Should 'dark' books carry a warning to children?

Anonymous Patron writes "icWales Reports the increasingly sinister nature of the Harry Potter series has prompted Welsh experts to call for a film-style age grading for children's books. Educational psychologist Ioan Rees said while the books should not be shunned, parents or teachers may be needed to ensure young readers were not too upset by the stories' more sinister themes."

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yes to ratings

Music gets labeled, games get labeled, movies too. Even magazines get bagged if inappropriate for minors.

Harry Potter is a great example, the difference between the content of the first and the last is 7 years worth of maturity from 10 to 17 (or 11 to 18?). I believe the author has said as much.

I think libraries should take advantage of the Potter series for a perpetual program involving age and which-book-are-you-on-now?

Bush's Presidency is so obviously a failure

Saturday's Keller Op-ed Reveals Sad State of Our Daily Conversation. [Greg Sargent]

Here's the situation in a nutshell. Those hurling these reckless charges of treason at the Times have a very specific agenda: First, they want to reunite the Republican base, which is fracturing because of the Iraq war, the GOP's betrayal of various conservative principles, and the fact that Bush's Presidency is so obviously a failure that all but the most diehard supporters can see it.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/greg-sargent/

Ratings aren't needed

What is needed is for parents to read the books with the kids and discuss the issues raised instead of short-changing the kids by pretending nothing bad ever happens in life or that there are not people out there like Ol' Voldie, or simply taking on faith that children are too stupid to deal with these kinds of issues.

And if we're going to rate, censor, or ban Harry Potter books for being "dark" and "sinister", how about doing the same with Melville's Moby Dick? Like the Potter Series, that story was supposedly a metaphor for the great and endless struggle of good v. evil. Ahab was definitely freakish enough to prove "Harmful To Minors (tm)(r)(c)", however. Plus, Moby Dick is not poliitically correct: Whale hunting? In this day and age? I'm sure there are reactiontaries who would think we shouldn't be allowed to make any mention of things like that.

My Answer?

No to ratings!

Don't Trust the Elected Government, Trust the NYT

From the editiorial:

Often the judgments are painfully hard. In those cases, we cool our competitive jets and begin an intensive deliberative process.

So according to the NYT and LA Times, you can't trust the government with secrets, even though the government is certainly entitled to secrets (especially during wartime) yet you can trust the New York Times with disclosing or holding onto secrets. The government is accountable because they are elected. The NYT and LA Times are not accountable (except in the marketplace but you can't cancel a subscription to the NYT without catching some flak) in the same way a government is accountable.

The NYT and LA Times are essentially saying, trust us but don't trust the government.

I guess a fundamental question is why should I trust the NYT in deciding whether to disclose a secret or hold onto a secret during wartime? Do you trust all media organizations? Do you trust the NYT, LA Times or The Nation because they don't like President Bush? I suspect it is the latter because your previous journal post is certainly critical of one media outlet.

I'd like to qualify my support for nondisclosure of government secrets that have a strategic and tactical value as secrets. From what I understand, the SWIFT program qualified as this type of secret because it was intercepting the flow of cash to Al Q. Apparently, there was no wrongdoing here (the NYT comes to that conclusion), the government was tracking the finances of terrorist organizations and this was a very successful program.

BTW, this is the same NYT that thought the leakers of Valerie Plame's identity should be prosecuted because the disclosure supposedly impaired national security; however, they apparently do not feel the same way about the SWIFT information, which actually did impair national security.

Re:Don't Trust the Elected Government, Trust the N

At this point I'd rather trust the NYT than the Bush regime. By the way, Valerie Plame was outed by a traitor within the presidency. For that matter, those treasonous shits in government were trumpeting about their cash-tracking program to the corporate press a few years ago. John Snow took a bunch of journalists on a six day tour by military transport to show it off.

Of course, I can understand how inconvenient facts such as those get in the way of your mindless hatred for American freedom and democracy.

Re:yes to ratings

Music gets labeled, games get labeled, movies too. Even magazines get bagged if inappropriate for minors.Yeah and I see that's working out so well too. Music is labeled as to whether or not it has explicit lyrics and that's it. So basically, if music were movies, they'd either be rated G or rated R with nothing in between. The game labeling thing is so screwed up it almost defies description. Now game makers have to take into account whether or not a hacker could alter their game content and effect the rating. The Hot Coffee scene was removed from GTA: San Andreas. To see it, you have to hack the game. This is tantamount to going to the cinema, watching a movie, then going to the studio and grabbing all the clippings from the cutting room floor the director didn't want in the movie and then splicing them back into the movie. One scene where a dress accidentally slipped down and exposed a breast could change a PG to an R instantly, so the director cut it. But then someone put it back in.That's what happened with the Hot Coffee scene and the nudity in Oblivion, but according to the ESRB, that's the fault of the game maker, not the hacker.And movie ratings are a joke in and of themselves. The original title of the South Park movie had the word "hell" in it. The MPAA told South Park Studios that they couldn't use the word hell in a title. Why is that a joke? Well let's see here... There's From Hell, Hellraiser, Jason Goes to Hell, In Hell, and Hell in the Pacific. The MPAA seems to be making this up as they go along, just like the music ratings, and just like the ESRB ratings. Oh, and according to the IMDB, Hell in the Pacific is rated G. I'll repeat that, Hell in the Pacific, a war movie, is rated G. Yeah, that makes sense. Ratings will save humanity, so sayeth the right.I fail to see the logic in rating books. The human species has had books for thousands of years and we've done just fine without a rating system. Now the dumbass conservatives want a rating system because, as we all know, books line the pathways to evil.

Re:yes to ratings

We've had books for thousands of years? Really? Well that's interesting to know. How about a little context. The 'books' from thousands of years ago were not as accessible to everyone at any age as they are today. And while its easy to find imperfections in any system (such is life) there are many parents who appreciate being able to tell as quickly as possible what may or may not be suitable for their kids. Especially when there thousands of movies to choose from. If you can quickly cull out a large portion of them it becomes easier to sort through what's best for you and your family.

Only a dumbass liberal would let everything go to hell while waiting for heaven.

Re:yes to ratings

Only a dumbass liberal would let everything go to hell while waiting for heaven.Hrmm... Taking a look around at what our conservative political organization has accomplished, I'll take a liberal hell over a conservative heaven any day.

Re:Ratings aren't needed

Exactly! If your kids have been reading the Harry Potter books since the beginning then you would know where the story was going and even if you didn't, the news media sure hasn't been keeping their mouths shut about it. :-)

Re:yes to ratings

By all means, move to Cuba.

Re:yes to ratings

. . . there are many parents who appreciate being able to tell as quickly as possible what may or may not be suitable for their kids.

Except those parents have no capacity to understand that ratings do not tell them anything about what is suitable for their kids. To know what is suitable for your kids, it is necessary to read everything they read starting from day one. This will create mutual frames of reference between you so you will be able to talk to them at their level of intellectual and emotional development when they come to you with tough questions, as well as to guide them into material that is appropriate for their continued growth. In the beady, little brains of the simple-minded, ratings make this kind of parenting unnecessary. Therefore, one can reasonably conclude that ratings are actually counterproductive to parenting, and self-destructive to society thereby.

Only a dumbass liberal would let everything go to hell while waiting for heaven.

Only dumbass, power-tripping, ultra-conservative control freaks are too stupid to educate about productive and progressive methods of education and parenting, and are actually creating Hell on Earth under the stupid and heretical impression that they are building Heaven.

Re:Don't Trust the Elected Government, Trust the N

I might trust neither - but trust the founders. Here's two conservatives discussing this very issue on Sunday:

MR. SAFIRE: Let me respond to what Bill [Bennett], to the point he's making, that who elected the media to determine what should be secret and what should not?

MS. MITCHELL: Which is the fundamental point.

