Friday, March 28, 2014

Bad for You: Exposing the War On Fun by Kevin C. Pyle & Scott Cunningham

Wow, a non-fiction book. This is a cool exploration of the many ways that adults have tried to take away fun from kids and teens. For example, the war on comic books went all the way to congressional hearings in the 1950s. Comics were thought by some to cause juvenile delinquency. It seems laughable now, but a comic code was created and enforced. William H. Gaines was a publisher of many comics at the time and a very vocal proponent of the publisher's rights to print what they wanted (can we say First Amendment). He did stop making comics, but (thankfully) kept publishing Mad Magazine.

So what else have adults tried to curtail or stop all together: skateboarding, fairy tales, role playing games (beware D&D enthusiasts), video games, telephones, cell phones (and all that other technology you love so much), long hair, playgrounds, recess and even chess. Don't worry, they know what is good for you: standardized tests and more homework.

As you can probably tell by the cover, this is not some dry examination of facts. It is a mix of text and illustrations (lots of them) that examines not just why adults have imposed these restriction, but the history of how we got to that point. Surveys and studies are cited to support the arguments.

Amazingly, restricting young people often resulted in the behaviors that were trying to be avoided in the first place. Not that all the adults were being cruel on purpose they were just ill-informed and misguided.

For more info, check out the Evergreen library catalog and one of the creator's sites: Kevin C. Pyle.

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