Overheard on CNN.com: Parents to author: What the "f?"
June 28th, 2011
05:01 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Parents to author: What the "f?"

Comment of the day:

“What has happened to satire? Why are people in the U.S. so ridiculously sensitive? Why is it no longer OK to make a joke about anything? Why are people so thin-skinned? I'll tell you why: people like to complain. People like to whine.” –Barack5tar

Zacharias misses the mark

Author, journalist and public speaker Karen Spears Zacharias says the popular book "Go the F*** to Sleep" - which addresses parents’ frustration with bedtime rituals - sadly also reflects some kids' reality. She says obscenities - and worse, obscenities toward kids - is common in some households and shouldn’t be the butt of jokes.

But many people who commented on Zacharias' opinion piece on CNN.com heartily disagreed with her, saying she is taking the book too seriously.

ads98 said, “I think that laughing about a tough situation helps a lot of people deal with their problems. A parent that is overly stressed about a child's sleeping schedule might find some comfort in laughing about and realizing they are not the only one in the situation.”

Rockinruby said, “My kids, aged seven and nine, have never heard swear words in our home. They don't watch movies rated PG-13 or R. They have had bedtime stories every night since they were newborns. But you know what? I laughed until I cried when I read Adam Mansbach's book.”

FFCBairn said, “Really? So this book is the most pressing, important thing to children? Not the high divorce rates, poor education, dubious medical care, etc. It's this book because it uses the F word?”

longhorn734 said, “I couldn't agree with the author more. My child got a hold of  ‘Where the Wild Things Are,’ sailed away to an unknown monster forest and I haven't seen him since. Max, if you're reading this, please come home, your supper is getting cold.”

kablarkin said, “Grow a sense of humor. This book is funny because its stuff that you're thinking, but would NEVER say to a child. Like Bad Santa. It's funny because it's so wrong.” RolandL said, “This book was meant to make you laugh and release some of that tension and frustration that naturally goes along with being a parent. Don't like it – don't buy it.”

Some readers did agree with Zacharias.

Thousand said, “The tone of the book is pretty well hideous. You all think your ‘dark sense of humor' isn't damaging to children, but you can't even see how messed up you are yourselves.”

Cartzzzz said, “The problem is that the book perpetuates the myth that kids are to blame for things like not sleeping. After raising three kids and observing how a lot of people raise their kids, I find the problem lies with the parents. If you are having battles over sleep and your kid is more than a few months old - that's your fault.”

Cruddy11 said, “Some things in life are very funny. This subject isn’t funny or humorous. I just believe that type of language in regards to your children is unnatural. It makes me very uneasy that so many people actually think its ok.”

EnochRoot said, “I don't' want to ban the book. I want the so-called parents who find it funny to not have any more children.”

SonyPony said, “Don't like it? Don't read it. Problem solved." Corvus1 responded, “Doesn't solve the problem of promoting verbal abuse towards kids as 'humor.'"

natepete said, “If you swear and think swearing is funny, you might as well teach your kids to swear as well...this is ridiculous hypocrisy.” aldrix said, “Not saying I agree with the author, but I think it's legitimate to question whether something's really worth putting out there and I believe that's what she's doing here.”

Raising a nerdy son

Columnist LZ Granderson says he’s raising his son to be a nerd. Although his son is talented at sports, he’d rather see him excel at academic subjects. He says people tend to applaud athletics more than academics, although it’s the latter that usually matters most.

People who commented on Granderson's column generally appreciated his point of view.

whodey said, “Nerds have had a hand in everything that keeps you alive and makes life worth living. From medicine, electricity, computers, Internet, vehicles, TV, bridges, houses, you name it. The world runs on nerds.”

RyanDumb said, “I thought this article was refreshing and a wake-up call to my own parenting. I was a Division 1 college athlete and played five sports in high school. My oldest son is 3 and my other son is nearly 1. I spend time with my oldest trying to teach him to catch a ball, run as fast as he can playing tag, etc. when I really need to spend more time working with him on learning to read, spelling, learning basic math. Things he will use daily in the ‘real world’ because the odds are against all athletes becoming professional.”

capnhindsite said, “Totally agree Mr. Granderson. You are taking responsibility for your child’s education and I wish more people would realize that. People complain about our schools failing our kids but rarely do you hear anyone stand up and point out that the parents are ultimately responsible for their children’s learning.”

philbangayan said, “We need more people thinking this way. Last November, the regional competition for the Siemens Science Competition was held at Caltech. Students from as far away as Washington were presenting graduate level work that can make real changes for us. How sad was it that the auditorium only had ~30 people (all family members) in it? This is auditorium that easily held 200 people and where Nobel Prize winners such as Feynman once lectured in. Yet down the road, thousands of people attended a football game.”

bcole04 said, “This is exactly what we need to encourage in our nation's children! Being smart is cool. Being successful is cool. Being a nerd is cool. If you want proof that you can be a nerd and still be cool, look no further than Steve Jobs.”

AsoRock said, “I’m praying to God that my daughter becomes a nerd as well....I was a nerd in HS and guess what? Condo near the lake, beautiful wife, fast car...I smile when I see my ATM receipts and life is good....yep,

agrib said, “Whether jock or geek, it doesn't matter, just having an involved and supportive parent will help any child, no matter what their talents or abilities. We need more parents to be involved with their children. Invest time in your child.”

dogmathree said, “As a teacher who works with students at risk, I just want to say thank you. I would like to send this to every parent at my school.”

