How to be a Teen Writer Without Making Me Want to Punch You in the Face


Strong in thought you are, young grasshopper. :-) JK Seriously, interesting blog. Caught my attention b/c I am an English teacher who frequently feels decidedly anti-social after reading high school essays.

Originally posted on The Little Engine that Couldn't:

This isn’t a TCWT blog post; I just felt this picture would be relevant.

[Disclaimer: I don't actually want to punch anyone in the face. At the most I'll give them a disappointed look and maybe make fun of their shoes.]

I strongly support teenage writers. Most of them are pretty cool, and with some you could just tell they’re going to become famous authors one day. Hell, some of them already are.

Still, when it comes to writing and literature, teenagers are constantly looked down upon. There are some people who immediately stop listening to what you’re saying once they find out your age. This actually happened to me once with another blogger. We were getting along just fine, having a nice conversation about Neil Gaiman, and then she found out I was fifteen and never answered back.

While I’ve never actually heard an adult say, “Oh, you’re just…

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Straight White Male – Playing on Easy Mode?

Although I know logically that people write with ingrained biases and are taught these biases at the knees of venerated liberal professors, I am still astonished sometimes at how misinformed and plain wrong people can be. Take John Scalzi’s recent blog about straight white males playing life on easy mode as if the metaphor of a video game was in any way applicable to real life. Now don’t get me wrong. I like Scalzi’s work and am a huge fan of sci-fi – but I think he gets it wrong here.

First, the condescension toward his fellow white males dripping from his oversimplification of a much more complex social issue could only have pleased a progressive gay, lesbian, or otherwise liberal white male hater. His tone says, “Hey everyone who hates us straight white guys! Look at me! I can hate on us too! We do have it way too easy!” We have hit rock bottom in society when a person can be celebrated for hating on his own demographic group.

Second, life today for regular Joes, the straight white males in our society, is far more difficult, confusing, and defensive than at any time in our history. They are bombarded by the media for their supposed failings in sitcoms, in commercials, and even in sports and regular news outlets. If a straight male doesn’t want to strip down in a locker room in front of a gay male, he’s homophobic. If he’s in a commercial with a black and/or Asian male, he’s the dumb one, unless, of course, he’s the emasculated liberal. He is portrayed variously as stupid, primitive, and out of touch with reality. One such set of commercials, Vonage, gives us the enlightened, scruffy Occupier teaching the old, straight white guy how to run his company better – by offering free stuff – being “extra generous.”

White straight males are viewed suspiciously at every turn for signs of “any”-phobia. If he opens a door for a woman, he is archaic, if he gets a job while competing with any minority, “We need to look more into this…” says the news media, looking for any sign that someone else could have or should have “earned” the job based on the color of their skin or their sex. Straight while males are the victims of racism at every turn, while gangs of black males roam freely, playing “knockout games” while the media searches for a viable reason to forgive them their violence and refuses to report it.

White straight males have to watch every word they say and do in a society viciously anticipating any misstep. These men get no scholarships, no awards, no recognition because their schools and communities are too busy lauding the efforts of the women and minorities. They are induced to hate themselves and their history, without which we would not have electricity or heart surgery.

Have there been shameful events in the white man’s past? Sure, as there have been in all men’s pasts. Black men sold their own into slavery; Greeks and Romans, and Chinese, and Japanese, and men all over the world have been guilty of terrible crimes against their own and others. Got it. Read my history. How long are we going to hold straight white men’s feet over the fire? For most of us, they are our fathers, brothers, and sons. They are the men who go to work and come back 16 hours later, exhausted from putting out fires, putting on people’s electric, saving people’s lives, and we repay them by saying terrible things about them, shaming them, making them feel like they have something to prove.

I say these men are the backbone of our society. These straight white men built America. They came with the vision and they accomplished great things. And, today, they work hard and have a right to their own values and beliefs, be they different from lesbians and gay men. They are entitled to their pride and we should embrace them as much as we embrace any other group in our country. Who says people have to like everything about everyone? EXCEPT the one group every other group feels entitled to hate on? It’s absurd, and I, for one am tired of it. After all, I am the proud wife of a straight white male.