Slate.com, that infamous fount of intellectual discourse, published an article yesterday whose gist was that adults who read YA fiction should be ashamed about reading YA fiction. Considering the fantastic stupidity of that argument, Baby Pictures of Famous Dictators will provide no link to the article. No quotes will be cited. No reference to the piece’s garbage-peddling author, Ruth Graham, will be made. Instead, this post will ask what every other tendentious, gut-reaction response on the internet has been afraid to ask. How ashamed about reading YA books are you?
P.S. If you’re so ashamed about reading YA books that you’re unable to articulate how ashamed you are, please consult the shame level index provided below.
How Ashamed About Reading YA Books Am I?
Shame Level 1 (Lowest Shame): Very, Very Ashamed
You wouldn’t say you’re ashamed ashamed, but you’re definitely ashamed. Sure, you burned off your fingerprints with a blowtorch to prevent any evidence being left on the glossy cover of your copy of The Fault in Our Stars. And you built a bomb shelter 50 miles below the surface of the earth so no one would know you were reading the book. And when you finished the book you blew up the bomb shelter with a nuclear warhead-with the book inside-to erase any evidence of you reading The Fault in Our Stars. Obviously. But you’re not ashamed ashamed.
Shame Level 2: Very, Very, Very Ashamed
Fuck though, now you’re ashamed ashamed. Just thinking about Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack! makes you want to shoot smack. In fact, the needle is already in your arm. Down goes the stopper, in goes the heroin. Is your heroin high making you feel any less ashamed about reading YA? No. It isn’t. Don’t lose hope though. There are more veins in your other arm.
Shame Level 3: Very, Very, Very Incredibly Ashamed
Oh for fuck’s sake, you are feeling very, very, very incredibly ashamed. Ten years ago, you read the first sentence of the Amazon Look Inside of Divergent, and you’ve spent every second since drowning in an endless ocean of shame. Does it matter that Emerson said no man is a hypocrite in his pleasures? No! Emerson is dead. The judgmental bibliophiles on the subway platform with you are alive. Bow before their superior intellects.
Shame Level 4: You’ve Thrown Yourself Off the Roof of a Building
What other recourse did you have? Should you have lived your pathetic, YA-loving days out in shame? No fucking way. Better to throw yourself off the roof of a building, preferably a building taller than six stories. This way, your demise is assured, your escape inescapable. Let’s see them judge you when you’re dead. The sidewalk is rushing up as you plummet down, and you almost, almost, almost feel yourself smile as you reach the moment of impact.
Shame Level 5 (Highest Shame): You Are Dead
If you thought being dead would exempt you from being ashamed about reading YA, think again. Because heaven is stocked with every YA book ever written. Other books, too. All genres, actually. There’s even one or two poetry collections. All around you, gorgeous angels are reading YA. Aaliyah flies by overhead, an open copy Weetzie Bat in her hands. John Updike sits on a pile of harps, not rolling his eyes at every Judy Blume novel ever written, which he reads simultaneously, as he could have when he was alive. Can it be real? Can you read a YA book and not feel crippling, devastating shame? Is it possible? There’s only one way to find out. Step to the heavenly bookshelf. Pick a YA book from the shelves. See for yourself.