2014年7月16日 星期三

Chelsea Clinton. Isn’t It Rich? By MAUREEN DOWD. Judy Blume

專欄作者

克林頓公司的接班人

切爾西·克林頓上個月在亞特蘭大的一場會議上發表講話。她也加入了演講賺錢的家庭事業。
David Tulis/Associated Press
切爾西·克林頓上個月在亞特蘭大的一場會議上發表講話。她也加入了演講賺錢的家庭事業。
華盛頓——在當美國「第一女兒」的八年期間,切爾西·克林頓(Chelsea Clinton)從來沒有做過出格的事。
她從來沒有甩開過特勤局(Secret Service)的隨從。也沒有用假證件冒充成年人去酒吧。沒有吸毒醜聞。沒有穿着小背心、戴着趾環上過法庭。甚至沒有跳過一次熱舞。
  • 莫琳·多德
    Fred R.Conrad/The New York Times
    莫琳·多德
在她父母的婚姻遭遇尷尬的困境,受到公眾普遍關注之時,切爾西的角色十分艱難,然而她還是保持了優雅。
所以,看到她在某種意義上舉止出格,像她的父母一樣,為了填飽「克林頓公司」(Clinton Inc.)那貪得無厭的大胃口而賺取錢財,不免讓人感到有些奇怪。
她那屬於「百分之一」富人的母親在離開白宮時,虛情假意地說自己「徹底破產」了,這番話受到了猛烈抨擊。有鑒於此,切爾西為什麼還想要招惹批評,讓別人說她大肆撈錢,獲得的回報與她的技能、經驗、角色並不匹配呢?
就在34歲的切爾西試圖讓一些「老友」與克林頓基金會(Clinton Foundation)——這個基金會像克林頓夫婦自己一樣,用意良好、花錢隨意、雜亂無章——拉開關係時,她還在通過發表演講,為基金會籌集資金。正如《紐約時報》的埃米·喬茲克(Amy Chozick)報道的,她每次演講的出場費要價是7.5萬美元(約合47萬元人民幣)。
喬茲克寫道:「切爾西主要是就消滅水傳播疾病這樣的主題發表演講。(『我對腹瀉問題極感興趣』是句亮點。)」
這種情況似乎有些不妥當,以至於讓人想追問:憑什麼她的出場費那麼高?她試水過管理諮詢、對沖資金,父母是政界要人,憑什麼她一個小時的收入就比大多數美國同齡人一年賺的都多?(美國家庭收入中位數是53046美元。)
如果她真的想成為利他主義者,就讓她把這些錢捐給獨立的慈善機構——當那些機構的目的不是為了在她母親努力重返白宮時,或者她自己有意試水政壇,給克林頓這個姓氏增光添彩時。
或者讓她免費演講好了。畢竟,這相當於讓她練習擔任候選人,沒有必要為此獲得報酬。
「政治人」(Politico)網站曝光的一則消息讓人們感到厭惡。該消息稱,在把合同改為一月一簽之前,切爾西的年薪是60萬美元——每分鐘上鏡的報酬超過2.5萬美元。對於這樣一個通過裙帶關係獲得的,在NBC新聞中播報花邊消息的記者職位來說,實在高得過分,
切爾西仍然在尋找一個問題的答案。她採訪吉科公司(Geico)的壁虎吉祥物時就曾問過這個問題:「名氣這麼大,是否也有不利的一面?」
克林頓一家的表現,仍然彷彿是在從事無私的公共服務。那他們又為什麼總是回到大肆撈錢的道路上?而且已經從「花一件的錢買兩件」變成了「花20件的錢買三件」。
希拉里的書讀起來就像是她從宜家買了一些東西,又請人組裝在了一起,十分無趣——因為主要是賺取那筆估計有1300萬美元的稿酬預付款,並且為她的競選造勢,而不是像蒂莫西·蓋特納(Timothy Geithner)和鮑勃·蓋茨(Bob Gates)的回憶錄那樣,充滿了耐人尋味的自我審視和政治內情。如果她確實有什麼話要說,這本書可能還會短一些。
希拉里一邊對逐步加重的學生貸款債務表達着嚴重的關切,一邊又從至少八所院校大肆攫取六位數的酬勞,可她卻看不出二者間的脫節。她現在說,她把大學給的錢都轉到了基金會,然而她又拒絕提供任何文件證明,「透明女士」是絕不會這麼做的。(其他演講的巨額酬勞,她還是會收入囊中。比如今年4月,她在拉斯維加斯對廢料回收業協會[Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries]發表的演講。)
喬茲克估計,利潤豐厚的家族演講生意,已為前總統和前第一夫人賺取了超過1億美元,他們每次的出場費從20萬美元到70萬美元不等。單是比爾一人,去年就靠他最愛乾的事——講話——賺取了1700萬美元。
里克·科恩(Rick Cohen)在《國家慈善季刊》(The National Philanthropy Quarterly)上寫道,「問題是這些演講的受益方是一家基金會,它是一家以公共基金會形式組建的機構,然而它顯然是克林頓家族的代名詞,為後者所控制。」他還寫道:「給克林頓夫婦及其女兒的演講捐獻大筆錢財的個人和機構,或許只是在花錢購買有權有勢的政治領導人的認可,購買在他們面前露臉的機會。他們希望,領導人能在日後給他們提供一些政治上的好處。」
「企業在向非營利性政治機構捐款時,或多或少地明確期待,將來會得到更溫和、更友善的待遇,這種關係令人不安。某些捐款者本身就是公立或非營利機構,如大專院校,它們把納稅人的錢和免稅的捐款拿來示好,這種做法也十分令人不安。這樣示好的訊號,能使這些機構自身在需要獲得資源和好處時,受到良好的對待——哪怕無非是克林頓家族的成員對提供撥款的聯邦機構,或者正嚴肅審查大學學費和捐款開支的監管機構說上一句好話。」
切爾西十來歲時,克林頓家族對她給予了嚴密保護,堅決要求媒體尊重她的隱私,他們做到了。他們需要再次保護自己的女兒,這一次要讓她避開的,是他們無休無止的貪婪。
翻譯:土土、張薇

