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Won’t Somebody Please Think Of The Children

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Another day, another manufactured outrage from the Daily Mail. I having been banging on to the whole of the interwebs for months about the brilliance of Patrick Ness’s The Knife Of Never Letting Go but apparently it is so violent it needs a health warning. Or, at least, that is the impression the Mail gives through smoke and mirrors use of quotation. Luckily Ness has a platform to respond over at the Guardian.

In his response he notes the rather unique way the Mail chose to illustrate Amanda Craig’s article on perceived violence in children’s books. Craig also mentions in passing the allure of making things verboten which the Mail goes on to prove:

The content of children’s books has also caused controversy in Australia, where Requiem For A Beast won the 2008 Children’s Book Council prize for the best picture book. It featured the word ‘f***’ numerous times, as well as illustrations of a bloody axe and violent images of a man turning into a beast.

Sounds quite interesting. Anyway, it seems appropriate to close with Carol Ann Duffy’s poem, ‘Mrs Schofield’s GCSE’:

You must prepare your bosom for his knife,
said Portia to Antonio in which
of Shakespeare’s Comedies? Who killed his wife,
insane with jealousy? And which Scots witch
knew Something wicked this way comes? Who said
Is this a dagger which I see? Which Tragedy?
Whose blade was drawn which led to Tybalt’s death?
To whom did dying Caesar say Et tu? And why?
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark – do you
know what this means? Explain how poetry
pursues the human like the smitten moon
above the weeping, laughing earth; how we
make prayers of it. Nothing will come of nothing:
speak again. Said by which King? You may begin.

Written by Martin

31 December 2008 at 11:34

Posted in books

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