The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 22, 2013

Judge a book by its cover

Daily Item

---- — You can't judge a book by its cover. Well, why not? Entertainment companies in conjunction with the United States Congress have developed a detailed rating system for television shows intended to warn parents about content that is considered inappropriate for children of certain ages. The MPAA also has strict guidelines that can even bar those younger than 18 from purchasing a ticket for certain films in theaters.

The intent is to protect children, but some adults and students desire a warning for themselves as well. Who wants to hear harsh profanity during a movie they paid for when they expected to see a harmless comedy? The same mentality exists with books. Books are a form of entertainment just as surely as movies and television shows, although reading is arguably "better" as it engages the mind to a greater degree when compared to other sedentary forms of entertainment.

Some have argued that the government interferes enough with the personal lives of Americans and that those who decide to read are mature enough to handle any content. I disagree. Books can be just as and even more graphic than scenes shown on television screens.

I personally do not appreciate enjoying a story, only to have my enjoyment ruined by a sudden, vulgar turn that has me questioning whether it is morally sound to continue. I also do not wish to be restricted to known authors, as there is limited material.

Also, I am not advocating more restrictions be set in place, but simply for a warning system for the curious. Why are readers not granted the same courtesy as moviegoers? Why are readers not able to judge books by their covers?

Caroline Eberhart,

Mifflinburg Area High School