Later On

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The shaping of children’s literature

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Fascinating article by Jill Lepore, which begins:

Anne Carroll Moore was born long ago but not so far away, in Limerick, Maine, in 1871. She had a horse named Pocahontas, a father who read to her from Aesop’s Fables, and a grandmother with no small fondness for “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Annie, whose taste ran to “Little Women,” was a reader and a runt. Her seven older brothers called her Shrimp. In 1895, when she was twenty-four, she moved to New York, where she more or less invented the children’s library.

At the time, you had to be fourteen, and a boy, to get into the Astor Library, which opened in 1854, the same year as the Boston Public Library, the country’s first publicly funded city library, where you had to be sixteen. Even if you got inside, the librarians would shush you, carping about how the “young fry” read nothing but “the trashy”: Scott, Cooper, and Dickens (one century’s garbage being, as ever, another century’s Great Books). Samuel Tilden, who left $2.4 million to establish a free library in New York, nearly changed his mind when he found out that ninety per cent of the books checked out of the Boston Public Library were fiction. Meanwhile, libraries were popping up in American cities and towns like crocuses at first melt. Between 1881 and 1917, Andrew Carnegie underwrote the construction of more than sixteen hundred public libraries in the United States, buildings from which children were routinely turned away, because they needed to be protected from morally corrupting books, especially novels. In 1894, at the annual meeting of the American Library Association, the Milwaukee Public Library’s Lutie Stearns read a “Report on the Reading of the Young.” What if libraries were to set aside special books for children, Stearns wondered, shelved in separate rooms for children, staffed by librarians who actually liked children?

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Written by Leisureguy

17 July 2008 at 11:12 am

Posted in Books, Daily life

Tagged with , ,

Airlines have gone berserk

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Some action must be taken:

Airline films need attention. On a recent US Airways flight, the in-flight airline movie screen dropped down from the overhead and began showing images of incredible violence. A drive-by shooting, a child crushed to death by a car, kids swapping guns. And that was in the first five minutes of the film. What’s crazy is that children on the flight were watching these images regardless of whether or not their parents purchased headsets. All because the screens were positioned so that everyone could see them. On other flights, parents have struggled to protect their kids from images of murder, torture, melting faces and death – all shown on publicly viewable screens.

And the NY Times notices it, too:

A husband shoots his wife in the face, then drags her body from the pool of blood. A 12-year-old boy is crushed against a fence by a car. A teenager zips up her jeans in the bathroom after a sexual encounter.

These are images from movies shown to passengers recently on overhead screens in airlines, and they are sources of a new and vigorous outcry from parents, flight attendants and children’s advocacy groups who say that in-flight entertainment has become anything but family-friendly.

Critics say their anger comes as airlines, eager to cater to current tastes and acceding to more permissive standards for the entertainment media, have relaxed their rules for what they show.

Movies with R ratings are more frequently shown, though with editing, along with television reruns including sexual content, violence and other fare intended for teenagers and adults.

Because federal broadcast laws do not apply to in-flight entertainment, and because airlines need not adhere to Motion Picture Association of America ratings or television standards, parental advocacy groups have begun lobbying for change. At least one group has asked federal legislators for laws to curb violence shown on overhead screens.

Flying with children, the critics say, has become a scary experience.

“It’s almost routine now when you’re on a plane to sit there and go, ‘Whoa!’ ” said James Steyer, chief executive of Common Sense Media, which reviews entertainment products for parents. “But you’re a captive audience, and you have almost no control.”

Thomas Fine and Sara Susskind of Cambridge, Mass., recently spent two hours on a United Airlines flight distracting their 6-year-old son, Zachary, from the R-rated “Shooter,” which depicts multiple gory killings. The sound of gunshots from nearby earphones alerted Zachary to look up, Mr. Fine said. “It’s not like he can look away when he hears the sound, and he’s sitting on a plane bored, and he’s 6,” Mr. Fine said.

The airlines counter that they are trying to appeal to the widest possible audience while respecting parents’ needs, and that parents can avoid shows if they wish.

“Parents have to be responsible for the actions of their kids — whether they shouldn’t look at the screen or look away,” said Eric Kleiman, director of product marketing for Continental Airlines. … “People love Pepsi, and we don’t serve that, so there you go, we just ruined their flight. That’s an accurate analogy.”

More at the link. I stopped here to show the stupidity of the airlines’ response.

Written by Leisureguy

26 September 2007 at 4:57 pm

Posted in Business, Daily life, Movies & TV

Tagged with ,

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