This is my rapid response to an instance of stupidity.
On the Amtrak from DC to New York yesterday, I saw this opinion piece by Karen Spears Zacharias posted on CNN: "Go the F*** to Sleep" not funny. This title struck me as the opposite of the truth and thus worth getting riled up over, so I read it and indeed got riled up.
Go The Fuck To Sleep is a bestselling parody of a children's book. It reflects the frustrations of a parent trying to get his or her child to, well, to go the fuck to sleep. It's absurd and hilarious. The audiobook version is read by Samuel L. Jackson and is available for free, making it even more awesome. Here's a sample of the format:
The cats nestle close to their kittens now.
The lambs have laid down with the sheep.
You’re cozy and warm in your bed, my dear.
Please go the fuck to sleep.
The windows are dark in the town, child.
The whales huddle down in the deep.
I’ll read you one very last book if you swear
You’ll go the fuck to sleep.
The flowers doze low in the meadows
And high on the mountains so steep.
My life is a failure, I’m a shitty-ass parent.
Stop fucking with me, please, and sleep.
When I read the CNN piece, I became increasingly concerned that the author had failed to grasp the concept of the written-for-adults parody. See a few amazing quotes from the op ed:
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.
Ok, no joke is "the least bit funny" if you keep the dark and dramatic image of neglected children in the foreground of your mind. I'm more concerned for the jokes that wake up each night, sweating and terrified over being treated with the seriousness of child abuse.
Author Adam Mansbach is undoubtedly the kind of father who heaps love, affection and attention upon his daughter. (He reportedly had the idea to write the book because of his exasperation with her at bedtime.) But sadly, his book accurately portrays the hostile environment in which too many children grow up.
No. No it doesn't. Zacharias is forcing a connection. Mashbach is using hyperbole and parody, which are two common literary devices that this critic, the author of three books and adjunct professor of journalism at Central Washington University, should be familiar with by now.
[Joan Demarest, who loved the book before reading it,] 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.
You are! You just did it in the previous paragraph! Dude, we can see your words. Right. There! Why would you involve the prosecutor in a child murder case in a discussion about a parody of frustrated parents?? That's like asking the investigator in a grizzly (oops, not bear-filled!) grisly plane crash to comment on Patton Oswalt's hilarious Jetblue joke. "Well, it's just that every year many people come to a fiery end, so it concerns me that Mr. Oswalt would make light of an airline's safety precautions."
"Imagine if this were written about Jews, blacks, Muslims or Latinos," says Dr. David Arredondo. He is an expert on child development…
This does not follow. Arredondo may be an expert on child development, but he's an ignoramus on common sense and lightening the fuck up.
The author of this piece is so earnest, I thought for a moment her criticism itself was a parody of some humorless human that couldn't possibly be real, but I think she actually believes what she wrote. It's fucking stupid. I'm not generally prone to such heavy use of profanity myself, but I'm just so fucking irritated. Fuck!
Given Zacharias's response to the book, I can only imagine that she'd respond to my own criticism of her by citing the violent horrors endured by poorly-reasoned writers who don't know how to take a fucking joke. Given her propensity to overanalyze and misinterpret the world, however, I think reasonable people can agree she should simply shut the fuck up.
Thus, my response poem:
You're taking this too seriously
There's no need for a fuss
You clearly just dont understand
So please shut the fuck up
No parent lives by this advice
It's just to vent and stuff
It's obviously a fucking joke
Seriously shut the fuck up
Connecting parody to child murder
Is just too much for us
Please don't teach your kids like this
For their sakes, shut the fuck up