Anarchy for children? A pro-anarchy kids' book angers the Tea Party(Read article summary)
'A Rule is to Break: A Child's Guide to Anarchy,' by John Seven and Jana Christy, was called 'downright shocking' by a Tea Party publication and received a blurb from activist Bill Ayers.
Childrenâs books seem to be the center of controversy lately. First there was the 9/11 coloring book that depicted scenes from 9/11 and the killing of Osama bin Laden. Then there was âMaggie Goes on a Diet,â which encouraged young girls to diet.
âA Rule is to Break: A Childâs Guide to Anarchy,â by husband-and-wife team John Seven and Jana Christy, has some readers up in arms, with one Tea Party publication calling its publication âdownright shocking.â
Published by Manic D, a small San Francisco press specializing in anarchist and fringe publications including âThe Civil Disobedience Handbook,â and âThe International Homosexual Conspiracy,â this 44-page picture book for children ages 4 and up is the pressâs first foray into childrenâs book publishing, according to Publisherâs Weekly.
Its colorfully-illustrated pages contain such advice as âDonât look like everybody else! Be you,â âThink for Yourself!â âNo Baths Ever Again!â and âGive Away Stuff for Free,â along with the more eyebrow-raising âWhen Someone Says, âWork!â You Say Why?â and âDo What You Want!...Or do nothing, if you prefer.â
And while some see it as âgently humorous,â like the UKâs Guardian, and showing âthe softer side of anarchy, with an emphasis on fun and independence, but also community and kindness,â like Publishers Weekly, others arenât so amused.
A report in the Tea Party publication Liberty News Network calls the book âhorrendousâ and âdownright shocking.â
âBut it gets even worse,â continues the write-up, âwhen we realize Bill Ayers, radical terrorist leftist and friend of Obama, not only endorsed it through his twitter account, his comments in support of the book are listed on the actual Amazon.com book pageâŚ Wow... If a person can be read by the company he keeps, what does this say about Obama?â
In his blurb, Ayers calls the book âa delight to readâ and says that âa childrenâs book on anarchy seems somehow just right: an instinctive, intuitive sense of fairness, community, and interdependence sits naturally enough with a desire for participatory democracy, feminism, queer-rights, environmental balance, self-determination, and peace and global justice.â Beneath the blurb, Ayers is identified with a wink and a nod, as an âauthorâŚ teacher, Barack Obamaâs alleged terrorist pal, and grandpa.âÂ
Not surprisingly, publisher Manic D approached this firestorm with a sense of humor and doesnât seem bothered by the attacks. Sales are âpretty good,â marketing manager Jennifer Swihart Voegele told Publishers Weekly, and the controversy will likely only drum up more interest and sales. Incidentally, Manic D also sent early Christmas presents to rightwing pundit Bill OâReilly and comedian Stephen Colbert: copies of the book with a âHappy holidaysâ card.
Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.