Everybody freak out! There's a crisis going on!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

So this is the thing about the internet, newspapers, any kind of media really:
Everybody wants to be popular. Everybody wants to get the most page views, sell the most newspapers, have the most people tune into their TV station. This is mainly to make money. And for their egos.

And, secondly, everybody likes to worry. I think it may be a natural human thing that we inevitably do. As you can tell, I am a highly scientific person. Not. You don't realise consciously that you like to worry, and maybe it isn't so much that it's an enjoyable thing to do, because speaking as someone who has worried pretty much constantly since the summer of 1999, it sure isn't, but it's something that people tend to linger on. It's like a comfort zone.

So, based on the combination of people wanting to be popular + people liking to worry, we end up with a lot of sensationalist articles. I'm thinking specifically blog posts on the internet about YA writing here.

Like 'The book is dying!' And 'There's a CRISIS going on! There are no good books for boys! Oh, what will those poor boys do?' And 'YA is totally messed up!' And 'It's impossible to get published in this financial climate!'

Now it's okay to worry about some things. Like how many people will be sleeping out in the cold tonight (not because they upset their missus, more like because they're homeless). Like the number of kids who'll never make it to five years old in developing countries because they don't have access to basic vaccines. Like everybody starving and oppression of women in certain countries and racism and homophobia and things like that. But there's not much point in worrying about things like that -- what you really should be doing is taking action and doing something about the things that need to be improved in the world.

As for the 'OH MY GOD CRISIS OF BOOKS!', if you think that there's a crisis of whatever going on, stop sitting around and angsting about it and solve the problem for yourself. But please, gosh, don't make up crises just to get a few hundred page views. If you read something on a blog or wherever, even if it's by an author (who therefore must be speaking the honest truth!), don't immediately freak out. Just because that's their reality doesn't mean there is really a massive problem going on. Write what you write and read what you read and encourage everybody to read great books, too, not based on their gender or anything. Stop worrying, and keep living your life and writing and submitting to publishers. The world is not about to end. Even if it is, there's no point freaking out about it. I guarantee you will not die and then think, 'hey, maybe I should have worried more about that crisis.' (Unless that crisis is global warming or something, in which case you ought to stop worrying and do something about it before it's the end of you.)

And let's briefly touch on the whole boys books drama - the fact that you perceive that boys don't read because there are no good books for them isn't because authors aren't writing the right books. It's because society dictates boys can't read girls books. And you know what? I know just as many boys as girls that read books. More and more, I think boys as well as girls are rebelling against how societal pressures dictate they conform and are just being individuals - not all boys will like one book/genres, same as not all girls will like another book/genre. People, teenagers included, are individuals.
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