I've never been the rebellious or revolutionary type, but apparently I'm at the forefront of a movement aimed at bringing about the downfall of Western culture. Cool! I wonder what one wears to bring down an entire society. Probably black, or maybe olive drab military style wear, accessorized with a dashing bandanna. I'll have to go shopping.
What did I do to become the scourge of the American intellect? I read and write (gasp!) chick lit.
For those who aren't entirely sure what chick lit is, other than "those books with pink covers that have cartoons, martini glasses or shoes on them," chick lit could possibly be considered a cousin of romance, or else maybe a post-modern romance. In these books, the focus is on the heroine's personal journey as she figures out her place in the world. Part of that may be learning to tell the difference between Mr. Right and Mr. Wrong and to figure out how to make things work out with Mr. Right once she finds him.
According to some increasingly loud voices lately, these books are bad for America and are undermining Western culture. You see, the popularity of these books, which leads to them being not only (horrors!) published in trade paperback form and shelved in general fiction where serious readers might actually stumble across them (I guess these people don't worry about the romance section because, of course, they'd never think of going there and they can pretend it doesn't exist), but they have the audacity to take up space on those coveted front tables in the bookstore (I may faint). If people are reading these fluffy books, they're not reading real literature, and because these books do sell, it means valuable publishing spots are being used up on worthless drivel instead of deserving literary works. Because of this, the brains of American women are turning to mush, and deserving female literary authors aren't getting the fame and fortune they deserve.
These deserving female literary authors have gone so far as to publish a collection of stories given the charming title THIS IS NOT CHICK LIT, just to prove their point that this is what you should be reading, and now they're blogging, writing columns and doing interviews everywhere they can to preach the word that fun books by, about and for women are going to destroy America (you may think I'm exaggerating, but check this out).
If anything is hurting America, it's the fact that people aren't reading much. There's so much competition for our leisure time, with TV, the Internet, movies, DVDs, video games, and the like. Turning books into the literary equivalent of Brussels sprouts isn't going to help matters. A lot of the people who aren't reading as adults had enough books about death and injustice forced on them when they were in school that their impression of books is of something boring and depressing. If these people find something they do like reading that makes them feel happy, whether it's chick lit, romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery or anything else not on the list approved by the Literary High Command, criticizing their reading choices isn't going to turn them into serious literary readers. If you make people feel bad about what they're reading, they might just not read.
Let's hear it for books of all kinds! The act of reading engages the imagination, increases the vocabulary -- and according to some research, it may help prevent Alzheimer's disease. People can find their own meaning in anything they read, whether or not the author intended it. In fact, something that engages them emotionally may be more likely to have a lingering effect. If it makes you laugh a little and cry a little, it might just make you look at life in a different way. So, don't let anyone make you feel guilty about what you're reading or writing. It's all good.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go put together my dangerous revolutionary wardrobe. I'm thinking a pink bandanna with an all-black catsuit and pointy-toed stiletto black boots.