October 31, 2005

Book review revisited.

I did a little lambasting of a book a little more than a year ago here. When I was going through my comments checking for spam, I found this anonymous one from someone who called themselves "Observer". Here's the comment that they left:

You obviously didn't do your home work on this book at all man! Its about racism the different animals are all represent different countries and the wolves are borrowing their assets its very political actually. The underlying message isn't cutesy at all its very nessesary infact. Quite simply its that no one can overcome racism while shutting themselves away. Man did you ever miss the point!

I certainly agree that there is a "multicuturalism" message built into the missive, but I just don't think it holds much merit. The story implies that the downtrodden little wolves (I'm not sure who they are intended to represent, but let's just say it is Blacks in America.) can run to other countires for assistance, and that it will be provided for them. Sort of a "Gee Mr. Kangaroo. The Pig (aka: "The Man") has kept me down, so now I'll rely on your infinite charity to get me through my time of strife."...and the charity is there for them. Even after the charity was wasted several times by the actions of the Pig. It's not that the mere asking for help is a bad thing, but that it is universally portrayed as the "right thing", and also alluded to that it is 100% successful.

My limited experience with the "world at large" tells me that this phenomena is patently false. It is easy for me to say "Blacks in America" above, but there really is no such definitive of that group of citizen's. Americans who have Skin Pigment aren't all the same. They break themselves off into factions just as diverse as the variances between different races. The lines are drawn just the same as other groups define them: religion, political affiliation (arguably the same as religion), social class, education level, language, national origin, financial income, celebrity, bloodline...the list goes on and on. I call this the "We/They" factor.

The "We/They" factor states that it is an automatic function of the human animal to group together people who are similar (in one of the way's listed above), and they will invariably find fault with another group of people whose "Definition of Sameness" differs from theirs. All you have to do is skim a history book, then skim a newspaper, and you can find a similarity in the disparity between the groups of folks portrayed. I contend that this is a human universal, and that conflict will most probably be a condition that people put themselves in due to it. Bolack American's may call out for help from Black Australian's, but the chances of them recieving any palpable help are slim due to the inherent variances between the two groups. "sure they're Black, but they're not Australian, so we can't waste our resources help them. There will be a few who will help out, but it's nowhere near a majority, and it's likely to do absolutely nothing in the bargain (Pig blows your house down.).

I say: "Build it back from the sweat of your own brow." I believe that you'll appreciate what you have more, and you'll have a lot more pride in the actual accomplishment.

Then there's the mixed message of "Accept the Pig/Man into your heart and home, and you'll be happier". Hmmn. Go ask other's for help, but conform to your oppression. Huh? If you accept the charity, you are a part of the welfare state, but if you accept the idea's of "the oppressor", you get to be an "Uncle Tom". Which should it be? This book gives me the impression that you can have your cake and eat it too, and we all (should) know that it's impossible. You can't have it both ways.

Is the book bad? Not as such. It's a children's book. But I think that kid's reading should encompass a lot more of the harsh reality of what the world is really like, rather than espouse a Eutopian Ideal of what it should be. The intent isn't wrong, but the delivery is.

***Note to anonymous "Observer"***

Thanks for the thought provoking comments" Dissenting opinions are alway's welcomed, as long as they are not abusive, and your comment clearly wasn't. As long as this is a trend, you are not only welcomed, but encouraged to leave your thoughts here. If you wish to email your idea's to me, I'll treat them in the same respectful manner...Just more personal. Thanks again.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at October 31, 2005 09:45 PM | TrackBack

Talk about missing the whole damn point!

The point is, in fact, that Johnny reads childrens books while he poops.

What kind of a freak reads kiddie books while he's pooping?!


Anyway, let's get down to brass tacks.

People have been looking for deeper meaning in childrens books, movies, TV shows etc...for as long as they've been around.

Harry Potter isn't trying to convert children to witchcraft and the 3 wolves and the pig is a story about 3 wolves and a pig.
Tinkie-Winkie isn't gay and neither is SpongeBob Squarepants.
Dr. Seuss wrote with some underlying themes and made good use of a metaphor in his time...but just as often his books included nonsense for the sake of nonsense.

Do yourself a favor and bring a copy of "Adult Reading Material" magazine (now with no staple centerfolds)with you to the throne room like every red blooded american man should.

PS Please remember to flush.

Posted by: Sarah the penguin at November 1, 2005 05:32 PM

Hey! I can't read "adult material" on the crapper! Next thing you know I'd be in the shower...Um... "washing" my naughty bits. Sure they'd be clean, but I'd never make it to work on time. :^)

The tacks are now brass!

I ain't arguing Potter, Tinkie, Bob, or the good Dr. All of those are examples of "original" Idea's and they stand on thier own as Children's Entertainment. "3 Wolves" is a retool of a story (that I believe has a good moral for kids) to something that is 180 degrees from the message of the first story. The "3 pigs" teaches that building strong will help you overcome adversity, and this new iteration teaches that someone should go begging for help every time something bad happens. The first story is apolitical, and the second has a decidedly political undertone.

I think that (aside from the subversion of the original story) the main problem I have with this book is the fact that I haven't seen a copy of the "3 pigs" story anywhere in the house. I don't have any problem with people reading this new one, but I'd rather that they read both to get the juxtaposition between the lessons.

Sure, I may be reading too much into somehting that's just a "Kid's Book", but learning has to start somewhere, and I'd rather it be a practical lesson.

P.S. I always flush.

Posted by: Johnny - Oh at November 1, 2005 08:30 PM
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