MR. SAFIRE: Right. And the answer to that is, the founding fathers did. They came up with this Bill of Rights beyond which the constitutional convention would not move unless there were a First Amendment to challenge the government . . . just as the American founding fathers challenged the British government. Now it's not treasonable, it's not even wrong for the press to say we're going to find out what we can and we'll act as a check and balance on the government. Sometimes we'll make mistakes. Sometimes the government will mistake.
=================

*The SWIFT program had been also reported about previously - some of those times by the government.

Meaningless grading...

Librarians are masters at classification and grading, but often they mean very little or there is little distinction between them, or at least it causes confusion amongst the public. Meaningful classification and grading is great but librarians tend to make these things based on library jargon which nobody understands.

Re:Meaningless grading...

You mean like putting a book in the teen section instead of the children's section? Yes, very confusing!

What I find more often is that parents will ignore the film ratings or where the books sit, insisting that their child is old enough, smart enough, brave enough to handle it.

Re:Don't Trust the Elected Government, Trust the N

You wrote: For that matter, those treasonous shits in government were trumpeting about their cash-tracking program to the corporate press a few years ago. John Snow took a bunch of journalists on a six day tour by military transport to show it off.

So it wasn't a secret? Here is the New York Times headline from that Friday June 30, 2006 story by Eric Lichtblau and James Risen, Bank Data Sifted in Secret by U.S. to Block Terror. Wow, that sure is a strange term, "secret".

Here is the first paragraph from the above NYT's article:

Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States, according to government and industry officials.

And more:

Officials described the Swift program as the biggest and most far-reaching of several secret efforts to trace terrorist financing. Much more limited agreements with other companies have provided access to A.T.M. transactions, credit card purchases and Western Union wire payments, the officials said.

And even more:

Swift executives have been uneasy at times about their secret role, the government and industry officials said. By 2003, the executives told American officials they were considering pulling out of the arrangement, which began as an emergency response to the Sept. 11 attacks, the officials said. Worried about potential legal liability, the Swift executives agreed to continue providing the data only after top officials, including Alan Greenspan, then chairman of the Federal Reserve, intervened. At that time, new controls were introduced.

So this was a "secret" but it wasn't a "secret"? How I am supposed to trust the judgment of the NYT if they called it a secret but it wasn't a secret? Sounds like bad reporting if it wasn't a secret. On the other hand, it could have been secret and the NYT published it anyway. And wasn't the thrust of this particular journal entry about trusting the judgment of the NYT and LA Times when publishing secrets during wartime? Wasn't it? Can't have it both ways.
 

Re:Meaningless grading...

Then let them ignore it, but at least give them the choice.

Re:Don't Trust the Elected Government, Trust the N

How I am supposed to trust the judgment of the NYT if they called it a secret but it wasn't a secret?

The same way you blindly trust the judgement of total asshole who invaded another country illegally, who lied about the reasons for doing so from start to finish, who is responsible for the deaths of 2,500 plus American servicemen, etc ad nauseum.

You just need to adjust your prejudices so you can swith loylaties, that's all.

And you're criticizing the NYT for what is supposedly accurate reporting is not at all plausible, by the way, in light of the way the right-wing frequently slams the paper for partisan, hack scribbling.

And it might not have been necessary to keep the program so secret back then when it was only a "temporary" measure that still didn't require congressional approval and oversight, while it is now so the regime doesn't end up being embarrassed by having it's knuckles rapped again and might not get the approval or too much oversight.

Re:Don't Trust the Elected Government, Trust the N

So did the NYT erroneously claim it was a secret when it wasn't a secret or was it a secret?

The same way you blindly trust the judgement of total asshole who invaded another country illegally, who lied about the reasons for doing so from start to finish, who is responsible for the deaths of 2,500 plus American servicemen, etc ad nauseum.

The government's accountablity is the fact that they are elected. Who is the NYT accountable to?

Focus on the questions, try not to stray.

Re:Meaningless grading...

