How many feminists does it take to change a lightbulb?

Shut the f*ck up everyone who is not able to understand that sometimes, there’s nothing more complicated here than Funny Book Is Funny.

Nobody is suggesting that there’s a connection between Adam Mansbach’s book and child abuse or child neglect. Still, there’s no denying the reason “Go the F*** to Sleep” should be kept out of reach of children is because of its violent language and because of the way it demeans children.

Nobody is suggesting it, except for this entire article in which I suggest it.

“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.

Not to be Captain Obvious here, but the book was written about Jews, blacks, Muslims and Latinos — pretty sure there are kids who won’t go the fuck to sleep in all of those groups. Child abuse and neglect is bad (yes, I’m taking all the brave and controversial positions today), but that doesn’t mean that voicing frustration with child-rearing enables or promotes abuse. In fact, it is really insulting to suggest that normal parental frustration or the use of the f-word is in any way akin to abusing or neglecting a kid.

The irony, says Arredondo, is that the people buying the book are probably good parents.

I mean, probably.

Making your name as a Serious Writer by penning article after article about Thing That Everyone Thinks Is Funny: Not Actually Funny is a pretty lucrative journalistic (“journalistic”) endeavor these days (see also: Thing That Everyone Thinks Is Good: Not Actually Good). So I have some pitches for CNN.com (or Slate, maybe?):

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Not Funny, Because Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Funny or Die: Not Funny, Because Death.
Jon Stewart: Not Funny, Because Jew.
I Was Told There’d Be Cake: Not Funny, Because Obesity.
Caddyshack: Not Funny, Because Animal Abuse.
Cats Attacking Babies: Not Funny, Because Cats Attacking Babies.
Jill Filipovic: Not Funny, Because Feminist.

I have so many more, CNN, call me.

About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
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32 Responses to How many feminists does it take to change a lightbulb?

  1. Brandy says:

    I think it’s Jon Stewart (no “h”)

  2. Andie says:

    Am I the only one that thinks it’s silly to assume that parents who are buying this book are actually reading it to their kids, and not buying it for their own enjoyment?

    there’s no denying the reason “Go the F*** to Sleep” should be kept out of reach of children is because of its violent language

    Uhm.. no shit? Who are these people who are actually reading it to their kids?

  3. DAS says:

    I guess I’m a bad parent because whenever I hear the line in Despicable Me – “That book was accidentally destroyed maliciously” – I crack up …

    My kid is a bundle of joy. But she sometimes is also a bundle of energy and a bundle of frustration and a bundle of annoyance and …

    well, that’s how kids are. You can either accept that, love ’em and raise them as best you can and have a sense of humor about it, or else that is when you are going to really crack. Because kids are, well, kids. What do people expect? Kids to be adults?

    And if you don’t realize that, well, then what kind of parent are you?

  4. Xeginy says:

    I was on the bus yesterday, and a woman with a toddler got on and sat in the front. The toddler proceeded to talk in a VERY loud voice about random toddler things, and then stand up on the seat, hit the window, and say “HELLO” over and over again in a very loud voice. Every few seconds her mother would say “Be quiet,” or “sit down” but…well, there’s a reason no one likes taking little kids on the bus.

    I thought of this book. I thought, maybe that mom would think that book was appropriate and funny, cause I can totally imagine that little toddler doing something like singing at the top of her voice while getting ready for bed.

    Is “fuck” a violent word? I didn’t know that.

  5. I missed the memo where all parents have to pretend that our kids are unicorns that shit glitter; that we’re never tired and worn out and ragged by bedtime. I missed that memo, and if I find it (to paraphrase Voltaire), I will sit in the smallest room of my house and place it behind me.

  6. Ellie says:

    Anyone listen to Samuel L Jackson’s audible.com reading of this book? In the beginning, he talks about it a little bit, and how he was anxious to read for it, and how he used to tell his daughter to go the fuck to sleep, and it sounded funny and endearing. Sometimes she’d ask him, “go the fuck to sleep, daddy?” and he’d say yes, go the fuck to sleep.

    I’m at work, and can’t re-listen for accuracy, I’m relying on memory here. Correct me if I’m wrong. And I’m not a parent, and don’t know the nature of his relationship with his daughter, and disclaimer disclaimer etc. But I didn’t really feel uncomfortable hearing about it and don’t feel like he was speaking violently towards his daughter, the way he explained it. And maybe I’m just desensitized to the f word where Mr. Jackson is concerned, I don’t know. But does using adult words in front of your kids 100% always mean you’re being a bad parent?

    I’m imagining the book is primarily for parents and not for kids, but I’d really like to do a little more thinking about using certain language in a nuanced way in front of kids.

  7. Ellie says:

    (I know you can find his reading of it on Youtube; i can’t look for it right now but it’s there somewhere if you’re curious.)

  8. Jay says:

    I can’t look for Samuel L Jackson on YouTube now but I am making a note to do that at home…and if my daughter (age 11) is looking over my shoulder when I watch it, I think she’ll laugh. Thank you.

    And yes, Xeginy, I think whoever had to take that toddler on the bus would very much enjoy this book.

  9. It always amazes me to see how judgmental people are–especially when it comes to raising children. I say fuck to my kids every morning and they don’t seem to mind! Great post.

  10. zuzu says:

    Thomas MacAulay Millar: I missed the memo where all parents have to pretend that our kids are unicorns that shit glitter;

    Glitter’s so hard to get out of the carpet.

  11. Sheelzebub says:

    So apparently, it’s really, really bad and downright hateful for parents to admit to being frustrated with their kids sometimes, joking about that frustration, and writing a spoof of a children’s book that is actually marketed to adults that showcases that frustration?

