Evocations of Nazi intolerance sells books

Burning Books Seven by Lovephotography

Burning books seven

I too was suckered in for part of an evening by the Lemony Snicket ‘Happy Ending Foundation’ marketing scheme. That teaches me a valuable lesson to never trust what I read in the Daily Mail and in many ways perfectly reflects the ability of the blogs to make up for the failings of the mainstream media, as well as being a great lesson in viral marketing.

Last week, I read an article in the Daily Mail that revealed the twisted aims of an organisation of concerned parents who want to ban children’s books that have sad endings – with Lemony Snicket’s novels attracting much of their anger. The group called themselves the ‘Happy Ending Foundation’ and (this is the part that really got me furious) were inviting like-minded parents to join them at a book-burning party later this month.

Being a driven, popular and liberally-minded blogger, my first instinct was naturally to leap onto the infoweb and raise an army of similarly outraged people to storm this book-burning event and beat the living shit out of the intolerant, small-minded bastards – in the name of freedom, of course.

Such righteous indignation, however, was to drift towards embarrassment when I began to research for my impending rant (further proof that performing research before spouting off your opinions is not nearly as much fun). My first port of call was The Library Thing, where I found a link to the Happy Ending Foundation’s website – which is a beautifully crafted piece of junk. After reading about the foundation’s plans for Happy News (a special order newspaper that only details happy news) and Happy Cams (in happy places, of course), as well as some testimonials from members I suspected something dodgy only slightly – repeating to myself “this must be a fucking joke…”. But, then again, I think that after I read any article in the Daily Mail.

Hopping back to The Library Thing, I noticed the comment stating that this was a marketing stunt. Good. That was a happy ending as far as I was concerned. While I still have no doubt that there are some idiots in this world who would happily burn ‘sad’ children’s books, it is also reassuring that there are clever folks who use these idiots as the butt of their joke – or faceless corporation marketing strategy in this case.

Not everyone took the ruse in good humour though. Inkygirl in particular explains the coverage of the story in good detail on her blog but worries that using the notion of censorship and the Nazi-like book-burnings simply to make a profit might have been in bad taste. Crunkfish is no stranger to bad taste and subsequently may not be in the best position to take the moral highground in this matter, but I think there’s no such thing as bad taste. There’s only taste and it’s up for the taster to wolf it down or spit it out. If you don’t like it, go to another restaurant. Simple.

Maybe the viral was in bad taste and so should never have been done. But, then again, maybe sad endings in books are bad for our kids and so should be banned. I know what I think and I don’t really care what you think, but it’s good when people do nonetheless.


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