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Con of the Week: The Shrinking Brain

May 11, 2010

Not as intelligent or enriching as it looks

Is there anything worse than bad children’s books? Well, yes, actually–children’s music. But bad books are pretty awful, too. Going to our local bookstore (the peerless Brookline Booksmith) was, for a while, a terrrifying proposition: The kids would settle in at the little Ikea table in back and force me to read one Star Wars-based book after another, then veer into Transformers or My Little Pony or–whygodwhy–something from their vast and almost unreadable selection of Scooby Doo books. (This, mind you, was as they sat not more than 30 feet from some of the best children’s books ever written.) Then I remembered: Hey, I’m the grown-up here. I could just say no.

But even children require some token justification–well, they might not require it, but it helps you, as a parent, feel less like a jerk. So I told them that books based on TV or movies make your brain smaller. And with less space, you can’t remember things, and you lose the ability to learn new things. As I rule, I’ll read them one crap book per visit, and then to illustrate my point I’ll pretend to forget their names. And you know what? It works. After that, they don’t even want me to read any more. Because kids, while not stupid, are staggeringly ignorant. And sometimes, ignorance is your best friend.

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