Sunday, September 30, 2012

Let the Dog Read

Jacques, reading Gerard Manley Hopkins. 

It’s Banned Books Week again, so I’ve been going through my shelves deciding which books to forbid Jacques, my dog, from reading. So far, The Call of the Wild (dog kills people), Old Yeller (dog dies), and Puss in Boots (cat too smart) have been sequestered. And now Jacques, and all the other dogs in the neighborhood, are safe.

“But what about Swimmy?” you ask. Rest assured, I have banned Swimmy the goldfish from reading The Rainbow Fish (socialist propaganda), Jaws (the fish dies), and Mastering the Art of French Cooking (many fish die). The neighborhood fish are safe.

As for the human children, I can think of several dangerous books I would rather they did not read, including How to Build a Bomb Using Common Household Items, and The Kama Sutra for ToddlersReading has its perils, certainly. As a child, I once attempted an aerial maneuver based on something I read in a Batman comic. I knocked myself unconscious. But in the larger scheme of things, the dangers a child might encounter in a book are vanishingly slight, and not nearly worth the risks posed by the ignorance and parochialism that comes of not having read widely, boldly, fearlessly.

Before I forbid any child to read any book, I will first ban the following hazardous activities.

• Sports. Every thousands of young people are killed or permanently injured playing football, basketball, hockey, volleyball, etc.

• Riding in cars. Every year, tens of thousands of young people die in automobiles.

• Bathing. The bathroom is the most dangerous room in the house.

• Eating. Choking, allergic reactions, and obesity-related diseases kill more people every year than all of the above combined.

• Walking. Pedestrian fatalities are on the rise!

I’m going to try to post something every day during Banned Books Week. Celebrate by reading a book that scares you.

Jacques is getting old.
Some days he needs reading glasses.


Daughter Number Three said...

I'm reading Chris Hayes's Twilight of the Elites, which scares the $@# out of me. But not in the way you mean, probably.

Pete Hautman said...

My next scary read is Lolita. Can't believe I've never read it.

David Lubar said...

Don't forget to ban thinking. Look at all the trouble that's caused. (And make sure the dog doesn't read Cujo. Spoiler alert -- dogs hate books where the boy dies.)

Wild About Words said...

Pete, fantastic, funny post. Of course. And I love David's comment. Ha!