Edward LearReaders of recent blogs may think I’m picking on Sarah Monette, but actually she is just a prominent example of the trend I’ve noticed in young adult lit, mainly because she was nominated for a Hugo Award this year. Later this week, I’ll review David Levithan’s Boy Meets Boy, another example of the same literary approach.

I’ve taken the position here that removing conflict from young adult novels is a type of overprotection, but clearly there are other trends at work, too. One of the recent comments on the blogs has pointed out progressive ideology as one of these trends and directed me to Fredrik deBoer’s article here. These views are very interesting, considering the Sad/Rabid Puppies in the recent Hugo battle have listed this trend to political ideology as one of their main complaints.

DeBoer asks the question about how a new default of progressive criticism affects art, literature and culture. What he means is that art critics and reviewers tend to evaluate work on how progressive it is, how it reflects diversity, for example, and how it follows progressive social norms. According to deBoer, art and artists that are seen as satisfying the progressive dictates will be celebrated by critics and those who are seen as deficient will be trashed.

This isn’t something that deBoer alone has identified. The question is how it affects what’s available for us to read. The potential for negative criticism affects what editors are willing to buy, for example, and as a result, it also affects what writers spend their time writing. Have an unpopular idea? You’d better just shelve it.

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