Don’t you just love it when the media get taken in by the most unlikely stories because they want to believe it’s true. I came across one today on the Telegragh webite, the tale of a group of parents who have set up the Happy Endings Foundation dedicated to doing away with children’s books that have a sad denouement because kids can’t take an unhappy ending.
The aims of the are:
- To eradicate sad thoughts from all literature
- To make people smile a little more often
- To encourage authors to write more uplifting books for children
- To highlight the dangers of reading sad books
- To unite parents of a similar thinking and create a force with which to be reckoned
- To protect the next generation of readers.
- And, above all, to ensure the longevity of HAPPY ENDINGS (that means “to make sure happy endings are around for a long time”)
The chief culpit of misery was Lemony Snicket, author of the A Series of Unfortunate Events books which and they parents to take them into the garden and have a Nazi-style book-burning. You’d think at this point that a bell would have been ringing in the journalist’s ear, but the good old Mail took it seriously (as did the readers in their comments) as did the Guardian book blog.
Of coarse it turned out to be a hoax to promote Lemony S. And it worked, but as Ceri Radford says:
“…as Gordon Brown himself knows, spin can backfire. The Happy Endings campaign may have scored a few glorious column inches today, but it will have stored up a stack of animosity towards Lemony Snicket and Egmont Books for tomorrow: nobody likes to be made to look a fool.”