OP-ED COLUMNIST

Isn’t It Rich?

WASHINGTON — CHELSEA CLINTON never acted out during the eight years she came of age as America’s first daughter.
No ditching of her Secret Service detail. No fake IDs for underage tippling. No drug scandal. No court appearance in tank top and toe ring. Not even any dirty dancing.
Despite a tough role as the go-between in the highly public and embarrassing marital contretemps of her parents, Chelsea stayed classy.
So it’s strange to see her acting out in a sense now, joining her parents in cashing in to help feed the rapacious, gaping maw of Clinton Inc.
With her 1 percenter mother under fire for disingenuously calling herself “dead broke” when she left the White House, why would Chelsea want to open herself up to criticism that she is gobbling whopping paychecks not commensurate with her skills, experience or role in life?
As the 34-year-old tries to wean some of the cronies from the Clinton Foundation — which is, like the Clintons themselves, well-intended, wasteful and disorganized — Chelsea is making speeches that go into foundation coffers. She is commanding, as The Times’s Amy Chozick reported, up to $75,000 per appearance.
Chozick wrote: “Ms. Clinton’s speeches focus on causes like eradicating waterborne diseases. (‘I’m obsessed with diarrhea’ is a favorite line.)”
There’s something unseemly about it, making one wonder: Why on earth is she worth that much money? Why, given her dabbling in management consulting, hedge-funding and coattail-riding, is an hour of her time valued at an amount that most Americans her age don’t make in a year? (Median household income in the United States is $53,046.)
If she really wants to be altruistic, let her contribute the money to some independent charity not designed to burnish the Clinton name as her mother ramps up to return to the White House and as she herself drops a handkerchief about getting into politics.
Or let her speak for free. After all, she is in effect going to candidate school. No need to get paid for it, too.
There was disgust over Politico’s revelation that before she switched to a month-to-month contract, Chelsea was getting wildly overpaid at $600,000 annually — or over $25,000 per minute on air — for a nepotistic job as a soft-focus correspondent for NBC News.
Chelsea is still learning the answer to a question she asked when she interviewed the Geico gecko: “Is there a downside to all this fame?”
The Clintons keep acting as though all they care about is selfless public service. So why does it keep coming back to gross money grabs? It’s gone from two-for-the-price-of-one to three-for-the-price-of-20.
Hillary’s book — which feels like something she got at Ikea and had someone put together — is drooping because it was more about the estimated $13 million advance and the campaign ramp-up than the sort of intriguing self-examination and political excavations found in the memoirs of Timothy Geithner and Bob Gates. If she had had something to say, the book might have been shorter.
Hillary doesn’t see the disconnect between expressing grave concern about mounting student loan debt while scarfing six-figure sums from at least eight colleges, and counting. She says now that she’s passing the university money to the foundation but, never Ms. Transparency, has refused to provide documentation of that. (She’s still pocketing other huge fees for speeches like her April talk in Las Vegas to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.)
Chozick estimated that the lucrative family speechmaking business has generated more than $100 million for the former president and first lady, whose fees range from $200,000 to $700,000 per appearance. Bill alone earned $17 million last year doing what he likes to do best — talking.
“The issue is that the philanthropic beneficiary of the speeches is a foundation, structured as a public foundation but clearly synonymous with and controlled by the Clinton family,” Rick Cohen writes in The National Philanthropy Quarterly, adding: “Donors and institutions that are paying them and their daughter huge sums for their speeches may very well be buying recognition and face time with powerful political leaders who they hope will be able to deliver political favors in the future.
“It is troubling when corporate donors give to political charities with a more or less obvious expectation that softer and gentler treatment will ensue in the future. It is also troubling when some of the payers are public or nonprofit entities themselves such as colleges and universities, converting taxpayer funds and tax-exempt donations into signals that could end up in positive treatment when these institutions are themselves seeking access and favors, even if it is only a good word put in by one of the Clintons to a federal agency providing funding or to a regulator who might be taking a critical look at university tuitions and endowment payouts.”
The Clintons were fiercely protective of Chelsea when she was a teenager, insisting on respect from the media and getting it. They need to protect their daughter again, this time from their wanton acquisitiveness.








Judith "Judy" Blume (/blm/; née Sussman; February 12, 1938) is an Americanwriter.[1] Her novels for children and young adults have exceeded sales of 80 million and have been translated into 31 languages.[2] Blume's novels for teenagers were among the first to tackle racism (Iggie's House), menstruation (Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.), divorce (It's Not the End of the WorldJust As Long As We're Together),bullying (Blubber), masturbation (DeenieThen Again, Maybe I Won't) and teen sex(Forever). Blume has used these subjects to generate discussion, but they have also been the source of controversy regarding age-appropriate reading.[3] In 1996 she won the Margaret Edwards Award from the American Library Association for her contribution to writing for teens.[4]
The film version of Blume's 1981 novel Tiger Eyes, directed by the author's son Lawrence Blume, stars Willa Holland as Davey and Amy Jo Johnson as Gwen Wexler, and was released in 2012.[5]

Early life[edit]

Blume was born and raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the daughter of homemaker Esther (née Rosenfeld) and dentist Ralph Sussman.[6] She has a brother, David, who is five years older. Her family was Jewish.[7] Blume has recalled, "I spent most of my childhood making up stories inside of my head." She graduated from Battin High School in 1956, then enrolled in Boston University. In the first semester, she was diagnosed withmononucleosis and took a brief leave from school[2] before graduating from New York University in 1961 with a bachelor's degree in Education.[8]

Career[edit]

