But Mom-That’s What It’s Called!
June 3, 2011
Have you noticed the proliferation of popular book titles with words that once didn’t circulate in “polite society”? The latest that caught my eye is a humorous adult picture book called Go the F*** to Sleep! by Adam Mansbach, a “bedtime book for parents who live in the real world” according to Perseus Publishing. I ordered a few copies recently. Since there were two customers with the nerve to request this without lame asterisks like I’m using, I wasn’t about to refuse them. Now, it seems this one might be taking off.
Last year, of course, there was virally popular Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern, and before that Harry Frankfurt’s On Bullsh*t (2005), which I think is where this trend kind of started.
Am I being overly skittish to wonder when this all became acceptable? When was the meeting of publishing execs who decided it’s OK to start labeling and marketing titles with swearwords? Was Laura Bush consulted? It’s not that I’m against the use of such language in literature between the covers. When everyone’s forced to use crude language just to reference a book clearly, though, it seems a bit invasive, as if designed to draw out the uncomfortable, squirming prudes among us and force them to distinguish themselves unnecessarily from the cool kids.