Liberalism and Social Justice Warriors have ruined children’s literature.

A while back, some guy said:

Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.

Liberals take this very seriously.  That is why children’s literature now sucks so bad.

Evolutiontheorist left a humorous and insightful comment on my post about the children’s book The Tooth:

“I’ve noticed that the children’s book world is full of sentimental/boring works that only adults would be interested in. Every time I go to the library, it seems like I come home with at least one book that looked good, but turns out to be about a kid who’s pet died or a bird whose best friend turned out to be a snowball and then melted. Or about how the author grew up in poverty but it’s okay because they liked eating paint. (I am not making that up.)

Kids like books about cheeky toy trains, hoppy bunnies, funny superheroes, or grand adventures. They like rainbows and unicorns and swashbuckling pirates. They do not want to hear about how if you eat too much candy, you might have to go to the dentist and get a tooth pulled, for goodness’s sakes.”

If you don’t think that there is any particular agenda behind this, listen to the following children’s story.

Moral of the story: It’s fun being married to a cross-dresser!

But it isn’t (just) the liberal/SJW agenda that I’m objecting to.  If the story is well-crafted, I could talk through with my kids why I don’t agree with whatever political or “social justice” point the author was trying to make.  Kids’ books have always been a bit preachy in their own way, it’s just that back in the day the preachiness was aimed at getting kids to behave and be good and now it’s aimed at getting them to tear down Western civilization faster, faster, faster.  But the craft aspect to it is TERRIBLE now.  Thornton W. Burgess was a preachy conservationist, but my children loved hearing his stories about Reddy Fox and Lightfoot the Deer (you can listen to his stories being read by non-professional readers here).  He was a fine children’s literature writer despite his tendency to anthropomorphize deer and his inability to comprehend that slow death by starvation due to overpopulation is not kinder than a quick death by a hunter’s gun.

Several years ago on another blog I wrote a post entitled What is happening to children’s literature?  I think we understand now exactly what is happening to it, but I am going to repost that essay here since it seems relevant.

What is happening to children’s literature?  

Posted on 03/09/2014

Painting by Emil Rau | Public Domain image from Wikimedia Commons

If you have children, you probably already know that March is National Reading Month.

Because we don’t watch television, our family listens to a lot of audio books.  We try to choose ones that we all enjoy listening to and which will appeal to a range of ages.  A typical evening in our house finds us gathered in the living room, the children drawing or writing and me working on a blog post, while listening to stories on the CD player.  Because of this, I have listened to quite a number of both classic and modern children’s stories, and I have concluded that the modern ones are largely unimpressive.

Surely I am not the only parent who has noticed the startling decline in the quality of children’s literature?  I first began thinking about this about ten years ago, when my husband and I noticed that many of the picture story books that had the Caldecott Medal Winner sticker on them were so…weird.  The books were uninteresting to children and sometimes even frightened them, but I’m sure they were intriguing to the highly-educated, liberal parents of our generation who were raised to see things that are “alternative” as superior.  This is the basic ethos of progressivism; anything new and strange, no matter how objectively crappy, is better than what came before.  Weird, disturbing children’s books must be better than the simple, charming types of stories that came before, right?

We have continued to notice this trend as our children have gotten older.  One year awhile back, we joined a mother-daughter book club at the library.  One of the first books that was assigned to us was called The Higher Power of Lucky.  We were given a free copy of the book to read, and let me tell you, it was dreadful.  It was equal parts morbid and boring.  The ten-year-old main character is a girl named Lucky whose mother died from being electrocuted during a storm; her father is unaccounted for and she lives with her father’s first ex-wife in an old trailer in a depressing desert town.  She is obsessed with Charles Darwin for some reason and the primary adventure in the story seems to center around Lucky eavesdropping outside AA meetings and worrying that her guardian will abandon her.

Librarians are obsessed with this book.  It is everywhere; it is one of their most highly recommended books.  Just now we have returned from the library and there were five copies of the audio book on the shelf.  Five copies!  Audio books are expensive, and it always takes them ages to order the classic ones that I request, but somehow we have money for five copies of this book.  No one ever checks them out, but I’m sure it makes the librarians feel very cheerful and progressive to see them on the shelf.

