A Bedtime Story for Parents

Posted July 2nd, 2011 (3:58 am) || Comments Off

“Go the Fuck to Sleep” by Adam Mansbach (illustrated by Ricardo Cort├ęs) is a parody of children’s bedtime story. It is a humorous and exaggerated example of the frustration any parent feels when their little one won’t fall asleep. I recently came across an article on cnn.com regarding the book and some of what I read disturbed me.

The full article can be found here: (http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/06/27/zacharias.kid.book/)

The general gist of the article seems to be along the lines of demonstrating the book isn’t funny because in the real world there are neglected children and parents use the word “fuck” a lot. I’m sure I’m not giving the author (Karen Spears Zacharias, author of “The Shelter of Mockingbirds: The Murder of 3-Year-Old Karly Sheehan.”) proper credit, but at least I’m presenting her writing for what it is.

Zacharias, in my humble opinion, doesn’t seem to understand the point of humor, and may not have a properly developed sense of what is funny. She quotes an expert on child development (Dr. David Arredondo, founder of The Children’s Program in the San Francisco metropolitan area) as saying “Imagine if this were written about Jews, blacks, Muslims or Latinos.” You know something? I can’t imagine it.

Can you imagine anything you’d reasonably expect or desire a Jew, black person, Muslim or Latino to do because they were Jewish, black, Muslim or Latino? Well, can you imagine it without being racist? I can’t. How is expecting your child to go to sleep, and being frustrated he won’t, akin to racism?

Zacharias goes on to say Mansbach’s book “accurately portrays the hostile environment in which too many children grow up.” What? Show me such an environment. The problem here is there is no such environment to be founds within reality. An episode of The Family Guy more accurately portrays an environment (hostile or otherwise) in which children grow up.

Okay, so “far too many” parents say “fuck” and “bullshit” and other such obscenities. I’d question that. I’ve looked into this and I have not found a single American family that did not use such language. Sure, there are some that don’t use those words specifically, but they have words which mean the same thing and they use them.

I’d agree the book “Go the Fuck to Sleep” is not intended for children and it would be bad parenting to use as an actual bedtime story. Not because of the “message” it may send, but because as a society we have deemed the language used without to be inappropriate. But is it demeaning to children? Not at all.

I do think Zacharias sums up her article quite well by implying parents should be more like the parents in “all those beautifully illustrated storybooks.” Sure thing, let’s all get right on that. I’m sure we’ll all be ideal parents by modeling our behavior after the parents of Rapunzel and Cinderella.

And we lived happily ever after.

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Free Range Chickens

Posted January 21st, 2010 (12:28 am) || Comments Off

So D and I got to talking about vegetarians. Before I start my rant, I would like to say I believe there is nothing wrong with a vegetarian diet, at least in and of the diet itself. My issue with most vegetarians is the reason they are vegetarians. Basically, if you are a vegetarian for any reason which would imply it is wrong for anyone not to be a vegetarian, you would be the one in the wrong. The choice to eat meat or not is not a moral one. Humans have sharp teeth designed to eat meat. It’s up to you to decide if this design is the result of evolution or by intelligent design, but there is no escaping the fact humans are not only capable of digesting and drawing nutrition from meat, but are biologically designed to.

There is nothing moral involved in this design and the choice to eat meat is not a moral decision. Perhaps the choice to eat other people would be a moral decision, but not meat in general. There are of course particular animals which seem ideally suited to be eaten by other animals. Cows, chickens, pigs, deer, whale, fish, etc. all seem to be very compatible with our digestive system. Cows and chickens particularly. I suppose it’s no coincidence cows and chickens are also the most docile animals of the human diet, but it can be argued they are only such a large part of our diet because they are so docile. Regardless, we eat them because their meat tastes good to us. Again, your choice to believe if this is due to evolution or intelligent design, but ultimately I feel it is obvious humans are supposed to eat cows and chickens (and several other animals).

Of course there are some who believe animals have feelings. I would be among those who do. Of course animals have feelings; they are living things with emotion not so different from our own. Should the fact an animal is capable of feeling fear and pain stop us from eating it? No. A bear still eats salmon even though salmon can feel pain. A lioness still eats the antelope even though it runs from her in terror. Like many other things, it’s up to you to believe it’s evolution or intelligent design, but emotions are simply part of the survival instinct inherent in all living things. If it was not, there would be no animals left to eat because none would get away.

Which brings us to free range chickens… The idea here is that instead of keeping chickens… well, cooped up, they are raised in a “natural” environment where they can wander free in a really large yard and experience what is believed to be a happy life. For a chicken. Right before we slaughter them. Vegetarianism I can understand, even the kinds based on a “moral” decision that eating meat is wrong. But what kind of person believes it’s moral to force the feelings of fear and terror into the animals we eat before we kill them, or think it’s morally superior to cooping up them up? Wouldn’t it be better (morally superior) to deny the animals that fear by providing an existence of devoid of need? When cooped up, the animals are feed, cleaned and their waste removed. They don’t even need to move to get everything they would want. Sure, some people think moving around is good, but then why don’t plants do it? They don’t need to, and now the chickens we eat don’t need to.

So what’s the big deal?

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