It’s no secret that I love books, which is why I’m giving two away at the end of this post.
But some of the classics from when I was a kid would probably fall under the “not politically correct enough” category today, seeing as people have evolved to suck the fun out of everything.
So while I read these books and didn’t become the Unabomber, I thought it would be fun to take a cynical eye to some classics. And because I’m all about solutions, I will also propose a more “modern” take on the books.
Green Eggs and Ham
Summary: Sam I Am tries to peer pressure a friend into eating a potentially dangerous substance. (If you ever come across green ham, it’s probably horribly expired. Do not eat it!) While he initially resists, he eventually gives in and realizes it’s not as bad as he thought. So basically parents say drugs are bad, but if your friend likes it, then it’s good enough for you.
Suggestion: In this updated classic, Sam starts a food blog in which he details the merits of eating “green” eggs in the sense that they are eco-friendly, free-range organic eggs grown on a farm where chickens have spa days and sip Perrier. He shares a variety of healthy recipes focused on locally-sourced ingredients that win him fans and friends.
Frog & Toad are Friends
Summary: While this book claims “Frog and Toad are always there for each other—just as best friends should be,” Frog is often a terrible friend to Toad. Toad is embarrassed by his swimsuit, and Frog laughs at him with all the other animals. When they fly a kite, Frog just stands there with the string while Toad runs with the kite, getting constant abuse from other teasing animals. Thanks to Frog, Toad is trapped in a vicious cycle between narcissism and self-conscious insecurity.
Suggestion: Frog and Toad are “Friends,” just as Frog and Toad are “Together” in the sequel, if you know what I mean. Toad was just trying to be “fabulous” in the swimsuit incident and Frog was annoyed that Toad left the seat up at the lily pad again. These books follow in the steps of the first character to ever come out—Bi-curious George—and readers are shown that love and families can take many forms.
Cat In the Hat
Summary: A giant mutant cat shows up at the house while the mom is out and proceeds to touch and play with everything while the kids look on in terror. They try to get this strange intruder to leave without success, and the cat proceeds to release two “Things” that tear around the house, destroying everything. The cat cleans up the house in the end, but this encourages felonious behavior.
Suggestion: Seeing a cat show up at their house wearing a gigantic hat, the kids quickly whip out their iPads and start taping what they see. When the mother returns home, she finds they’ve posted a video to YouTube of the next Internet cat sensation that quickly goes more viral than Keyboard Cat ever did.
Summary: Girl, evil step-relatives, menial gender-stereotypical labor, geriatric godmother, pumpkin, prince, shoe.When the females of the town attend a ball for the chance to marry one man because he is rich royalty, a fairy swoops down, switches out Cinderella’s peasant garb and gives her glass slippers that DON’T EVEN FIT. She attends the ball, wins the heart of the prince and goes back to being “plain” at midnight.
Suggestion: Instead of women being portrayed as shallow, vindictive and sometimes helpless victims waiting to be rescued, in this version Cindy moves out, goes back to school and opens a fair-trade shoe company that produces only comfortable and practical footwear called “Fairy Footwear.” At a fundraiser for her non-profit dedicated to eliminating small rodent labor, she meets a young man who respects her for her brains and not her beauty.
And they all lived happily ever after.
Like the blog? Buy the books!
I’m giving away a copy of both “I Just Want to Be Alone” and “Moms are Nuts” to one lucky U.S. resident. All you have to do is leave a comment about books–your favorite, the worst, a “politically correct” version of a classic, etc. by Tuesday, June 17. I’ll randomly pick a winner and notify them by email. Good luck!