You know how sometimes your mother (perhaps) said, "Don't you use that tone of voice."?
And how (perhaps) you said back, "I'm not using any tone! God! I was just talking!"
Does this ring any bells?
See, I have this problem. This problem of allowing my the part of me that is snarky and mocking to rear its, uh, voice, when I'm
reading books I think are a little drippy to my kids.
This is not a good thing. There is no excuse for this. Well, maybe
there's a little excuse, like when it used to happen when I was reading
the books of my avowed enemy, Strawberry Shortcake. Then, I felt I was doing
a service. Cutting
the sugar on that thing seems like it must have been to the benefit of
But then there's this:
This is the story of Rosa, a little girl whose head was shaped like a square.
This is a good, a worthy book. It tries—and succeeds!—in communicating its message that through courage, confidence, and compassion we can accept ourselves, and have others accept us. It also has the excellent look-and-find thing going on throughout the illustrations. I am so in favor of this book. Except….
except that every time I read it, and I wade into the goopy, well-meaning text, I can't seem to stop myself: I get the tone. The slightly too-sweet, ironic mocking tone that a mother should probably never ever ever use when reading a well-meaning, moral-high-ground type of story to her children. It's as if one time I just got the sense that Little Squarehead was, you know, kind of a funny idea, now that idea lives insidiously in my brain and I can never banish it.
Years and years (and years!) ago, when I went with my sisters to see Presumed Innocent, we got to the scene where Harrison Ford is arguing his heartfelt case against the mean child abuser who put her child's head in a vise. Yes, this is unspeakably awful. BUT. To argue it, he asks the girl what happened, and she said, "My mommy hurt my head."
"Yes," the Harrison Ford guy intones, "think about it. My mommy hurt my head. My mommy hurt my head." And then again, if memory serves, with the totally (appropriately! I know!) serious face he turns to the jury and says again, "My mommy hurt my head." And somehow I was struck with how weird and funny it seemed to me to watch serious Harrison Ford saying over and over, "My mommy hurt my head" and I started laughing and couldn't stop and had to leave the theater.
Clearly, this is a case of a bad attitude, or worse.
Sometimes I am so glad that this blog is pretty anonymous.