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"Excuse Me, Your Religion Is Showing."

So, despite railing against YA book blogs, I do indeed read YA fiction. But I like to think of the YA I read as "not shitty," and therefore, it is different than what those blogs talk about.

Rick Riordan: Lover of '50s toys?
Last year I became a big fan of Rick Riordan. No, his prose isn't the most carefully crafted, but eh. He blends mythology into modern life really well, and he's actually much funnier than his dorky author pic would have you think (this picture makes him look like he still plays with Howdy Doody dolls).

So I bought The Throne of Fire in May (the second in The Kane Chronicles trilogy) and, as I am horrible about reading books I own, have only recently picked it up. It's Riordan's Egyptian mythology series (the other is Greek/Roman), and it's really good and I very much like it, but it's made me face some things about myself, people. Some unpleasant things. Yeah. Short sentences make better points.

The book blogger's default position on censorship is "GAHHHHHH KILL THE CENSORS!" And I mean, yeah. Sure. I guess I'm on board with that. But my background is HYPER-literal Christian. Meaning everything in the Bible is to be taken literally, and if you say otherwise, you're someone who's gone off the true path and will be dealt with on the Day of Judgment. If you have any kind of serious religious background, you're probably aware that it's reeeeally hard to completely rid yourself of those thought patterns.

I go to the most hippie-like Presbyterian church possible (no guitars, though. we have to draw the line somewhere), so I'm becoming pretty un-literal/non-literal/whatever, but it makes me squirm when I read things in Riordan's writing that basically belittle -- although that might be too strong a word -- the Bible. WHICH IS SO DISTRESSING TO MY BRAIN. I don't want to squirm! I want to be fine with it! It's a book for 10-year-olds!

So I started thinking, if I had kids, would I be one of those Christian parents who wouldn't let them read things by Riordan because he talks about Egyptian and Greek gods existing and being worshiped today? AGH. I don't think so. But with my background, I understand the thought pattern. There's this weird line between free speech, rational thought and "think of the CHILDREN." If you're talking with someone who's pro-censorship because of The Children, and you say "Well, I'd let my child read it, but I'd talk them through the parts I disagree with," they might pull out the ol "WOULD YOU WALK THEM THROUGH PORN TOO?"

Well...no.  I'm not sure why that seems the inevitable next step. "OMG this book discusses religious issues and possibly discounts Moses' parting of the Red Sea! Ok, we'll talk Susie through it, but then after that we OBVIOUSLY have to watch some latenight Cinemax and talk to her about that, because all controversial topics must be introduced at the same time. CRITICAL THINKING NOW OR NEVER, SUSIE."

This is a bit more caps-locky than normal. But religion in general makes people antsy (or, y'know, blissfully calm or something), so the beloved capslock is to ensure that no one take this TOO SERIOUSLY or starts some kind of weird blogging fight about Rick Riordan (I'm sure it's already been done anyway).

The point of this is I realized that while I would not condone censorship, I would probably be into "Mayyybe you should read this later" and generally hold off on it. I also realized I can still get squirmy about religion in a kids' book, which I was not expecting. I know this isn't the most popular of opinions, but we don't have these blogs just to sit around being self-satisfied with our universally-beloved opinions on things, yes? I mean, yeah, we want to do that most of the time because it's way awesome, but we should occasionally be like "You know what? Fuck The Help."*

It's healthy for the blogworld. I have decided that just now with no evidence to support me. Also 'blogworld' sounds like something from 1998.


*note: I did not read The Help. Do not stone me.

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