There were several other books that we read for that book club, all equally strange and uninspiring.  Modern children’s books usually have main characters who are female, have an intense grrrll power message, and often involve scenes in which girls behave unethically to get what they want.  I allowed our girls to listen to a modern story called The Callahan Cousins on audio book last summer about three cousins (all girls) who stay with their grandmother for the summer.  The girls – all grrrl-powered up of course – lie, steal, gossip, sneak out, sneak around, and none of this is portrayed in the story as a negative thing.

I can’t imagine what kind of literature is out there for boys now.  I rarely see much of anything geared at boys on the shelves, other than stories based on movies, video games, and TV shows.  Classic literature isn’t used much anymore, but the new literature is mostly badly written, dull, upsetting, and uninteresting, mostly progressivist propaganda.  Virtually every book for girls in the age range of 7 to 12 seems to include some kind of self-conscious gender-bending or gender “stereotype” smashing theme.

I know that many of my readers are parents and would probably like to know of good books for children between the ages of 7 and 15.  I will start by recommending the following five books, none of which are Christian books.

All of these stories are available on audio book at our library, but even if you can’t get the audio version, I think your children would enjoy reading these stories:

The Miracles on Maple Hill  (1956) by Virginia Sorensen:

Five Little Peppers and How They Grew (1939) by Margaret Sydney:

Rascal (1963) by Sterling North:

Larklight (2006) by Philip Reeve:


The Mistmantle Chronicles – start with Urchin of the Riding Stars (2005) by M. I. McAllister:

And our family’s FAVORITE series of audiobooks ever, Hank the Cowdog.

These are perfect for young boys as well as girls.  You can buy the books, but I very strongly recommended springing for the extra few dollars to buy the audio books.  The author reads them himself and includes songs, and his delivery is just so entertaining.  I recommend Hank the Cowdog very highly.  We have almost the entire series on audio book now (we’ve been purchasing them slowly over the past decade); also, check your library’s children’s audio book collection because they very well may have some of these or may be willing to purchase them.

Here is a YouTube clip of the author, John Erickson, giving a reading (he’s a much in-demand speaker and lecturer and is a salt-of-the earth Texan Christian sort.)

The ugly stepsisters in the Overton Window

This past Sunday my mother-in-law kindly treated my daughters and me to tickets to see the National Tour of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway musical, Cinderella.  Of course it was lovely and magical; even my high schooler gasped when Cinderella’s rags magically turned into a ball gown right in front of our eyes.

“How did they do that?” she asked, but I couldn’t answer because I didn’t know.  It was quite astonishing. But one song in particular made me laugh:

The Stepsister’s Lament


Why would a fellow want a girl like her, a frail and fluffy beauty?

Why can’t a fellow ever once prefer a solid girl like me?

She’s a frothy little bubble with a flimsy kind of charm,

And with very little trouble, I could break her little arm!!

Why would a fellow want a girl like her, so obviously unusual?

Why can’t a fellow ever once prefer a usual girl like me?


Her cheeks are a pretty shade of pink


But not any pinker than a rose is


Her skin may be delicate and soft


But not any softer than a doe’s is


Her neck is no whiter than a swan’s


She’s only as dainty as a daisy


She’s only as graceful as a bird, so why is the fellow going crazy?


Oh why would a fellow want a girl like her, a girl who’s merely lovely

Why can’t a fellow ever once prefer a girl who’s merely me?

What’s the matter with the man?


Yes, he’s witty, so disarming, and I like the way he really holds a room

Clever cunning, ever charming, how do I make him see I’m special?

It’s a pity


It’s a pity


I’m as pretty


I’m as pretty


Plus I’ve got the patience of a perfect saint

So I’m waiting, always waiting

Nevertheless, I’m in a mess


Loosen my dress, help me, I’m starting to faint!


Why would a fellow want a girl like her, a girl who isn’t dizzy

Why can’t a fellow ever once prefer


A high-strung girl like me…

Ah, the usual feminist refrain…there is no such thing as a universal standard of beauty!  But of course there is and to say otherwise is really quite delusional.  We plain girls do best by accepting it, making the most of what we do have in the looks department, and then being darned charming to make up for the lack of objective physical beauty. One overcomes being plain by being sweet, not by being horrid.  After all, if you wish to catch a fly, you use honey, not vinegar.

