described as the "greatest living writer of English prose", was asked if he considered any woman writer his literary match. He replied: "I don't think so." Of Austen he said he "couldn't possibly share her sentimental ambitions, her sentimental sense of the world".

He felt that women writers were "quite different". He said: "I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not. I think [it is] unequal to me."

The author, who was born in Trinidad, said this was because of women's "sentimentality, the narrow view of the world". "And inevitably for a woman, she is not a complete master of a house, so that comes over in her writing too," he said.

He added: "My publisher, who was so good as a taster and editor, when she became a writer, lo and behold, it was all this feminine tosh. I don't mean this in any unkind way."

4. The things people will do to get their hands on a IPad2 is shocking. Would you sell your kidney for an Ipad2? From Global Times:

"A teenager in Huaishan, Anhui Province has sold one of his kidneys to buy an iPad2 tablet computer, as reported by SZTV on June 1. The 17-year-old man surnamed Zheng, a freshman in high school, got connected with a kidney-selling agent through the internet, who pledged to pay him 20,000 yuan ($3,084.45 ) for one of his kidneys. On April 28 of this year, Zheng went to Chenzhou, Hunan Province to have his kidney removed under the supervision of three so-called middlemen, and received 22,000 yuan ($3,392.97). Then he returned home with a laptop and an iPhone."

5. First there was the body pillow. Now you can have the booty pillow! From Jezebel:
Reduced price of $29.99!

"The story of the Booty PillowTM is quite simple. Lull was laying on a girl’s butt/small of her back. He thought to himself, “Man, this is really comfortable. I wish I could just take this and keep it. It feels so great!” The next day, he called Nic, told him the story, and then said, “We should make Booty Pillows!” Nic laughed and followed, “I’m down. Let’s do it!” The rest is history. Okay so that’s the short version of how it all happened. If you really want to know how the Booty Pillow came to be…If you really want the true (except very embellished and mostly fictional) version of how the Booty was born."

6. Ebay continues to astound with some WTF used items for bid on. Interested in some well worn used nylons pantyhose? Can you believe these went for $71? (Thanks to Larissa Ione)

Pre-owned: An item that has been used or worn previously. See the seller’s listing for full details and description of any imperfections.
Style: Pantyhose
Color: Beiges Hosiery Size: B
Shade: Taupe Brand: No Nonsense
Material: Nylon

7. Glow in the dark condoms. Awesome creation or a total WTF? From Night Light Condoms: (Thanks to @rebyj)

"Rise and Shine with Night Light™ glow-in-the-dark condoms!

"We are proud to introduce Night Light, the first and only glow-in-the-dark condom approved for the prevention of pregnancy and disease.

Finally, there’s a condom that makes sex more fun. Men just love them for obvious reasons, and women find it easier to ask their partner to wear a condom when it’s a Night Light.

But Night Lights are about more than fun. They are manufactured and tested to the same rigorous quality control standards as typical condoms, and they provide the same protection. So for a night to remember, use a Night Light."

9. Cute WTFckery here. What do you get when you cross a Cthulhu with with a Pikachu? You get a Pikathulhu! From Cthulhu Chick:

10. Something to be aware of the next time you buy candy for your tot. From The Sun:

Girl, 10, finds dad’s coke in Haribo bag

"A school girl innocently picked up a bag of Haribo to take to a show-and-tell session for classmates - unaware it contained her dealer dad's cocaine. The ten-year-old thought the one treat left inside was sherbet wrapped in cling film. But her teacher was suspicious about the powder and seized it. The head then called police who raided the father's £200,000 home.

11. Jabba the Hut cat! Or body pillow cat. Take your pick:

12. And your WTFckery Regretsy are for those who enjoy having their underwear stick to their skin and perhaps form a nice rash about your butt area:

Hope you have enjoyed this week's latest in WTFckery...



Blodeuedd said...

Tsk, I am not gonna read Naipaul's books if he is such an ass.

And wtf is up with that article about YA. if I only had been so lucky to grow up with YA books. But I grew up as a language minority in a small country. There was not much YA to read and I quickly moved from horsebooks to harlequin and adult books

Karen Erickson said...

The YA article is ridiculous. Let me tell you, if there was a dark or taboo subject out there in the YA market when I was a preteen (and we're talking early 80s here), I found it. And I read it and loved it. My absolute favorite book when I was 12 was about a 16 yr old girl who ran away to the big city and met a pimp at the bus station. Next thing you know, he's taking her shopping for new clothes and turning her out on the streets. And it didn't skimp on the horrid details either.

I think I liked the dark stuff so much because it was so far away from my reality and that fascinated me. You're 100% right - it's a much darker world now but is all the YA stuff really warping our kids minds? At least we can say this - they're READING. So what's wrong with that?

That article fired me up, LOL. Thank goodness for fat cats and Pikachus to soften it up. ;)

Cybercliper said...

Wow, I feel pretty dumb. I know who Jane Austen - read her books -but I've never heard of VS Naipaul.

heidenkind said...

Naipaul is SUCH a douche bag. That is all.

Anonymous said...

When I was in college, I felt strongly that I should read VS Naipul because he was such a respected author. I am so glad I never bought any of his books! I'd read about his feud with another famous author (can't remember which one, possibly Paul Theroux) and I remember being shocked by how vicious the feud was.

The YA article sounds silly and depressing. Thanks for posting about it.


orannia said...

Thank you KB! I love Jabba the Hutt cat!

As for VS Naipaul's comments. Uh huh.... Why the need to put woman authors down?

Amber (aka BBB) said...

The YA article was a poorly concealed attempt to normalize censorship. And had a very blatant slap at the ALA in it, too (American Library Association.)

As for the eBay "well worn" items...that's nothing new for eBay. There is a whole fetish community that likes "worn" socks and other items. Ewwww. It's against eBay policies to send out unwashed items, but that hasn't stopped people from catering to the demand.