SSBlurpe said, “Love a proud, hands-on daddy. It's terrific.”

slyer said, “I wouldn't call a kid a ‘nerd,’ I prefer the term ‘intellectual badass.’" MrAsheSin responded, “Warrior Philosopher!”

soundoff (207 Responses)
  1. dave

    @Fernace: In most states if you provide child care you're obligated under law to report child abuse. Apparently no one taught you that when you got your license. Of course I'm assuming you did get a license.

    June 28, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. dave

    That doesn't mean you should go making baseless accusations however. It also doesn't mean you should take a child at their word, there has to be proof.

    June 28, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. HumorSavvy

    To AsoRock
    Are you sure you're not just having a mid-life crisis?
    (I too am a successful "nerd", but I don't sound like you)

    June 28, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tanya

    This book lets me have my cake and eat it too. It helped me realize my own kid's aggravating bedtime ritual is his way of feeling extra loved on the way to sleep. So aggravating as it is, I do it every night because I love him. But I laughed my butt off with this book. It's a secret parent's delight. Anybody who thinks this is an actual book to read to children needs to take a deep breath and try again. Kudos to the author and to Samuel L. Jackson for narrating it.

    June 28, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Barnold

    I haven't read the book... I can see how it could be funny, and in some ways even comforting to struggling parents to see that other people have the same thoughts. But there's a phenomenon that affects me and others I know... where once you've read something, or seen something in a movie, it keeps popping into your mind in relevant situations. So that one might be trying to put their child to sleep as normal, but after reading this book, will have phrases like "Go the F*** to Sleep" echoing through their heads, which would not have been echoing through their heads without having read this. I don't want to have these phrases floating in my head; much as I would never say them, or even have thought them before, they'd be like a loose tooth that one can't stop playing with. I don't know if this phenomenon affects everyone, but for those affected, this book will cause at least a lot of mental conflict and cringing.

    June 28, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Prometheus

      I guess I better stop going to the public library then. There's this one Librarian that works there that makes allllllll my teeth feel loose. I wouldn't want my self-control to slip.

      June 28, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tingle007

    I don't think this book is meant to be read to children. I think it is meant as a joke gift to parents to read and laugh at in private.

    June 28, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. elizabeth

    the fact that something like this can raise such an uproar is an example of what is so wrong in this country...it is satire. it addresses what every single parent feels every day. Go recycle something, volunteer at a soup-kitchen, donate to a charity that means something to you...spend your time on something that has a real effect on the issues our world faces every day. and learn to LAUGH at what is meant to be light-hearted. it is embarrassing that this should even gain the attention that it has

    June 28, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Allison

    If you want to see what the book is all about search on youtube and see the Samuel Jackson reading! It is truly funny when he reads it- puts it in a way that it was meant to be read. Just like "Snakes on a Plane". 🙂

    June 28, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Hah

    I was looking at the comments to that hack Granderson's article, and they are overwhelmingly negative. That slob can't write, and I can't believe he is getting paid for the crap he writes. Leave it to CNN to pick out ~10 positive comments and call it "generally positive" overall

    June 28, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mmmmm

    ENOOooough! get your a s s e s to bed!

    June 28, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jeremy

    One among many of the Irish playwright, Sean O'Casey's quotes about the Irish fits this situation. Just plug in Americans in place of Irish. "That's the Irish People all over–they treat a joke as a serious thing and a serious thing as a joke."–Seumas from The Shadow of the Gunman.

    June 28, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. GrasshopperY

    Saddest part about all of this is the fact that some parents out there would be idiotic enough to actually read this book to their kids.

    June 28, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. PMonty86

    The book is meant for adults. It is meant for humor for said adults.
    Its plain and simple: Its a book, not a set of instructions. It is meant to promote laughs from frustration at no one's expense. Anyone can 'think' what they want to about the book and what it they feel it does. Those that do are over analyzing it and not taking it for what it is.

    Don't like it? Don't read it.
    Don't like that kind of humor? Well what were you doing that led you to this book in the first place?

    June 28, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed Sr

      it is not humorous and neither are you......but of course anything born under a rock tends not to be humorous.

      June 29, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ed Sr

    This is not humorous...................this is just garbage..................satire it is not...................garbage it is!

    June 28, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • PMonty86

      It is art. It harms no one. It degrades no one. Nor does it promote either.

      June 28, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ed Sr

    Welcome to the United Cesspool of America, folks..................everyone born after 1950 world wide should be monitored (if possible) and all those who are trash and trash minded should be buried deep and allow the other civilized humans to take over and correct this landfill we call earth............

    June 29, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
    • PMonty86

      And do you intend to be the first and probably only volunteer to participate in your genocide? And whats with making this personal? I wasn't attacking you or anyone as a person. Perhaps you need to stop spewing fecal matter from every orifice. The fumes are obviously getting to you and making you delusional.

      June 29, 2011 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Ph.D. from M.I.T.

      to Ed SR – You are possibly a troll. If not, you are dangerously anti-social and I suggest you seek professional help and/or seek out help from your clergy (if you are religious – but given your comments I doubt that). If you do not like my suggestion, then please provide credible references to how being so cynical and negative is helpful to either yourself or others.

      June 29, 2011 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
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