YA Authors and opinions

We all know that a terrorist died. We all have different views on what is appropriate, what is moral, and what should’ve/would’ve/could’ve been done. This post is less about my personal set of morals and more about should authors, YA authors in particular go live with their viewpoints.

I see it like this: I want to be the one to teach my children my own morality code. YA authors are becoming more popular with teens. If Stephanie Meyer wrote a book that Satanism was the new black, we would have our own little cult of Satanists here in America. Teens are impressionable, I was at least when I was a teen. So what gives anyone the right to undermine at home teachings and spout their morality code publicly?

Not only is the author going to differ from home and family views, but when is it ever right for someone to influence someone else saying that killing someone was a necessary evil? That the world in all is a better place because someone is dead?

The views that Jackson Pearce has spouted here are completely different than my own. I am open minded enough to always accept others beliefs but I take offense to personal views being clouted about on a platform for author marketing. Even if I agreed with every word said in this video, I don’t agree with any author spouting out the crazies. It’s not okay for Orson Scott Card to publicly be homophobic but it is okay for Jackson Pearce to say the world is a better place without a single person in it? Eye for an eye if you will. I will post the video here and let you judge for yourself.

Brilliance or author fail?

For me Jackson has ensured that I will never read her books or support her career in any shape or form.

#Edit: comments are closed as I can’t keep up with all of the comments. I expected intelligent debate; I didn’t at all expect the author’s live show to send 20 or so people here (some with perfectly nice comments) and some coming to call me names, which doesn’t but me but I would rather not have tons of negativity on my site and I don’t feel like fielding the stuff and reading them all. If you really want to talk to me about this my email is on the policy page! :D

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21 Responses so far

  1. Gravatar

    She said how she felt and how she felt it to be justified. You’ve made your pov clear by saying that you will no longer read her. Basically you are saying you will not support people that celebrate his death publicly. So in a way you are influencing your readers. Is that wrong, no. They are your readers they want to be influenced by you.

    It feels wrong for me to celebrate a death. No matter how many wrongs he did, but is everyone entitled to say how they feel about the matter on there own Youtube page, blog, etc? Yes.

    It is also your choice to not read the article, watch the video, or not ever read her books again.

  2. Gravatar

    Rie, I said I would no longer read her whether I agreed with her or not. I will no longer read her because I can’t condone anyone who writes for children influencing them politically.

  3. Gravatar

    I’m actually okay with authors sounding off on political issues, especially on their own vlogs, blogs, etc. The thing is, she’s not actually putting these things into her books – and I know that when I was a teen, I didn’t care enough to go on author websites and stuff, I just read books. So I honestly don’t think she’s influencing many, if any, teens. (I also know that when I was as young as 13 or so, I already had my own pretty solid political views, and nothing some singer or author or actress said was going to change my mind.)

    I guess what I’m saying is that I’m all for people expressing their opinions – freedom of speech and whatnot. I don’t have to agree with their views, and if their views or politics are upsetting enough to me I probably will avoid their work (whether it be books, movies, etc.). But they do have the freedom to do voice their politics. And I don’t think that authors, singers, actors, sports players, etc. have any particular obligations to make sure they’re careful of what they say, because some kid might be listening. Morals are something kids will learn first and foremost at home. And it’s the parents’ job to make sure that their kids grow up with good moral fiber, not celebrities’.

    Also – I love what she said. I agree with her 100%, plus the added bonus of her quoting Mal Reynolds from Firefly. I’m gonna go look her up and try to read some of her books, because I hadn’t heard of her before this.

  4. Gravatar

    I just think it is a PR Nightmare to be avoided whether people agree with the views stated or not. Based on the direct messages I get from her own colleagues on this issue they tend to agree that it’s better to be avoided. I hope you like the books.

  5. Gravatar

    Interesting position to take. I don’t particularly believe that adult writers who write for teens can or should divorce political views from their writing, much less their public personas–many books have political or philosophical subtexts (including Twilight, The Giver, many others), and I believe that authors have a right, and, more, a responsibility to take respectfully to teens about the political world around them. Pearce’s argument here is that, essentially, issues of political morality are complex and deserve to be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. Which is a legitimate argument that actually calls for viewers (yes, including teens) to use their own moral code in analyzing political issues.

  6. Gravatar

    As far as wanting your books to sell though? Isn’t there an imaginary marketing line for that. This is just the only video I have decided to talk about. Here is another http://www.readingteen.net/2010/04/are-parents-idiots-for-denying-their.html from another blogger.

  7. Gravatar

    I don’t think Pearce uses her vlog solely for marketing, based on anything I’ve seen–I think it’s a personal platform, as much as it is a business platform, and I don’t think that any author’s right to free speech stops just because they’re out to sell books. However, from what I have seen I suspect that her core political/writing philosophy would be somewhat close to mine, which is to emphasize the importance of free speech, honesty in talking to teenagers, to encourage teenagers to use their own moral compasses and to be and think for themselves. I suppose that message is bound to rankle adults who feel that children don’t have the intellectual capacity to make these sorts of choices for themselves, or who feel that it’s possible and preferable for authors to be wholly apolitical. But again, I don’t think that’s even possible–I think authors who choose to leave these aspects out of their books, who present only ‘clean’ language or romance or even public personas, are making as much of a political decision as the rest of us.

    You have a right not to support her career, and to say that you won’t. But I *suspect* her answer would be that she’s writing and speaking for a teen audience who really need to hear messages of affirmation about their ability to think and be political, anyway.

