If you resist reading what you disagree with, how will you ever acquire deeper insights into what you believe? The things most worth reading are precisely those that challenge our convictions.
What’s with us adults and political correctness?
When I read as a child, I was rarely bothered by the opinions that some of the authors seemed to hold that were in direct contrast with what I was taught or what I saw around me. I calmly chalked it up to one of two things:
a) The author didn’t know what s/he was talking about (yes, I was a confident – well ok, maybe just a tad cocky – kid).
b) The time period during which the author lived (I was reading a lot of English classics at one point) must lead her/him to bear such an opinion.
If I liked the book, I just kept reading it. The opinions expressed by some of the characters never lessened my enjoyment of the story itself, and I never sat down to analyze the intentions of those characters.
(I had much better and more fun things to think about: What new and weird-sounding-named snack is mom going to have ready when I go back home from school today; Is Steffi Graf going to beat Gabriela Sabatini in the U.S Open match tomorrow?; What fun things can we do this summer when all of us cousins get together again? to mention but a few.)
When I read the same books now, as an adult, some of the theories expounded in them raise my hackles. Why? Is that because, as adults:
- Somewhere along the line, we have begun to take ourselves too seriously?
- We have become intolerant?
- We tend to attribute the author’s opinions to ourselves and that touches a nerve?
- We have become so jaded that we cannot take anything at face value without analyzing it to death?
- We have become vulnerable to hurt?
- To take it a step further: is it because some feel responsible for all those masses who, according to them, don’t know what is best for them? So, they take it upon themselves to educate the others by telling them which books to read and which ones not to.
Or is it a combination of all of the above? What do you all think?
I never fully grasped the meaning of the adage ‘Every coin has two sides’ more than when I sat down to write this post. Please come back on Wednesday when I try to examine the flip side to today’s topic: responsibility of a writer.