Family Issues

Piracy As Promotion


Go the Fuck to Sleep, "a children's book for grown-ups" written by Adam Mansbach and illustrated by Ricardo Cortés, has an official publication date of June 14, but already it is the No. 1 bestseller on Amazon, thanks to pre-orders. I can see why; it's pretty fucking funny. A sample verse:

The eagles who soar through the sky are at rest
And the creatures who crawl, run, and creep.
I know you're not thirsty. That's bullshit. Stop lying.
Lie the fuck down, my darling, and sleep.

There are 13 more stanzas in a similar vein, each paired with a lush illustration reminiscent of those sickly sweet picture books that new parents tend to receive as gifts. Cory Doctorow notes that the book got a big boost from illegal PDF copies passed along by email, which is how I encountered it. In this case "piracy" was promotion, since plenty of people were happy to pay eight bucks (marked down from a list price of $14.95) for the pleasure of owning a paper copy.

Fun fact: Cortés, the illustrator of this book, is the author of It's Just a Plant: A Children's Story About Marijuana, which was a big hit with drug warriors a few years ago.

The Bay Citizen has more on how Go the Fuck to Sleep became a hit.

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  1. My wife and I received a PDF copy and laughed our asses off. Pure brilliance.

  2. I hope the rest of it is better than the sample.

  3. Threadjack:

    Apparently, the commute is murder…

    “TACOMA ? A Pierce County jury on Thursday found Darcus Allen guilty of first-degree murder for acting as the getaway driver for Maurice Clemmons, who gunned down four Lakewood police officers in November 2009.”


    1. Indict Mike Huckabee!

    2. Thread jack jack. See how rude that is! Also, blog whoring .

  4. Don’t fret precious, I’m here
    Step away from the window
    And go…back to sleep
    Lay your head down child, I won’t let the bogeyman come
    Counting bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums
    Pay no mind to the rabble, pay no mind to the rabble
    Head down go to sleep to the rhythm of the war drums

    1. Something about having children in the 21st century causes otherwise intelligent people to lose their minds. For real? what is so funny?

      1. I’m not seeing it, either. At least, not from these bits.

        On the other hand, my plans to write a children’s book version of Apocalypse Now may make me biased.

        1. Will the book be published 3 years late and millions of dollars overbudget?

          1. Of course. Also, I’ll be taking a page from Herzog’s work on a movie based on the same novel when I hold a pistol on the artist to ensure that he completes the work on schedule. My schedule.

    2. Isn’t that from the song Pet by A Perfect Circle?

      1. Yup. One of my favorites by that band.

    3. Great song.

  5. Fun fact: ‘Piracy as Promotion!!!’ seems a viable talking point when we’re basing it around a cheap novelty which depends on physical/visual appeal, and is marketed to on older audience.

    Not so fun Fact: Maybe not so applicable via movies/music/video games that are consumed in ‘pirated’ form the same as retail (ie, you watch a movie on your TV/PC/handheld with friends, not frame it on a wall), and the audience is young and tech savy.

    1. IP is a gov’t imposed monopoly of use on a non-scarce resource.

      1. I am wondering where I can get a pirated copy of Declaration of Independents. Surely Matt and Nick wouldn’t mind, right?

        1. Who knows? They’re under no obligation to agree with the anti-IP faction of the libertarian crowd.

          1. It should be remaindered soon. I think you can get Welch’s McCain book for free + straight media mail rate.

        2. Advocacy falls into a weird zone — obviously, research and writing takes labor. However, so does advertising content — and like ads, the writer can sometimes gain more benefit from having an audience than the audience gains by having a work. So, maybe? You’d have to ask them.

  6. In a similar vein, McDonalds should tell the food nannies to fuck off. I’d run full page ads with Ronald flipping them off. Guess that’s why I’m not in marketing.

    1. If they went full “Fuck you!!!”, I’d eat there more just to show my support.

      1. Isn’t that basically the business model for Hardee’s/Carl Jr.’s?

        1. I think so, and I endorse their position. If I had a fast-food chain, my ads would run something like, “Die with a smile on your face–Eat at Libertate’s.”

          1. “Die with a smile on your face–FELLATE at Libertate’s.”

            1. Yes, well, that’s a somewhat different marketing plan. Meals with a happy ending.

              1. Two with egg lorr?

              2. does it come with a toy?

