Bookworm

A whole nother kettle of fish

Hmm, really interesting responses to my question. Thanks! You guys made me think about my question in a couple of different ways. Initially, I had been analyzing only my own reaction to Vanity Fair; that is, can you still appreciate the literary merits of something that also has objectionable ideas?

But when the discussion turns to children's books, it becomes a whole nother kettle of fish. Now we worry about what message our impressionable children might be internalizing. And the comment about book banning, well, that completely caught me by surprise. I am absolutely, categorically, unequivocally, FERVENTLY opposed to any form of censorship, and never, never, never meant to suggest otherwise. It's nobody's job but the parents' to decide what kids should be exposed to.

However, as a parent I've discovered that it's harder than you'd think to monitor your kids. I remember once when Joey was in preschool and Lena was a toddler, I grabbed a book off the library shelf because a quick flip-thru showed lovely illustrations. It turned out that it treated a subject I was not at all ready to introduce to Joey at that time. But there was no way I could have figured that out before we got it home, given the demands of keeping track of the two kids in the library. And more recently, Joey is pressuring his parents to be given internet access. At this point (he's 9) he's only allowed to go on-line if mom or dad is sitting next to him. And how much time do we have to spend sitting next to him while he hangs out here? Not a lot. But there was one time when he wanted to do a "science" project on alien abductions. Here's a little tip: don't google alien abductions unless you're prepared to see a lot of really sick stuff, especially if you don't put the phrase in quotation marks.

Anyway, to get back to Vanity Fair. It occurred to me later that when the author talks about women being like beasts of the field, etc., could that have been satire? I don't know. But I do think we are supposed to admire Becky Sharp. She is scheming, manipulative, and opportunistic, but she really has no choice. In that time and place, what else could she do but try to make a good match for herself? If her character were set in the present day, she'd be an object of scorn and pity -- certainly not admiration.

All this is now moot, anyway. I've completely lost interest in Vanity Fair. Two days ago a friend lent me Songs of the Gorilla Nation. I started it yesterday, finished it today. It was absolutely amazing, astounding, unbelievable. I have to digest it a little more before I tell you about it.

2 Comments:

  • What's attachment parenting? That term has com about since I had small ones (my girls are 22) And please, what is your e-mail address so I can respond to you directly, instead of to your blog?

    posted by Blogger GuusjeM on 9:43 PM  

  • What's attachment parenting? That term has com about since I had small ones (my girls are 22) And please, what is your e-mail address so I can respond to you directly, instead of to your blog?

    posted by Blogger GuusjeM on 9:43 PM