Two things to read

I’m back from Chicago after a delay of about a day and a half. Here’s what the flight boards looked like on Monday when I was trying to leave. All the yellow text is saying, “CANCELLED.” Apparently, -30 degree windchill is too cold to fly. Good to know!


But I am back and will be starting up writing again in a few days once I get my feet underneath me again after vacation and whatnot.

In the meantime, here are two things you should read: An interview with Jim DeRogatis regarding his investigations into R. Kelly’s sexual assault and rape accusations over the years, and a report from YALSA about the future of teens and libraries. Why am I lumping these two very different articles together and why am I talking about them now?

Many reasons including the fact that Lady Gaga – whose music I do like most of the time – made a song with R. Kelly called “Do What U Want” and it infuriates me. I hear it all the time on the radio. Here’s a lyrical sampling:

Do what you want
What you want with my body
What you want with my body

You can’t have my heart
And you won’t use my mind but
Do what you want (with my body)
Do what you want with my body
You can’t stop my voice cause
You don’t own my life but
Do what you want (with my body)
Do what you want (with my body)

Try reading that from the perspective of a teen being preyed upon by R. Kelly, the song’s collaborator, and it is heartbreakingly sad. For all of Gaga’s advocacy work on gay rights and body image, how could she write a song with a well-known frequent abuser?! Rape survivors aren’t “born that way”, Gaga, they are made by disgusting people like R. Kelly.

The YALSA article just came out and I’m working my through it. It’s a discussion of the way that teens use libraries now and how we have to keep up with their changing needs, both with resources and services. In my mind these two articles do go together because it shows how far we have to go in terms of doing the best we can for the teens in our communities. They should be protected from people like R. Kelly – and those people should be held accountable and go to jail – and we need to figure out how best the public library can help them succeed.

People often say and tend to agree that “Children are our future.” This is true, but children grow up to be teens, who still continue to be our future. They need as much help, protection from predators, and services as their younger siblings, but it’s easier for popular culture to say, “Teens are annoying and sullen,” than to say they are our precious future. I think these two articles together may serve to remind us.

Let’s make 2014 a good year for people of all ages.

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