02 September 2015

Think of the Children!

The written word is a powerful thing. Books have motivated people to revolution, to explore the moon, the find a little happiness in the brief time between birth and death. I am firmly and proudly in the pro-book camp.

Somewhat paradoxically, some books, perhaps most books, are uninteresting to me. I don't read romance novels, spy thrillers or celebrity gossip, to name a few of my least favorite things. When I see those sorts of books, I use an ancient technique taught to me by my parents. It is called ignoring. Since this seems to be an increasingly lost art, I thought I might give a quick primer about it.

To ignore something, you willfully stop thinking about the thing. You don't look at it. You don't talk about it. You do not engage in it. Simple, right? But wait, it does require determination and discipline on the your part to make it work.

The good news is that ignoring books is really easy! Books are inanimate and very few of them talk.

Sometimes, you will find yourself in a bookstore. The store will try to group books by subject for the express purpose of helping you ignore subjects of your choosing. Pretty sweet, right?

Sometimes, you will find yourself at an online book-selling website and it will show you books that you want to ignore. Now, I will admit that ignoring a thing when it is right in front of you is more difficult. You may have to quickly find a link to click that takes to a different page. Or, more drastically, you may have to avoid that website all together.

You have the responsibility of curating the information you want to process.  You cannot offload that duty to others. That is not fair.

In conversation, it is only polite to avoid topics that any participant finds distressing. 

If the mere mention of rape in book title is more than you can bear, you have my sincerest empathy. I do not take past trauma lightly. No one should force you to engage with the topic is your pain against your will. But you have no right to tell me what topics I can engage in.

When I think of the children, I realize: the kids are alright.