The children's book parody Go the Fuck to Sleep is a smash hit, topping all manner of bestsellers lists. Which means that somebody's gonna get upset. Because it's not funny if anyone has ever been killed or hurt or damaged or whatever, even if it has nothing to do with the subject at hand.
Over at CNN.com, here's Karen Spears Zacharias, author of the forthcoming The Shelter of Mockingbirds: The Murder of 3-Year-Old Karly Sheehan:
Joan Demarest is an attorney in Corvallis, Oregon, and the mother of three young boys. Demarest told me that initially she thought the book was funny. That was before she read it. "Now I find it unsettling. I don't like violent language in association with children."
She has good reason to be concerned about the message behind such a parody. Demarest was the prosecuting attorney in one of Oregon's most high-profile child murder cases. She understands the fear that far too many children endure because the lines of what's appropriate parenting have become blurred.
After duly acknowledging that the book in no way can be connected with any social harms, she continues along these lines:
"Imagine if this were written about Jews, blacks, Muslims or Latinos," says Dr. David Arredondo. He is an expert on child development and founder of The Children's Program, in the San Francisco metropolitan area, which provides consultation and training for those working with troubled youths….
The violent language of "Go the F*** to Sleep" is not the least bit funny, when one considers how many neglected children fall asleep each night praying for a parent who'd care enough to hold them, nurture them and read to them.
As people as varied as Mel Brooks, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, Carol Burnett, Gilbert Gottfried, and Dave Chappelle could tell you, if you follow Zacharias' comic logic, we would be living in a world without humor. And without F Troop, Hogan's Heroes, and The Book of Mormon (the musical!), and virtually every other funny movie and TV show this side of the Hanna Barbera Laff Olympics Scooby's All-Star Laff-A-Lympics.