Saturday, December 12, 2009

Newsnight review on BBC2: lets hear it for the kidults!

In case you missed the BBC2 Newsnight programme last night (Friday 11th December), the guests were Anthony Horowitz, Michael Bywater, David Schneider and Bidisha (Mukherjee). Newly released films under discussion were Where the Wild Things Are and The Fantastic Mr Fox, and the adaptation of Terry Pratchett's novel Nation at the National. There were reviews of a colouring-in book Girls Are Not Chicks and Chris Ryan's Battleground. Thomas the Tank Engine, described by one reviewer as 'conservative' and 'anti-feminist', also figured.
There's an interesting, though brief, discussion about infantalisation and crossover fiction. Bidisha said that "many, many stories which are ostensibly for children are really, in the same way that fairy stories are, they're really about everything and we never lose our interest in family, and faith, and love and death and how to prove ourselves." Jack Zipes, editor of The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales, would approve, I'm sure.
The programme also touched on the girl/boy divide in children's fiction, which is where the guests fell to talking about the merits (or not) of Girls Are Not Chicks, which promotes the view that girls are 'thinkers, creators, fighters, healers and superheroes', and Chris Ryan's adventure yarn set in Afghanistan Battleground.
The guests - particularly David Schneider - are a lively bunch and it's good knockabout stuff. You can see it at:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/newsnight_review

2 comments:

  1. This is slightly off topic, but a program on CBC Radio (Canadian Broadcasting) gave a different profile of a "kidult."

    The episode is entitled "Manboy vs. Kidult" and profiles as a "kidult" (defined here as an overachieving kid who is successfully engaged in adult pursuits) a very impressive, well-spoken young person named Bilaal Rajan, who has been effectively fundraising for worthy causes since the age of 4 (his parents swear he must be a changeling, they had nothing to do with his obsession but gave up and supported it).

    You can listen to the CBC program from this link (scroll down to 02/21/2009).

    It's a humorous show but upbeat, highlighting what a young person can do.

    On the literacy topic, Bilaal was probably significantly advantaged by his early years at the Giles School in Toronto which takes students on a lottery or first-come-first-served basis (no admission requirements) and makes high achievers out of nearly all of them.

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  2. Thanks for that, Palisadesk.
    from what I can see of Bilaal from the prog, he is, as you say, impressive. I hope he doesn't blow up later - 'Where did my childhood go?'
    Since you posted, I looked up 'kidult' on Wordnik (http://www.wordnik.com) and found that in Northern Ireland, at any rate, it is used to refer to the the 35 to 54 years age grouo who won't leave home! '[T]oo lazy to get your own place or that you've got used to your "lifted and laid" lifestyle', as described in the Belfast Telegraph, whatever a 'lifted and laid' lifestyle might refer to. It connoted something different in the '60s, when we couldn't wait to get out of the door of our parents' homes.

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