But really, it is liberal modernity that insists there are no absolute standards; feminists aren’t even clever enough to come up with that idea by themselves, the poor dears.


Do you remember a while back I had my own little lament about how I didn’t have the right words to talk about politics because “left” and “right” no longer make any sense to me?

…to talk about politics, we have to use these grossly inaccurate terms that don’t really mean precisely or even approximately what we want to say. We end up sounding like teenage girls gossiping about their frenemies instead of mature adults using wisdom and good judgement to decide upon a course of action.


Well, I read with interest several recent posts at Zippy Catholic, from which I will pull two quotes for your consideration.

From How no enemies to the right perpetuates the mind trap:

We can think of modern politics as a mental prison composed of a soft chewy center, a comfortable center made of left-right faux opposition within the Overton window – differing mainly from place to place on how many and which particular unprincipled exceptions to liberalism are allowed.

And from Life outside the padded walls:

“Understanding our sociopolitical life as more of an ‘inside-outside’ thing than a ‘left-right’ thing changes our perspective significantly. Living inside or outside of a lie isn’t a matter of left versus right; it is a matter of the evil, false, and ugly versus the good, the true, and the beautiful.”

Of course, that makes quite a bit of sense.  This is probably why so much of the news, political discourse, and cultural commentary I read sounds like it was written by middle school girls on the rag rather than rational adults.  The good, the true, and the beautiful resides firmly outside the present day Overton Window clogged with (literal and metaphorical) ugly, high-strung, jealous stepsisters in denial of reality.

Humorously enough, the feminist denial of objective standards of beauty (which thereby elevates physical beauty above its proper place, anyway) probably is no small part of what makes a lot of people (men in particular, I would imagine) look up and say, “Hmm.  I know I am supposed to find the ugly stepsister just as beautiful as Cinderella, but some how I can clearly see she isn’t…hey, look, there’s a whole ‘nuther world outside this window!”

So thank you, grumpy feminist stepsisters, for making the view inside the Overton Window so appalling that some folks actually peek outside for the first time.

Artists without talent and judges without courage.

My former home town of Grand Rapids has become somewhat well-known in the art world for its annual Art Prize competition, so I was interested to read that there has been some controversy over a sculpture that was accepted and then rejected this year.  A few things stood out to me in the article Controversial Art Prize sculpture seeks new home after city refuses it:

A controversial Art Prize 2015 entry created using the burned remains of three holy texts may be out of the seventh annual event.

But artist Nabil Mousa has a lifeline if he can find another venue willing to take his sculpture titled “Paradise Built on the Bones of the Slaughtered,” a set of three welded towers displaying ashes of the Bible, the Koran and the Torah.

Its intended venue was Grand Rapids City Hall. But the city has since decided against accepting it.

…Mousa, who was raised a Christian, said his sculpture isn’t an expression of anger against religion.

“There’s a message behind it,” Mousa said in a released statement. “And that message is that people of different religions are not really applying what those holy books tell them.”

Christianity, Islam and Judaism all share the same God and profess to preach tolerance and mutual respect. Yet the three are embroiled in perpetual inter-conflict.

“They’re more notable today for their mutual antagonism, ill-will and violent acts,” Mousa said. “My answer to that is these burned tomes that enact a kind of cleansing ritual in which self-reflection about faith and mutual responsibility is the hopeful end result.”

“Paradise Built on the Bones of the Slaughtered” illustrates his disenfranchisement with religion beginning with his experience in coming out gay to his family years ago.

“It was really very hard for me to cope with that,” he said.

Though a naturalized American who has lived most of his life in the United States, the 49-year-old artist experienced the same discrimination others of Middle Eastern ancestry experienced following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001.

