The only thing more embarrassing than catching a guy on the plane looking at pornography on his computer is seeing a guy on the plane reading “The Hunger Games.”
Yeah. That’s Joel Stein in a short (but not short enough) rant called Adults Should Read Adult Books written for the New York Times. Stein says, “I have no idea what “The Hunger Games” is like… I don’t know because it’s a book for kids. I’ll read ‘The Hunger Games’ when I finish the previous 3,000 years of fiction written for adults.”
It can’t be easy to be such a pompous dick. It must take a great deal of practice, so I’m willing to give Stein some credit for his dedication. And I wouldn’t want to deny him the right to object to any genre of literature; after all, I’ve been known to make the occasional disparaging comment about Romance fiction. But I’d never suggest there’s anything wrong with somebody who chose to read Romance novels. Stein’s absolute rejection of the value of Young Adult fiction isn’t what makes him a dick. That just makes him ignorant.
No, what makes Joel Stein an Olympic caliber dick is that he sets himself up as an arbiter of what is appropriate for adults to read when he has written a soon-to-be-released nonfiction book called (and I’m not making this up) Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity. The book is apparently about Stein’s panic at learning he is about to become the father of a son, and trying to discover what it means to be a ‘man’ by (and really, I’m not making this up at all) briefly engaging in testosterone-driven tasks. He spends three days (3!) in some form of military basic training, he spends a 24 hour shift with the fire department, he goes camping (with…and lawdy, I wish I was making this up…the Boy Scouts), he does some home repairs. In other words, he pays a fleeting visit to what he believes is the world of manhood in the hope that he’ll learn something profound about masculinity.
Then, in this wee little rant, he writes “You can’t take an adult seriously when he’s debating you over why Twilight vampires are O.K. with sunlight.” And that is what makes Joel Stein a dick.
Joel, bunkie, this is where you make your mistake. Men read Young Adult fiction and aren’t embarrassed by it.
i heard Karen Hesse reading from her book ‘Out of the Dust’ on public radio one day and was impressed. so i went to the library and checked it out. it turned out that it can be found in the teen fiction section. it was a really good read. really good. i recommended it to a number of other adult who thought so too. and isn’t reading anything better than reading nothing? we used to get subscriptions to sport illustrated or to mad magazine for our kids to help them get in the habit of reading. anyway… it seems that joel is a dick.
Yeah, and when I used to get Time magazine at home, I’d always groan when his column was the endpaper. Because… god, okay, it’s called “The Awesome Column” and it is only awesome if “awesome” means “things that are terribly annoying and unfunny” and I’m pretty sure that’s not what that means.