9/22/11

Beware the Fowl Artemis, Butthead!

Orangeboy reads all sorts of fantasy lit these days.  It surprises me.  As a younger reader he only seemed to "get" nonfiction.  He didn't like nor understand made up stuff that didn't make sense.  He might ask questions like;
"I don't get it.  Why would a monkey be so curious?  Why don't they keep him in a cage?"
"How could a treehouse fly to the moon? - There's no oxygen."  or
"That doesn't make sense - the witches fly with BROOMS?"
I admit, sometimes he wasn't quite that articulate, but I know that what he was trying to ask when he tilted his head, made a puckered frown, and growled.

But now that he is in Middle School, he has suddenly taken up reading fantasy literature and books about Greek mythology.    I'm fairly certain he doesn't take these stories as being real or even possible, and I suppose it's a good thing that he can accept imaginary scenarios and not get tripped up in the improbable details, but something happened yesterday that forced me to ponder whether this type of literature is not problematic for Orangeboy.

He is currently reading the Artemis Fowl series in which the hero is actually an anti-hero.  He's a teenage criminal mastermind.  That in itself is a concern since Orangeboy is known to not-so-secretly harbor the ambition to become a evil mastermind himself.  The most pressing problem at the moment; however, is that Orangeboy lives in a cuss-free zone - i.e. a Christian family living in a rural area of the Bible Belt, USA.; plus his grandmother is very uptight and his school frowns on that sort of thing - and the Artemis Fowl series contains some fowl foul language.  Orangeboy isn't very prudent in his adoption and use of phrases and words he learns while reading or listening.  In third grade he got into a bit of trouble for using a word in class that the teacher wouldn't even spell back to me.  It was obviously a very bad, bad word for these parts, so I'm guessing it started with "s" or even (gasp) "f"!
Thankfully, he didn't catch much trouble because his teacher understood that Orangeboy is a little extra-unordinary.

And so, taking his cue from Artemis Fowl, Orangeboy once again lets loose with some indiscreet language by telling his brother to "Go to Hell" at breakfast yesterday.  He was swiftly corrected by his Father, along the lines of;
"WHAT did you just say?!  I had BETTER not EVER hear you say that to anybody again."

Later, I felt that is would be helpful to give Orangeboy a good reason for this strong rule; even though explaining semantics and context is almost impossible to do and make it sound rational.  But just as Orangeboy has learned to accept the improbable and silly in literature; he seems to be more accepting of rules that are rules just because they are.  He accepted with bowed head my simple explanation that "We don't use that phrase because it is a specific curse basically telling someone to go to eternal damnation and that is a very mean thing to say".    

It's less mean just to say, "Shut up!  Your breath smells like butt!", but not in front of your grandmother.





1 comment:

  1. "Your breath smells like ... chicken grease!"

    And, yes, comments about prana are probably not welcomed.

    Remember when somebody told me to "go to hell". Very Simpson-ish, and I probably deserved it.

    Recommendation for a fantasy author that Orangeboy might enjoy: Sara Douglass (Warnecke), who died this week. I hope she didn't go to Styx.

    I also recommend the Apprentice series by Robin Hobb.

    Are the Greek mythology books the ones by Riordan - Percy somebody?

    And with fantasy reading, the more wildly improbable, mind-expanding, emotion-provoking and not-like-life-but-deeply-real it is; the better and the more interesting!

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If you get the facetious, sarcastic, or humorous quality in this post, please comment! At least LOL.