Sunday, March 12, 2006

Kiddie Lit: Leave It Alone

Dear Editors and Publishers and Screenwriters Who Are Revising and Updating and Therefore Ruining Young People's Literature:
Stop it.  Immediately.  Cease and desist.
What's the matter with you?  Just because you don't have the ability to view something in the context of the times, don't assume our kids don't know how.
I want Nancy Drew to be wearing her hair in a pompadour and driving a roadster.  I don't want to read about Nancy and Ned discussing safe sex and worrying about global warming.  I want Nancy to chase crooks named Frank Semitt and I want her to solve mysteries for people named Sadie, not Misty. 
I want Margaret to learn about sanitary napkins with long tails, and I want her to learn how to fasten them to the belt.  I do not want to read about Margaret removing the waxed paper to reveal the sticky strip underneath, and fastening it to her panties.
I want Dinah to live with her husband Sam above the Bobbsey's garage, and I want her to talk like servants talked back then. 
I swear, if you people tamper with Ramona, I'm coming after you with a book of matches and a jar of gasoline.  And you'd better not ruin the Happy Hollisters, either.
Ramona's mom went to work because her husband had lost his job and the family desperately needed an income.  She did not go back to work because she felt unfulfilled as a stay-at-home mom.  Don't you dare change it.
I'm serious.  What's wrong with you?  Do you really think our kids are too stupid to understand that things were different back in the day?  Part of the coolness of reading older books is learning how things 'were' a long time ago.  What kind of moron would advocate CHANGING a book that is already just the way the author wanted it to be, and just right in the context of the times..
And authors:  if you are giving the go-ahead for this travesty, shame on you. 
When a person of any age reads a book, that reader is not only enjoying a good story.  That reader is also learning about the customs of the times, the customs of the place, the customs of various kinds of people, against the background of cultural mores, values, and history.  Yes, some of it is different.  Some of it is upsetting.  Some of it is (gasp) politically incorrect.  But changing a book to suit the times will not change anything except the coolness of the book. 
Please.  Stop modernizing our children's literature.  Keep it just the way it is.  If YOU don't like it, tough scheisse.  Let our kids read these books as they were originally meant to be read.  "Little Women" took place during the Civil War.  Don't change it.  "A Little Princess" takes place in England, and her father was an English soldier in India.  Which idiot moved it to New York?  I refuse to even watch that version.  Mary and Colin are first cousins.  They are not going to get married.  Who wrote that in there?  You're an idiot.
Please, editors, keep your hands off our wonderful children's literature.  Let our kids read these books exactly as they were first written.  Let them learn how things were back in the olden days. 
And if Beany's dad was sent to Hawaii to report WW2, don't change it and say he was sent to Hawaii for the paper.  Cowards.  Keep to the context of the times.  Our kids will benefit by it.  They're smarter than you might think, so stop treating them as though they were stupid and needed everything to be modern.  That's YOU, not them.
And while I've got your attention, stop dumbing down these great books.  I absolutely loathe and despise condensations and "junior" versions.  How condescending.  Just because most major magazines are written at a fifth grade reading level, doesn't mean our kids should be subjected to the same dumbing down of great kiddie lit.  Dumb it down for adults if you must, but leave the kids alone. 
Hasn't the success of the Harry Potter books taught you anything?  When a book is good, kids will read it.  And they will LOVE the extensive vocabulary and learning all about another culture.  Are you planning to dumb down and Americanize those, eventually?  Nobody will buy them except stupid adults. No self-respecting kid would touch an edited version. 
I know it won't do any good to protest, because you've got this bee in your bonnet that all kids' books must be modern, but give it a thought?  Please?  Because you're destroying something really, really precious.
P.S.  I hate you.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:27 AM | |


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