Saturday, 19 December 2009

One Goes Mad In CiF….

Jean Hannah Edelstein (Who? Some little-known author…) whines about the popularity of Enid Blyton in ‘CiF’:
My parents never bought me an Enid Blyton book, which is why (of course) I took such real subversive pleasure in finding some stacked in my grandmother's dusty bookshelves.
Didn’t do you any harm, did it?

Or, perhaps it did, since you are here whining about it…
My favourite Blyton title was The Put-Em-Rights, the story of a pious band of children from middle England who are inspired by a travelling preacher to do good works in their community; their well-intentioned efforts go generally awry and the overall message is that it's best to stick with your own kind, especially if you're working class. As it was in significant opposition to the liberal orthodoxy about inclusiveness I'd been taught at home and at school, I read it several times with complete consternation.
Isn’t that what kids do? Find something that throws into question everything their parents told them?

Admittedly, it’s usually punk rock, drugs, sex or booze, but hey. If you want to indulge your inner conformist, Jeannie, who are we to judge?
That was 20 years ago, and these books were already anachronistic. But as statistics released by Amazon.co.uk released this week demonstrate, many British parents and grandparents appear to remain convinced of the benefits of Blyton for young readers: alongside obvious choices like Dan Brown, JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer, Blyton is in the top 10 most purchased authors of the decade…
A list, I suspect, in which you will never feature.

And that’s what really rankles, isn’t it?
This poll of the most mainstream choices of British book buyers illustrates, I think, a collective desire for escapism, showing that our motivations haven't changed too much since the beginning of fiction. Even in this age of relative realism, we seem to be seeking out narratives that draw us away from the realities of contemporary life
People read for pleasure? And to escape the humdrum issues of their daily lives?

Well, I never! Here’s one for MummyLongLeg’s ‘No Sh*t Sherlock’ column
The enthusiasm with which these books have apparently been purchased for young readers in the past 10 years suggests more about their parents than them: that fear of the future, or even the present, is moving them to value for young people a familiarity with a comforting, simpler past, that is based on old-fashioned discrimination.
Yes. Parents buy Enid Blyton books not because they are simple, warm tales of friendship, but because they are secret racists and bigots.

Ever get the feeling some CiF columnists are just phoning it in..?

10 comments:

von Spreuth. said...

because they are secret racists and bigots.

"Five go to Smugglers top".

Uncle Quentin; Why do you call hin Sooty?"

Julian; "Because he is black,"

Quentin; "That's not nice. It is not HIS fault he is black."

Just LOVE that bit! :-)))

Brian, follower of Deornoth said...

Isn't there a website that will generate essays like that if you type in a random number?

North Northwester said...

"to do good works in their community; their well-intentioned efforts go generally awry"

Um, this is from the Guardian, right? So, like, did the writer sit and think about what it is that guardian readers do 'in the community?
Like destroying civilisation, perhaps? On purpose?

Rob Farrington said...

Not too sure what Mz Edelstein's been drinking lashings and lashings of lately, but I'm betting it wasn't ginger beer.

staybryte said...

Do you not think the fact that every piece of CiF lunacy gets a frankly magnificent shoeing in the comments is truly encouraging?

And off topic but very topical - any bets on the timing of the first CiF piece along the lines of "Strictly voters are racist scum"?

JuliaM said...

"Just LOVE that bit! :-)))"

Me too! :)

"Isn't there a website that will generate essays like that if you type in a random number?"

If there isn't, there should be!

"Um, this is from the Guardian, right? So, like, did the writer sit and think about what it is that guardian readers do 'in the community?"

That's different. Don't ask why. Never ask why. It just is...

"Not too sure what Mz Edelstein's been drinking lashings and lashings of lately, but I'm betting it wasn't ginger beer."

Heh!

"Do you not think the fact that every piece of CiF lunacy gets a frankly magnificent shoeing in the comments is truly encouraging?"

Yup, and especially encouraging was the selection of MoveAnyMountain as CiF commenter of the year... ;)


"any bets on the timing of the first CiF piece along the lines of "Strictly voters are racist scum"?"

If one does apperar, bet it'll be by Hugo Muir!

ranter said...

I think it is precisely because of this continual PC drivel that is now so overtly in your face that normal parents seek to illustrate to their children that there is another world out there, that's almost gone but might just be retained; where children had simple lives, weren't plugged into computers or Wee's and didn't live in a dysfunctuional coffee coloured melting pot where they HAD to like everybody else and their culture over their own - whatever it is / was and had nice normal names that were spelled properly not Maizzee or Kaylee or whatevah!

Great quote from Von Spreuth but then that's what the lefty, PC twats focus on.

Anonymous said...

Did I see that correctly? She's bitching about people's reading habits being driven by escapism in the same column that she recommends JK Rowling. Does Hogwarts really exist then?

AgainsTTheWall said...

Given Edelstein's Khazarian origins its de rigeur that she lays into any manifestation of the host population's culture.

Eni said...

My book on Enid Blyton, titled, The Famous Five: A Personal Anecdotage (www.bbotw.com) illustrates most of the points touched upon on the writer.
Stephen Isabirye