I’ve got five thousand other things to write and rant about, but I just want to rant about children’s books and movies that must spell out a moral lesson or self-destruct. Hey, of course I’m all for children learning about right and wrong and everything in between, but I object to lectures (sermons) that poorly disguise themselves as stories.
For his birthday my son got these videos that say on the cover things like, “Lessons in Telling the Truth.” Now, to be fair, I haven’t watched the video, and it may be wonderfully entertaining. Maybe my child will love it. Who knows. But I find this kind of note off-putting. My son is not an idiot. He doesn’t need a good lesson spelled out for him.
Let’s try these kinds of messages on novel covers. A label on Watership Downmight read–Lessons on Sticking Together. On 1984–Lessons on Big Government. On Lord of the Rings–Lessons on Perseverance. What else? What lesson labels could go on novels you know and love? Come on, I don’t want to read a book unless I know what I’m going to get out of it. We could do it for movies too. In this movie you will learn to accept people who are different. Please enjoy the popcorn.
Plenty of amazing novels have messages in them–lessons about good and evil, love and endurance, loyalty and truth. A story with meaning is a more powerful story. But if somebody wants their novel to teach me lesson at the expense of telling me a good tale, then they ought to hit me over the head with the book instead and be done with it. Don’t even put pages between the covers–put concrete. Concrete will leave a bigger impression on the skull.