Wednesday, July 6, 2011

You can’t win, Darth.

I’m done defending YA. I’m done with the WSJ piece and everything that comes after it (and be assured, there will be much more). Forces of evil, I hold up my lightsaber. Swing away.

And, of course, this is not because I think YA is indefensible. Far from it. I’m done defending because I don’t think YA is harmed by the attacks any longer. Perversely, I think YA authors might actually be harmed a bit by the defense—by looking defensive.

History has some nice precedents. How much energy did Elvis spend defending rock ‘n’ roll? And after The Rolling Stones performed on Ed Sullivan, Mick didn’t sit down and debate the merits of his chosen genre with critic Albert Goldman, even though Goldman compared him to Hitler in the New York Times in 1969 (seriously, read this article. In her dreams Meghan Cox Gurdon is capable of this kind of screed). And given the option, do you think Keith Richards would have taken to Twitter with #rocksaves when he read this paragraph (same article)?


No, I don’t think the defense is worth it. I say this with respect and deep awe for John Green and Maureen Johnson and all the rest with their seemingly limitless capacity to take the cudgels. I sincerely salute you. For me, though, I’m powering down the old lightsaber and turning up the volume on Sympathy for the Devil. And I’m liking the odds.