What are YOU looking at?

Grumpy Cat What are YOU looking at?As I prepare for tomorrow’s Sutherland Lecture by John Green (and don’t think about showing up without a ticket. And don’t even think about getting a ticket) I’m catching up on the two controversies that John has found himself caught up in. The fault for either might be in his stars but definitely not in his hands: blaming John for the sins of YouTube or Bookcon is kind of like blaming the bus that did show up for the one that didn’t. But I’ll be moderating the questions tomorrow night and I have a feeling it’s going to be interesting.

Meanwhile, look at the wonderful diversity of the BookCon lineup. What’s your problem? There’s a CAT. But if it’s a diversity of people you’re looking for, join the weneeddiversebooks campaign, which begins today.

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Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.

Comments

  1. KT Horning says:

    I had only heard about the line up. Seeing those photos really drives the point home. They apparently put all their “diversity” effort into remembering a few actual children’s/YA authors.

    • Jonathan Hunt says:

      They’ve added some authors since the uproar, though. When Roger first posted the link there was nary a brown face there. Just a bunch of white ones–and the cat.

  2. Lynn Van Auken says:

    Soooooo. . . how did it go?

  3. Roger Sutton Roger Sutton says:

    Very well. John talked (well and entertainingly) about genre and the nature of YA. The closest thing to what MiGHT have been a challenging question was about the oral sex scene in LOOKING FOR ALASKA. We’ll be publishing the speech in the November issue.

    • Glad to hear that! I’ll look forward to reading the lecture in November.
      Too bad he’s still having to talk about the sex in Alaska, though.

  4. My most recent post on Vidcon addresses your questioning Green and the sins of Youtube. When it comes to his con, Vidcon? And the lack of any code of conduct or policy on harassment, when the Lombardo allegations date to 2012, the picking up girls incident to last summer, Lombardo sentencing earlier this year, and the Milsom allegations to 2 months ago (with the Vidcon meeting between the then 21 year old an then 14 year old taking place in 2010, with at least one of the people behind Vidcon there?), — well, if we don’t ask the person who started Vidcon and continues to be behind it, we do we ask? So, sins of Youtube, no. Policies at his con? Questions galore.

    • Roger Sutton Roger Sutton says:

      Thanks, Liz, I was only aware of the Green bros. connection via DBATBA. I didn’t realize there was a Vidcon. There was nary a peep about this or BookCon at the Lecture–in response to a question, John did point to the importance of not just acknowledging diverse books, but buying them. And thanks to Jonathan for pointing out that the BookCon lineup has diversified.

    • KT Horning says:

      Thanks for the info, Liz. I didn’t know all of this was going on, either, although I have been concerned about the power/ego trip the Green brothers seem to be on. I was a fan and regular viewer of the Vlog Brothers the year they did it, but I think they let the success of that experiment go their heads, and they’ve turned into the sorcerer’s apprentice. It’s kind of scary to think how much power they have over so many teenage girls, and there doesn’t seem to be anyone that helps them keep it in check. (You want a tour bus with your face on it to promote your new book? Sure, why not?)

      It’s a shame that John Green has become the standard for success for YA authors, and that that success is not based on the quality of his writing. He’s a decent writer but he’s no Markus Zusak, M. T. Anderson, or Libba Bray.

    • Thanks again to Liz for continuing to bring attention to this, and I’m glad to see others joining the conversation as well. This was why the previous characterization of John Green’s young female fans as “crazy creatures” had struck me as off in context…and why I had hoped that the discussion of these sorts of author/fan power dynamics might be part of the wider ccbc-net discussion. I do hope there will be more consideration of these issues (creator/fan relationships as new media continue to change boundaries and access) within our community, because I think the questions are fundamental ones. And I hope we won’t shirk away from the difficult topic of abuse.

    • KT ~ Fear not. As the mother of a 15 year old Former (female) Nerdfighter, I can assure you the tide has already turned for many JG fans. One year ago, he could do no wrong, as far as my daughter and her friends – near and far – were concerned. Lately, any conversation that gets around to JG and his work has a distinctly different tone. Where there used to be reverence, there is now caution. Where there was once entertainment, there is now concern; about his books in general and his portrayal of female characters in particular. His fans are older and wiser. And they are connected, too. Just as JG used social media to amass his following, social media will quite likely be the avenue that inspires HIM to “increase awesome and decrease suck.”

  5. Roger Sutton Roger Sutton says:

    A clarification–my earlier reference about wondering if the audience would be filled with John Green Girls (“beautiful, complicated and ka-razy creatures that they are”) was a joke referencing his characters, not his readers. The nerdfighters I met at the lecture all seemed like very sensible and exceedingly polite people.

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