September 1, 2012

"The Crisis of Wimpy Vampires.."

This piece on boys and books matches up exactly with my paper on why men don't go to church. (Link) I'm too tired and busy to ramble on on the subject. But it speaks for itself.

The Dangerous Article for Boys | Catholic Lane:

It is now well-recognized that boys are not reading. What is the problem? Most commentators want to say that boys have an aversion to books. But the problem is quite the opposite: books--modern books, that is--have an aversion to boys. A recent edition of The New York Times Sunday Book Review featured a Robert Lipsyte article that attempts to address this problem. Here is the proffered solution:
Boys need to be approached individually with books about their fears, choices, possibilities and relationships -- the kind of reading that will prick their dormant empathy, involve them with fictional characters and lead them into deeper engagement with their own lives. This is what turns boys into readers.
Excuse me while I dab my eyes delicately with my handkerchief, touched as I am by this tender thought.

Okay, let's get something straight here: solutions like this are part of the problem. I'm normally against shooting spit wads in class, but I am willing to make an exception in this one case. The entire educational establishment has tried for over 50 years to force boys into their effeminate mold, and in the process, they've succeeded in evacuating literature of all the things boys like in books: action, adventure, danger, bloodletting--and an iron moral code that is taught, not by smarmy sermonizing, but by immersing them in the moral universe of a story about a hero who not only believes in this code, but enforces it with a vengeance.

Boys now seek refuge in cheesy horror novels because the Cultural Authorities won't give them the adventure books that were once staples in every boy's life. It is to this I attribute the popularity of vampire novels (and movies and television shows). But even here a boy is destined for disappointment.

The Crisis of Wimpy Vampires

In fact, the extent of our modern cultural crisis can be at least partly measured by the plight of the vampire. ...

Also,

..We have the mistaken impression that it was traditional children's literature that was preachy. This is not only untrue, but it is almost the exact opposite of the truth. It is precisely the preachiness of politically correct modern literature that offends their innate sense of honesty and justice--a human instinct that we do our best to educate out of them...
Posted by John Weidner at September 1, 2012 7:45 AM
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