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April 13, 2004

words of a former teenager

Michael Chabon has a brilliant little op-ed piece in today's NY Times -- it was written in response to the incident in San Francisco that many folks have already heard about -- a college student was recently thrown out of art school for writing a "disturbing" story (bloody, horrific, detailed, gruesome), and then his teacher didn't get rehired.

This sympathetic and persuasive essay wouldn't have made a damn bit of difference to my father, who tried to keep me from reading what I wanted, and who opened my mail and read my journal and freaked out when I was 15. (Like Jack Valenti, my dad was more upset about sex than he was about violence....) But I find it soothing to hear an adult acknowledge that what teenagers want is to know

that somebody else has felt the way that you feel, has faced it, run from it, rued it, lamented it and transformed it into art; has been there, and returned, and lived, for the only good reason we have: to tell the tale.

I'd like to think that some kid will get cut some slack as a result of this essay; I know it's wishful thinking, but I'm a relentless optimist.

Posted by Rose at April 13, 2004 03:58 PM