Not About the Bar


Crooks and Liars brings us the story of revisionist editing in the re-release of the children's book Goodnight Moon. The illustrator photo has been altered to remove a cigarette, and apparently one of the actual illustrations is now missing an ashtray. I never heard of Goodnight Moon until I got married, because my parents didn't love me, but it's one of Meli's favorite children's books. Me, I just hate crap like this. It's like when they replaced the rifles with walkie-talkies in the re-release of E.T., or when Cartoon Network cuts out the racial jokes from Tom & Jerry.


Lung cancer aside, is the author still alive? I wonder if he was a willing participant in this insanity.

I had a copy of Goodnight Moon when I was a kid and I never noticed either the cigarette or the ashtray. This is a clear example of the "third-person effect", which is the only clearly proven effect that media has on people - namely, that people tend to think that media will affect some third person/group negatively but, of course, won't affect them personally because they're so intelligent and mature. Here, the adults that revised Goodnight Moon would never believe that just seeing a cigarette or ashtray would encourage them to smoke (unless they're already addicted), but for some insane reaon they think the mere depiction of such things in the background of a beautiful, colorful and serene bedtime story will somehow put it into kids' minds that they should smoke. Do kids in the target age group even see it there? Do they even know what it is? Do they know what you do with it? If they're not even old enough to process the information in a negative way, what's the harm in leaving it as-is? If the chances that the pictures will cause even one child to smoke are infinitesimal how can you really justify censoring something like that? The reasoning is antiquated, self-righteous and based on junk-science theories on human cognition and learning. This is my general beef with most censorship, but the revision of this classic children's book is just sickening.

Sorry, sorry, I meant the illustrator, not the author. The fellow in the picture. You get the idea.

Like Kristina, I had the book as a kid and have no recollection of ashtrays or cigarettes. Do you know what I do remember about smoking from when I was a kid? My grandparents' house always smelled weird and musty and there was this film on the glasses in the cupboards that made my fingers squeak when I was drinking from them. Ugh. That squeak was enough to turn me off of smoking, background ashtrays or no.

That`s what that squeak was? Seriously, I`m pretty sure I had the same glassware experience at my smoking aunt and uncle´s house.

The only thing I remember about *Goodnight Moon* is that it scared the crap out of me. Well, I guess it didn`t totally scare the crap out of me, like Grover`s seminal *There`s a Monster at the End of This Book* scared the crap out of me. But I was definitely not pleased by how dark (as in, no lights) everything was. I was kind of a wuss.

but there was a little bedside lamp, jason! and the monster at the end of the book was grover! i suppose the rabid squirrels in *the giving tree* and the "lit match" section of *pat the bunny* scared you too, you wuss.

C&L is now reporting that the ashtray wasn't taken out, just the cigarette. But still.

I was always suspicious of the Giving Tree's motives, that´s for goddamn sure.

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This page contains a single entry by hb published on November 18, 2005 8:35 AM.

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