A lifelong avid reader, Blume first began writing when her children were attending preschool,[9] and published her first book, The One in the Middle Is the Green Kangaroo, in 1969. The decade that followed proved to be her most prolific, with 13 more books being published, including many of her most well-known titles, such as Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. (1970), Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (1972), Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great (1972), and Blubber (1974).[10]
After publishing novels for young children and teens, Blume tackled another genre—adult reality and death. Her novels Wifey (1978) and Smart Women (1983) shot to the top of The New York Times best-seller list. Wifey has become a bestseller, with over 4 million copies sold to date. Her latest and third adult novel Summer Sisters (1998) was widely praised and has sold more than 3 million copies.[11] It spent 5 months on The New York Times Bestseller list,[12] with the hardcover reaching #3[13] and the paperback spent several weeks at #1.[14][15] Several of Blume's books appear on the list of top all-time bestselling children's books.[citation needed]
Judy Blume has won more than 90 literary awards, including three lifetime achievement awards in the U.S. The ALA Margaret A. Edwards Award recognizes one writer and a particular body of work for "significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature". Blume won the annual award in 1996 citing the single book Forever, published in 1975. According to the citation, "She broke new ground in her frank portrayal of Michael and Katherine, high school seniors who are in love for the first time. Their love and sexuality are described in an open, realistic manner and with great compassion."[4] In April 2000 the Library of Congress named her to its Living Legends in the Writers and Artists category for her significant contributions to America's cultural heritage.[citation needed] In 2004 she received the annual Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Medal of the National Book Foundation as someone who "has enriched [American] literary heritage over a life of service, or a corpus of work."[16][17]

Marriages and family[edit]

On August 15, 1959, in the summer of her freshman year of college, she married John M. Blume, whom she had met while a student at New York University. He became a lawyer, while she was a homemaker before supporting her family by teaching and writing.[18] They had two children: Randy Lee, an airline pilot (born 1961); and Lawrence Andrew, a filmmaker (born 1963). The couple separated in 1975 and were legally divorced by 1976.[19] Blume would later describe the marriage as "suffocating", although she maintained her first husband's surname.[20][21]
Shortly after her separation, she met Thomas A. Kitchens, a physicist. The couple married in 1976, and Kitchens moved them to New Mexico for his work. They divorced in 1978. She later spoke about their split: "It was a disaster, a total disaster. After a couple years, I got out. I cried every day. Anyone who thinks my life is cupcakes is all wrong."[20]
A mutual friend introduced her to George Cooper, a former law professor, now non-fiction writer. Blume and Cooper were married in 1987.[22] Cooper has one daughter, Amanda, from a previous marriage. They currently reside in Key West.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Blume announced she was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2012 after undergoing a routine ultrasound as she was preparing to leave for a five-week trip to Italy. She stated that she had been diagnosed with cervical cancer 17 years earlier, and had a subsequent hysterectomy.[24]


Judy Blume: 'I thought, this is America: we don't ban books. But then we did'