    Holy fucking shit. People like these sanctimonious assholes make me glad I never had kids. And it makes me want to drop kick them to fucking Mars. Guess what assholes–people get frustrated and they’ll joke about it. I doubt ANY of those parents have read “Go the Fuck to Sleep” to their kids, but I will read the sequel “GET A FUCKING CLUE” to you.

  12. Easy solution: glitter-colored carpets. However, the couches don’t hold up well to hooves and horns.

  13. gretel says:

    Will Jesus Buy Me a Double-Wide?: (‘Cause I Need More Room for My Plasma TV) by Karen Spears Zacharias.

    This is her sense of humor, so I think that explains a lot.

  14. Ellie says:

    Sheelzebub:
    So apparently, it’s really, really bad and downright hateful for parents to admit to being frustrated with their kids sometimes, joking about that frustration, and writing a spoof of a children’s book that is actually marketed to adults that showcases that frustration?

    I’m so glad nobody in the non-parent world ever complains about their jobs, either. Nobody complains about customers outside of earshot, or complains about their bosses. Or their other family members, or about that friend who means well, but is really just annoying sometimes. It really is a problem unique to parents, isn’t it, expressing private frustration with things that are not 100% in your control?

    /sarcasm

  15. Kelley says:

    I just want to say thank you for introducing me to Cat Attacks Baby. That’s the funniest thing I’ve seen in awhile.

  16. zuzu says:

    Thomas MacAulay Millar:
    Easy solution:glitter-colored carpets.However, the couches don’t hold up well to hooves and horns.

    Look on the bright side: you can dry laundry on the horns.

  17. Michele says:

    I quit trying for supermom status at about Day 3 with a brand new baby. Now I shoot for mediocrity. As part of the low-bar approach, I use adult language in front of my 6 year old and explain that swearing, like driving, drinking, smoking, paying taxes, voting and buying fireworks, is something that children cannot realistically get away with in public forums. She gets this concept. She also understands irony & humor better than many 6 year olds, something this dude apprently needs some instruction on. Samuel L Jackson’s read of the story is HILARIOUS!! One might hypothesize that, unless you have been the parent trying to get your kids off to bed so you might get something more done on your ToDo list, or maybe, if you’re really lucky, go the fuck to sleep yourself, the concept might be foreign. I suggest David Arredondo spend a few weeks in a household as the sole parent of young ones. Then we can ask him about going the fuck anywhere…

  18. preying mantis says:

    There is just not going to be any end to the usual suspects pearl-clutching and mommy-shaming on this one, is there? (Also, the Samuel L. Jackson reading is hilarious.)

  19. La Lubu says:

    I played the Samuel L. Jackson version for my 11 year old, and we *both* laughed our asses off! Bonus: she recognized the illustrations as poking fun at the *actual* children’s bedtime book, “Sailing Off to Sleep” (plot: mama is trying to get her daughter to crash; the daughter fights sleep with a variety of imaginative journeys—usually with helpful animal friends— she’d rather take. “I don’t wanna go to sleep, I’ll go sailing instead.”)

    So. If my 11-year-old “gets it”, what is this columnist’s excuse?

  20. vanessa says:

    Dude. I am all about the being nice to kids, creating a gentle atmosphere, etc. However, sometimes? They need to GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP.

  21. ozymandias says:

    Things That Are Child Abuse: Beating your kid. Destroying your kid’s self-esteem. Allowing your child to reach the age of eighteen without having seen Star Wars.

    Things That Are Not Child Abuse: The word “fuck.”

  22. Ellie says:

    ozymandias:
    Things That Are Child Abuse: […] Allowing your child to reach the age of eighteen without having seen Star Wars.

    I’ve been trying to figure out my bad relationship w my mom for years.. Thanks for this!

  23. Jenae says:

    Michele:
    .As part of the low-bar approach, I use adult language in front of my 6 year old and explain that swearing, like driving, drinking, smoking, paying taxes, voting and buying fireworks, is something that children cannot realistically get away with in public forums.

    Glad I’m not the only one lol. I basically told her that there is no such thing as “bad words” just “adult words.” I said that, when she’s older, she will have the discernment to now when and where and in front of whom to use profanity. Now that she’s 13 she’s started to experiment, which is fine with me.

    Also, lol at the Cat Attacks Baby vid. LMAO for like 10 minutes!

  24. Bushfire says:

    This post was hilarious. Thank, Jill. I will now go and watch Cat Attack Baby.

  25. miga says:

    Thomas MacAulay Millar: I missed the memo where all parents have to pretend that our kids are unicorns that shit glitter; that we’re never tired and worn out and ragged by bedtime. I missed that memo, and if I find it (to paraphrase Voltaire), I will sit in the smallest room of my house and place it behind me.

    Um, as a Glitter-Shitting Unicorn-American, i am offended by your comments. Not funny.

    Also, any time you say a “bad word” in front of them, a Unicorn-American has an ANEURYSM. How do you like that, Asshole?!
    …oh wait….

  26. Hershele Ostropoler says:

    Jill:
    John Stewart: Not Funny, Because Misspelled.

    (Thanks, I corrected!)

    John Stewart: Not Funny, because Hal Jordan.

  27. One cool thing about Cat Attacks Baby (which is really a toddler, not a baby, but wevs) is that the kid has really good reflexes and actually does make a credible attempt at fending off the cat.

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  30. Hershele Ostropoler says:

    A couple of weeks having passed, I think I’ve officially adopted (annexed?) “Thing That Everyone Thinks Is Good: Not Actually Good.”

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