Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Morons Are Coming, The Morons Are Coming -- Rush Limbaugh's Rush Revere becomes the Milli Vanilli of the Children's Book World

Here's the list of Children's Choice Book Award nominees for author of the year.  Nominees were selected by book sales.   Let's see how many you've heard of.

  • Veronica Roth, "Allegiant"  -- My daughter just finished this again tonight, her second trip through the series.   
  • Rachel Renee Russell, "Dork Diaries 6: Tales From A Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker" -- Sitting on my daughter's shelf with every Dork Diary book.
  • Rick Riordan, "The House of Hades" -- Daughter has read other Riordan books.  
  • Jeff Kinney, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck" -- Every Diary book is on my daughter's shelf. 
  • Rush Limbaugh, "Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans"  -- WTF?  
Seriously.  Rush Limbaugh sold enough books to be on this list, and in a stunning bit of WTFery, won the award for Author of the Year based on votes, presumably from Rush's large audience of 9 to 13 year olds.  

Now, being the good liberal I am, I assumed Rush gamed the system.    It's not unheard of for conservative groups to buy up books in bulk to drive sales figures, and Rush has a powerful enough pulpit to drive his audience to vote for the book.    Maybe these were all sales to clueless parents and grandparents who had no idea what kids read.   But maybe I was wrong.  Maybe kids were reading these things.  

So I decided to ask my daughter about the books.  

"Have you heard of the Rush Revere series of books?"

"No."

I showed her the cover of the book.  

"Why would you put an old guy on the cover of a kid's book?  And it's about history?   No kid's going to willingly read that." 

It's great to have your kid confirm your suspicions.    But why not go further.   I decided to check our library to see how popular the books were.  

Results:

Allegiant:   21 copies owned, 73 people are waiting for a copy.  

Dork Diaries 6:  11 copies.   No holds.   

House of Hades:  28 copies.  22 people are waiting for a copy.   

Diary of a Wimpy Kid:  Hard Luck:  14 copies.  4 people are waiting for a copy.  

Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims:  4 copies.  3 people are waiting for a copy.

Certainly not official, but it would appear that Rush is not exactly setting the world on fire in our public library, especially for the most popular children's book of the year of which limited copies are available, a couple of days after Rush won this award.    

What's saddest to me is that an award intended to reward and celebrate books our kids know and love has been hijacked by a book that by many accounts (herehere, and here for example) is a historically inaccurate, poorly written and illustrated piece of crap and serves as a masturbatory paean to Rush Limbaugh and his politics (complete with product placement) rather than an engaging piece of children's literature.    

Of course, just like Milli Vanilli, the last laugh will be had in years to come when kids are still reading some of the series on this list, and and Rush Revere is stacking up at used book stores and landfills across the country.

What do you think?  Has your kid read, or even heard of Rush Revere and His Hellish History series?