Friday, October 05, 2007

I Was Going To Try To Be Nice But...I Just Ended Up Being Humiliated

Okay, so now we've established that I am a humorless, irate feminist and extremely long-winded, too. It's time to move on.

I wanted to do something positive today. I wanted to do something nice for somebody. I thought I might try to do something nice for those parents who worry about their children being fed a steady diet of depressing literature at school. I'd been thinking about that recently because there's just been a new essay on the subject. Whenever a parent speaks up on this issue, the kidlit world tends to see it as a red flag. The troops seem to rally, and it seems to me that it becomes a them against us issue.

I've known parents who have voiced such concerns. They were educated, intelligent people who had their children's best interests at heart. They were speaking from their own personal experience. I don't feel that I have any right to tell them that their life's experience is wrong and mine is right, that the literary world is a great free forall and their kids should just get in there and start swinging, trying to hit as many books as they can before they pass from this vale of tears. Let the battle shape them as it will.

I don't know what can be done to address these parents' issues, but I think their points should be taken seriously. We shouldn't react to them in a kneejerk fashion. We should show them the same sort of respect we'd expect to receive ourselves.

So I was thinking about saying something like that, and then I read this article and the wind went right out of my sails. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. The serious people who want to raise this issue as a legitimate topic for discussion cannot be happy about this.

Thanks to Kelly at Big A little a for the link.

Update: Damn! There was a part of me that thought that The Happy Ending Foundation story might be a joke, but I didn't listen because we've all heard weirder stuff, right? Right? And now look what leila at bookshelves of doom reports. The whole thing appears to be a marketing ploy for the Lemony Snicket books. As if they need to sell any more of those.

Thank God it's the weekend because between my self-righteous indignation yesterday and my humiliation over falling for this thing today, I am exhausted.

This blog needs an editor.


Debbie Ridpath Ohi said...

I was taken in too. Part of me has to give credit to the marketing company; they certainly got the buzz going.

On the other hand, I have to question their strategy. I noticed that I wasn't the only blog to speak out against this supposed censorship and in support of kids' writers...but then we get slapped in the face.

I also wonder about how the mainstream news outlets are feeling about the whole thing, esp. the BBC. I read at least one comment from a blogger who said "I thought it was legit...I just heard it on the BBC, after all." Our faith in those usually reliable outlets has been a bit shaken because of this incident.

And I also have to wonder if this marketing ploy will end up helping the Lemony Snicket books or hurting them.

Gail Gauthier said...

I had all those same responses.

I certainly missed that the point was to promote Lemony Snicket books. I wasn't feeling that I should go out to buy them. I was so distracted by the whole foundation thing that I didn't get what the marketers, presumably, wanted me to get.

What does this whole thing say about the book reading world that so many people thought that someone would actually form a foundation like this one?

Debbie Ridpath Ohi said...

You've inspired me to post in more detail about this in my blog. (

Kelly said...

Well I was definitely taken in :) Seems just like something a parent would do. Why are they trying to sell Lemony Snicket books anyway?

Sorry to set you up Gail!

Gail Gauthier said...

I have no one but myself to blame. As I said, something at the back of my mind suggested the whole thing was a joke, but I ignored.

Yes, it seems strange to me to be entering into a new marketing campaign for Lemony Snicket, too. On the other hand, as a writer I find it a bit gratifying that someone is interested in continuing to try to sell a series that isn't brand new and shiny. Sometimes older books do seem to be forgotten when the new ones come out.

Jenna said...

Quit whining about being taken in by the website!!

Your passionate response to the site deserves kudos, legit foundation or no, because as you mentioned it is TOTALLY believable that someone would set up a site like that to ban unhappy thoughts from their poor children.

Gail Gauthier said...

Jenna--That's the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me that began with the words "Quit whining."