Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Red Flags: Why I Use It and What It Does

For those of you who have read many of my reviews, you will notice that no matter what I review--books, movies, music albums, whatever--I include "Red Flags".

As an elementary schooler, I was extremely sensitive. I was watching the first and second Harry Potter movies yesterday, and I recalled seeing them as a seven- and eight-year-old (respectively) and being rather frightened of the climax with the special effects and all. I'm seventeen now, and I can watch them without flinching. But even now, I don't really care for excessive violence, language, or sensuality. Honestly, what kind of person reads, watches, or listens to it and relishes it?

When I read reviews, I do like hearing about the writer's opinion. But I personally like reading blogs like Reading Teen, Reading Rocks, and Good Clean Reads, blogs that let readers know about any questionable content in books. I'd rather hear from an honest blogger about whether such content is in a book beforehand than accidentally stumbling upon it after paying money for the book and reading it.

Maybe you'll think, "That's just you. I don't think that way. Who even thinks like that anymore?" You'd be wrong. I've been told by readers that yes, they like when I tell them to watch out for something in a book, or if there's some content in a movie or album. And I want to be a blogger who listens to her readers. That's why I started and will keep on using Red Flags. Granted, I sometimes get lazy and like to rely on CSM, but when that site misses something (or exaggerates), I will by all means let my readers know.

If you think I'm odd, crazy, or just a plain prude, don't get ideas that I like to ban books. I don't. Censoring a work of art (yes, books are art--if you're a writer, don't you consider yourself an artist?) is absolutely wrong. I'm not one of those crazies who go off preaching that Harry Potter worships witchcraft and condones misbehavior; that The Lord of the Rings teaches evil magic and is satanic; that To Kill a Mockingbird should be out of high schools; that The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is profane; that Shakespeare should be profoundly bowdlerized; that Grimm's fairytales should not be read to elementary school children; that Animal Farm praises communism. So what do all of these books have in common? Yeah, they've been on ALA’s Banned Books lists. But they're also, in my opinion, some of the greatest stories written of all time. I don’t believe in book banning. However, I think that at times, a line has to be drawn.

Here's what I don't understand though: if you have the freedom to speak your mind about whether readers should be informed about content, if you think no books should be censored, if you think artists have the right to utilize their talent in whatever way they wish to the fullest extent of creativity, why can't bloggers write what they want on their blog? I think we can speak our mind about readers being informed about content. I don't think books should be censored. I think artists have the right to utilize their talent. And I think bloggers can express their opinion on their blog. That's what a blog is for. That's what reviews are for. And if you think that not informing your readers about questionable content is a no-no, hey, maybe we should get rid of the MPAA system, too. Because the purpose of that system is exactly that of my blog's Red Flags.

I'm sorry if I offended any of my loyal readers. I mean no harm, but this is a blog--I express my opinions. You're free to have your own blog and express yours. That's my two cents.


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