Author Topic: Discuss  (Read 4539 times)

42

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Re: Discuss
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2008, 03:05:31 AM »
An author has to think about who will be reading what he/she writes. Authors that work professionally sell to particular audiences that they understand well. They know what that audience whats to read and what that audience doesn't want to read.

It's kind of an elementary rule of writing: know your audience.

Authors get in trouble when they end up writing to the wrong audience.

So in a lot of ways, content ratings would help authors understand their audience better.

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I would say that visual mediums are more likely to stick in one's mind. Music, while not visual, also has tremendous ability to stick in one's mind. How much prose do you have memorized, compared to how much music you have memorized?

Memorization works through three processes: repetition, emotional context, and connection to previously stored memory.
There is an argument that music or visuals help memorization, but that is yet to be proven. Memory is linked to cultural factors as well as individual learning styles and is greatly influenced by developmental and environmental effects. Personality may also play a role. So what sticks in one's mind is highly subjective.

One of my big arguments for rating systems comes from working with adults. Many adults who have been convicted of sexual crimes are aroused more quickly by music, visuals, or words that are suggestive than an unconvicted person (usually). When working with adults who suffer from sexual addictions it is important to help those adults gain control of their environment so they are less likely to commit other offenses. Content ratings can greatly improve the livelyhood for these individuals as they learn to more responsible. ANd for some content ratings will probably encourage worse behavior.

Basically, there is no base-line in human behavior to what a person (child or adult) can handle. Some people are very resilient and others are very fragile. There is an average and, of course, lots of outliers.
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Sigyn

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Re: Discuss
« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2008, 04:08:22 PM »
I'm loving this discussion! It is so interesting to hear everyone's opinions. Please keep it coming.
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Skar

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Re: Discuss
« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2008, 05:22:34 PM »
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Basically, there is no base-line in human behavior to what a person (child or adult) can handle. Some people are very resilient and others are very fragile. There is an average and, of course, lots of outliers.

This very uncertainty informs a lot of the discussion on censorship ratings and so on.  I see two basic stances.  The first is the "we must protect the children" stance that is closely related to the "we must protect everyone" stance (which I find to be anathema.)  The second is the "we should inform" stance which boils down to making it easier for people to protect themselves.

Since you have that variety in what people, child or adult, can handle, the only person really capable of making the decision is the responsible guardian. (adults are there own guardian)  Therefore the only good reason for a ratings system is to inform with the intent of helping responsible adults make good decisions.

I think I'd be comfortable with a two tier system.  Still classify the books according to age group, YA, Adult, etc... to make it clear who the intended audience is.  Then add a second classification that is informed by the content.  I think that might cut down on the manipulation of content to achieve a particular rating, though not eliminate it entirely, and still provide a useful level of information.
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Re: Discuss
« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2008, 06:05:43 PM »
I don't really see what a ratings system would bring to literature. Ideally, maybe it would work, but I see too many pitfalls for censorship along the way. Look at the video game industry, for example. There are so many efforts by lawmakers to restrict who can buy what video game based on the ratings. None of these laws ever stick, but by the sheer amount of literature produced every year, who would be controlling these ratings? How would there be some method to the madness? Despite what you may believe, the ratings system for film is NOT prescribed--it's very much more fluid, and there's not a _____ amount of profanity=_____ rating equation or anything like that. Even if some sort of a ratings system were developed, how would it be enforced? Card kids who are trying to buy M books?

When I was working as a librarian in Orem, I'd have people come up to me and suggest this sort of thing quite a bit--asking if we as librarians would do it for the books in our library. No thanks. Librarians are all about freedom to information. Make informed decisions on what you read, watch or listen to--and make those decisions on your own, without needing to turn to some faceless "ratings board" to make them for you. Including a "content" listing wouldn't solve this problem any better for me. Who would determine what content means what? And how would this impact the way authors and publishers approach books? I dislike how the ratings system is played by Hollywood, and I'd hate to see that same mess come over to literature.

