Thursday, May 24, 2007

A General Note to the Magazine and Newspaper Publishing World

Dear Magazine and Newspaper publishers,

Okay. We get the picture. You are all in a panic about losing your jobs. Your industries are in flux, and no one knows what the future is going to hold.

Stop writing articles everyday that say either "print is dead!" or "long live print!" It makes you all look very silly. It hurts your credibility with advertisers (and hey, since when have advertisers been the important people in this equation? Shouldn't you, you know, I don't know, maybe be publishing things that PEOPLE ACTUALLY WANT TO READ????) You only win points if your prediction is correct. It's boring reading--article after article of people weighing in on the topic, saying the same things in different ways.

Lighten up. Instead of freaking out about the future, and wasting hours on these repetitive articles, maybe you could try to do something constructive with your time, like helping to shape the industry in the years to come. Life is change--stop nattering about how things are changing, have changed, and will change, and start actually changing things.



Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Neither here nor there nor anywhere

I feel a bit.. I don't know. I need to finish packing, I have stuff to take care of (getting my rent check for my sublet sent out, stuff like that) and figure out and I don't want to do any of it. I need to finish wrapping up my old job, and start tackling projects for my new job (okay, I need to be given the projects first) and the first makes me want to cry with boredom and the second with fear. I'm half chomping at the bit, ready to start the new job, half convinced I can't do it and I'm going to fail miserably. I hate in-between stages, living in more than one state. I'm currently an editorial assistant/assistant editor, I work for Boston and New Jersey, live in NJ but need to get to Boston. I hate living with boxes and around boxes and out of and into boxes. I have friends I need to see before I leave and I'm in a hermit phase. There's just too much for me to do and think about. So instead I play WoW. Great.

I had to do the whole in-between-stage thing in 2005. I had to pack up most of my stuff and move out of what had been my bedroom, the entire downstairs of our old house, and into my old bedroom, a much smaller room after G-pa moved in with us. But we were waiting on selling our house and buying a new one, so I spent the summer in that in-between stuff. We had stuff in storage, more than half our life was packed up. And then we finally moved in October and it was like life started moving again. (Okay, so it ground to a bit of a halt for the horror of Holiday 2005. That was the longest month of December ever. But it also really started to move again in January, because that's when I got this job.)

I'm stuck again, and time is running out and not moving and god I just want this all over.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Things That Get My Goat

A lot on my plate right now, and I've gotten sucked into WoW. But that's not why I'm here.

I'm here because of close-minded people who forget that what makes America a great country is that it is a free, democratic society, and that we have the right to free speech. Maureen Johnson, a YA author, has had her book Bermudez Triangle banned in Bartlesville, OK.

I've never read Bermudez Triangle. But it is about three girls who are friends. One goes away over the summer, and the other two begin a relationship. The book is about how relationships affect (effect? Can't remember, too lazy to check.) their friendships.

The Objection, officially, is underage drinking, sexual content, and homosexual content. But there is no sex in the book, only kissing, according to everything I can find. So really, the objection is homosexuality.

I’m shocked and appalled at the lack of discretion, and moral decline in the selection of books at the Mid-High library. Homosexual content, unprotected sex, underage drinking, and reckless promiscuity are not values that belong in a school library. I understand there are parents or teens who are dealing with these issues, but not all parents want their kids exposed to this material. Personally, I would not endorse any of these types of book as “14-and-15-year-old-friendly.” Giving teenagers knowledge without guidance is irresponsible and dangerous. As a parent, I screen my 15-year-old’s television, Internet, video game, magazines, and books. There are things she’s not mature enough to handle, or are simply wrong for her. Parents are a child’s best line of defense in a world that rushes to grow them up too soon. This book, “The Bermudez Triangle” has no moral fiber, and wrongly promotes a “do whomever you want to discover yourself” mentality. There’s no mention of the myriad of diseases, pregnancy, destruction of friendships and lives that are very real consequences of a “sexual free-for-all” decision. I ask that his material be removed at once. You have a responsibility to the children at school to protect them and educate them. Let’s raise the bar a little higher, respect moral values and a parent’s right to guard that which has been entrusted to their care.

Let's leave aside the fact that she's screening everything that her daughter consumes, meaning her daughter will never learn to think on her own because her mother is underestimating her daughter's faculties of judgment and intelligence.

Let's instead focus on the fact that she is promoting close-minded, bigoted thinking. That she is limiting the flow of ideas and information for not just her daughter, but for the entire Bartlesville school district.

Let's instead focus on the fact that only two people involved in the decision had read the book--the librarian protesting it, and one parent, presumably the banner. NONE of the committee members who made the decision read the book. What kind of message is that sending? How irresponsible! Bartlesville School Board, you should be ashamed of yourselves. What happened to the right to a fair trial? It's just a book, you say, but once you start dismissing fairness in one area, it follows in others. Once you start limiting people's access to information, books, and ideas, you don't stop. You start to think you know better than everyone else.

You don't. You know just as much, and are just as equipped to make decisions for other people as the other people are. Less, in fact, because you aren't them and don't know what they want, need, and can or cannot handle. I'm not arguing with a mother's right to control what her child does while that child is a minor. I'm arguing with that mother's insistence on controlling what OTHER children have access to. I'm arguing with people making decisions in ignorance.

So far, a few bloggers and the Human Rights Campaign have picked up the cause. Mediabistro has an article, as well. Get the word out. Stop book banning. Take a look at the most frequently challenged books--you might be surprised at what's on the list.

x-posted to my el-jay, since no one reads this.