The award-winning author tells Alison Flood about sex, censorship and touring with a security guard
Judy Blume
'I don't know that you become a writer: you just are' … Judy Blume. Photograph: Linda Nylind for the Guardian
Judy Blume, tiny and smiley and as warmly open as befits the author of seminal novels about growing up Forever…, and Are You There, God?It's Me, Margaret is sitting in a hotel in London and talking about the hate mail she has received. It comes, she says, every time she speaks out on behalf of Planned Parenthood, an American pro‑choice group for mothers.
  1. Forever
  2. by Judy Blume
  1. Tell us what you think: Star-rate and review this book
"I went to a couple of places two years ago and I got seven hundred and something hate-mail warnings – 'We know where you are going to be and we'll be there waiting for you', that sort of thing," says Blume. "My publisher sent me with a bodyguard. He was wonderful, I loved knowing he was there. And nothing happened and probably nothing would have happened, but it was very scary."
It is an incongruous revelation. Blume, 76, is the sort of author who is beloved by her fans, who stretch from the children of today to the adults who read her books when they were growing up, and were astonished at finding a novelist who spoke so clearly, so uncondescendingly, so directly, to their concerns, whether masturbation (Deenie), periods and boobs (Margaret), sex and birth control (Forever…), or death (Tiger Eyes).
Her books have sold 82m copies worldwide since The One in the Middle Is the Green Kangaroo, her first book, was published in 1969. She has been given an award for lifetime achievement from the American Library Association, the Library of Congress living legends award and the 2004National Book Foundation medal for distinguished contribution to American letters. But Blume is also the recipient of a more dubious accolade: she is one of the most frequently challenged authors of the 21st century. Her books have drawn fire from parents ever since the 80s for their frank depiction of puberty and sexuality, from Deenie, the 13-year-old who touches herself in "this special place and when I rub it I get a very nice feeling", to Katherine and Michael, the teenagers who fall in love and have sex – ever so responsibly – in Forever ….
"DeenieForever …, every year, somewhere, they're challenged," says Blume. "When I started, in the 70s, it was a good time for children's book writers. Children's reading was much freer than in the 80s, when censorship started; when we elected Ronald Reagan and the conservatives decided that they would decide not just what their children would read but what all children would read, it went crazy. My feeling in the beginning was wait, this is America: we don't have censorship, we have, you know, freedom to read, freedom to write, freedom of the press, we don't do this, we don't ban books. But then they did."
Blume's theory is that children read over what they aren't yet ready to understand. Sometimes, she says, "kids will actually go to Mom or Dad and say 'What does this mean?', which is the perfect time to talk to them about it. But that's when sometimes parents get hysterical. Really. It's like, 'Argh, I don't want to talk to you about this, let's get rid of this book, I don't ever want to talk to you about this, I don't ever want you to go through puberty.'"
Judy Blume
Blume most famously tackles puberty is inMargaret, her story of a sixth grader who talks to God like a friend, worries about being the last to get her period, and longs for breasts. "Are you there, God? It's me, Margaret. I just did an exercise to help me grow. Have you thought about it, God? About my growing, I mean. I've got a bra now. It would be nice if I had something to put in it."
"There's a lot of me in Margaret," says Blume. "I talked to my own private God the way Margaret does. I would plead, 'Just let me be normal', which meant let me have my period, give me some breasts, and hurry up ... You know, the 50s, the body image for women was round and curvy, and I was this skinny little thing, very small, and I wanted to be round and curvy the way round and curvy women today want to be skinny things."
"Everybody who writes fiction draws from their own life, but if it ended there, it would be very boring," she says. "When I talk to kids and they say, 'How do you become a writer?', well, I don't know that you become a writer: you just are. I always had stories, they were always there inside my head. I never told anyone, but they were there."
