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The past few decades have seen a profusion of “young adult” fiction—books written for a teenage audience—which seem to have a peculiar obsession with future dystopias.
There’s the one where everything is controlled by the Capitol and teenagers are forced to fight to the death for a televised audience. There’s the one where teens are locked into a narrow career path for life based on their apparent aptitudes, which seems like a perfect way to capitalize on the anxieties of college-bound kids in the later stages of the higher education bubble. There’s the one where emotions have been outlawed, the one where teenagers are forced to run through a giant maze for some reason, and so on.
Irony - Dystopia - System - Rules - Faceless
But here’s the irony. If you want to look around for a real-life dystopia, an oppressive system in which capricious rules are enforced by faceless mobs, you need look no further than the world of young adult fiction itself. A recent Slate headline says it all: “YA Novel About ‘Mob Mentalities’ Punished After Online Backlash.”
Here’s the short version. An author in the young adult genre, Laura Moriarty, wrote a dystopian novel—what an original idea!—with an impeccably politically correct premise: “a future America in which Muslims are…corralled into detention centers.” She jumped through every hoop you could expect, passing the book by her Iranian immigrant friends while the publisher subjected it to “sensitivity reads” by “a member of a minority group.” So what could go wrong? If you’ve been paying attention, you have some idea what happens next.
Part - Problem - Comment - Site - Book
I suppose it’s part of the problem here that the top comment on a site for book lovers is illiterate.
The point of all this is not just that mean people said mean things on the Internet. The point is that big cultural institutions cave in to them. In this...
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