City Journal Summer 2014

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Summer 2014
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Stefan Kanfer
The Nursery: No Longer Immune « Back to Story

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Go the F**k to Sleep is very obviously a parody of a children's book aimed towards giving frustrated parents a chuckle, not a book intended for children themselves. Get off your high horse.
I wonder if any of the people who rated "Go to Sleep" are parents. Whatd'ya think?

Bill Drissel
Grand Prairie, TX
Not being a fan of potty humor I would never give this book to another adult. For one thing, our little darlings have a habit of getting into so-called "adult things". They learn this kind of language soon enough with the prevalence of it in public places and the inability of some people to shut their sewer yaps.

This is just like adult children giggling over the "dirty" words in the huge Webster's. Just think, it's on the NYT best-seller list. What does that say about our culture? It has no humor, no wit, & no point.
Not so long ago this "book" would have been marketed through the adult-section of novelty shops; whoopee-cushions & exploding cigars out front, cheap thrills in back. Now it's an NYT top-seller? People of adult-age who dismiss this piece of trash as harmless grownup humor remind me of that loutish couple in the "Married With Children" teevee series. Sick degeneracy sells, right? You know who you are. Have a miserable day.
Dear Mr. Kanfer,
"Go the Fuck to Sleep" certainly is vulgar, but it is surely not a children's book. It is a book written for adults in a pastiche of the style of a children's book. "Bumble-Ardy" is a children's book. It is a book written for children in the style of a children's book. I fail to understand how or why you would consider there is a connexion between the two sufficient to justify their inclusion in the same article.
Regards,
Sasha Maiyah.
As you very well know Go the F to sleep is a joke book aimed at adults. Even the tiniest effort in research would have leads to this discovery. Spare us the faux outrage
Wow! Dirty words in a childrens book.Man...that's edgy.Iconoclastic as hell but maybe missing something....oh wait... I know what.....Class.How bout for the upcomming holidays this ribald and talented pair work us up a filthy version of "A Visit From Saint Nicholas.They'er probably working on it now.I can hardly wait till Christmas.
You know that it's a satire of children's books right? A parent that thinks this is supposed to be read to children has something seriously wrong with them.
The only thing more deplorable than the state of entertainment aimed at adults is the belief that it was ever truly different. Or perhaps Mozart didn't compose "Leck mich im Arsch"?
"Go The F##k To Sleep" was never intended as a children's book.
This book, and I use the term loosely, is just another example of the trashification of our civilization. Throw it in the cultural black hole along with every reality television show and self-aggrandizing celebrity who is a celebrity for simply being a celebrity. Humor needs to have at least a touch of wit and a handful of intelligence. The book is a lazy attempt to cash in on a potty-humorous catch-phrase that is just that, a catchphrase. It is not the stuff of a book.
This book is of a piece with a phenomenon I've noticed nearly everywhere, which is not so much the coarsening of culture for children (though that is a necessary corollary), but rather the absolute refusal of a generation of purported "adults" to let go of children's culture. Rather than acknowledge that Batman is a comic-book hero for pre-teens and letting him go, Batman has to become a brooding, psychotic adult with profound adult angst. See also Transformers, Scooby Doo, etc., etc. In other words, this children's book isn't a piece of trash for children, it's a book for grown-ups who won't let children have anything of their own.
My guess is that the book is written for adults, specifically parents, and is definitely over-the-top tongue-in-cheek.
My wife and I raised a child who did not get the concept of sleep until we shipped him off to his grandmother. She kept him up for two days and nights until he was finally too exhausted to stay awake and went to sleep for fifteen hours. When he woke up, our son began a normal sleeping pattern and generally joined the human race.

The title of the book expresses what parents like us wanted to shout, but wouldn't dare.
It sounds like something that would have once appeared in the old National Lampoon.

I did explode like that once with my dog. I wasn't feeling well, so I took the dog for a nice long walk and let him do his business. When I got home I went straight to bed. Evidently the dog thought that it was still party time, and excitedly overturned the couch cushions, jumped up on a table and knocked over a lamp, knocked down the garbage pail and started playing loudly with the remnants of the previous evening's dinner, etc.
I couldn't take the noise anymore, so I got out of bed and went to the stairs and shouted
exactly those words that appear in the title of this book (without the asterisks, of course). My dog jumped up the sofa, curled up, and was fast asleep in about ten seconds.
Definitely works with dogs, might even work with kids, but I recommend kinder and gentler methods with the kids.
Always remember, they're the ones who are going to choose your nursing home. And the dog will be long gone by then.
I don't like vulgarity and would never buy Mansbach's book, but for fairness sake I have to chime in. I heard the author interviewed on a local talk radio station and his book isn't intended for children; its market is frustrated parents (why these parents may think foul language a antidote for frustration, or even amusing, is a whole different subject). That said, Maurice Sendak is a wonderful childrens' author and illustrator and his books(especially "Where the Wild Things Are") where a bedtime staple when my children were little (over 35 years ago now, which is hard for me to believe).
That book is NOT INTENDED for KIDS. Its a joke/parody on the pains of getting kids to go to bed. It's a book for parents.
Go the F** to Sleep is obviously not aimed at children. That said, the book is not funny. It consists of one joke, repeated again and again with different words. Fantasizing about Samuel L Jackson swearing the children to sleep is apparently hilarious to people who spend too much time listening to NPR and reading the New York Times. Want humor? Read Paul Krugman's columns.
That is disgusting but shows the down direction of adults and what they expose their children too. They shouldn't be parents. They need to go see the movie Courageous! We need God in our lives more than ever!
"The cheapeners of American culture." Elegantly put. Much nicer than the words I use to describe them.
You who are defending this book don't get it. It is another example of our culture becoming coarser and more vulgar. I don't think it is fit reading for adults or children. I admit that I am of a generation, I'm well past seventy, who have more respect for our selves and others than to recommend this to anyone. And MGB, I am a parent and my memory hasn't gone soft, nor did I have a nanny. This book is a ground breaker and I am sure that others of its ilk will follow. I hope I live long enough to witness the pendulum swinging back to a more civilized place.
The ONLY way you could write this commentary is if you never had children or your memory is going soft. Parents give this book to other parents as a way of saying, "i know what you're going through". Perhaps it was your wife or nanny that styayed up late with a crying baby/toddler hoping and praying against all hope that the child would fall asleep. It's a straw man, and you're really bored for material.
I have heard that this is NOT a kids book. But rather a novelty item that harried parents give to other such parents as a goofy gift.
Go the F**k to Sleep is something every parent thinks at one time or another. It's a book of ditties, for the entertainment of parents, not for babies. How ridiculous to pretend this is something to read to children.
Earth to Kanfer, earth to Kanfer - the book is not meant to be read to children. It is meant for adults as humor.
You do realise that go the f to sleep is a joke book aimed at an adult audience, not an actual children' s book ? Humour bypass in place perhaps
Another difference is that Sendak’s book is for children; Mansbach's and Cortes's book is for adults.

Did you really not know that, Mr. Kanfer?
Is there some succinct latin phrase that expresses this thought, "Venality trumps decency'? What more can I say? Modern media
has let loose the panderers to the lowest common denominator
upon the general population. I am of advanced age and will soon
mercifully pass away from this sickening outcome. For you who have
the sad realization that you could change it but instead choose to accept it, good luck with that. Personally, I am sure you will come to regret your acceptance.
Well you should know by now that some of us,meaning peoples don't have all our marbles in our head.
They would be better off to have a millstone tied around their neck and tossed into the sea....than to offend the little ones. Jesus said, "Of such is the kingdom of heaven".