useless as that yellow lemon-shaped rock :
A sort-of book review
Received in the mail this week: Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed! by Katharine DeBrecht.
What's the protocol for when you receive a review copy of a book in the mail? Am I under any obligation to like it? Do I have to write nice things about it? What if, say, I think the book I receive in the mail is a waste of pulp, a detriment to society and is frightening in the way that indoctrination literature always is? Should I actually say that or should I just ignore the whole thing and, when the publishing company asks where my review is, just tell them the book must have gotten lost in the mail?
You want to know more about this book, don't you? Ok.
This full-color illustrated book is a fun way for parents to teach young children the valuable lessons of conservatism. Written in simple text, readers can follow along with Tommy and Lou as they open a lemonade stand to earn money for a swing set. But when liberals start demanding that Tommy and Lou pay half their money in taxes, take down their picture of Jesus, and serve broccoli with every glass of lemonade, the young brothers experience the downside to living in Liberaland.
That's the official blurb.
Now, I'm not a liberal. Nor am I a conservative. So it would appear I don't have a dog in this fiction-fight. But I do, and my dog is named Indoctrination. I find it not only wrong, but bizarre that people would think this book is appropriate for young children.
I'm not saying I'm for taxing kids with lemonade stands. That's a ridiculous notion. And I know the whole lemonade stand thing is just an easy metaphor for parents to use something the kids can relate to in order to make them afraid of liberals. But the whole book smacks of self righteous mockery and I hardly think this is the way a responsible, caring parent would wish to raise their children. I don't know what kind of parent reads this lesson in fear and loathing to their children at bedtime, but whoever they are, I don't want my kids hanging out with theirs.
Oh, I know. I've engaged in the mockery and name calling myself. But I certainly would never, ever, ever, put anything like this book in front of my young, impressionable children. My god. This is like a primer for Conservative Camp. Can you imagine the uproar if liberals came out with a book called Help, There's Conservatives Under My Bed, picturing two sweet little children besieged by caricatures of Reagan and Bush, holding up John 3:16 signs and wearing I LOVE GITMO shirts?
You want to a peek inside the book, don't you? Fine, I'll indulge you.
As you can see, in Conservative Land, lemons fall freely from trees. Also, the kids can't spell. And wholesome conservatives have life size pictures of Ronald Reagan on their walls, and also leer at perky breasted, dress-wearing housewives. Ted Kennedy shows up to spike the lemonade (giving parents the opportunity for a little lecture on alcoholism), right before the scary clown makes the kid cry tears over Jesus (tears make lemonade of the righteous!) and Hilary Clinton stops by to kick the dog and wave some weird dildo around in the air like she just don't care.
The weirdest thing about the book is that it is all premised on the fact that Tommy and Lou had the same exact dream at the same time. That's right. The whole "Liberals are coming to get me" scenario was just a dreamed that two little boys shared. How do you explain that one to kids without getting into a metaphysical discussion about the psyche and Freud and the phallic appearance of Hillary's broccoli?
Why am I being so hard on this little children's book? Because it's a children's book, that's why. I would be just as hard on a book called "Help, There Are Republicans In My Closet!" or "Help, There's a Libertarian Hiding in My Bathroom!" if said books tried to indoctrinate children to a specific, condescending, closed-minded way of thinking. We're supposed to be teaching our kids to think for themselves, to form their own opinions and to work towards a more peaceful, cooperative America, not to further the divide between political persuasions. Right? Or am I on the wrong track here? Am I erring somehow in letting my kids be who they are and form their own ideas without giving them fodder for calling their political opposition names? Despite everything I've written here in the past, I have never brought that attitude to my kids. Any political discussions I've had with them have been open, honest and without vitriol. In fact, turns out my 15 year old is a liberal!
Anyhow, the last line - and the most disturbing line - in the book says this:
And off they went to start squeezing lemons, like the good little conservatives they were.
I'll let you disseminate that one.
"The town of Springfield was born on that day. And to mark that sweet moment, our people planted this lemon tree. Lemons being the sweetest fruit available at the time".
[I have a feeling that's the last review copy of anything I'll receive from World Ahead Publishing]
Update: For those thinking this is a parody or a put-on, please note that it is published by World Ahead Publishing. Other titles from this publisher include:
- Their Lives - The Women Targeted by the Clinton Machine
- Thank You, President Bush - Reflections on the War on Terror, Defense of the Family, and Revival of the Economy
Some rave reviews of the book: