Once again the WSJ published a piece by Mrs. Gurdon. She responded to the folks who responded to her last article. And now people are lashing out at her again. I must say that, after looking at the issue, both sides of the argument are right, and both of them are wrong. They both make great points, and both of them appear to utterly dismiss the others' point of view as legitimate. The fact is, I think the books that worry Gurdon should remain available for purchase, and I think we need MORE of them to use as teaching opportunities for our young men and young women.
At the same time, Gurdon still has a point that it's hard to find light and fluffy books. I think there need to be more of those, too. But not as many because that's not as valuable as books that bring about better understanding of issues that many (but not all) teens experience.
It's my belief that the worst then my parents ever did was attempt to shelter my brothers and me from the darkness in the world. We were fortunate enough to find out what the world is like without overreacting the way many sheltered youths do. And it happens all the time. Just look at Amish kids. They aren't taught how to live in the real world as well-adjusted people. They have to learn on their own, and some of them end up making mistakes that can ruin their lives. It's dangerous and irresponsible. But you don't just throw a kid into a whore-house/crack-den and tell them, "Life can get this bad, and it probably will. Watch that meth-head claw his eyes out because he thinks spiders are crawling around in there. See? Get used to those sights, you'll be surrounded by them for the rest of your life."
You HAVE to find middle ground. Let kids know that there are awful things out there, and teach them how respond to it in a way that will make them valuable members of society. As I said in my last post on this subject, this is not an issue of the content/quality of literature: it's an issue of good parenting versus bad parenting. So everyone, take a moment to try to understand where the other people are coming from. YOUR perspective is legitimate, valid, and absolutely relevant to the discussion, but so is the perspective of the person on the other side.