Then let them ignore it, but at least give them the choice.What choice? Whenever a rating system comes into effect, the removal of choice is not far behind. What if I think my 16 year old kid is smart enough to handle a movie that's rated R? He still can't go see it without me.What if I think my 14 year old is smart enough to play Grand Theft Auto and know that it's a video game and thus, fantasy land. Some stores won't sell it to her and they're inacting laws in some states to make it a crime to sell M rated video games to minors.So where's the choice? I choose that my child is smart enough to see and do certain things on their own. But ratings systems make it so I have to be there with them, even though I've made a choice that they're intelligent enough to handle this on their own.So yeah, let's have ratings on books. And then the right can enact laws to enforce those ratings as they see fit. Not how I see fit. Ratings do not give parents any real information. A movie can be rated R because it has tons of violence. Or it could be rated R because of nudity. Or it could be rated R because of language. Or all the above. Telling me that something is rated R or M or TV-MA or what the hell ever doesn't really tell me anything.

Re:Meaningless grading...

The choice is that you the parent get to choose whether you buy something for your child or not. That you think such a choice is a burden speaks ill of your parenting skills. If you don't want to sit through a movie don't, buy their tickets and leave. Hardly a burden, neither is spending a few minutes spent buying Grand Theft Auto so that your child can have hours if not days and weeks of 'fun' stealing cars and hangin' with hookers.

Re:Meaningless grading...

The choice is that you the parent get to choose whether you buy something for your child or not. That you think such a choice is a burden speaks ill of your parenting skills. If you don't want to sit through a movie don't, buy their tickets and leave. Hardly a burden, neither is spending a few minutes spent buying Grand Theft Auto so that your child can have hours if not days and weeks of 'fun' stealing cars and hangin' with hookers.Wow. Conservatives are really good knowing all about things they really know nothing about, like my parenting skills. And your response speaks ill of your intelligence. At many cinemas, the parent also must buy a ticket to the R rated movie and supposedly see the flick along with their kid. Maybe, just maybe, I don't want to see a movie that night. Too bad! Ratings force me to.As far as spending time buying the game, I have no problem doing that. The point is that I'm now forced to do that. I'm forced to go to the store and buy it for my teen because of policies and laws that always begin to swirl when ratings are imposed regardless of how I personally feel about it. When there is force, there is none of that 'choice' you spoke of.Oh and my kids do not hang with hookers or steal cars. They interact with a pixelated fantasy game where some of the characters are hookers and the main character steals cars. However, these are characters in a game much like characters in a movie. They are voiced by actors and actresses. It's not real, and does not contribute to reality any more so than books or movies. So by the same logic, we should all look down on Julia Roberts because, at one point in her career, she starred in a movie where her character was a hooker. After all, she actually, in the flesh and blood, played that role. Unlike those pixelated, fantasy people who exist nowhere outside of a small spinning disc and a voice actor's recording studio, she actually played a character who worked as a hooker.Do children who read Moll Flanders hang with hookers? How about if they read Chasing Destiny? Are they hanging with beautiful Black women who ride motorcycles? Why does the same logic apply to video games and not books and movies?

Re:Meaningless grading...

Yeah, I get to decide. Not some idiots on a "rating" board. I am responsible for my kids, not the library, which means I also don't want some stranger telling my kid what not read.I'll ask for reading suggestions, I won't ask for censoring.

Re:Meaningless grading...

Wow. Conservatives are really good knowing all about things they really know nothing about, like my parenting skills. And your response speaks ill of your intelligence. At many cinemas, the parent also must buy a ticket to the R rated movie and supposedly see the flick along with their kid. Maybe, just maybe, I don't want to see a movie that night. Too bad! Ratings force me to.

You're trying too hard to make a mountain out of a mole hill. Wait til it comes out on video.

Why does the same logic apply to video games and not books and movies?

Because it takes a higher level of intelligence to read a book. And Pretty Woman was rated R, most adults can tell reality from fantasy.

Re:Meaningless grading...

I can hear it now, "You may not check that book out. You're too stupid to read that book."

