17 August, 2009

Please read my gloating perversion of a fairytale.

Alan Howe contributes a deeply moronic column to the consistently righteous and wholesome Herald-Sun. This article is, just for starters, bristling with factual errors. I won't even start with the leaps of illogic and the deployment of emotive language.
Tender Morsels - the paedophilic ring to which it's presumably intended [Where do they get this idea? Google 'tender morsels' without the 'lanagan' and all you'll get is recipes and restaurant reviews.] - is aimed at teenagers, girls in the main, 14 and older, going by the various sales pitches, and while its inventive language and imagery suggests a mind at work, this is not a book for minds that are works in progress.

Try this for an opening sentence: "There are plenty would call her a slut for it," writes Lanagan about a sexual encounter between fairytale characters, one a dwarf.

Working her way smartly through what are normally considered taboos of children's literature, Lanagan has the main character repeatedly raped by her father, to whom she falls pregnant before a luridly described miscarriage...

You know that gang rape and sodomy will be on this wretched agenda as each fetid scene unfolds.

Publishers packaged the book in several ways. One had the hard, haunted face of a young girl looking over her shoulder. Hers are eyes that have witnessed horror. It's the adult version. [No, this one's actually the Young Adult (UK) version. It also bears a printed warning: 'Not suitable for younger readers'.]

But there are covers that invite younger attention: one has a bear, seemingly dancing with two little girls. [This is the adult UK version. Look closer to see the general creepiness of both bear (note his teeth and claws) and young women (they're clearly not 'little girls'), and the scattering of crows.] Another has a young woman reassuringly cuddling perhaps that same bear [No, different bear. Also, being kind of clawed by that bear. Also, surrounded by thorns. Not super-reassuring, I wouldn't have thought].
Then he does what they did to Anne Fine in the UK, which is, blindside an 'expert' (in this case a 'noted clinical psychologist') with their version of the book and ask her to comment without giving her a chance to check out the book in question and form her own opinion.

It's such poor journalism, so low and so dumb, so crappily edited (right down to an 'umbilical chord') and so hungry for sensation—and so second-hand ('Oh, we didn't realise we were supposed to be shocked about this book until our sister rags in the UK took a swing at it'). It'd be depressing if it weren't so funny. No, it's both, you're right.


Blogger lib_idol said...

FWIW, I think that if you've managed to incur the moral disdain of a columnist at the Herald-Sun, then you're probably doing something right. ;)

17 August, 2009 17:41  
Blogger Mike said...

Yes, pathetic. Such people should not be left alone with a typewriter. The fact that it is second or third hand moral panic only makes the column more stupid. I think you have used the word 'moronic' Margo. I think you are spot on. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Ignore these fools.

20 August, 2009 10:21  
Blogger Anne Fine said...

I still can't believe that I was foolish enough to discuss the "various issues surrounding fiction for young readers" when I was aware that the journalist had a particular novel that I had not read in mind. I might have known I would be quoted in such a way as to appear to disapprove mightily. I have since read Tender Morsels, and cannot see how anyone capable of getting through this extraordinarily original novel could possibly be harmed by doing so. Now busy chewing my nails through your grippingly strange short stories...

29 August, 2009 03:02  

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