Go the F**k to Sleep
What's more absurdly hilarious than an ersatz bedtime story called "Go the F**k to Sleep"? Funnier even than Werner Herzog or Samuel L. Jackson reading it? Answer: The uproariously hyperbolic opinion piece that ran Monday on CNN – CNN! -- by author Karen Spears Zacharias, who claims, "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." Wah wah waaaaaaah.
Zacharias, whose bio says she has a forthcoming memoir on the murder of 3-year-old Karly Sheehan, is careful in her piece to state that "Nobody is suggesting that there's a connection between Adam Mansbach's book and child abuse or child neglect" and that "Mansbach is undoubtedly the kind of father who heaps love, affection and attention upon his daughter." But, as she explains, "the lines of what's appropriate parenting have become blurred" and, as a concerned Oregon attorney says, the book is full of "violent language in association with children." For the corker, she quotes child development expert Dr. David Arredondo, who implores, "Imagine if this were written about Jews, blacks, Muslims or Latinos," and she says, "It is hard to imagine this kind of humor being tolerated by any of the marginalized groups Arredondo cited." I wonder, is that because the sleep habits of Jews, blacks, Muslims or Latinos aren't relevant? Because "Take a Nap Right Now, Goddammit, Person of Color" just doesn't make a lick of sense?
Zacharias, whose comedic credentials include a blurb from Jeff Foxworthy, has drummed up a world of disagreement; her story has received over 2,000 comments in just one day since her bizarre Op-Ed appeared. The more restrained can be summed up by the reader who noted "Humor helps people deal with stress" and the person who suggested, "This lady is out of her mind."
[. . .]
Comedy explained isn't comedy at all. And when you speak up and say that something is offensive, you inevitably run the risk of being labeled a humorless scold. But real humor rarely involves taking cheap shots at groups of people who are regularly misunderstood or victimized. It comes instead from observation of the absurdities of life, from the frustrations of being the underdog, from sticking it to the man. Being shocking is fine; taking lazy jabs at the already put-upon is to bomb unforgivably.
That's why it's so silly to take umbrage at "Go the F**k to Sleep," because Zacharias doesn't seem to get who the joke is on. She argued Monday on Twitter that "The point is that far too many children live in homes where ugly thoughts are acted upon," as if ugly thoughts inevitably lead to ugly deeds, or ugly thoughts shouldn't be laughed at. It's not that sometimes children aren't verbally browbeaten for real. But Mansbach's humor is about the tyrannical boss -- the boss, in this instance, being the baby. And if you're a parent, you damn well know who wears the poop-loaded, spit-up-stained pants in your torturously sleep-deprived relationship. (“‘Go the F**k to Sleep’ and Tracy Morgan's comedy battle,”Mary Elizabeth Williams, Salon, 28 June 2011)
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Tyrannical, demanding children are the problem
The book could be everything you say it really is, MEW, and it would be a shame if what this is a most-welcome, fun book that mostly gives some humor and compensense/relief to parents who overall obviously really do love their children, but nevertheless can sometimes of-course resent some of the wear and strain involved in taking care of them, and who shouldn't feel guilty for some harmless jibing back. Or, it could be what Zacharias suggests it is, part of acceptible, guilt-free way in which a climate can be created for parents to legitimate their desire to strike back against children for their ostensible interminable spoiled self-centeredness and demandingness. I've read the book, think it clearly the latter, and am glad Zacharias spoke out -- but just wish she hadn't allowed that Mansbach was absolutely for-sure loving of children; because the truth is if he was that I wouldn't find the book objectionable: regardless of where-the-shit-fuck he went with it, it would communicate this love, and the lost-in-space, puritan dumb-tards would be objecting a book that is actually serving their end!: those who want a climate that encourages children to feel insecure and fearful (and please, look around, and don't deny the every evidence that most Americans clearly do not want good things for their kids) would actually have to discourage people from actually reading/buying the book to have it work their way.
Perhaps you all disagree, but I sense increasingly we're having various groups floated for "consideration," mostly for the purposes of making their victimization something they had coming their way. While we've all been suffering, forced to make ever more sacrifices, haven't we too long tolerated the goodie-goodie understanding of adult motivation that would have us feel guilty if we dare on occasion resent the child's spoiled demand that we attend to his/her each-and-every moment-to-moment whim?, that would impede some fair and sane turn-around and make children seem, at least in a fairer world, in need of giving a little bit more back to us for a change? Childrearing wasn't always about that, we note -- forever attending to them and giving-in to them. For quite the while it was mostly about hardening, in fact -- restraining, disciplining, shaping them. No one want to go back to that obvious, cruel overkill of spanking and closet-time banishment, of course, but surely if they learned something more of that young -- that not every one of their endless whims deserves attendence, and are perhaps in need of restraint and punishment -- they won't grow up into adults so still insisting of making a tyranny of their incessant needs they were willing to bloat to the point of immobility both themselves and their nation in service to them!
When adults start finding ways to legitimate a climate where more "honest" complaints/assessments of babies can be made -- especially about their endless needs -- be sure you're at time when adults are feeling guilty about having in their lifetime actually managed to satisfy some of their own. They punish themselves for this greed by, for instance, voting in politicians who would near kill an economy just so everyone can feel more virtuous, less selfish, more principally self-denying and less blameless, but mostly "merge with perpetrator" and go after those who most fundamentally represent neediness and dependency: welfare types, precariously-living immigrants, and most especially, children.
This book is not so much much-needed relief, but sign that in this obviously child-hating America, things are getting in line for unimpeded persecution. Soon books like this won't have to hide behind a "harmless" joke. "Our kids are spoiled brats; long past time we reigned them in."
Further discussion on how we turn principally on needy, defenceless children at the finish of prosperous times, at psychohistory.com