Friday, June 26, 2009

No. 26: The Stupids by Harry Allard

When I travel to Europe, I always try to bring a couple boxes of Kinder Eggs home with me. Not for sale in the US, Kinder Eggs are hollow egg-shaped chocolates with little toy surprises inside. They are the bomb. They are also illegal in America because the toys contained in their hollow chocolatey goodness are too tiny to meet strict child safety guidelines mandated by whichever government agency regulates these things.

After purchasing several boxes of Kinder Lord of the Rings eggs (limited edition! total score!) and Barbie Eggs in a supermarket in Vienna, Austria, my friend, Laura, and I were sort of forced to explain the embarrassing Kinder ban to our European friends. Our friend Alex's Viennese mother in particular had a hard time grasping what could possibly be harmful about a Kinder Egg. Laura summed it up by saying that our government believes kids in America are too stupid to know better than to stick Kinder toys up their noses and if it's true, then our kids probably are too stupid to play with them.

I do actually have a point with all this.

The rationale for banning Kinder Eggs reminds me of the reasons why people ban The Stupids series by Harry Allard. Let's get really honest about this, Gentle Readers... If our kids in America are too stupid to understand that The Stupids aren't meant to be taken seriously, then they probably are (for real) too stupid to read the books.

Which is a shame because the Stupids are hysterical! ...and, of course, very stupid. This is one family truly walking through the world in a clue-free state. Even the simplest tasks like eating breakfast (which they do in the shower) elude them. In one scene, Mrs. Stupid makes herself a new dress by strapping live chickens all over her body. If I were 5-years old, this would be high humor to me. There are subtler things -- like a framed picture of a bucket with the caption "Lake Stupid" underneath it -- that will appeal to adults too.

The first book in the series The Stupids Have a Ball, gets banned because the Stupids throw a costume party to celebrate their children failing every subject in school (including recess). Its critics say this promotes negative behavior and reinforces low self esteem. Another book in the series The Stupids Die gets banned due to objections about the word "die" in its title. No, I am not kidding. I also discovered in my research that parents these days are teaching their kids that the word "stupid" is a bad word, similar to sh*t or the f-bomb. I'm picturing those parents leading the charge to ban the Stupids.

Sounds stupid, doesn't it? Now, excuse me while I go stick my Kinder Aragorn up my nose.

3 comments:

  1. I really like what you said about kids not being smart enough to read if they take this stuff seriously. I agree!

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  2. I remember reading these books with my Dad as a kid, and of COURSE I was aware, at 4 or 5 years old, that this stuff was not to be taken seriously. The fact that people want to ban these books is ridiculous and sad. Welcome to America...

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  3. Although I agree that held to today's standards of "ultra seriously serious we have to see everyone and everything as a threat", this book is definitely the anti-christ. However, in the United States we have a constitutional right to print whatever we want. These books were written in the 70s when people actually taught their children right from wrong and public decency. So, nobody freaked out because the authors were humorists and it was used as a funny way to show what not to do... but concepts like that are lost on today's "parents"...

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