content by

Gwen Katz

Gideon, Harrow, and the Value of Problematic Relationships in Fiction

When I was growing up in an evangelical home, there was a faction of parents who wanted media to never portray bad behavior, not even for the purposes of showing that it was bad. This led to such censorship as VeggieTales changing The Bunny Song so he’s singing about foods he doesn’t like instead of singing about not going to church or school. It rendered the song meaningless, but hey, the parents were mollified.

Not many in the book community today would be offended by an animated zucchini singing “I won’t go to church,” but I find myself thinking of those parents when I witness controversies like Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth being condemned as a slavery romance. There’s a sizeable subculture in the book world that doesn’t want to see bad behavior portrayed in books at all, not even if it’s being explicitly addressed and interrogated.

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