Friday, July 18, 2008

"So clearly a teenager"

No, this isn't a foreign policy blog, but I do think this story on All Things Considered from a couple days ago about interrogation at Guantanamo is more than a little interesting as an example of cultural perception of "teenagerness." The reporter, Tom Gjelten, makes a really interesting observation at about 2:30 into the clip:
"To me this is so clearly a teenager being interrogated. I mean, how many times have you spoken to your own teenage kids this way..."
It's not so clearly a "child," but a teenager. He's recognizing something universal. For me, one of the strongest indicators of YA in fiction is what Gjelten is picking up on: an unbearable tension created by a young person in an adult situation (in this case a situation that no adult would handle well, either). This is why I think of YA as a genre.

(Interesting to note that they got lots of letters about that comment. The ones they read vigorously disagreed.)

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