She trained as a teacher but never taught; she was married before she graduated from college. "It was ridiculous, [the idea] that any marriage would work that starts that early, before you have any idea who you are." She recalls: "It was the most traumatic time of my life. My father had just died and the wedding was scheduled. I was 21, we got married and I did my final year at college. Then, before that ended, I was pregnant, and had two babies by the time I was 25, and then started to write."
She'd make up rhyming stories when she was washing the dishes at night and added her own illustrations, sending them off to publishers. Then she decided she wanted to write novels, took a writing course, and out cameIggie's House, the story of Winnie, a girl whose quintessentially white surburban-American street gets its first black family, and who is confronted with – and confronts – racism.
"Writing saved my life," she says, seriously. "It saved me, it gave me everything, it took away all my illnesses. I loved having little kids, I relate to little kids, but something was missing, and I don't think about this every day, but when I think about it, it's that creative energy. I was an imaginative, strange little girl, and in school I had a lot of creative outlets. I danced, I sang, I painted, there was a lot of that, and suddenly I didn't have any of that. I've thought about this – I think that's why I was having such a bad time. And there was the marriage, too, but that's another story." Her marriage, she says, lasted 16 years and "we're very good friends now. But it was very tough, and I felt lonely and didn't have the friends I had when I was in school. I missed that female friendship." She left, along with her children, in 1975. In 1976 she married again, and moved to New Mexico, but the marriage didn't work out. She has been married to her third husband, George Cooper, since 1987.
Blume talks a lot about friendship, female friendship – as well as George, her best friend, Mary, is here in London with her. It's a key theme of her novels, too – Summer SistersHere's to YouRachel RobinsonJust As Long As We're Together.
What followed Iggie's House was an extraordinary period of creativity: between 1970 and 1977 she published most of the books she is now most famous for, including BlubberTales of a Fourth Grade NothingThen Again, Maybe I Won't and Starring Sally J Freedman As Herself, her most autobiographical book. "I was very prolific in those years ... I was young and I remembered everything. I had total recall," she says. "I think I wrote Margaret in six weeks; now it's like four years. It was spontaneous, it just poured out. And in the middle of that I was writing the Fudge book."
Fudge, the naughty toddler who drives his brother Peter wild, was originally drawn from her son; Forever…, she says, was written after a request from her teenage daughter (it's dedicated to her: "For Randy as promised … with love"). "She was reading all these books, where a girl succumbed [to sex], she would be punished, sometimes she would die. And Randy said, 'Couldn't there ever be a book where two nice kids do it and nobody has to die?' And I thought 'Yes, I need to write this'."
Blume's protagonists range in age from toddler Fudge to the adult Caitlin and Vix of Summer Sisters, but perhaps her best work centres on the crossover from child to teenager, whether it's Tony; in Then Again, Maybe I Won't, making sense of a world where his friend is shoplifting, or Margaret. "I love the cusp," she says. "I always wanted to write, but I wasn't interested in writing about teenagers, because, looking back, I felt teenage Judy was very boring and bland. It was the 50s, and I hated the 50s. We all just wanted to fit in and none of us, not even with a best friend, were willing to go deeper. The 50s was such a time of 'Pretend everything's OK, pretend it's all good.' Our parents had just come through the war, everyone just wanted their families to be happy, we didn't want to rock the boat."