The first thing that stood out to me is that the city rejected this installation for one reason only: cowardice.  Don’t get me wrong – I think the sculpture is an absolute joke, not worth the cost of the books burned to make it.  But the only reason the city rejected this is fear of Muslims.  Offending Christians is de rigueur in the art world, so we know that had nothing to do with why the sculpture was rejected.  But how did art offensive to Muslims work out for Charlie Hebdo or any of the other recent incidents where Muslims were offended by art?  It usually ends in serious blood shed.  So the decision to reject the piece was most likely not motivated by the fact that the sculpture is a) a ridiculous piece of crap or b) offensive to Christians but most likely because c) the art council fears violence at the hands of Muslims.  You’ll never hear them admit it, of course.  Either way, I’m not shedding any tears that they rejected it.

But the second thing that stood out to me in the article was this bit:

Christianity, Islam and Judaism all share the same God and profess to preach tolerance and mutual respect. Yet the three are embroiled in perpetual inter-conflict.

That isn’t a quote from anyone; that is the author of the news article interjecting his opinion as if it were established fact.  In reality, we do not share the same God.  Christians believe that Jesus Christ is part of the Trinitarian God comprised of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Muslims and Jews absolutely reject this, which means we do not worship the same God.  There is some argument to be made the since Christianity flowed out of Judaism in some way we worship the same God, but Islam is a religion that was created in and of itself; it did not flow out of any other religion, despite the fact that Muslims claim Abraham as their forefather.  But putting aside the discussion about whether it is the same God or not, I found the way that the news story inserts this debatable opinion as if it were settled science to be quite typical of modern media tactics.  Always keep that in mind when you read the news.

And finally, about Nabil Mousa…here is his great masterpiece:

Uh-huh.  So even by modern “art” standards, how did this guy even get noticed?

Because he is an A1 victim status seeker, that’s how.  Notice how he makes sure to bash Christianity for his emotional distress about revealing his homosexuality to his family.  Furthermore, notice how he jumps right on the Me Too! bandwagon of Islamaphobia: It Happened To ME! even though he isn’t even Muslim.  He’s working every Officially Oppressed Minority angle he can find.

I guess when some charred books stuck to metal bars is the culmination of your artistic abilities, playing the victim card is all you have to fall back on.

No talent but plenty of Victim Credibility has Mr. Mousa.

What if they threw a feminist art exhibit and nobody came?

From the files of “Why, no one’s ever done that a million times before!”…

In shocking art-world news, a feminist artist (you know what’s-a-coming now, doncha?) has made a large, golden statue of her – can you guess?  No?  Well, let’s just say it isn’t a golden statue of her calf.

Naturally, universities are falling all over themselves to get a piece o’ dat.

Sophia Wallace’s CLITERACY explores the cultural paradox of an obsession with sexualized female bodies and little understanding of female sexuality. CLITERACY asserts the right of a woman to set individualized expectation for the treatment of her body instead of simply responding to the actions of another with a “yes” or a “no”, a concept of consent that falsely homogenizes experience and implies passivity. By occupying public space with information about women’s bodies, CLITERACY destigmatizes the information itself, facilitating open dialogue. Wallace’s work reveals the “phallic as neutral” bias in science, law, philosophy, politics, mainstream and even feminist discussion, and the art world. Her art will be displayed in DuPont Library as a means of mirroring the cultural silence surrounding issues of female sexuality in today’s world as well as throughout history. The questions we hope this exhibit provokes among students, community members, and faculty are: why is this shocking to me? Why is it odd or difficult for me to see a representation of a clitoris, when phallic imagery abounds? We hope that by bringing Wallace and her artistic vision to Sewanee, we can encourage more in depth, healthy conversations about female sexuality, sexual violence on campus, as well as a myriad of other topics to stimulate growth.

If this is the new “healthy” when it comes to conversations, just leave me sick, okay?

But I mean, really, the “cultural silence surrounding issues of female sexuality”? What planet does this woman live on? She’s not even unique this month for making female genital art; universities are pretty much nonstop talk-a-thons about female sexuality.

(h/t Moonbattery)

The theory of feminist devolution, BBC edition.

We’ve already discussed how feminists have pretty much corned the market in vagina-based art. Now they’re bringing that feminist je ne sais quoi to the highbrow stage of the BBC for a concert of feminist music.

Oh no! you are surely thinking. Not singing vaginas!

