(Young Adult Literature Ingnoramus)
1) a person who has read little to no YA books but still insists on discussing them in a authoritative way. (ie: "I've read Twilight and the whole YA genre is terrible.")
2) Often can be found spewing the following: "YA is badly written," "YA is not seriously written," "Everything in YA is lacking in complexity," "Adult fiction is so much better than YA," etc.
3) someone who complains about YA's content, usually for the purpose of saying (hysterically) that innocent young children are being corrupted by YA authors.
4) a person who can somehow make the phrase, "Oh, you read YA?" equivalent to, "You are an unintelligent and immature human being, and also I don't like you."
5) someone who finishes off a negative review of a YA book with "But what can you expect? It's YA."
I think we've all encountered a YA ignoramus, in real life, on the interwebs, or both. Unfortunately, they are not one whit like nargles, as they're quite real, quite common and seem to crop up everywhere. Also, they are generally unpleasant individuals, quite vocal in their complete disdain for YA, and usually argumentative when you jump in to protest that YA is not at all as terrible as they think.
My response to YA ignoramuses has always been to chirp in with something along the lines of "But YA is really a very diverse genre that is not easily dismissed and categorized. Of course there are some bad books, just as there are bad books in every genre. YA doesn't make much sense as a genre anyhow, there's mystery books rubbing shoulder with romances and literary books and everything you could possibly find in one contained area in a bookstore. People who write YA aren't always in agreement with what it is, other than it should (mostly) have coming of age themes. Don't you see how silly it is to say all YA is bad?"
I might as well be speaking in another language when I say the above.
Lately, if I encounter a YA ignoramus on the internet, I try to point them to this article (Are You Reading YA Lit? You Should Be), since it is far more articulate than I am. I don't know if it's working, not because the article isn't great, but because it seems like YA ignoramuses are content to be willfully ignorant.
I find the whole cycle baffling:
Most of these people haven't read any YA. Or very, very little of it. They read Twilight (or even hear of it, secondhand, the information regarding YA blurred and distorted as it would be in the game Telephone) and suddenly they're educated enough, experts even, and feel the intense need to discuss YA and make broad, often misinformed generalizations about the whole genre. They're qualified to write ridiculous posts on the internet. Or worse yet, articles (and yes, this did happen a while ago, but I have a feeling it will happen again due to YA's increased popularity) in places like the Wall Street Journal or Slate.
It's not that I'm against discussing YA in a critical manner. I've written some discussion posts that do point out things I wish there were more of/ less of in YA (ie one on YA romance, YA high school dynamics, and older YA protagonists), but I don't mean those posts as a definitive statement on all of YA, and I certainly believe that YA harbors some of the most wonderfully written and communicative and fully emotional books being published today. Of course there are duds. YA is a genre, not a gurantee of quality.
So I wanted to ask you all, what do you do when you encounter a YA ignoramus?
The YA community, when united, is capable of responding in a vociferous and wonderful manner via tweets and blog posts, as in the "YA too dark" debacle. But when you encounter a YA ignoramus individually, how should you respond?
In an ideal world, I would get every YA ignoramus to read some of the best YA books out there, such as Jellicoe Road or Looking for Alaska. I would like them to come back to me after reading maybe a hundred YA books currently being published (not just the ones published 5-10 years ago) and say that they still believe all YA is inferior to adult literature [insert other silly comments here].
But this doesn't happen often, as far as I've experienced. I link articles or suggest books, and I don't really see any evidence of change.
Would it be more productive to simply ignore them?
I've considered this, but not getting involved is a hard thing to do when you witness a YA ignoramus facilitating a discussion in YA on an online forum and disseminating their silly ideas to other people.
I guess there are several options:
a) ignore them completely
b) jump in and argue with them
c) jump in and smother them with book recommendations and/or informative articles
I feel like c) is the most positive response.
Actually, I think I'll ramp it up more. I'll troll the next "YA is awful" online discussion and post a flurry of moving passages/quotes from great YA books, positive reviews, and shout I LOVE YA on top of my lungs.
Yes, I'll try that next.
In the meanwhile:
What are your thoughts? What do you do when you come across a YA ignoramus? Please share.
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