An open letter to Ruth Graham,
I was scrolling through FaceBook this morning as I waited for my coffee to be ready, and a marginally irritating bit of idiocy passed before my field of vision. I’m not going to link directly to her article, because I don’t want to give her the SEO. Feel free to search if you like, but frankly, I don’t think her site is worth the click-through.
You don’t “sound” snobbish and joyless and old, you ARE snobbish and joyless and old. Additionally, I don’t recall being in your employ nor a member of your progeny. That means you don’t get to tell me what I should and shouldn’t be ashamed of. See how that works? I’m not sure how you didn’t get the memo on that particular bit of first-grade wisdom, but you may want to go look it up amidst all that high-brow reading you seem to be so proud of.
It is the lowest form of pedantic self-righteousness for you to presuppose that you have any say whatsoever in what another human should and shouldn’t be ashamed of regarding his or her reading choices.
While I don’t read YA myself, I do consider reading to be an exercise in filling different needs at different times. Sometimes I want it to be pure enjoyment. Sometimes I want it to be informative or provocative or emotionally stirring. To use a culinary metaphor, sometimes I want a cheeseburger, sometimes I want sushi, and sometimes I want a five-star, seven course meal in Paris.
I’m not going to apologize for the cheeseburger, and fuck you for suggesting I should.
Let’s assume the two of us were sitting on the bus across from one another, and I were reading one of the books you described at “trashy.” I believe the two you referenced were “Twilight” and “Divergent.” Let’s then assume that you were to look at me with that sanctimonious look on your face that I’m certain you’re famous for in your own, snooty, little circles, and you were to suggest to my face that I be ashamed of my reading choices.
My reply would be the following:
I would gently place the book down beside me. I would stand slowly, a subtle grin upon my face. I would then flip you off with both fingers for being a nosey, arrogant, and particularly presumptuous pest. I would follow this rather direct method of communication with what I consider to be icing on the cake. I would turn 180 degrees and do my best to fart directly in your face. Quid pro quo, after all.
I quote Edgar Friendly, who said, “…I like to think, I like to read. I’m into freedom of speech, freedom of choice. I’m the kind if guy who would sit in a greasy spoon and think “Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the big rack of Barbecued spare ribs with the side order of gravy fries?” I *want* high cholesterol. I want to eat bacon, butter and buckets of cheese alright? I want to smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in a non-smoking section. I wanna run around naked with green Jell-O all over my body reading a Playboy magazine. Why? Because maybe I feel the need to okay pal? I’ve seen the future, you know what it is. It’s made by a 47 year-old virgin in gray pajamas soaking in a bubble bath, drinking a broccoli milkshake and thinking ‘I’m an Oscar-Meyer Wiener’.”
In this context, Ruth, you are the wiener.
So lighten up. Go smoke a joint or something, because you desperately need to relax.