Story TimeOne of my daily rituals is putting my daughter to bed. I give her a bath, put her in her jammies, and then read her a story.
Yes, I do have a softer side.
Plus, it's a lot easier than the old ritual of letting Susan do it all and then pretending not to hear her complain about it.
So this evening, I was putting her to bed and I picked up a big book of fairy tales.
You know, the classics. Jack and the Beanstalk, Hansel and Gretel, Siegfried and Roy.
I love that last one. There's a tiger.
Anyway, I start flipping through the book, trying to find a nice story that'll teach her a good moral or something.
The Ugly Duckling.
That seems like a good choice. My daughter's cute as a button, but you never know when she's going to have an ugly friend.
Gotta plan ahead.
I started reading, but, as the story progressed, I started to actually pay attention to the words.
That story's messed up.
Everybody talks about how nice this story is, how it teaches kids to look at the beauty inside a person rather than the outside.
It really is nice.
Except that's not at all what the book says.
The story actually tells kids that it's okay to make fun of ugly kids as long as they're ugly. When they grow up and turn out beautiful, then you go ahead and like them.
How is that a good message?
Honey, I know you're incredibly ugly, but that's okay because eventually you won't be ugly anymore and then everyone will love you.
It's okay to hate ugly people.
But not beautiful people.
Not only are you NOT teaching your child that beauty is on the inside, you're actually teaching them that they SHOULD hate ugly people until they become beautiful.
What if your kid doesn't turn out beautiful? What if the ugly goes all the way to the bone?
Good job. Now, your kid knows that no one is ever going to love them.
Your parent-of-the-year award is in the mail.
That's a messed up story.
But there had to be a good story in that book, right?
Not so much.
Every freaking fairy tale I learned about as a kid is seriously F&%@ed up.
Hansel and Gretel. Two kids are wandering through the woods unsupervised, find a strange house, and decide to explore said house. Then, when confronted by the house's owner, they kill her and run away.
Sure, she was a witch, but they were breaking and entering.
They started that shit.
Hey, kids. It's totally okay to go running through the woods alone. And if you find somebody's house, feel free to look around and kill anyone in the house as long as candy is involved.
Jack and the Beanstalk. Boy sells family cow for magic beans. Boy plants beans. Beans grow into beanstalk.
As you would expect.
Boy climbs beanstalk, finds a house, and breaks in.
Again with the breaking and entering.
Are there any classic children's stories that don't involve some sort of B & E?
He then steals from the giant who lives in the house and, when the giant chases him to get back his property, Jack kills him.
What the hell is going on with these stories? Are we trying to entertain our children or give them lessons on crime?
You can blame games all you want, but games are at least honest about the story. When you kill Bowser, you know that bastard kidnapped the princess. He deserved it.
No, in the fairy tale version, Mario is retarded, breaks into Bowser's castle and when he gets confronted, he kills Bowser because it's apparently okay to kill anyone who gets in your way.
Try and get an ESRB rating on that one.
Am I asking too much from these stories? I mean, I know they were written in another time, but you can't tell me they didn't have laws against stealing and murder back then.
Sure, Dora might not be considered classic literature, but I don't remember her ever breaking into someone's house and then offing them because they couldn't help her get to ice cream mountain.
Then again... That doesn't sound like too bad of a story.