According to Joel Stein I’m a Perv

In a New York Times essay on March 29, Joel Stein wrote:

The only thing more embarrassing than catching a guy on the plane looking at pornography on his computer is seeing a guy on the plane reading “The Hunger Games.” Or a Twilight book. Or Harry Potter…

I have no idea what “The Hunger Games” is like. Maybe there are complicated shades of good and evil in each character. Maybe there are Pynchonesque turns of phrase. Maybe it delves into issues of identity, self-justification and anomie that would make David Foster Wallace proud. I don’t know because it’s a book for kids. I’ll read “The Hunger Games” when I finish the previous 3,000 years of fiction written for adults.

Let’s have the decency to let tween girls have their own little world of vampires and child wizards and games you play when hungry. Let’s not pump Justin Bieber in our Saabs and get engaged at Cinderella’s Castle at Disneyland. Because it’s embarrassing.  

To which Maggie Stiefvater tweeted:

I realize the guy’s a satirist, but really? Maybe because he wrote a book for adults that’s coming out soon, he wants to make sure there are adults around who are interested in reading it.

Based on his essay, he can count me out.

14 thoughts on “According to Joel Stein I’m a Perv

  1. I'm currently reading the 3rd book of The Hunger Games… took me a while to get to it. (So many wonderful CHILDREN'S books to read.) I'm totally impressed. As for what's his face? Never heard of him!

  2. This guy is just looking for attention in the most (can I say it?) childish way. LOL! AT first his piece made me angry, but then someone pointed out how sexist his rant is as well and I just mostly wrote him off as a nutjob. (Poor showing on the part of the NYTimes though.)

  3. Wait wait wait – he's a satirist?! Okay, that makes me read his piece in an entirely different light. Now I'm wondering, truly, if we all just missed the point. (Which would still be partly his fault, since good satire shouldn't be SO subtle that we miss it.) But if he was being sarcastic, that would explain the completely ridiculous, ignorant views in that piece…

  4. OH, a satirist?! That does make me look at it a little differently. I mean, I thought to begin with that the opinion piece was exaggerated and provocative-on-purpose, but now it makes more sense why it's so ridiculous. Either way, not impressed & kinda offended. 😛

  5. I had my book group read Twilight because I thought we were reading too many books about refugees. My friend commented on this article to me. My reply: I find the NY Times juvenile.

  6. Huh. Honestly, Joel, I don't think we should leave the tweens to read Twilight because they are too young for it in my opinion. Wait til your kids are 13 to turn them on to passive-aggressive vampire stalkers.

    But there is this brand new idea in publishing called “crossover” novels. And no, it wasn't created by pervs (unless the publicists trying to revitalize the flailing publishing industry have secret whoopie pie fetishes).

    Industry professionals suddenly realized how many adults were reading young adult books (one of the only genres that didn't take a dive during the recession. Gee, I wonder why?) and decided to market them accordingly so that adults can read The Hunger Games (which has more mature themes than the latest Franzen debacle) WITHOUT feeling like pervs. Satire or not, this article reeks of jealousy.

    Grow up.

  7. Oh, wow. I can't believe anyone could be so publicly close-minded. I suppose I shouldn't be shocked that people feel this way, but it never ceases to amaze me. I love Maggie's response. 🙂

  8. I didn't' read the article but I've gotten the gist of it through responses. Unfortunately many adults will feel that way about kidlit but just as many adults love it! And not just writers. So many more adults are reading Hunger Games right now b/c of the movie!

  9. I can't believe he has the audacity to write this about Hunger Games when he hasn't even read it and has no idea what it's about! “Games you play when hungry”? Give me a break!

    I've never heard of this guy either.

  10. I think he thinks he's clever. That's not the description that comes to my mind.
    One of the great pleasures of life is reading excellent kid's books for all the wonder and imagination that is found in them. Life isn't about growing up, it's about growing.

  11. “Maybe because he wrote a book for adults that's coming out soon, he wants to make sure there are adults around who are interested in reading it.”

    ROFL! There won't be with that attitude. He insulted a lot of adult reading.

    And I love Sharon's comment. Glad I wasn't drinking my Diet Dr. Pepper when I read it! 😀

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