  8. Gravatar

    For the record I am not stating my personal opinions here. I absolutely let my children read anything. Great way to talk about it. Nor am I questioning Jackson’s right to say whatever it is she wants to say. I am questioning as an author when is it smart just not to say anything. Is alienating a great part of your audience the right choice? Most of the discussion about this is on Twitter where it has a completely different feel from the comments here. I can forgive anyone for any platform speaking out whether I agree or not, and as someone who advocates kids reading whatever they want and censorship your assumption that I can’t respect or support an author that is ‘writing and speaking for a teen audience who really need to hear her messages” is wrong. I merely have had enough of this one author’s political mongering which many authors themselves say that this has happened to them with an author at some point. My personal opinion is that kids should read hard subjects, curse words, and scary real world stuff, but that has nothing to do with the actual content of this article which is being taken out of context here to paint my blog and my post as somewhere that is trying to censor things.

  9. Gravatar

    Eh? I read your blog. I disagree that authors have an obligation to be apolitical, even YA authors, or that places like their blogs or vlogs should only be a place to market books in a certain (largely apolitical) way. I do think that, in being political, any author risks alienating part of their audience. However, I also know that some authors see themselves as role-models for teens, and see modeling political speech and activism as part of that–and therefore as a worthwhile risk.

    I merely have had enough of this one author’s political mongering which many authors themselves say that this has happened to them with an author at some point.

    I’m honestly not sure what you mean there. I don’t mean any offense, but I wonder if you’re not being as clear as you think you are about this? That might be the source of disjunction between the comments here and your intended argument.

  10. Gravatar

    I completely understand what you are saying. Much with Hollywood folks using their celebrity to promote their personal political beliefs. Drives me crazy! I don’t really want to hear a platform from the people I utilize for entertainment (if that makes sense). I really don’t like having to explain to my kids what someone that they “look up to” meant or said, or what makes their point of view credible or not. Sometimes people say things without really thinking about what they are saying or the impact they would have.

    I have my own personal opinion about Bin Laden, but try to keep my opinions vague on such hot button issues because I try to maintain a better, non-political view as a blogger…just seems like the right thing to do.

  11. Gravatar

    Interesting… I think one thing she fails to remember is that no one person has the right to call another person immoral.

    She says, “The world is a little less evil now” but is it because this one man is dead?

    I don’t think it was a wise move for her to make the video. Sometimes, its better to keep your opinion to yourself.

    Should we celebrate the death of a person? NO. An evil person? No. Did the victims of 9/11 get justice? No. They didn’t get their family members back. There is still a hole.

  12. Gravatar

    There are two things going on here in the comments – folks who disagree/agree with Jackson’s opinion and then the questioning of whether or not she should have voiced it publicly. For me both are very gray areas. For example, I don’t believe in the death penalty but I was living in FL when Ted Bundy killed the girls at FSU and Lake City. I was there when he was caught and prosecuted and I was there when he was put to death. Along with a lot of other Sunshine State teenagers, I celebrated. He was the scariest thing in the world to us and we were happy to see him gone. Was that morally right or wrong? I don’t know. I only know the immense relief I personally felt.

    And yet still, because there are so many mistakes that have been made in prosecutions, I am against the death penalty.

    None of this is easy to explain or reconcile. When you put someone like Bin Laden in the mix you just make the questions that much bigger. I did not celebrate his death but honestly, I am relieved to know he is dead. (And that has nothing to do with so-called closure for the families of his victims. I don’t believe in closure when you lose someone you love. Not ever.)

    Beyond all of this though, is the question of whether or not Jackson should have posted her opinion & if teen authors should ever delve into politics. Frankly, I see children and teens subjected to the political opinions of others all the time from those who wave signs on sidewalks, to the crazy relatives sitting at the table on Thanksgiving. (And please – we all have those relatives whose opinions we disagree with that still insist on sharing them.) I can’t live my life worrying about the PR effect of my words – it would paralyze me.

    I’d rather say something I honestly believe then be forever silent.

  13. Gravatar

    don’t worry you’re not missing out on anything, her books aren’t that great anyway!

  14. Gravatar

    Generally it’s a good idea to keep opinions on religion and politics to oneself. :)

  15. Gravatar

    Tasha, the simplicity of your comment sums up exactly what I was trying to say and apparently failed at.

  16. Gravatar

    I’m just miffed that she was only a senior in 2001. That makes me feel old and her way to young, haha.

    All kidding aside, I see your point but I also the counterpoint.

  17. Gravatar

    I don’t really have an opinion on the Jackson Pearce video, but I do have a question for you-

    A few weeks ago, you wrote a post talking about how you can still enjoy what an author writes even though you completely disagree with them politically and don’t like that they are so vocal with their opinion. (I believe Orson Scott Card was the specific author mentioned there).

    Can I asked what changed between then and now? Or what is so different about this situation and that situation?

  18. Gravatar

    Ashley, my post was SHOULD we not I can’t /don’t. However normally I do and can ignore anything I don’t agree with. You can’t ignore something that is tweeted 100 times a day though, and eventually you lose interest.

  19. Gravatar

    Wait, I’m not sure what you meant by that comment…

    I know that I read the previous post, and all the back and forth in the comments, (and a few of your comments about the post on Twitter) as saying that you might disagree with an author’s opinions, and wish they would keep them to themselves, but that you could still enjoy their books. Sorry if I read that wrong, but that’s the way it came across.

    What was tweeted 100 times a day?

  20. Gravatar

    Ashly: been a long day. Yes I said with Orson Scott Card I had already bought his book, that if his books aren’t pushing his sentiment and his opinions aren’t being thrown in my face constantly usually I can separate the two. However the video I posted here today was on Twitter and in DMs for almost two days. It kept coming up and up and up to me, so it was hard to ignore. I hope that clarifies.

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