Well, no, but that wouldn’t have been much worse:

Ah, I needed a laugh tonight after the day I had and predictably, feminists were good for providing that laugh. (H/T MarcusD at Dalrock’s)

You know, now seems like a good time to repost with minor edits something I posted a little over a year ago on a now-private blog. From The Theory of Feminist Devolution:

I read this Soda Head quote at the Thinking Housewife recently:

…leftism is in and of itself a form of decay. It’s what happens not just to television shows but to nations, churches and universities as the energy given off by the big bang of their inception slowly ebbs away. Rather than expend vitality in originality and creation they become obsessed with introspection, popularity and lethargy. Leftism is entropy of the spirit and intellect.

In other words, leftism is devolution.  I’m using devolution in the sense of something that evolved (changed) over time to become great and then decays away, but let us also consider the bonobos.  From Wikipedia:

Along with the common chimpanzee, the bonobo is the closest extant relative to humans.

Personally?  I believe in the Bible, so I’m mostly a creationist (and don’t hassle me about the “mostly” part, fellow Christians. I studied under both Richard Alexander and Barbara Smuts, so I’ve had a long way to come in getting over my darwinist roots).  But let’s say that we were created by God in similar genetic groups and one of the non-human animals most similar to humans is the bonobo.  What do we know about bonobos?

The bonobo is popularly known for its high levels of sexual behavior. Sex functions in conflict appeasement, affection, social status, excitement, and stress reduction. It occurs in virtually all partner combinations and in a variety of positions. This is a factor in the lower levels of aggression seen in the bonobo when compared to the common chimpanzee and other apes. Bonobos are perceived to be matriarchal and a male’s rank in the social hierarchy is often determined by his mother’s rank.

Bear that in mind as we consider how feminism has influenced women, both religious and secular.

Recently a reader who had been raised Mormon sent me a link to this article: Mormon women laid bare: Powerful nude photo series protests religious system that enforces strict modesty.  From the article:

With the goal of ‘normalizing nudity,’ a new photography project featuring naked Mormon women hopes to shed light on the religion’s strict codes of modesty.

Salt Lake City photographer Katrina Barker Anderson, who is a lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, launched Mormon Women Bare in July 2013 and has so far had more than 30 Mormon women volunteer to be photographed.

‘I know that images can be very powerful tools for change,’ the 30-year-old told MailOnline. ‘For the women who chose to be photographed, this act of artistic expression helps them reclaim their bodies while protesting a system that has told them they must remain covered and careful.’

I clicked over to Mormon Women Bare, to which I will not be linking, and read the following from the creator:

Mormon Women Bare is about reclaiming. It is about women reclaiming our bodies from a culture that teaches us that we belong to men, to God, to the society that objectifies us. It is about reclaiming the female body as more than just an object of lust or resistance. Through images and personal stories, this project breaks taboos by unabashedly showing what is supposed to be covered- our female form- while also exposing  the often not talked about price of a culture that places a woman’s ultimate value on her so-called “virtue”.

My reader, though now Catholic, was nonetheless very angry and wrote:

They aren’t faithful Mormons. They remain Mormon only because of the culture and are openly not “true believers” as they put it. They want to change a religion they don’t even have faith in. And as is evident in some of the images many of the women photographed in that series are either formally Mormon or not in good standing (because they have tattoos and piercing). Parading these women as Mormon is false and damaging. It’s also degrading to actual faithful women and the church and culture. These women are fakes! How dare they act as if they are the real deal representing the church and her people.

I would say they don’t just want to change it; they want to destroy it by devolving it.  I’ve noticed the same tendency in Christian women who try to break (or have broken) into the pastorate.  It isn’t about religious convictions; it’s about seeking power for themselves in order to destroy the institution.

This desire to destroy by devolution isn’t limited to the spiritual realm.  Consider this article from Salon:

Meet the world’s most famous vaginal knitter: Performance artist Casey Jenkins talks to Salon about her decision to knit with yarn inserted into her own vagina

Casey Jenkins didn’t realize more than 2.5 million people would see her vagina. But that’s what happened after a segment she shot for Australian broadcast network SBS was uploaded to YouTube last week. In the video, the feminist performance artist is shown knitting from a ball of yarn she’d inserted in her vagina. Pulling out a thread, the wool having been wound in such a way that allowed it to unravel from the center, she then proceeds to knit one long, unbroken scarf.

