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And it’s all Sir Basil’s fault.

Drat you, Baz! I was hoping not to have to go to confession this week!

 The other evening, I discovered that a copy of Halloween by Jerry Seinfeld had made its way into the Port-Swiller’s household.

Basically, the book is a reworking of Seinfeld’s Halloween shtick, as seen both on his teevee show and in his autobiography Seinlanguage.   Only this time, it’s accompanied by illustrations and, apparently, aimed at much younger audiences.

The reason I discovered it is because the seven year old gel demanded that I read it to her.  Figuring that its appeal to her was solely due to the fact that it talked about candy, I gave in.

But as I read, I couldn’t help being struck, forcefully struck, by the cynicism and nihilism of the routine.  (If you don’t know it, I won’t try to explain it all here.  Suffice to say that the joke starts out about faulty and ridiculous costumes and eventually winds up with Seinfeld as an older kid basically shaking down the neighborhood for candy, without even a pretense of interest in anything else.)   And I couldn’t help thinking that this was extremely inappropriate material for something holding itself out to be a children’s book.   (Although, come to think of it, as funny as I think Seinfeld is, I’m also having a hard time justifying to myself the appropriateness of this kind of humor for an adult, too.  Even, or perhaps especially, to those of us who say to ourselves that we are sufficiently armored in our morality that we can indulge this sort of thing a bit without suffering any harm.)

At any rate, I can’t remember being this disturbed about one the gels’ books before – this includes everything from Disney and the Berenstein Bears.  It seems to me that Jerry is going to have to be disappeared.


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December 2009