Get Over Yourself

August 21, 2008

You know, I am really getting tired of these parents “outraged” by things they find in their kids’ rooms and feel the need to blame someone else for it.  The latest is, of course, the man in Oregon who found his 12 year old son had checked out some mature rated manga from a public library.

My question about all this, as a parent myself, is this; why is he blaming the library and not his son?  In the news report, he said he went to the library to find answers and demanded that the library “enforce” the adult section.  Why didn’t he ask his son why he checked them out?  Just like he said, it plainly says on the cover “Mature 18+“.  Surely if the kid can read the manga, he can read the age rating.

This kid knew full well what he was getting, and this father is just pathetic for taking out on the library.  It is not the library’s job to police the books it checks out.  The library did exactly what it was supposed to; it put mature rated books in the adult section.  That the kid was smart enough to either ask or look for it is not the library’s responsibility.  It’s the parents.  And this “father” is being a terrible parent if he thinks that blaming the library will get him anywhere.  Going to an attorney will only make him a laughing stock.  He is perfectly in his right to keep his kid from reading the manga, but he is NOT when he tries to force a library to do it for him.  He’s got the title of Father.  He should try acting like one.

Of course, the Fox news report is just some of the worse sensationalist crap ever.  But that’s to be expected of Fox.  Now, did they actually look at the books before they claimed they contained “animated pictures of young women and girls in bondage, being raped and abused” or did they just pull up some old news stories and cut and paste?  That kind of manga comes from Icarus, not Tokyopop (sorry Simon).

This kind of idiocy and base journalism really just pisses me off!  Take some responsibility for yourself and your kids!  If my daughter brought home some YAOI books from the library at age 12, SHE would be the one facing the consequences, not the library.  Because that’s what a responsible parent does.  They teach their kids to be responsible, not to go find someone else to blame.

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14 Comments for this entry

  • Esther Keller says:

    I agree with you for the most part, but I’d blame the parent and not the son. His son is after all 12 and curious about things. It’s natural for him to pick it up. If dad is so concerned about what his son is reading he has two ways of handling it: 1. Go to the library with his son or 2. Before the books come into the house or his room, Mom & Dad can look through the books the son brings home. (Because I know not every parent can accompany their kids to the library.) But otherwise, we agree.

  • That was the point of my post. The father is to blame for not better supervising his son and making clear what is appropriate to read and what is not. It’s an issue he should have taken up with his son, and not the library.

    I’m glad we agree. :)

  • Drakelah says:

    Thank you! I have the same complaint being a library person. You have no idea how much flack is taken by us for parents who can’t drag themselves to the library to check on their kids. We have graduated library card systems, rating systems, and still the parents yell and yell.

    I got into it with this group of Harry Potter haters who claimed I was promoting witchcraft to their children. I may have told the mother that if she’d raised her children right, it wouldn’t matter if they read about witches, they wouldn’t believe in those things, it’s fantasy.

    Sigh, perhaps I’m a bit rough around the edges, but I hate stupid people.

  • I have a hard time with stupid people too, hence my post. :)

    I’m more than happy to come to the defense of libraries. My mother worked my Elementary school library for years, even after I graduated. She knew it better than any of the librarians that came and went.

    The price of freedom is vigilance, and I’m happy to keep watch.

  • To be honest, i see both the library and the father as being in the wrong here.

    Dad is at fault for not ensring his son follows house rules. If he didnt want his son reading stuff like that then he should of said so, and made sure his son new if he broke the rule he’s get a stiff punishment.

    However i also see the library at fault here. Manga like Battle Vixens are covered, both back and front with warnings and age ratings, and i think the library showed bad judgement in allowing a 12 year old to check out an adult book.

    To me, it would be the same as if someone were to give a 12 year old a 6 pack without question. These are rated as mature/adult for a reason, they arent what kids should be reading.

    If the family dosent mind their kids reading smut, then they can infom the library. In a digiital age there’s no reason or excuse for not enforcing age limits in libraries.

  • If you give a 12-year old a 6-pack, you’re committing a crime. Letting a kid read what most people view as a comic book, regardless of “age ratings” isn’t. I don’t blame the library at all, it isn’t their job to police what kids are reading, except where the law demands that they must, the responsibility lies 100% with the parents who need to know what their kids are doing at all times.

    That’s parenting. Too bad most people don’t know how to do it.

  • I’m sorry Tiamat, I have to disagree with you. This is not the library’s fault, and the last thing I would want if for them to start telling people what they can read and what they can’t.

    There has to be a line drawn somewhere where people have to take personal responsibility for their actions, parents for their kids. The library did what it was supposed to do. It put those books in the adult section of the library. The kid was just as aware of the Mature ratings.