Re:Don't Trust the Elected Government, Trust the N

Swift Program: Secret or not a secret? Here is something pretty telling. NYT reporter, Eric Lichtblau (the author of the June 23, 2006 NYT article in question) back on November 29, 2005, authored an article in the Times entitled, U.S. Lacks Strategy to Curb Terror Funds. In that November 28, 2005 article, Lichtblau wrote:

It has seized tens of millions of dollars in American accounts and assets linked to terrorist groups, prodded other countries to do the same, and is now developing a program to gain access to and track potentially hundreds of millions of international bank transfers into the United States.

But experts in the field say the results have been spotty, with few clear dents in Al Qaeda's ability to move money and finance terrorist attacks.

So Lichtblau didn't know about the SWIFT program and his expert sources didn't know about the SWIFT program. So it was a secret that wasn't a secret that was a secret. Once again, how am I supposed to trust the judgment of the New York Times?

Re:Don't Trust the Elected Government, Trust the N

Clarification: it was a November 29, 2005 article in the NYT. Sorry for the typing error.

Re:Meaningless grading...

"I'll ask for reading suggestions, I won't ask for censoring. "

selection = censorship

Re:Meaningless grading...

selection = budget limitations + customer demand

Re:Meaningless grading...

keep whitewashing, good arm exercise

Re:Don't Trust the Elected Government, Trust the N

Oh, I haven't called the NYT & LA Times treasonous; I just don't think they should have published that story. Just like the government (which is held accountable via elections) and can be criticized (without necessarily divulging military secrets), newspapers are not free from criticism.

Why not question newspapers with political agendas? Seems like many on the left are rather comfortable criticizing a certain cable news station (which draws more viewers than CNN and MSNBC) for having a political agenda.

Re:Don't Trust the Elected Government, Trust the N

So did the NYT erroneously claim it was a secret when it wasn't a secret or was it a secret?

Given the consistent pattern of behaviour of your neo-fascist government, it was a secret the way any criminal act is kept secret when you are trying to get away with it. The information about the program itself that was divulged in the article was not of a nature that necessitated it being classified Secret.

The government's accountablity is the fact that they are elected.

Your government is accountable not alone to We The People, but also before the criminal courts. Same as the NYT. Funny, I don't recall hearing congress saying that NYT should be indicted; although they have found obviously unconstitutional methods to assault press freedom.

Press freedom is something like the separation of powers, by the way. Kind of the way the Court system does not rewrite laws, but only interprets them. President Moron, on the other hand, . . .

Anyway, if you want reporters punished for blowing the whistle on activity by your Capo di tutti Crappy, that clearly and presently violates due process and the constitution you supposedly venerate, you'll have to go after the specific people involved. Not the business corporation titled New York Times. And We The People can only hold elected parasites accountable in the polling booth for their sloppy governance, when the ruling junta isn't playing fast and loose with the electronic ballot boxes.

Re:Don't Trust the Elected Government, Trust the N

Focus, focus. Steady, steady. You are straying again and going off onto tangents, as well as calling people names.

I wonder when was the last time you wrote something here without resorting to name-calling? Then again, you really don't stick around to convince anyone, do you?

Re:Don't Trust the Elected Government, Trust the N

Your post is empty of content. If you had any counterpoints, you would have posted them. From this I conclude that you have nothing further with which to defend your stance, but you won't admit that you are wrong and are simply trying to get in the last word. If you want it, you can have it. Make it count for something, though.

Re:Meaningless grading...

. . . most adults can tell reality from fantasy.

Wrongo!

It is children who can tell the difference between fantasy and reality, not adults. Most adults simply don't exercise the ability once they have children of their own, and some others do exercise it, and use it in parenting.

Those adults who do lose the ability spent much of their time screaming hysterically that "We Must Protect The Children" from imaginary violence.

Children don't need protection nearly as much as they need proper guidance. And "We Must Protect The Children" bullshit is not about guidance or parenting; it's about control.

Re:Meaningless grading...

most adults can tell reality from fantasy.

Based on all the insanity going on in the world due to one religion or another, this is obviously untrue. Hell, based on just one group of them freaking out about The DaVinci Code proves it's untrue.

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