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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Columns

Children’s coloring book about 9/11 is tasteless propaganda


Several books are on the shelves in time for 9/11 this year, ranging from historical analysis to memoirs and victim’s heartfelt stories. Among these genres is a children’s book that stands out from the rest.

Some are calling it a coloring book, others are calling it a graphic novel, but the most accurate term is propaganda.

The book in question, “We Shall Never Forget 9/11: The Kid’s Book of Freedom” is not one of Aesop’s Fables.

The white pages have pictures of the twin towers burning, an American soldier shooting Osama bin Laden as he uses his wife as a human shield and plenty of other graphic images just waiting for children to doodle all over as they learn the so-called truth about 9/11.

To make matters worse, the pages contain more words than pictures to color. The text on the page containing bin Laden’s last moments runs four paragraphs long, and holds what can only be described as psycho-patriotic propaganda:

“Children, the truth is, these terrorist acts were done by freedom-hating radical Islamic Muslim extremists. These crazy people hate the American way of life because we are FREE and our society is FREE. We must be prepared to know and understand the truth. America is FREE. Ask your mother and father, your teacher, your preacher what this really means. What does it mean to be FREE? Why are we a FREE people?”

Aside from the fact that most children won’t have the attention span to chew through that small passage alone, the overuse of the term “FREE” brings some level of concern. Is this a coloring book or an advertising campaign?

Author Wayne Bell has steadfastly defended his work, as has the publisher, Really Big Coloring Books.

The publisher says the book is “designed to be a tool that parents can use to help teach children about the facts surrounding 9/11.”

Some refer to this as conditioning children. Others think of it as agenda setting. However, you should skip over these polite terms because the book is nothing more than brain washing.

Truth be told, it’s unlikely to brain wash the children. The more likely victim is whatever parent has the gullibility to purchase such a waste of paper.

Is there anything wrong with educating children about the tragedy that happened on 9/11? Of course not. But it is the job of parents to delicately and factually tell their children what happened, without dressing it up in patriotism and deionization.

The small number of parents unwise enough to use this book as a teaching tool simply need to give it up.

Really Big Coloring Books also published a book about the Tea Party last year. Needless to say, the “Tea Party Coloring Book for Kids” was more positive, informing youngsters about “Self reliance, freedom of choice, work, government-of-for-by the people, Leadership, Ingenuity, Jobs and responsibility!”

The website for the 9/11 coloring book cherry-picks quotes from reviewers in order to make the book look more credible. However, one such gem only helps to relay the absurdity of the entire setup.

A quote from an ABC review by Julie Banovic reads: “Publisher says the book ‘demonstrates honesty, reverence, integrity and good character, with a historic and educational perspective.’”

Read that again: the website used a review quote from someone quoting the website’s review of itself. Don’t think about that for more than a few minutes.

Needless to say, any coloring book is a farce of a teaching tool. The state approved public school textbooks are a joke these days as well, but coloring books aren’t a substitute for factual history.

If this is a good teaching tool, then where is the Iran/Contra coloring book, or the coloring book for Project MK-ULTRA? Where is the paint-by-numbers kit for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings?

The author is right about one thing: we have freedom in this country. We have the freedom to waste paper creating propaganda coloring books, and the freedom to condemn others for doing so.

David Haydon is a political science senior and may be reached at [email protected]

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