Berenstain bears

I loved the Berenstain bears when I was kid, and I was sad to see that the creator of the series died recently. Apparently, Charles Krauthammer didn’t like the Berenstain bears so much (note: he wrote this a while ago, not right after the creator of the series died):

It is not just the smugness and complacency of the stories that is so irritating. That is a common affliction of children’s literature. The raging offense of the Berenstains is the post-feminist Papa Bear, the Alan Alda of grizzlies, a wimp so passive and fumbling he makes Dagwood Bumstead look like Batman.

[….]

Mother Bear, too, is a creation. Every adult will recognize her as the final flowering of the grade-school prissy, the one with perfect posture and impeccable handwriting. The one the teachers loved. The one who disdained your baloney sandwich and pulled from salad out of her lunch box, minding her cholesterol in 1958. The one you always dreamt of drowning.

This is why I think conservatism is doomed. They can’t even watch a fucking cartoon without overlaying it with some crazy aggrieved male mythology. I don’t think most people have the time or energy for this kind of exegesis. Maybe I’m wrong.






145 replies
  1. 1
    The Dangerman says:

    Berenstein bears are cool, but fuck that purple dinosaur.

  2. 2
    Suffern ACE says:

    Man, Calliou must make him pee his pants.

  3. 3
    kdaug says:

    Mother Bear, too, is a creation.

    You don’t say.

  4. 4
    Seonachan says:

    Weird – I’d never heard of the Berenstein bears until this year when my daughter started bringing the books home from the library.

    And my (mild) reaction was that it’s too stuck in old fashioned gender roles, especially the mom. But that was under the assumption that it’s a fairly recent creation.

  5. 5
    freelancer says:

    Mother Bear, too, is a creation. Every adult will recognize her as the final flowering of the grade-school prissy, the one with perfect posture and impeccable handwriting. The one the teachers loved. The one who disdained your baloney sandwich and pulled from salad out of her lunch box, minding her cholesterol in 1958. The one you always dreamt of drowning.

    Note to Chuckie CabbageMallet: Tracy Flick, there, that character model that you’re pushing on a children’s author’s creation? Not a Lefty! The call is coming from inside the house!

  6. 6
    Walker says:

    That is a seriously disturbed rant.

  7. 7
    Suffern ACE says:

    Maybe the Father Bear should kill a camper and feed him to the cubs, just so we know he has fulfilled the proper role as breadwinner. Or behave more like a real bear and kill any cubs he finds so he can mate with the mother. Mamma Bernstein, perpetually trying to raise the cubs while single would be an interesting twist as well.

  8. 8
    Arrik says:

    The modern right is filled with Zhdanovist culture warriors who literally cannot look at any piece of art, no matter how trivial and inoffensive, without judging it for adherence to their dogma. I can’t wait until the Lorax comes out. Yes, it’s going to be a crap movie that is utterly unfaithful to the book, but if it stirs the chit and causes a few more winger tantrums, I’m all for it. Every time they do this, they drive away a few more swing voters.

  9. 9
    Arrik says:

    The modern right is filled with Zhdanovist culture warriors who literally cannot look at any piece of art, no matter how trivial and inoffensive, without judging it for adherence to their dogma. I can’t wait until the Lorax comes out. Yes, it’s going to be a crap movie that is utterly unfaithful to the book, but if it stirs the chit and causes a few more winger tantrums, I’m all for it. Every time they do this, they drive away a few more swing voters.

  10. 10
    Lit3Bolt says:

    Does Krauthammer sob daily that men have been robbed of the ability to rape and repress women at will?

  11. 11
    Jewish Steel says:

    Berenstein? I dunno. Sounds a little jewy. Can we anglicize it a little? Bearstone maybe? I’m just spitballing here.

  12. 12
    Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor says:

    Next week: Krauthammer explains to us how Muppet Babies is just as bad as the Holocaust.