    But the last thing anyone should want is a public agency telling people what they can and can’t read. Parents are there for a reason. They can discipline the boy and leave the library out of it. The library is not a porn peddler, and librarians don’t need to police the books. Parents did that for years, and I don’t see a need for it to change now.

  • Kristin says:

    Thank you! As a librarian this is music to my ears. I’m also a comics fans so I run across these “What about the children!” articles quite frequently. Now as a curious kid I did manage to get a few risque comics and books (there wasn’t a lot of manga back then) but I was smart/lucky enough not to get caught by my mother. However if she had found something that she didn’t like it would have been my fault not the library/comic book store. It’s great to hear of a parent with a similar attitude.

    Also for the commentor who feels the circ clerk should have refused to check out to the child, many libraries have self-checkout machines so the kid may not have even approached a library employee at all.

  • So, lets say you run a news agents and a 12 year old comes in and buys something like play boy, do you serve him or tell him to come back with an adult?? Same difference only different location.

    If it’s an automated system then its even easier to set up. Just make sure the manga market as mature are in the adult section, and set it so anyone with a kids card can’t take them out. It’s how it’s done in the UK. The kids card only allows them to cvheck out books from the childrens section. If the parents want them to have access to everything they can request them to be given a full adult card. In which case it’s upto the parents to monitor.

    Yes it’s a parents job to raise their children. However it’s also the librarians job to make sure that kids don’t check out porn. It dosen’t take long to say no. And i’d rather have a parent shouting at me for not letting their kid check out something, than for letting them.

    It just requires that thing called common sense, on the parts of both librarian and parent. Both have a job to do, and both have a part to play in raising a child, just as teachers, police etc etc do

  • It’s not the same. Just like the beer example, a child can not buy a pornographic magazine. It is against the law (in the US). It is not against the law for a child to check out books from the library.

    From what I recall from my library, children have children library cards, but can get an adult card after a certain age (Don’t remember what). They can also use their parent’s card. The story doesn’t say who’s card was used, just that the books were checked out.

    The books in question, Battle Vixens and Battle Club are not porn. Crass fan service perhaps, but not by any means porn. I’ve never been to a library that had PORN of any kind available for checkout, so it’s really a moot point. Librarians don’t need to be yelled at for any reason (except if they go postal from all the stupid parents yelling at them).

    Yes, this situation does require common sense, but the librarian’s job is NOT to raise a child. Their job is to manage the library and help patrons find the information they are looking for. Their job is not to raise other people’s children, anymore than it is a teacher’s job, theirs is to teach, or the police, theirs is to protect. All of these professions have more than enough to deal with without having raising other people’s children pushed on them.

  • It’s not the librarian’s job to control what people check out and since libraries don’t carry pornography in any way, shape or form, there’s nothing wrong and certainly nothing illegal with a child checking out manga. If the parent specifically chooses to limit which forms of manga or other reading material the child should have access to, then the parent needs to accompany the child to the library and approve the books before they are checked out. It is utterly asinine to suggest that the library be held responsible for a parent’s decisions regarding reading material.

    No matter what you may think, the responsibility for raising a child lies SOLELY with the parent. The librarian has two duties, follow the law and follow their job description. I’m sure no librarian anywhere has a requirement to help you raise your kids. That’s like saying the auto mechanic needs to balance your checkbook because you pay him for service.

  • (Anonymous) says:

    I, myself is a very hardcore manga addict. And I am 12 years old. Yes, most of us ARE smart enough to know what we’re reading! But some kids don’t know better. Blaming it on the child isn’t always the right thing to do. I know what those mature manga are, and their content. For I would NEVER in my kid – life EVER buy mature rated manga. I find it offensive you would blame the child and not the parent. We are still young, and some of us aren’t that smart. You have to deal with that.
    It would have been the parent’s fault.

  • Thank you for your comment. It’s interesting to hear what someone in your age group has to say about this. The point of the post though, was that it wasn’t the librarian who was at fault, which is exactly who the father wanted to blame.

    In the end I think it’s safe to say it’s both the parent and child’s fault. It’s the parent’s fault for not teaching his child what is proper for his age to read and what isn’t, and it’s the child’s fault for ignoring the age rating warnings. Mature titles make their content very explicit. There is no way this kid didn’t know he was bringing home material not meant for him.

    Yes, you are still young, and it is the parent’s job to correct their children so they know what is right and what is wrong, so it would be very appropriate for the parent to punish their child for doing something wrong and not the library. That’s the parent taking responsibility for his parenting. It’s what we’re supposed to do.

  • (Anonymous) says:

    Yes, it wasn’t the librarian at fault, though. And the person who bought it is at fault too. (How can you not see it’s mature when it’s written all over it?) So yes it is both the parent and child’s fault. And talking about this made me realize I should be more careful of what types of manga I buy and their age ratings!

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