Someone, quite respectfully I might add, posted a question on a discussion group about whether or not a rating system on books was in the future.
I have to say, I damn well hope to hell not.
The person didn’t seem to advocate for or against – truly, the post was worded well and more from the position of curiosity. These are the reasons why some might think this is a good idea. I have no issue with how the poster raised the question.
I thought about responding, but my inclination to be flippant on this topic went against my better judgment of what was appropriate on that discussion group. And I thought it would be much more fun to be flippant.
But in all seriousness, I think this is a horrid idea, the thought of which concerns me. Certainly, because this question was posed to mystery/crime writers, I think of our books. They aren’t pop-up books where all of a sudden a character jumps out at you with a knife through their chest, their face contorted in agony, blood spilling out everywhere.
First off, having a television and movie rating system costs money. I’m not opposed, in those cases, for very different reasons. Okay, the cost is incorporated in ads/taxes/ticket prices. Which sort of sucks. But the guidelines are there to help parents determine what is and is not appropriate for their children to watch. Visual entertainment is much different from written entertainment – in a movie or tv show someone really can just jump up naked or all of a sudden be hacked to bits with an ax, and there’s no warning time to avert your eyes – the image is seared into your brain. I mean, a good movie doesn’t spring that on you, all the same, but in that form of media it is possible.
Since you have to read word to word, something horrid can start and if it’s too much for you, you can put it down and never see what actually happened, for one thing. For another, we have a system to determine content suitability – children’s picture books, children’s early readers, chapter books and young adult books. In bookstores here, there are age guidelines on the shelves.
So, there is a system. One that’s not currently costing us any more money. And if we had an arbitrary system, where publishers set their own codes, it would be like the idiotic brands that create their own clothing sizes. You have no clue what size you are from one brand, or store, to the next. As someone who isn’t fond of shopping and has done a lot of it this week, I hate that. Or they mix their sizing. I might have a large chest with this shirt, but I have a medium waist (or maybe I should us XXXL and XXL or maybe I should say small waist, XXL chest… I haven’t used a bad word and it conjures up some images, doesn’t it?).
It is my opinion that a rating system that isn’t regulated by an established agency is completely pointless, and therefore, costly to do properly. Further to that, if adults can’t determine suitable content without a code on the book, then I have to wonder how they cope with much of anything in life. I’ve seen TV commercials that were… um, inappropriate for some audiences, in my opinion.
If I can handle that – and indeed, we’re bombarded with visual and auditory images all the time, from radio commercials to songs to ads on billboards and in magazines to commercials on TV – then I think I can look at a cover, read the back of a book, and make a decision for myself.
The only thing then I might complain about is if the cover was misleading. For example, a soft pink cover with a pretty kitty on it might make me think, although it was in the mystery section, that it’s a gentle read.
In which case, I might be quite disturbed to find on page 1 someone stabs kitty through the eye with a pair of pruning shears.
And, in case you didn’t get the sarcasm of at least one of my coding symbols, the orientation of the author, who they like and whether or not they should have invested in braces…
Well, being realistic, I’ll leave you to figure out what I think of the relevance of those things, because sometimes what we read doesn’t have all the answers or wrap it all up in pretty paper with a bow on top.
Avert Your Eyes!
Yeah, yeah. I hate having my picture taken. Even more than that, I hate curly hair. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that it’s hard to defeat nature. And so, on that note, I’ve given up on trying to make my hair silky, smooth and nice-looking. Especially when I’m traveling. I’m a wash-and-go kind of girl – NO MAINTENANCE!
That said, I did go to the hairdresser yesterday, and got some highlights put in my hair.
Last year, I died my hair dark dark brown before I went to Harrogate. However, in the one photo of me someone took, my hair looked red.
Really is no point trying to fight nature some days.
** colour photo – swear words – adult content – violent content- heterosexual – someone dies - North of 49 – North American – friend of Stuart - writer with buck teeth-sses Us - realistic ending – violence to animals