  13. 13
    kdaug says:

    @The Dangerman:

    …but fuck that purple dinosaur.

    Don’t even get me started.

    No, I don’t love you. You may love me, but I really wish you’d shut up about it.

    Really.

    Love ain’t always reciprocal.

    Stupid goddamned dinosaur.

  14. 14
    pragmatism says:

    @freelancer: Tracy Flick would have a thermomix for flawless bechamels.

  15. 15
    Amir Khalid says:

    Look, Charles Krauthammer is nuts. We all know it. There was this one time, The Daily Kos summarized one of his columns is four words: “Froth. Bark. Dribble. Howl.” I remember thinking, everything he writes is like that.

  16. 16
    gnomedad says:

    There are still some corners of the culture that the wingers have not yet noticed are conspiring against them. These must be exposed.

  17. 17
    Abstruse says:

    You know, that stupid chick we ALL dreamt of drowning.

  18. 18
    Rawk Chawk says:

    Don’t know what’s more revealing/disturbing; that you actually liked the fucking vacuous Berenstein Bears cartoons, which all three of my kids had the good taste to avoid as youngsters, or that you would think this a subject worth posting about.

    DougJ continues to steer BJ round and round and down the toilet….

  19. 19
    Martin says:

    The raging offense of the Berenstains is the post-feminist Papa Bear, the Alan Alda of grizzlies, a wimp so passive and fumbling he makes Dagwood Bumstead look like Batman.

    The story I remember best is when Papa Bear shut down the treehouse after he was forced to exit from the back of a plane, and Mama bear refused to have the kids do their chores and instead took away their dinner because she wasn’t invited to a neighbors cocktail party.

    Fucking püssies!

  20. 20
    amk says:

    all this angst over cartoons? jeebus, what a fucked-up, shriveled soul.

  21. 21
    Martin says:

    @kdaug:

    Stupid goddamned dinosaur.

    We got our TiVo when the kids were little. We deliberately told it to record a show on a different network in the time slot as Barney so we’d never have to come downstairs and suffer one of the kids watching it. They never once saw the show.

  22. 22
    Chris says:

    This is why I think conservatism is doomed. They can’t even watch a fucking cartoon without overlaying it with some crazy aggrieved male mythology. I don’t think most people have the time or energy for this kind of exegesis. Maybe I’m wrong.

    The hallmark of totalitarian ideologies is the politicization of everything. Movement conservatism’s been there for ages. This is just a slightly-more-ridiculous-than-usual example.

  23. 23
    nwerner says:

    It’s Berenstain Bears, not Berenstein.

  24. 24
    nitpicker says:

    @Abstruse: Right? Who among us didn’t dream of murdering a classmate?

  25. 25
    David Koch says:

    Well, at least he only attacked yiddish bears, and not Murphy Brown.

  26. 26
    kdaug says:

    @Martin:

    They never once saw the show.

    Neither have I.

    I don’t even have kids.

    But somewhere along that fucking song seeped in.

    If I ever spot a purple dinosaur I’m sending ordinance downrange.

  27. 27
    Paul W. says:

    Exactly, I just don’t get where this bottomless well of outrage comes from…

    And really?!? Who the fuck cares if the dad is “sissified” or whatever the fuck he is is saying… Is he being a good father? Does it make you more of a man if you hit things all the time, like your wife and kids? Idiot.

  28. 28
    Marcellus Shale, Public Dick says:

    grade school prissy, the final flowering.

    some of this shit sounds like the worst sort of action movie/soft core you could possibly imagine.

  29. 29
    Xjmueller says:

    It appears that the hammer of the krauts has mommy issues. The prissy girl is just a projection. Mother K probably was domineering. It fits with his other issues, so I’m running with it.

  30. 30
    amk says:

    btw, nader endorsed the other old kook, rupaul.

    birds of feather and all that.

  31. 31
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    It is not just the smugness and complacency of the stories that is so irritating. That is a common affliction of children’s literature.

