Reading 'Go The F**k To Sleep' May Lead To Child Abuse And Racism*
from the *of-course-it-won't-but-don't-let-that-stop-you dept
Oh, wait. I was wrong. Apparently, not everyone can see the humor in a foul-mouthed "children's book". They just have to look really long and hard to find something to be offended about. Not only that, but they actually have to make a bunch of stuff up in order to turn this viral sensation into the worst thing since the last moral panic.
Take Jean Demarest, an attorney from Oregon:
Demarest told me that initially she thought the book was funny. That was before she read it. "Now I find it unsettling. I don't like violent language in association with children."Demarest may be disturbed by the book's language, but considering her line of work, it's understandable that she might be. My argument is not with her take on the book, as quoted.
She has good reason to be concerned about the message behind such a parody. Demarest was the prosecuting attorney in one of Oregon's most high-profile child murder cases. She understands the fear that far too many children endure because the lines of what's appropriate parenting have become blurred.
Nobody is suggesting that there's a connection between Adam Mansbach's book and child abuse or child neglect. Still, there's no denying the reason "Go the F*** to Sleep" should be kept out of reach of children is because of its violent language and because of the way it demeans children."
However, the author of this post, Karen Spears Zacharias, has decided to use Demarest as a lead-in to a bunch of her own conclusions, none of which were stated by a respected attorney who recently dealt with a child's murder.
Sure, "nobody's suggesting that there's a connection" between Go the F**k to Sleep and child abuse, but Zacharias wastes a whole lot of words not suggesting it. For instance, I could say, "I'm not suggesting that Zacharias has never enjoyed anything wholeheartedly in her life, but there's no denying the fact that this article is about as much fun as removing asbestos with your teeth." Now, I haven't actually suggested anything, but I've certainly shifted everyone's perception of Zacharias.
This is just the setup. To really not enjoy Go the F**k to Sleep, you have to use your IMAGINATION!
"Imagine if this were written about Jews, blacks, Muslims or Latinos," says Dr. David Arredondo. He is an expert on child development and founder of The Children's Program, in the San Francisco metropolitan area, which provides consultation and training for those working with troubled youths.HOLYFRICKINWHAAAA???? WHATTHEF***AREYOUTALKINGABOUTMAN?
It is hard to imagine this kind of humor being tolerated by any of the marginalized groups Arredondo cited. Consider the lines on page 3:
"The eagles who soar thru the sky are at rest
And the creatures who crawl, run and creep.
I know you are not thirsty. That's bulls**t.
Lie the f*** down, my darling, and sleep."
Can you imagine??!!!
What if... and I want you to stay with me on this... What if... you're going to love this... what if someone wrote a book that said nothing derogatory towards anybody but instead parodied the wholesomeness of children's books by making it a profanity-laden plea directed at a wired-up child?
Imagine that! Imagine someone having a bit of laugh and finding out, much to his surprise, that the humor was universal!
Oh, but I see you have no imagination. Instead, what you have, Dr. Arrendondo, is the same thing that insurance fraud artists have: a desire to "play the victim." Without anyone, anywhere, ever having said anything about any race, creed, nationality, etc., you've managed to drag your issues into the middle of a viral sensation to somehow prove a point that didn't need to be made, and for that matter, a point that doesn't even really exist.
First of all, you marginalize every one of those groups yourself by referring to them as "marginalized." Then, you conjure up some sort of racist boogeyman who travels side-by-side with the F-word until everyone dies of culture shock.
Zacharias won't let it go, either. She continues to beat every last bit of enjoyment out of Mansbach's book with her ridiculous need to equate everything, no matter how unrelated, to whatever issue she's decided really needs to be dealt with:
For far too many kids, the obscenities found in Mansbach's book are a common, everyday household language. Swearing is how parents across the social, educational and economic strata express their disappointments or anxieties, their frustrations and outright anger at their children. Sometimes the biggest bully in the neighborhood lives in the same house you do. Sometimes it's your parent.She's right. It's not the least bit funny. Not when you've got an axe to grind and the space to do it. No one is "for" child abuse or neglect. No one really thinks that swearing at children is "good parenting." And certainly no one thinks that telling blacks, Latinos, etc. to "go the f**k to sleep" is acceptable. But here we are, being told something we all know, by people who have proven that anything can be twisted into an "issue" and that are obviously incapable of enjoying a good joke.
Perhaps the reason Mansbach's book resonates isn't so much because of the humor, but because of the truth behind it.
The violent language of "Go the F*** to Sleep" is not the least bit funny, when one considers how many neglected children fall asleep each night praying for a parent who'd care enough to hold them, nurture them and read to them.