She’s talking via telephone from a laundromat in her hometown of Melbourne. It’s the first free moment she’s had to wash her clothes since returning from Darwin where she performed her now viral piece, “Casting Off My Womb,” at the Darwin Visual Arts Association. In it, Jenkins spent 28 days in a gallery knitting from the skeins she’d placed inside herself. She explains that the project wouldn’t have had the resonance it did if she’d paused when she began menstruating, but concedes it made the process more difficult “because the wool is wet and you have to kinda yank at it.”

At the Darwin Visual Arts Association…how fitting.  Women’s Art, under the influence of feminists, has devolved from this:


Catinou Knitting 1887, Anna Elizabeth Klumpke.

To this:

Bonobo inspired art, circa 2013

Her motivation, she says…was a response to the societal expectations heaped upon women of childbearing age — a weight that increases in intensity as the years tick by, which can result in a building sense of panic. “There are a lot of very extreme and loud and clambering responses whenever you try and talk about menstruation or the vulva, or what a body like mine can and should do. I wanted to quiet down all that noise or move away from it to a point where I could spend some time contemplating what I want to do with my own body,” said the 34-year-old.

Oh dear, she’s in her mid-thirties and childless.  Could this explain her desperate need to call public attention to her barren womb? Is this just a bonobo-like attempt at a mating call?

The other reason for the piece is a bit more far-reaching. Jenkins’ work has long been concerned with questioning and subverting the conversation around the vagina and its place in society, as well as what constitutes women’s activities — in this case, knitting — which has led to the kind of sexist responses one might expect from armchair critics. While “Casting Off My Womb” was well received when Jenkins performed it in Darwin (“The people there, they call a spade a spade and a cunt a cunt”), it has raised the hackles of many an Internet denizen; the deafening roar of disgust and disbelief lead SBS to disable the comment field of the YouTube video. “I think that there are misogynistic attitudes toward the vulva, and there’s widespread repulsion in my audacity to show it. And then there are also misogynistic attitudes toward knitting, as it’s associated with something that women do,” she explained. “There is a dissonance between the two. They’re both constructs, patriarchal constructs … and people don’t know what to do when they walk together.”

Yes, she is partially correct in that last bit there; patriarchal constructs do include the elevation of feminine virtue and modesty and revulsion at women who behave like bonobos.

Genesis 3:19 says

…till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Darwinists might have their own religious-like way of putting it:

till  you return to the bonobos, for out of them you were taken; for you were bonobos, and to bonobos you shall return.

As for me, all this has led me to conclude something we might call the Theory of Feminist Devolution:

Feminism causes women to devolve, as evidenced by their art, into a bonobo-like state.


The decline of women artists under feminism.

You know what I miss about life when I didn’t work full-time? Time to think, that’s what. I am too rushed to think properly most nights.

So in lieu of a thoughtful essay, I will leave you with a What the – ? post, courtesy of (who else?) feminists…feminist artists, that is. 

And you already know when you see the words “feminist” and “artist” in the same phrase what that’s going to mean, don’t you.

First there was the vagina knitter, then the menstrual blood painter, and now…

Now, we might laugh this off, saying to ourselves, “No one in their right mind would take such a woman seriously as an artist!”

Au contraire.

National Public Radio took it very seriously, framing Miss Igarashi as a freedom fighter against patriarchal censorship.


An arrest on similar charges in July resulted in Igarashi being released. At the time, she said, “I don’t believe my vagina is anything obscene,” according to the Japan Times. “I was determined I would never yield to police power.”


Igarashi drew headlines last year when she rowed her kayak across a Tokyo river, a trip that was meant “to confront the county’s taboos regarding the female form,” as The Washington Post reported.


Other than the now-famous kayak, Igarashi makes cartoon-like figurines. As she says in her Twitter bio, her vagina is the “primary motif” of her work. She also tried highlights what her supporters call flaws in Japanese laws.


After her July arrest, Igarashi was released from jail after an online petition drew more than 21,000 signatures.

Apparently patriarchal censorship and artistic good taste must go hand and hand.