[DWJ] Attitude

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Wed Dec 27 18:03:46 EST 2006

On Wed, 27 Dec 2006 12:38:12 -0700, Robyn Starkey wrote:

>Melissa Proffitt wrote:
>>Well, it *is* supposed to be a guide to help parents choose books for their
>>kids--emphasis on protecting them from bad things.  It's that latter that
>>bothers me.  They've got books ranked on a continuum that's totally
>>subjective to their worldview--respect for parents and elders good,
>>disobedience bad, etc.--but they imply that their ratings are objective and
>>that right-thinking people will agree with them.  
>This is what disturbs me, added to the fact that the "How we decide" 
>link is empty. Surely that ought to be one of the first things you 
>articulate if you really are trying to be objective? So that people can 
>look at your criteria and decide whether their values agree with yours, 
>or whether they are so far divergent as to be irreconcilable (as mine 
>seem to be).

But isn't that sort of par for the course for this type of criticism--the
kind that seems rooted in a particular semi-religious morality?  (And I
can't *believe* I just used that term, but I mean religious as a mindset and
without reference to deity.)  Because that's the impression I get from the
site: repeated references to what is Good as though everyone already
understands what Good is.  They probably don't care whether your values
agree with theirs; if they do, you're welcome, and if not, you can go
elsewhere.  In that case, "objective" only has relevance in terms of a
particular world-view.

It would be different if they said "this is what we believe, this is what we
base our opinions on" because everyone has their own perspective.  But
instead they've set up a dichotomy: either you believe in protecting
children by monitoring or controlling their reading, or you think they
should just read whatever they want.  It makes them pro-children and
everyone else some kind of slavering uncaring jerk.  That's why their
so-called objectivity is worthless, because it's based on a false premise.

Aside from being personally annoyed by this website, I don't know why I care
so much about it--except that it's symptomatic of a bigger problem.  Maybe
it isn't that big a problem, but sometimes, usually when some mother is
telling me about how she won't let her darling child read some perfectly
harmless book because the main character tells lies, I worry that it's
bigger than I can imagine.

Melissa Proffitt

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