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Casting Myself As David?

This comment just came in, and I'm posting here because I'm sure it will disappear otherwise.

I have deliberated for a while on whether or not I should say anything. It's not any of my business, and I imagine anything I say will quickly get flamed, but in the spirit of true free speech, here goes:

I think the reason someone might consider all this a business strategy, rather than an ethical stand, is that it shares all the characteristics of modern political debate. The way that power and fame are being wielded in this situation make me think of you as the YA shock jock equivalent to a Glenn Beck, Michael Moore, or Anne Coulter.

Of course, there is much to say about all of these people as a whole, and as individuals, but one particular trait is that they make a lot of money simplifying issues.

Now, I'm not going to try to define what is and what isn't censorship. I hope we can all agree, however, that the issue is NOT as simple as one side: the anti-censorship heroes, and the other side: scum.

The issue of media content, and the range that falls between all things appropriate and straight-up pornography, is, even by the Supreme Court's assessment, a complicated one.

My point isn't that your material is inappropriate, Mrs. Hopkins. In fact, I don't think it is. But the fact that no one seems to be interested in discussing this tells me volumes. I think anyone truly interested in progress would convene all parties involved (in private) and try to reason whether or not the material in question is so far beyond the pale of community standards, that it simply must not be allowed. It must be labeled hate speech.

I think you'd fair pretty well in that conversation, which would include a close reading, lawyers to defend your position, and whatever else you needed to support your cause. Instead, it seems you've decided to use your notoriety to crush some small town administrator. Why not take a page from Justin Bieber's book and tweet the man's email address to all your fans? The outcome is the same.

It's a bit disingenuous to cast one's self as the David character when you are a bestselling author hurling fan abuse at a boondock bureaucrat. The money and publicity are better, but I think the trade off is that high horse at the very least.

A few quick disclaimers:
First, I won't write again, as I'd hate to call on the same wrath, or perpetuate what seems to be an orchestrated yelling match. Second, I don't know this guy, and I haven't been to Texas in a decade. Third, I'm not Mormon or whatever other simplified term we can use to make quick enemies of perfectly reasonable people.

A just cause does not make a just war.

TO BE CLEAR, and I have said it in interviews. NO ONE CALLED ME TO THE TABLE. I would have welcomed that. Casting myself as "David?" "Money and publicity?" If any of you truly believe I made this be about money, DON'T BUY MY BOOKS.  As I told this person, I have enough money to pay my bills, and taxes that you cannot imagine. Do you really think I NEED to fight this fight? I'm tired, peeps! But I'm still fighting. And to whoever wrote this message... whatever.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 19th, 2010 02:40 am (UTC)
"Casting myself as David?"
Ellen, keep up the good fight against narrow-minded bigetry. You have many fans amongst fellow authors (here in Australia too) who recognise your brave and committed stand against ultra-conservative forces who seek to take away choice of reading matter.
Aug. 19th, 2010 02:45 am (UTC)
The people who matter in the writing community and the YA community know who's right. This isn't about money, or being better than some small town librarian. This is about some high strung mommies who don't want their poor little babies *exposed* to the real world. And it's sad that in this day and age we haven't moved onto higher thought and conversation than 'This book is about drugs. It's bad.'

We're rooting for you, Ellen.
Aug. 19th, 2010 02:49 am (UTC)
About the money
The problem with this fella's comment is that it is based on a straw man - that the content of your books is somehow an unknown quantity that needs consideration and debate prior to discussing censorship. It's a needless discussion as your books are known quantities by librarians and parents nationwide. It's already known what topics you address and how you go about it. I don't think I'd be out of line describing your books as the "Forever" of their day. The issue at hand is a clear case of censorship and you would be doing a disservice to the reading and writing community if you did nothing.
Aug. 19th, 2010 07:55 pm (UTC)
Re: About the money
Yeah..... I have some serious issues with that guy's reasoning. This isn't some one who spews hate speech or profanity for profit under the shield of free speech. This is some one who write books on topics that it just so happens people don't want to address. Under that guy's logic any one writing about things like world hunger, the AID's epidemic, child pornography, etc is mining the shock value for profit. So then what? We just don't talk about those things because some one might be making money writing about them?
Aug. 20th, 2010 11:30 pm (UTC)
Re: About the money
Rereading - I find it funny that the guy deliberated for awhile... And still choose wrong :)
Aug. 19th, 2010 03:13 am (UTC)
I love you Ellen, and I believe you should be aloud to speak at the Teen Lit fest., I'm 18 and I've been reading your books since they first came out. If there is anything negative going on in your books they always have a consequence, so teens need that. I would've been pissed if I had a chance to meet you taken away. Poor Texas kids. X_X
Aug. 19th, 2010 03:23 am (UTC)
Don't listen to him. I love your books and believe in you.
Aug. 19th, 2010 03:32 am (UTC)
Anonymous response
"My point isn't that your material is inappropriate, Mrs. Hopkins. In fact, I don't think it is."

And their point is...?

Ellen, I have known you since High School...even though we have lost contact, we have regained that contact. I can say for a fact you are NOT into it for the $$$'s. Your love for your children and to help other's from experiencing what your child experienced is what is MOST important. Parents need to recognize that Censorship is NOT the answer, CHOICES, should be recognized...if , as a parent you do not feel a book is appropriate for your child, you can make that choice, however, READ the book first, before you decide. Todays Parents need to wake up and smell the Mate'. Things have changed (jeez...sounds so familiar...so 70's) Really no difference from when Ellen and I were growing up, only our parents had experienced censorship and knew NOT to "burn the books".
Books are enlightenment...books allow us to dig our way out of holes and into the future.
Aug. 19th, 2010 05:16 am (UTC)
Whoa! I don't know who David is or all that political stuff, but I know this fight does not involve money at all; it's about censorship.

The person who wrote that comment should know that lifting the censorship is greater than money. I plan to write YA books with content similar to Ellen Hopkins (stories focus on difficult/don't-go-there topics that should be addressed). I, and other future writers, may face censorship. Our stories are supposed to reach out to readers whether they have faced similar situations or not.

Ellen Hopkins making this situation about money is absurd. Never once did she bring up money or hint at it. Mrs. Hopkins is standing up for herself and others who have had their works censored.

We don't write because we want money; we write being we enjoy sharing stories and spreading important messages.
Aug. 19th, 2010 10:06 am (UTC)
Can't really stand this narrow-mind-type of persons. It's never about the money. How much do they think you make in a Book fair? It's more a matter of not letting kids know you or speak to you. They need to know the truth, better be it by means of your books.
Anyway, supporting you, as always! I posted it on facebook but we also shared this story with Spanish readers in a blog post here http://librosylij.blogspot.com/2010/08/escritores-de-lij-norteamericanos.html
Aug. 19th, 2010 12:26 pm (UTC)
Such a narrow-minded person. Tsk tsk.

You have a lot of support Ellen!
Keep on fighting :)
Aug. 19th, 2010 07:39 pm (UTC)
Some people are just determined to see the worst.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )