08 October 2007

No more dreams of happy endings...

So over the weekend I heard something quite disturbing: there are parents campaigning to ban all children's books with sad endings!

I could see this sort of shit here in the States but this originating in England! Home of all things sad, dreary, rainy and gray and therefore beautiful and bittersweet?!! It couldn't be true!

From Book Glutton: "Children's books that don't have happy endings should be banned (from this is london) according to Adrienne Small, the founder of an organisation called The Happy Endings Foundation. Their website states that, "The Happy Endings Foundation (THEF) believes children's books should only have happy endings. It urges parents to buy positive books for their children."

The Happy Endings website includes a calendar of events with a "Bad Book Bonfire and Fun Fireworks Party" planned in London on the 5th of November. Yes, they plan to burn books on a bonfire! What kind of madness is that?!

Of course, parents can choose to buy books with happy endings only for their children but fortunately, the vast majority of parents don't. It would present a very warped and artificial view of the world to children if they were only allowed to read books with happy endings! I feel incredibly sorry for the children who are raised in a home without books but to be raised in a home where books are so severely censored is nearly as bad.

I find the whole campaign very distasteful and disturbing.

**Update: I just noticed one of their "aims" on the Happy Endings Foundation website is, " To eradicate sad thoughts from all literature" - that's right, it's not just aiming to censor children's books, but all literature! I think this campaign is very sinister indeed."
Well apparently it is bullshit; I guess I shoulda known; just another clever guerrilla marketing ploy by ArtScience; however they seem to have pulled the wool over the eyes of some rather respectable mainstream, albeit gullible, news organisations. I heard the report on 1010 WINS and read it from the BBC, and naturally word spread like wildfire online. And here I am, too, writing about it.

I guess it was just set up to spread the word about some new Lemony Snicket book or something. Go see for yourself "Happy Endings Foundation a book marketing ploy" and "Happy Ending Foundation / Lemony Snicket Hoax: In Poor Taste?"

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