In the end, I love the fact that books are sort of self regulating. If you pick one up and don't like what you see, put it down. Turn the page. It's up to you. If you don't like a certain author, don't read him/her again. As far as "protecting" children goes, I don't see how a content guide or rating system would do that. They have access to anything/everything in a library or bookstore. Making a big deal out of a book for its content inevitably inspires kids to want to check it out.

That's all I have time to write right now.

42

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Re: Discuss
« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2008, 07:05:29 AM »
Becoming informed is a good solution other than the time it takes. Having to research a book before reading it is a great way to find out about the book. Course to be honest, a lot of entertainment reading isn't done for enlightenment or want to learn new ideas. It's to be entertained and people vary a lot on what they find entertaining. It's a lot easier and time saving to be able to exclude something because it doesn't have an appealing rating.

Also, ratings are fluid. They are also rather political entities. Course the general population places some faith in content ratings for movies in such because parts of the population feels it betters their lives. Much like money, which is also fluid. Money works by public trust and political power. Some people abuse that trust and political power. Some people also don't have a lot of faith in the current monetary system. And money does restrict freedom for a lot of people. Still as a society we aren't about to get rid of money because of the benefits it offers.

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Re: Discuss
« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2008, 05:26:03 PM »
In the end, I love the fact that books are sort of self regulating. If you pick one up and don't like what you see, put it down. Turn the page. It's up to you. If you don't like a certain author, don't read him/her again.

Well said. There are a number of books/series I haven't finished. I decided I didn't like what I was reading, so I just stopped. In all honestly, the same can be said for a lot of media. There are movies I never finished and songs that I've abandoned because I decided the content wasn't for me.

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Re: Discuss
« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2008, 08:48:30 PM »
The biggest problem I see is the idea that the separation between adult movies/literature and kid's  movies/literature is the amount of graphic sex/violence/language you cram into it. The inclusion of these doesn't make the media more adult. It just makes it cruddy. I have yet to see a book/movie that was BETTER because of the inclusion of these elements. In fact most of the time it ruins a perfectly good plot.

For example, I am currently reading American Gods by Niel Gaiman. It is a very well done book, the only thing that keeps it from being an Excellent book, a flawless book, is the frequent use of the F-word and two graphic sex scene which I skipped. :P I rewrite the dialog in my head and it seems more natural and potent WITHOUT the cursing. And I have yet to feel like I missed a vital piece of info by skipping a sex scene.

This is why a ratings system would be nice for information purposes only. No regulation needed, as it is an fyi service only.


(Now there are sex scenes and there are sex scenes. As with the rape scene mentioned earlier. Inclusion of sex and description of sex are different. Description of anatomy and motions is unnecessary and detracts from story/plot.)
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readerMom

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Re: Discuss
« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2008, 08:54:37 PM »
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The biggest problem I see is the idea that the separation between adult movies/literature and kid's  movies/literature is the amount of graphic sex/violence/language you cram into it. The inclusion of these doesn't make the media more adult. It just makes it cruddy. I have yet to see a book/movie that was BETTER because of the inclusion of these elements. In fact most of the time it ruins a perfectly good plot.

YES!  Why does it make it adult to put those things in?  It is like putting fart jokes in children's shows, a cheap way to get a laugh or pull people in. 

42

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Re: Discuss
« Reply #23 on: April 15, 2008, 02:59:33 AM »
In the end, I love the fact that books are sort of self regulating. If you pick one up and don't like what you see, put it down. Turn the page. It's up to you. If you don't like a certain author, don't read him/her again.

Well said. There are a number of books/series I haven't finished. I decided I didn't like what I was reading, so I just stopped. In all honestly, the same can be said for a lot of media. There are movies I never finished and songs that I've abandoned because I decided the content wasn't for me.

Isn't that kind of backwards? I mean you don't want to read or watch something offensive but you stop reading or stop watching after it's already offended you? Once the damage is done you can't really go back. Putting down the book or stop watching the movie...does that really make things better?