    Yeah, there oughta be more kids’ books about bombing Muslims to death! That would liven things up!

    Christ, what is with this guy? How has he not choked to death on his own stomach acid yet?

  32. 32
    Chris says:

    @Paul W.:

    I just don’t get where this bottomless well of outrage comes from

    This.

    I mean, I know it’s there, I know it informs a hell of a lot of their actions, I just have no idea where it comes from. I can’t fathom how people with that much privilege can develop such a tremendous victimhood complex. Obviously they do, but damned if I know how.

  33. 33
    MikeJ says:

    grade school prissy

    You can also find many instances of wingers complaining that kids lit doesn’t teach good manners, and always show the adults as stupid and evil.

    There is literally nothing you can write that they won’t find a way to turn into persecution.

  34. 34
    middlewest says:

    This isn’t the first, nor will it be the last woman that Charles Krauthammer dreams of murdering violently.

  35. 35
    Rock says:

    Is it just me, or did he really write that he wanted to drown Mama Bear? That shit is way more disturbing than anything I encountered in the Berenstein oevre.

    If we want to be all analytical about stuff, I have to say that the dream of transgressive violence CK expresses seems typical of post-fin de siecle conservative rhetoric. Someone with a background in psychology should look into that….

  36. 36
    Mike in NC says:

    Every Krauthammer article boils down to a noun, a verb, and “Israel”.

  37. 37
    kdaug says:

    @Chris:

    I just don’t get where this bottomless well of outrage comes from

    With Charles Krauthammer, it likely arises from the accident that left him paralyzed.

    Being in a wheelchair can sour your mood.

  38. 38
    dead existentialist says:

    Heh. You know who else we all wish would’ve drowned rather than spew bile from his wheelchair? Why couldn’t that limp-dick piece of shit jumped off at, say, Acapulco?

  39. 39
    cthulhu says:

    The one who disdained your baloney sandwich and pulled from salad out of her lunch box, minding her cholesterol in 1958.

    Did such a person even exist? I thought the 50’s were the time we want to go back to?

  40. 40
    WyldPirate says:

    Speaking of wankerific sexual repression and crazy aggrieved male mythology Tom Tomorrow gives us Sex Talk with Rick Santorum.

  41. 41
    Chris says:

    @kdaug:

    Well, now I know that… but nah. It explains him, it doesn’t explain the thousands of people exactly like him who haven’t had that kind of thing happen to them.

  42. 42
    Violet says:

    Krauthammer makes me nervous. He always looks like he’s got a very dark side and knows plenty of scary secrets.

  43. 43
    Roger Moore says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    There was this one time, The Daily Kos summarized one of his columns is four words: “Froth. Bark. Dribble. Howl.”

    Not “Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!”? Or is that too classy for him?

  44. 44
    PTirebiter says:

    @Rock:
    Dreams of Drowning My Father?

  45. 45
    Anne Laurie says:

    I remember reading that the very first children’s book (a primer) published in America started with the couplet:

    In Adam’s fall
    We sinned all

    And Ye Menne of Traditionale Values(tm) complain it’s been downhill to perdition ever since!

  46. 46
    freelancer says:

    @kdaug:

    Being in a wheelchair can sour your mood

    Or not. An asshole in a wheelchair is still an asshole.

  47. 47
    Roger Moore says:

    @kdaug:

    If I ever spot a purple dinosaur I’m sending ordinance downrange.

    Then avoid Coors Field. Of course that’s a purple ceratopsian rather than a purple carnasaur, so you’re unlikely to get them confused.

  48. 48
    Marcellus Shale, Public Dick says:

    @cthulhu:

    that would make her a hipster grade school prissy, see the slippery slope does exist.

  49. 49
    kdaug says:

    @Chris: Damaged people.

    However it happened.