The younger Judy was more interesting, she thinks. The family hadmoved to Florida when her brother was sick, leaving her father, a dentist, behind in New Jersey. "I was making all kinds of bargains with God, feeling that I had to protect my father ... I adored my father, not only worried about him flying, which was a very scary idea, but worried about him being safe. It was a bad year, and I became ritualistic. I took on the burden of feeling responsible for his wellbeing, at nine, but never telling anybody. God, what a burden, when I think about it now, for a child."
Blume's recall of her childhood is exact. She says she finds it easy to "connect with children, to see their side of the story". "I'm very attached," she says. "I don't know why. I think some people just are. And I don't think it's necessary to have children to be like that. Maurice Sendak never had children but he was so connected to the child inside that he never lost that."
She's currently working on a new novel for adults, her first since 1998's bestselling Summer Sisters. The untitled novel is set in the 50s, partially, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where Blume grew up, and sees her tackling again a topic which preoccupies her – young pregnancies, and young motherhood. One of the main characters has a baby right after high school, and never tells the father.
"I come back to that again and again – what if, what if – it could so easily happen," she says. "It was a very scary idea that you could get pregnant, and three of the best girls in my school were pregnant, at graduation, and it changed their lives. There was no abortion, you know. Yes, some girls got shipped to Aunt Betty's house in the country and came back without a baby, and some girls had a hasty marriage."
"I think we got married young because we wanted permission to have sex, all the way sex, and so yeah, we all got married young, my generation. Our parents didn't because they came of age during the depression, they had one, maybe two children later. My mother was 34 when I was born, which today is nothing, but in my generation that would have been old. We rushed into marriage and having children before we had any idea what we were doing."
When her American publisher announced publication of the new novel in summer 2015, the news was greeted with rapture and covered by outlets from Time to the New York Times. An earlier New Yorker piece called her books "talismans that, for a significant segment of the American female population, marked the passage from childhood to adolescence".
Blume's younger fans have poured their hearts out to her for years – she even published a book of their letters, and had to go to counselling to learn "how to be supportive without feeling that I needed to save them". Her adult fans recall her as the author who understood. "It's hard to understand, now that YA fiction is so widely written and accepted, that in the early 80s no one else wrote like Judy Blume," says novelist Charlotte Mendelson. "It wasn't only that her protagonists were funny, and sympathetic; they lived in a totally recognisable ordinary world, and had real, painful, modern problems; reading them made one feel much less alone. She signed a copy of Deenie for me recently, and my joy was uncontained."
The musician Amanda Palmer has even written a song about Blume: "You told me things that nobody around me would tell ... I don't remember my friends from gymnastics class, / But I remember when Deenie was at the school ... Margaret, bored, counting hats in the synagogue ... All of them lived in my head, quietly whispering: / "You are not so strange." (Blume loves it: "She's sitting at the keyboard in her bustier and garter and she's singing this song, it's so beautiful.")
Palmer says she'd struggled for years to name her "influences", when asked by journalists, "and then it hit me: I totally forgot about Judy Blume. As I traced myself back, I realised that she'd opened up all these emotional doors and windows that started off locked, and I'd taken it totally for granted. It was such a eureka moment that I had to write her a song. And thanks to Twitter, she heard it. I cry pretty much every time I play it."
Teasingly, Blume says right at the end of the interview that she's now planning, sort of, a memoir up until the age of 12; she's not, she ends by chuckling, "going to do a Philip Roth" and announce her retirement.
"George just read me a really funny one [a blog in the New Yorker], it was, 'Ladies and gentlemen, Philip Roth has announced he has eaten his last sandwich.'" She laughs. George is waiting. She heads off to enjoy London.


