i remember i took latin in high school and the first latin textbook had stories about the same family and characters and it talked about their lives and stuff so youd get attached to them and then in the final story mount vesuvius erupted and they all fucking died
And people complain about things I do in my books! At least I don’t kill off the whole cast!
As you may have heard, John Grisham gave an interview with The Telegraph in which he lambasted the US judicial system for excessive incarceration—including that of “Sixty-year-old white men in prison” whose only crimes were consuming child pornography.
“…But they got online one night and started surfing around, probably had too much to drink or whatever, and pushed the wrong buttons, went too far and got into child porn.”
I’m bemused that someone who writes legal thrillers thinks being drunk is exculpatory when you break the law. (Or maybe he just thinks it is for white men? I can’t imagine why he’d think the system works differently for rich white guys.) Regardless, as proof of his thesis, Grisham spoke of a friend who was caught in a child porn sting and served three years in prison:
"His drinking was out of control, and he went to a website. It was labelled ‘sixteen year old wannabee hookers’ or something like that. And it said ‘16-year-old girls’. So he went there. Downloaded some stuff - it was 16 year old girls who looked 30.
"He shouldn’t ’a done it. It was stupid, but it wasn’t 10-year-old boys.
See, it wasn’t THAT bad; Child porn isn’t so terrible when the subjects are teenage girls. We have no idea what website his friend actually looked at***, but the way Grisham chooses to demonstrate the relative frivolity of the crime is to describe the children on the site as “sixteen-year-old wannabe hookers.”
I do not have the stomach to engage in a discussion about levels of acceptability in child pornography—even writing this post is making me physically ill. The point here is that, yet again, we have someone using teenage girls (especially, I suppose, slutty ones) as a signifier for people who aren’t worth quite as much as other people. And when you speak this way about teenage girls who are victims of sex crimes, it perpetuates the culture that creates these crimes.
Is Mr. Grisham under the impression that these hypothetical girls actually aspire to prostitution? And this is, what, resumé-building? Or is he just trying to imply that they are super slutty, and so really are choosing this? Does he believe that child porn featuring teenage girls can in any way be a consensual act? Or does that part not matter?
I’m guessing it’s that last one—it doesn’t matter— since his entire discussion is based around the act of looking at these images with little to no awareness of the humanity of the children in them. What matters, to him, is the excessive persecution of the pedophile. Because it’s they who are the real victims here.
That’s the thing—implicit in his comments is the idea that child pornography just happens, and when men of a certain age get drunk and poke around on the internet they cannot help but stumble upon it. Ah, well. No harm done. Who put that porn there? It’s not like they’re perverted or something.
So, what does it mean when comments that diminish the harm of consuming child pornography come from someone who writes bestselling books for children?
I am not going to complain about celebrity authors writing children’s books—guaranteed bestsellers mean publishers can take chances on books whose success is not guaranteed. I cannot comment on the quality of Grisham’s middle grade series, and I cannot say whether or not these books are a cash grab on Grisham’s part or if he truly feels called to write books for young readers (though he has joked that he started the books because he was bitter at being displaced by JK Rowling as the bestselling author in the world.)
Whatever his motivations, these books have sold the requisite crapload of copies; in other words, lots of people are making lots of money on John Grisham: Children’s Book Author.
So my question is: When one of the most famous authors in the western world uses his platform to say that viewing child porn isn’t so bad, really, does the industry have an obligation to respond? Does his children’s book publisher? When he argues that a guy should get a free pass for downloading pornographic pictures of underage girls, what does that mean to a business that depends so much on the dollars of underage girls? How much of a stand do we take for our customers? What is the line here?
Sure, Grisham has apologized. Naturally, a statement was issued. Mistakes were made. Words were said. Regrets were regretted.
But is that enough?
I do believe that when you profit off kids, you have a moral obligation to serve and honor those kids, and I know that this industry is full of people who care a great deal about that obligation. So, what happens now?
Authors are allowed to be jerks and still get book contracts. But when an immensely powerful man with international visibility essentially excuses the consumers of child pornography, when he acts like child pornography is a victimless crime, what does it say if the children’s book industry continues to give him a platform? When we profit off selling his books to the very kids he has essentially pooh-poohed the exploitation of?
I don’t know the answer. But I think it’s worth asking the question.
[EDIT: ****Aaaaand it turns out that yes, Grisham was actually using “sixteen-year-old girls” to make things seem not-quite-so-bad, because his friend was exchanging images of kids younger than twelve as well. The friend, it seems, served 18 months in prison, and Grisham—not at all trading in on his celebrity—wrote a letter advocating this guy get reinstated to the bar. Because trading in child pornography shouldn’t keep you from being able to practice law. And acting like it’s not that big a deal, apparently, shouldn’t keep you from publishing highly visible children’s books with a major publisher.]
When the hell did Grisham start writing for kids?
I happen to feel very personally about teenage girls. They are my fan base, my characters, my friends. I love teenage girls. I read Grisham’s justification and, being in the middle of three crises, I put it aside. The thought of this flabby southern good ol’ boy snarking about my girls … about kids, about excusing a lawyer who ignored the law, who added his coins to the kiddie porn industry—I wonder if anyone has written Grisham’s publisher?
If you need any help with the nothing, let me know.
Gillian Flynn on people calling her writing misogynistic in Glamour magazine, the October 2014 issue. The level of sass and taking no shit from both her and Rosamund Pike-who Flynn interviews in this article-is strong and gives me life. (via samishoward)
Nobody’s called me misogynistic or misanthropic. What am I doing wrong?
Oh, right. I write A) genre, B) kids’, C) teenagers. As far as adult literature is concerned, we don’t count.
sure everyone says theyre excited about ‘spirit week’ but the minute i awaken a few ancient spirits and raise the dead suddenly im a ‘witch’ and ‘ruining homecoming’
Sounds like something from an seananmcguire story….
I like it. Who’s writing this?
Woops I did a thing
tranquil as a forest, but on fire within.
viktor cedric potter….
you were named for ron’s man crush and mine, high five son, you’re gonna be hot.
These gorgeous pages are from an overall gorgeous book KNIGHT - The Warrior and World of Chivalry by Robert Jones.
You can view or download the PDF here.
It’s been some time since we reblogged some resource on historical armor, so here! Have fun :)
Looks interesting … .
Bryan Stevenson on The Daily Show.
I thought she was cosplaying as a book but diction-fairy is a million times better :D
why do you call readers bookworms? why can’t i be a bookdragon?
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