    2. That pretty much sums up their recent response.

  7. Whatever utilitarian value there is to the piracy does not provide moral justification for what is stealing.

    1. “Moral justification”? Property rights exist to delineate use of scarce resources. When the resource (in this case an e-book) can literally be infinately replicated at virtually no cost, where is the scarcity?

      1. I missed when this debate was settled and moral rights were flushed down the toilet. Hm. I gotta stop sleeping so much.

      2. Property rights exist to delineate use of scarce resources.

        Where in the hell did you get that? While the market does turn out to be the most efficient user of resources, property rights are not limited to scarce things. If I own something, should I worry that there is a certain number that makes my TV not scarce and no longer a property right? Scarcity is not relevant to property rights.

        1. Scarcity is not relevant to property rights.

          Yes, it is. Your TV is scarce, because if I take it, you no longer have a TV. No matter how many the factory makes, you only have one. Since materials have to be used to make more, it is scarce (anything using materials is scarce).

          Electronic media are non-scarce. I can replicate a spreadsheet literally almost infinately, with no use of resources. If I take your TV, you no longer have a TV. But if I download a song from your server, now I have the song…but your use of the song is in no way diminished. We both have it. It is non-scarce.

          1. We talk about the products of IP as if they spring like magic into the world, and cannot be scarce because they can be duplicated indefinitely. But the labor and talent, which went into making the infinitely replicable thing, WERE scare resources and amounted to a piece of someone’s finite, irreplaceable life. It seems to me that the key questions are these:

            1) Is it OK simply to take the product of someone’s intellect with no compensation at all?

            2) If there is to be compensation, should it be based on whatever the creator “lost” (e.g., time) in order to realize the creation; some fixed-rate remuneration schedule; or on the amount of the property’s popularity or the ubiquity of its use?

            The constitutional point of IP law in the US is to provide incentive for creators to share the benefits of their creativity with the population at large. That should be the focus, not in finding ever more anally-retentive ways to restrict unauthorized access to intellectual property.

            After having thought about the problem for many years, since I myself was bruised by software piracy during the 1980s, I long ago concluded that the best way to address the IP issue would be to make it easy and cheap to establish accounts for creators and allow grateful consumers to put micro-“tips” in those jars — leave it to the “long tail” do the right thing. I worked in “shareware” software for a while, and was continually impressed by the basic honesty of most people and their desires to see that the creators of beneficial works got paid. This was an approach that actually observed working in the real world for many years ( though never, in my knowledge, to bestow Bill-Gates-class riches onto anyone, I’ll admit). I have no reason to believe that, scaled up and used generally, the “shareware” mechanism couldn’t give most creators, most of the time, returns on their investments of time, talent, and effort, which were fair and commensurate with the benefit the world derived from their products.

            As an experiment, let’s try this: If you, dear reader, have found any value in this posting, whether entertainment, food for thought, conversational ammo, or even a bit of inspiration, send a bitcoin tip (suggested amount: 0.01) to me using bitcoin address: 1M7K5jRD2vmm8N6TWmXJDpfJpw3RGDr5Sp. If you quote me — and feel free to pass this posting around if you want — please include the “tip request” and my bitcoin address. One tip is enough for each person, one citation is enough in each of your own works of IP that rely on this one here.

            Let’s see what happens. Maybe nothing. But maybe something.

  8. In this case “piracy” was promotion

    By the time I actually went to the theater to see Monty Python and the Holy Grail I had heard at least ninety percent of the dialogue, recited by fans a lot of thieving bastards who couldn’t understand why I had not yet been to see it.

    1. Did you know the King? Because he was, by all accounts, a huge Python fan.

      1. That plastic-faced weirdo who thrust a hamburger at me and then ran off? How the hell could you possibly know that he’s a Python fan?

        1. I meant Elvis, of course. He moved up a few notches when I found out about his Python obsession.

          1. < secret whisper>I knew who you meant ; )< /secret whisper>

            1. I must be doing this wrong, because this is the second time someone has told me they knew what I meant when I made a joke knowing that they knew what I meant.

              1. It’s OK; I blame the Urk**** (if you say his name, it conjures him).

    2. Whwn I lived in Newport News about a decade ago there was a theater that ran old films once a week. My ball and chain saw Raiders of the Lost Arc in the theater for the first time on that deal. Ala the print wasn’t too good.

