"Immersion in the life of the world, a willingness to be inhabited by and to speak for others, including those beyond the realm of the human, these are the practices not just of the bodhisattva but of the writer." --Jane Hirshfield

Monday, February 19, 2007

Age of a Reader

There's a bit of a discussion going on at my online writing group about underage readers and content -- specifically, teens reading about unusual sexual behaviors (that they haven't themselves come up with).

Opinions are flying like knives. Although I haven't so far written much (if anything) that one of today's teens would consider sexually unusual, I admit, it's crossed my mind to wonder about this. Can we/should we self-censor, or more likely, try to keep categories of work away from certain readers (as writers, I mean. Parents will have a different answer)? I'm against censorship, and at the very least, if the news is not censored, why should fiction be? I mean, what would be the point of censoring fiction when much weirder stuff is available on the news?

That said, I am sorry it's the kind of world you don't want your kids to read about. It probably always has been, however.

1 comment:

Zen of Writing said...

A number of people have said it's up to parents to monitor kids' reading.

Of course I agree. Old-fashioned (or any) standards of decency are just not enforceable. We’ve become very commerce-oriented, and sex sells. We draw the line at extremes, like child porn, but we can’t draw lines everywhere. It’s one of those ongoing debates. Freedom of speech vs. what you might want to call public decency. You can do pretty much whatever you want in print, although you still have to keep your clothes on in public.