I came across this article the other day and am on the fence about it.
The article talks about giving a rating system to books, and it goes on to further say that this could eventually lead to the censorship of certain types of literature. I do not think it will go that far, but I am not so sure that giving literature a rating system is a good idea. In my mind, as well as I think most people’s, books are so different from video games, television shows, and movies. The visual stimulation of the previous entertainment is so overpowering that I think they warrant a sort of rating system. Going to see a movie rate “R” you know that there is probably going to be violence, some adult situations and probably some offensive language. For those that are not into that do not have to do see it.
For books I think the situation is beyond different at least in my mind. The article has The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad rated on the higher end of the scale on the Common Sense Media website, meaning that you needed to be older to understand the book, or at least that is how I understood it. Which I would agree with, there are a lot of issues in that on that a younger reader may not fully grasp. I did play around with the website just to see what it said about some of my favorite novels. I guess in the grand scheme of things I do not have a problem with the system, but I think this does open a lot of doors down the road for mandatory reading in schools and potential problems.
As I have mentioned before some of the most controversial books are usually the best and have the most to learn from. Coincidently they are usually the ones that are on a banned list or will probably receive a poor rating from this system. You can see how this could easily be a double edged sword and could be the first step toward censorship of books, and you could see how these could easily go hand in hand.
Could this be the start of a Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451 dystopian future?? I highly doubt it but I do feel sorry for our youth as they could miss out on some amazing literature because of a stupid rating system. Looking back on what I had to read in high school I believe most of the literature is outdated and does a poor job to get kids interested in reading. That is just my opinion, but I think there are many people out there that would agree with me. I guess we will all see how this issue plays out.