      On another occasion they played Dr. Stragelove.

      It wouldn’t have made any difference if the sound track had cut out, because the whole crowd was reciting the lines.

  9. If you want total control over your thoughts and ideas, KEEP THEM TO YOURSELF.


      *replaces tinfoil hat*

  10. Is this where I say (with ostentatious Limey accent), “I thought we were an autonomous collective!”?

    1. You’re fooling yourself; we’re living in a dictatorship!

      1. (Upon reading of recent DMCA enforcement actions): “Now we see the violence inherent in the system!”

  11. my plans to write a children’s book version of Apocalypse Now


    1. See Colonel’s Kurtz’s horror.

      The horror, the horror.

      Can you find the horror in this picture?

  12. Can you find the horror in this picture?

    Chuck Schumer, right?

    What did I win?

    1. I’m envisioning it as a pop-up book. With one of those sliding things when Chef’s head is dumped in Willard’s lap, for instance.

    2. There’s a cardboard tab that you slide up and down on the edge of the page, and it makes Dennis Hopper dance back and forth.

      1. The Photojournalist will have a larger role in the children’s book.

  13. Just as long as there’s surfing.

    And Napalm.

    1. Well, sure, wouldn’t be Apocalypse Now without those. And Charlie.

  14. Cort?s is also the author of Jury Independence Illustrated, a pamphlet he’s trying to raise money for through Kickstarter. He plans to distribute copies to potential jurors informing them of their ability to nullify. If you feel the cause is a worthy one, he still needs to raise more than $2k. I’m not affiliated at all, just saw it earlier on Balko’s blog and pledged to help.

  15. I must be doing this wrong, because this is the second time

    I hate to break it to you, Pro Lib, but *this* is why you’ll never be President. If you blame yourself, you’re clearly not sufficiently narcissistic to successfully attain the office.

    1. Well, I guess it’s libertarian god-tyrant, after all.

  16. This book is self-indulgent twaddle. I found it sickening in it narcissism and self-loathing.

    I wonder how many parents out there lost a child to illness, or tragedy like a drunk driver, or better yet some moron on a cell phone, wouldn’t give anything for one more tortuous night putting their child to bed. Wouldn’t give anything to hear, just one more time, “Dad, can I have a drink of water?”, Or “Mom, I’m scared of the thunder and lightning, can I sleep next to you tonight?”. I know I sure would if my kids were suddenly not around anymore.

    Sure sure, it’s all a bit of fun, just tongue-in-cheek and all that, but seriously, it seems to me that its written for the type of people for whom being a parent is just part of the role of being an adult, and not something that they really wanted to do and actually put any effort into. Like they have other stuff to do that’s more important – like some career, or their own self-development and growth – when actually being a good parent is the most important job they’ll ever have. You know who I bet would love this book? That wench that wrote Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom.

    What’s my point with this rant, as I hurry to finish it to catch a train home and pick up junior from his cub scout meeting without being late? I’m not sure, but maybe if everyone who is a parent took it a little more seriously, and enjoyed it a little more, maybe the world would be a better place. Or not. I don’t know. All I know is I read that book and it pissed me off enough to spent a little extra time with my kids – before forcing them to brush their teeth getting into bed. Please.

    1. Lighten up, Francis.

    2. In the time it took for you to write that comment you could have been on the phone with your family.

      You fucking monster.

      1. Nice, cap. This one from the Onion seems relevant too:…..way,10921/

    3. I also lost my sense of humor after reading a children’s book. Those sick fucks wouldn’t stop hopping on pop.

      1. Excellent sub-thread.

        I love my 4-year-old, but this book speaks to me in ways that “The Going to Bed Book” never could.

  17. This is why I can no longer talk to my friends who have kids.

    1. Seriously. Everything is fucking car seats and grape juice. Oh, and “you’ll understand when you have kids.”

      Fuck you and your spawn.

      1. +1

        I tell people: everyone I know who has kids suddenly becomes the lamest person on earth. We’re not going out anymore, we’re going to their house. Or I’m putting things away at my house to make sure grubby fingers don’t get at them.

        And when we do manage to go out, we have to call it quits early in the evening so they can get back to the kids.