It's kind of like drinking spoiled milk. You could drink some of it to see if it makes you sick or you could look on the experation date to see if it's gone bad.
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Sigyn

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Re: Discuss
« Reply #24 on: April 15, 2008, 06:29:41 PM »
I completely agree with 42.  I have stopped reading books in the past but that doesn't mean I can scrub out the stuff that made me stop reading it in the first place. Yes, I can choose not to read anything else by that author, but I would have preferred to never have read anything by them in the first place.
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Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: Discuss
« Reply #25 on: April 15, 2008, 10:07:25 PM »
I think that's a really good point. I've definitely had to put down books I wished I'd never started.
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Re: Discuss
« Reply #26 on: April 16, 2008, 12:23:22 AM »
When I write a review I try to include warnings when the book contains potentially offensive material. Sex, profanity, and gore in particular. It may make the book 'real' but they are images that are difficult to remove from your head once you've read them. These things make me feel a certain way that I don't like and there are others who are more sensitive than I am. It's fair enough to warn people when material contains this kind of content whether it's movies, games, or books, esp for parents who want a certain control over what their kids are exposed to.
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Skar

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Re: Discuss
« Reply #27 on: May 01, 2008, 08:43:11 PM »
"Skar is the kind of bird who, when you try to kill him with a stone, uses it, and the other bird, to take vengeance on you in a swirling melee of death."

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readerMom

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Re: Discuss
« Reply #28 on: May 01, 2008, 09:57:03 PM »
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Attorneys for the booksellers claim the four-month-old law violates their constitutional right to free speech and criminalizes material that would otherwise not be considered sexually explicit, like textbooks, comics or magazines.

When did selling other's opinions become "free speech"?  Free commerce maybe, but it seems that the sacrosanct phrase "free speech" has expanded a LOT since 1787.  Complaining about the broadness of the law, or the unworkability of the law, I understand, but "free speech"?

charity

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Re: Discuss
« Reply #29 on: May 02, 2008, 12:37:35 AM »
When I write a review I try to include warnings when the book contains potentially offensive material. Sex, profanity, and gore in particular. It may make the book 'real' but they are images that are difficult to remove from your head once you've read them. These things make me feel a certain way that I don't like and there are others who are more sensitive than I am. It's fair enough to warn people when material contains this kind of content whether it's movies, games, or books, esp for parents who want a certain control over what their kids are exposed to.

This is what I love! Whenever I write a review on amazon (or SFBC) I make sure to mention if there is any sex, violence, or language. And I really like the SFBC warnings but I've found that what they consider 'violent' and 'explicit' is far above what I consider violent. Case in point:

My brother in law gave me the 'Deeds of Paksinarion' (I think I spelled that wrong) -it's the omnibus- and I didn't mind it until near the end there is this torture scene... descriptive, very, very descriptive and LONG. I think we're talking a full chapter at least. It was one of those moments where you've just invested over 1000 pages and you know something big is gonna happen in the center of the scene you don't want to be reading.

Anyway, after I finished the book I looked it up and SFBC did not have a warning on it. So, with my impressive skills of deduction, I came to the conclusion that I do not have any interest in knowing what's in the books that do have warnings on them.

I also have stopped reading Elizabeth Haydon. Her books have a lot of sex in them, but I kept on reading despite this because I was intrigued. Until I ran across a particularly foul scene in the last book that was out (she's since had another come out that I haven't bought).

And I've learned to avoid fantasy books with demons in them. I don't know why, but when there is a demon it seems as if authors feel that gives them free rein on all things evil and violent. I don't like that so I avoid it.

I guess what I'm saying is that I agree that experience is the best educator. Sometimes I wish that there were ratings like on movies, with a list of reasons why its rated that, in the order of precedence, because it would help me in not picking up garbage. But until that happens, I guess I'll just have to go with experience, reviews and friendly advice to see me through. Well okay, and maybe opening the book before I buy it.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2008, 12:40:45 AM by charity »