Judy Blume: Parents worry too much about what children read

Children's author Judy Blume, whose own books have been banned in the past, says children 'self-censor' reading material they don't understand

Judy Blume getting ready for her Hay Festival event.
Judy Blume getting ready for her Hay Festival event. Photo: Copyright Jay Williams 2014
Parents worry "much too much" about what their children are reading, said the author Judy Blume. She argued that they will simply "self-censor" by getting bored of anything they do not understand.
Blume, the bestselling author of Forever, Blubber and Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, said people should not be unduly concerned about their children's reading material.
If the content was unsuitable, she argued, children would simply tire of it or let it wash over their heads without understanding.
Speaking at the Hay Festival, she said the experience of having her own books banned in the Eighties was "alarming", leaving her feeling "very alone".
Her novels, which confront issues of teenage sex, racism, divorce, bullying, puberty and masturbation, were considered shocking at the time, and are remembered by a generation of women for teaching them the facts of life.
Blume, now 76, has sold more than 80 million books worldwide and her work has been translated into 31 languages.
She told the audience that parents should be less concerned about the suitability of their children's reading material, concentrating more on simply getting them to love books.
"A lot of people worry much too much about what their children are reading," she said.
"A lot of people will want to control everything in their children's lives, or everything in other people's children's lives.
"If a child picks up a book and reads something she has a question about, if she can go to her parents, great.
"Or else they will read right over it. It won't mean a thing.
"They are very good, I think, at monitoring what makes them feel uncomfortable. If something makes them feel uncomfortable they will put it down."
Some of Blume's own books, written and published in the Seventies, were banned in the United States during the Eighties, with Deenie becoming her "most banned book" for references to the main character's "special place".
"Most of the time they hadn't even read the book," Blume said of the complainants. "Even if they had, they only read what I would call the 'good stuff'.
"It was definitely alarming. It was a very scary time and I felt very alone."
Speaking to her young fans in the audience, she added: "I say go and read. Read what you like to read."



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