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August 04, 2008 - Image 13

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2008-08-04

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Monday, August 4, 2008
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com


From Page 10
the story isn't particularly revolu-
tionary. Bizarre, yes, but it's essen-
tially the age-old "star-crossed
lovers" plot updated and given
new blood. That's not to say it's
unimaginative or stale - on the
contrary, it's a dramatic and inter-
esting new take on an eternal con-
flict. Literature has been insisting
for thousands of years that love is
worthless without conflict, and
on the next page defending love's
ability to transcend social and
physical boundaries. Although
Meyer has simply taken it one step
further, it's a curio'us step. Indeed,
how long will it take before there's
a stage adaptation of Romeo and
Juliet which features the Capulets
as bloodsuckers? It might even be
good; it certainly can't be worse
than casting a black actress as
Juliet and calling it "controver-
Perhaps the debate between
entertainment value and 'artistic'
value should be expected, however
pointless. The bottom line is ulti-
mately the same: the books sell like
hotcakes, and a lot of young (and
old) people love them. Deciding
on value is a little bit like trying to
argue that one color is better than
another. Everyone has favorites,
but trying to decide which is more

valuable from books that move us,.
inform us or simply interest us is
bound to fail. In fact, dwelling on
the value of the novels may be a
dangerous distraction from what's
really important. We're seeing a
trend in literature that separates
children from adults in a critical
and possibly disastrous way.
From the endless propaganda
we've all been inundated with
since childhood, you'd think that
something like 90% of America's
children were illiterate. Other-
wise, why so many "Read!" ad
campaigns geared toward young
kids? Why else should everyone
be so excited about the revolu-
tion caused by "Harry Potter"
in getting children to pick up
a book instead of a remote? Of
course, a relatively tiny num-
ber of American children are
illiterate, and many read avidly
despite the prevailing idea of
the TV-kid.
What we should be asking
ourselves is: Why aren't adults
getting excited about literature
the way kids are, and why aren't
we concerned about it? Both
"Harry Potter" and "Twilight"
have been touted as books for
all ages, and although they may
be, the overwhelming major-
ity of readers are young. At this
moment, eight of the top eleven
books on the Ama-

zon.com bestseller list are geared
towards young adults.
No one expects raving midnight
parties for middle-aged men buying
the latest page-turner on the Civil
War, but maybe we should. Litera-
ture, as grade-school teachers so
gleefully point out, is for all ages
- sowhy are adults laggingbehind?
Books and the ideas they hold
should not be an afterthought, not
business-flight fare. Yet, the only
demographic with palpable enthu-
siasm for the literature of their gen-
eration are the young-adult wizard
and vampire-loving crowd. Be it a
work of literature or simply one of
sensationalism, bravo.

at michigandaily.com

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