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Somebody posted the story in the link about a sheep that
escaped captivity and avoided being sheared for 6 years by
hiding in a cave. (see link)
It's a children's story that writes itself. But it occurred to
me, what if you put out a kid's story that had a good
message that was hidden behind
a bad one? In this case,
thinking for yourself being a good thing but hidden behind
the story's moral that thinking for yourself is a bad thing,
but unconvincingly told.
Here's the story: "Puffball, the Rebellious Little Sheep."
One day, while all
the good little sheep were lining up to be sheared, Puffball
said: "I will not be held to your cookie cutter
standards of beauty and the directives of the oppressive
masters." So on the way to be sheared, he jumped out of
the back of the truck and ran into the mountains.
Skip to the end of the book after he ends up
looking like the sheep in the link.
"And Puffball said: I will never stray from the directive of
my leaders and masters again. To conform with the flock is
good, to think for yourself is baaa-aa-aa-ad!"
I'm thinking the brighter kids in the group would think for
themselves and say "Hey, what's wrong with thinking for
yourself? This one sheep ended up with an uncomfortable
hairdo, but it's better than being turned into lamb chops.
And that message doesn't apply to most situations regarding
oppressive governing bodies. So what are we saying? If we
don't have a
totalitarian government we're all going to end up with
horrible hairdos? Nonsense, this book's message is terrible."
To which the teacher would say "Billy or Sally, you get and
A+ on your book report."
As a completely un-related aside, look at the smile on that
sheep's face after getting sheared.
Shrek, the rebellious little sheep.
[doctorremulac3, Aug 29 2015]
We think more alike than you realize...
Hidden agenda for a younger audience [RayfordSteele, Aug 29 2015]
//I'm pretty sure I know what it was about since I wrote it.//
[calum, Aug 31 2015]
||I think the smart ones would realize that its neither
about rebellion nor conformity.
||The story was EXACTLY a study of rebellion and
conformity. Not saying it was a great piece of
literature, but I'm pretty sure I know what it was
about since I wrote it.
||Not my point. 'It' here refers to something else
altogether as I find the lesson here as simplistic.
And I changed my vote. With a different moral its a
fine idea. Kids learn all kinds of lessons from
stories besides the obvious ones though,
oftentimes unintended ones.
||Sometimes the object of paranoid fixation is less
oppressive than the paranoia.
||Anyway, does this record play another song?
||//Anyway, does this record play another song?//
||I'm not sure what that means. Am I posting too many
ideas about which types of social constructs allow of
the greatest measure of self determination using
anthropomorphized animal husbandry symbols? If so
I'll try to drop in another subject from time to time
just to keep things fresh.
||Regarding the post. Yes Ray, I'm sure we agree and
more subjects that we differ on. We just seem to
butt heads a lot. Probably as much me as you.
||Case in point, went to bun your linked post, already
||Ok, I'm spending the rest of the day driving to a
wedding party. Off line till Sunday. Have a nice
weekend everybody. You too Ray.
||Its just the politics and government diatribes that
grate on me after awhile. That's all. The halfbakery
used to crack down more on political rants and
religious propaganda and such more often, and
there were those who were much less forgiving
than I am in that regard.
||I also tended to bone endless self-pity, bad habits of
habitual trolls, and such.
||3 decades ago, when my infant children were new
readers enjoying 'simple' characters and stories including
the Mr. Men collection, I was pleased and proud when
they protested at how unfair it had been for Mr. Tidy and
Little Miss Perfect to interfere in the life and home of Mr.
Messy by tidying everything up without his knowledge or
||On the surface a tale of 'nice people' doing a favour for
someone unable of unwilling to do 'the right thing' for
themselves, was recognized in my children's eyes to be an
example of oppression and enforced conformity.
||The idea of a story which can be taken in contradictory ways, depending on how many layers of irony you apply, is not new. Take Camus's "The Fall", for example; you can take the protagonist's message as prophetic, or, equally, as satire. See also Lermontov's "Hero of Our Time".
||It "works" in the sense that it keeps people talking about the story, but it has unpleasant side-effects.
||I'm not familiar with these books. Are the morals
ambiguous and vague? I know it's considered artsy
and progressive to tell stories like this, "No Country
For Old Men" being a movie that comes to mind. But
the idea is to have a clear BAD moral message that
effectively lets the reader or viewer accept the true
hidden message by picking through a few holes in the
logic of the story teller, in this case it being bad to
think for yourself because you'll end up looking like a
puffball, a ludicrous message.
||This may well have been done, I'm not familiar with
the books cited. To be clear, I'm saying have a one
twist ending where the message is 180 degree
opposite, then have a clear and unambiguous moral,
not to flounder about between messages to impress
the reader with how non-judgemental and un-
shackled by standard bourgeois perceptions of right
and wrong the writer is.
||The hidden message of "Puffball The Rebellious Little
Sheep" is: "Think for yourself, and you can start by
critiquing this stupid story."
||Any way you look at it, you can run and you can hide but in the end you will be fleeced.
||The story's hidden moral conflates thinking for
one's self and rebellion, which are poor synonyms
at best. Hence my earlier reaction.
||The smart kids would realise first that the story had a
'bad' moral, then that it had a 'good' moral and then
that the author was manipulating them, and then,
finally, would gain an insight into the economics of
the children's book publishing industry which requires
books to have an 'angle' or unique selling point and to
appeal to parents' poorly thought-through guilt that
they are failing their children somehow, not spending
enough 'quality' time with them and that this can be
alleviated by spending money on 'educational' or
||//Are the morals ambiguous and vague?//
||Well, in Camus' "The Fall", they're not ambiguous or vague at all. You just can't tell whether Camus believes in them... especially when you know a little about Camus' life.
||Got me curious, I'll check it out.