Monday, July 28, 2008

blog posts go up... then they go down.

Some of you may have seen a video on the blog today. There one minute, gone the next. It was a stop animation of two upholstered chairs doing "the nasty" on a rooftop. You can see it here: (don't worry, there's nothing explicit in it! It's meant to be funny. It involves chairs and NOTHING more. There are no chair "parts" to be seen, if you get my drift)

I should explain that I put it up because it's a very cool and artistic video. Artistic creative things get my artistic creative juices flowing. I make books by being inspired. Enough said.

After putting it on "anonymous" said this:

Anonymous said...
Is this appropriate to have on a children's book blog? As a parent this makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable.
7/28/08 6:25 PM

Then I said this:

Meghan said...
Well, the blog isn't supposed to be for kids to read - 1) because it's not interesting for kids and 2) because most of what we talk about is in the adult topic range, but if others find it offensive then I'll take it down. It would be nice if you would post your name instead of being "anonymous." Thanks.

Then I asked my friends what they thought. All but one said that there was nothing wrong with the video and if a kid did see it then they probably wouldn't know what was going on anyway and if they did know what was going on then the parent probably is to blame and should watch what their kids while watching on TV more closely... and watch what they're doing online!

One friend, however, didn't agree with our artistic minded tastes. She said it made her cringe. She thought people who watched the video on this blog wouldn't want to hire me for a school visit. (frankly, I won't be crying over it but that's another topic). So I took the video down. I didn't do this because I agree. If this were only my blog then it would stay but it's not just my blog and I don't want my controversial opinions/behavior/etc to reflect badly on the other ladies. They are well behaved. I am not.

That post prompted me to write another post. In it contained some paragraphs from the book RATS SAW GOD. The book is a YA book and gives graphic sexual details. I asked what people thought of that. I asked what people thought of the naked boy in IN THE NIGHT KITCHEN. I was trying to make a point. My friend who thought the chair video was offensive also thought I shouldn't put the RATS SW GOD quotes on the blog. She considers this a children's blog, not a YA blog. I thought it was both but again, I may be in the minority. She DOES however like the book RATS SAW GOD.

I am writing about this for a reason. I like good discussions. I certainly don't want to upset anyone so that's why I removed the other content. I am hoping we can all have a discussion about this without the content.

So what do you all think? What should kids see? What shouldn't they? What about blogs like this that are NOT for kids? What about the naked boy in THE NIGHT KITCHEN? Does nudity = sex? Is it okay to have nudity in a picture book? Is it okay to have explicit sex in a teen book? Is it okay to have chairs having sex on a blog that isn't for kids? Is it okay for a kids' author to do and say adult things? Is it not?

Now I’ll give my opinion about sexual content in YA. Feel free to disagree (I know some of you will). My parents raised my sisters and I to be okay with nudity and sexuality. They would let us watch movies with sex in it. They would NOT let us watch movies with violence in it. Perhaps I think the chair video is okay because that's how I was raised? My mom let me run around the neighborhood naked. I only put clothes on when my neighbors made fun of me--funny how peer pressure starts at a VERY early age!! (I was only 2 or 3 at the time). If/when I have my own children I will let them watch the chair video. I don't have a problem with kids knowing about sex. That's how kids are made. I DO have a problem with some of the YA books that give explicit details about sex. I feel like a lot of those books encourage sex and that's what I don't agree with. Again, it's a peer pressure thing. It's an ALL THE KIDS ARE DOING IT thing. When a teen hears that everyone else is having sex and then they read books where everyone is having sex then what do you think they're going to feel like they have to do? What do you think they'll think if they aren't having sex? Like a BIG LOSER. And that's why I don't like that content in teen books.

On the nudity topic: I am all for a boy floating through air naked to bake a cake. Nudity does not equal sex. You will learn that VERY quickly if you go to art school and have to draw the human form 20 million times. It's not at all sexy! Unfortunately, many people think that nudity does = sex. Maybe they need to go to art school.

Okay, so that's my post. Speak your minds!


Anonymous said...

I think a problem with the chairs was that there was no way to know whether or not they wer in a healthy, committed, mature, consenting and loving relationship, or whether they were just two random pieces of furniture sneaking off for a quick summer screw on the roof. Context is important!

Meghan McCarthy said...

Heh. that cracks me up. That's true, they might not be in a committed relationship. However, they do seem to be stuck living in very close quarters whether they like it or not... unless the old lady moves them... so I'm guessing they are committed. Or forced to be committed.

Anonymous said...

I think it is all about context. In the case of the video -- which I didn't get to watch originally, though I saw that you posted it, the context in which we're watching it is as artistic, creative expression, on a professional artist's blog.

Anyway, it's a thought provoking post, and I'm going to be linking to it on my site!

pussreboots said...

It's your blog. Post the video if you want to post the video.

Lady D said...

anyone who sees something wrong with the naked little boy in The Night Kitchen has a twisted soul, in my opinion. little kids run around naked! their bodies are sexually neutral (for lack of a better way to say it).

anyway, i understand your reasoning for removing the post (because this is a blog with many authors). but it saddens me that you felt like you had to.

Anonymous said...

See the recent NYT piece about Tomi Ungerer? Similar issues.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

Chair video = funny.

I would have found it funny as a kid -- because it's slapstick. I would not have gotten it as an illustration of sexual congress. It would have embarrassed my mom, though.

My mother tried to be liberal about sex and nudity -- she had no problem with The Night Kitchen -- but she grew up in a very strict environment (including an abusive father) so was never comfortable around depictions of sexuality and that certainly got communicated to me. When I say she tried to be liberal I mean she kept an open mind intellectually and did not censor what my brother or I chose to read or watch on TV.