12 August 2009

Tess, Toby and Teabag

Seen the news about the children's' book about travellers? Probably not, only the Mail regard a book choice as news

But they don't like travellers very much, neither do I really, but there is a line..somewhere

So Littlejohn went for his usual vileness, and I actually nearly agreed with him - I think most of us have experienced 'travellers' and it's never nice - but that's his trick, identify the broad sentiment and then take it to the extreme, but my object of criticism is more subtle than that - I would never shut up about the hateful bloke if I chose to write whenever I disagree with him

Where I found the bullsh*t was here:

Once upon a time there was Janet and John, who lived with their mummy and daddy in a neat suburban house. Their harmless adventures helped millions of children to read.

The perfect existence

Needless to say, Tess, Toby and Teabag lead an airbrushed, romanticised existence. This well-scrubbed trio roam the land, attending traditional gipsy dances, horse fairs and even an eco-camp.
Now pray tell, were not Janet and John rather romanticised? A perfect upbringing, father off to work in an office, mother at the sink, nice garden - in short a perfect suburban life

So we're allowed to venerate a romantic version of middle-class living, (which belongs in the 50s) to help us read, but not allowed to gloss over the existence of travellers

Now bad as the gipsies may be, the middle classes have plenty of their own foibles - the behaviour of their youths, indebtedness, affairs, domestic violence, and quite often - two working parents!

So we should aspire to this glossy romantic version of middle-class life where everything is rosy, but it's somehow wrong to do exactly the same thing to travellers? It would appear there is only one 'right' way to live, and it looks like a second world war poster

Then there's this:

Nowhere is there any mention of Toby's father. Tess is a strong, capable single mum who can turn her hand to anything, including mending a flat tyre on their caravan.

The 'diversity' brigade can't bring themselves to acknowledge that fathers have any part to play in bringing up children.

'Single parenting is wrong!!' Apparently we shouldn't be promoting this image to children...

Right - I appreciate that the Mail believe there should be two parents, and I think most would agree, but to not accept that single-parent families happen, for whatever reason, is ludicrous (I will concede his point that travellers are actually a bastion of the nuclear family, however)

What purpose would it serve to always make a child in a children's' book have two parents - does the image of a single parent make those kids want to grow up and get a child just for themselves? Or is it far more beneficial to show real-life situations and show them to kids who may grow up in that same situation? I have no intention of deliberately following my mother, and I suppose Neighbours were wrong to kill off new-mother Bridget and leave a single-father, nothing bad happens to real people, after all (sorry if I spoiled any plots there)

As far as I can tell all their policy does is tell children that there is something wrong with their home, as it always presents a two-parent situation as the norm and leaves single-parent kids left out

That's very much wrong - similarly they had a go at books about black and Asian children (they dared to include a minority in a 2001 revamp of the J+J books), as it was 'excessive for a mainly-white nation' - again they are saying that white is somehow better, the ideal - and again all this does is leave people feeling different - the best kids' shows and books have always strived to include a variety of races (see: Sesame Street) - this helps kids to understand some people look different to them, rather than growing up in a totally white environment where they could become hostile to things that are different later in life - I'm being speculative, but I fail to see any problem with the alternative anyway

The Mail may want a perfect, white, middle-class existence for all but the underclass, but this is not reality and nor do their ideas on conformity address the issues they want to fix - it just sweeps them under the carpet, and at worst - breeds hatred

p.s. Women changing tyres is wrong!!


A follow up from my story about Mandy's plan to help poor students - I am actually agreeing with Dominic Lawson

It would appear there are very few sections of the press supportive of this idea, although I've given up on the Guardian lately

No comments:

Post a Comment