        And all I hear is, “you’ll understand when you have kids”. No, I fucking won’t, because I don’t want that kind of downer in my life. I enjoy my freedom of action (and my bank account balance) too much. Selfish? You bet. But at least I’m aware and act accordingly, unlike the zombies I know who pump them out and say joylessly and with a haggard face, “no, it’s the best thing that ever happened to us”.

        1. Oh, come on, with your sparkling personality I’m sure you could find all kinds of new friends who aren’t as lame.

          1. You’d think so, but no.

            Must be me ^_^

        2. If you and those who feel as you do don’t reproduce, then eventually the world will be left to those who do find parenthood as rewarding as they tell you it is. Nature is amazing in that way. Have fun!

    2. Wow. Reading the bitter, peevish whining from you “childfree” curmudgeons makes me want to impregnate my wife a second time just to piss you all off.

      1. Impregnating your wife probably won’t piss Jim off that much, on the other hand, if you impregnated Jim’s wife…

        1. You know, my dear capitol l, I think you’re on to something…

          1. You can sure try. She hates kids more than I do. She’d drown them all in a burlap sack in a river, if given the choice.

            1. Married with kids types can be annoying to the married with no kids types, but at least they aren’t retarded enough to marry and never want kids. Did you loose a bet or something?

  18. Some (former) friends brought their kid to my house for a cocktail party two years ago. They were there for 20-25 minutes before they left. There was goddamned apple juice spalshed on every surface in my house. Kids? No, thanks.

    1. Sounds like you have some idiots for (former) friends.

      Kids means that you give up the very, very fun parts of your life, unless you happen to invest in the babysitter.

      1. On the plus side, evolution deems you fit, unlike the deliberately childless, so there’s that.

      2. Kids means that you give up the very, very fun parts of your life, unless you happen to invest in the babysitter.

        While this is true, nothing, and I mean nothing, is better than twisting shaping a young mind. My son read Anthem when he was 8 and he is likely to get a new copy of Atlas Shrugged when he turns 10. He has read Homer and Upton Sinclair. He is reading A Tale of Two Cities right now and Wealth of Nations is next on the list.

        People who minimize parenthood simply do not understand the joy of owning slaves. I often reply to the question “why do I have to” with “because I own you”.

        1. I can think of one thing better than owning slaves that you’re not allowed to be cruel to. Using the vast amount of wealth I save to take nice vacations and to purchase other items which I would otherwise not be able to afford.

          Now, if they repealed a few laws, and I could use the little fuckers to put in some cotton and sorghum…

          1. Using the vast amount of wealth I save to take nice vacations and to purchase other items which I would otherwise not be able to afford.

            You should get a better job. I’m retiring in August to home school them because their private school is getting on my nerves. It’s not like you can’t have a vast amount of wealth and children who don’t, say, get apple juice all over everything. Yeah, obviously, they cost some money but if you make enough then the impact of that spending shouldn’t cramp your style too much.

            However, I admit that for a few years we went out to dinner a little earlier but we managed to slog through that crushing inconvenience.

            1. Why should I get a better job in order to afford something that I don’t want? I think it’s kind of weird that people act like it’s some kind of duty to reproduce. I don’t like kids. I don’t want them. Even if it only cost me a dollar and one missed meal, I value the dollar and that meal more than I do having kids. If you’re happy, then great. But don’t act like they aren’t a financial burden to most people. If you can afford to not have your lifestyle dented, then good for you. But since the costs, including college, are now calculated (from birth to college grad.) at well over $100,000, I don’t feel ashamed that I can’t drop that amount like it’s nothing.

        2. Go easy on the forced education Marshal Gill. Your son becomes a teenager, and rebellion is as easy as reciting Noam Chomsky or Naomi fucking Klein.

      3. The “Why do I have to?” – “because I own you” goes on in our house too. I usually follow it up with playing Madness’ ‘House of Fun’ and telling them that on their 18th birthday, plus one day, the law deems them fit to be prosecuted as adults for their follies, but until then, it’s really my ass on the line if they really do something fucking stupid like disembowelling the babysitter with a rusty spoon.

        On the other hand, having your kids quote Bastiat and Friedman back at you – in context – is pretty fucking cool. (De Soto’s still a bit advanced for them)

  19. OK that makes a lot of senese dude Wow.

  20. So Andrew Clay changed his name to Adam Mansbach and wrote a book. Impressive.

  21. I’ve got a 2 year old and I found the book hilarious.

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