  50. 50
    Ed Drone says:

    Somehow, I don’t recall the B’s Bears being all that wishy-washy. Most of the stories are for the acculturation of wild children, with lessons on sharing, or bullies, or cleaning your damned room. Momma bear usually provided the maxims, and Poppa was there to take some of the psychic load (empathy was his shtick). Poppa was no wimp, nor a Robert Young; he wasn’t even a Ricky Ricardo.

    And Momma wasn’t a prissy school marm / librarian, either. Then again, my son tended toward the #@!% dinosaur, anyway. By the way, there was something about the Purple One that mirrored an earlier TV performer, namely Buffalo Bob. Bob provided the voice for Howdy Doody, so the kids in the peanut gallery could see him doing both parts (he was no ventriloquist). A friend of mine was at a Barney appearance, and there was a guy who followed the star, and provided his lines via a microphone right out in the open.

    And the kids in each case didn’t seem to mind. Talk about “suspension of disbelief.”

    Ed

  51. 51
    Satanicpanic says:

    Oh shit, I thought the Berenstein Bears were preachy and annoying when I was a kid, does that make me Charles Krauthammer? Richard Scarry too and fucking busytown, except I liked looking for goldbug. If it weren’t for Shel Silverstein I think I would have grown up hating reading.

    Edit to add:
    BTW, Barney the Dinosaur is nowhere near as annoying as those child actors that populate those shows.

  52. 52
    Linnaeus says:

    Would it be excessive of me to say that Krauthammer is a blight on our national political discourse?

  53. 53
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Chris:

    The hallmark of totalitarian ideologies is the politicization of everything. Movement conservatism’s been there for ages. This is just a slightly-more-ridiculous-than-usual example.

    This.

    It’s no coincidence that the Neoconservative movement has its roots in apostate Trotskyites. The same everything is political mindset permeates it. They tossed out all the good things about Marx and embraced, fully, the dumbshit stuff.

  54. 54
    Linnaeus says:

    @Satanicpanic:

    Saying “I found the Berenstein Bears annoying” isn’t quite the same as saying, “Yeah, the mother reminds me of that girl in school that I wanted to kill.”

  55. 55
    kdaug says:

    @freelancer: Agreed. Should have bolded the “can”.

  56. 56
    TBogg says:

    I remember Goldameirlocks & The 3 Berenstain Bears:

    Papa Bear: Oy. My soup is so hot…and such small portions.

  57. 57
    Mark S. says:

    (deleted scene from Team America)

    Gary Johnston: I’m leaving. I’m out.
    Spottswoode: No, Gary! You can’t leave! We need you now, more than ever!
    Gary Johnston: Don’t you see what’s going on out there? Everyone hates us!
    Spottswoode: Hey, now, everyone hated Winnie the Pooh, too.
    Gary Johnston: No, they didn’t!
    Spottswoode: Well, I did. That cocksucking bear killed Jack Kennedy!

  58. 58
    kdaug says:

    @kdaug:

    Damaged people.
    __
    However it happened.

    ETA: I’m blaming Barney.

  59. 59
    Satanicpanic says:

    @Linnaeus: I also don’t want to bomb millions of brown people back to the stone age. Maybe there’s a correlation there.

  60. 60
    butler says:

    . The raging offense of the Berenstains is the post-feminist Papa Bear, the Alan Alda of grizzlies, a wimp so passive and fumbling he makes Dagwood Bumstead look like Batman.

    Its been at 20+ years since I read a BB book, but if I recall Papa Bear was some a lumberjack or had some job related to construction or something? Never seemed that effeminate to me, but then again I was 6 and probably wouldn’t have realized it if he was.

  61. 61

    “So Charles, how long have you been wanting to drown cartoon bears?

    (Whipping out pad of paper)

    “Is it significant that she is a Mother Bear? Is she….overbearing? How does that make you feel?

    “And where is the father bear in all of this? Distant? Ineffective? Feminized!”

    (Writes insight on pad.) “How do you feel this is impacting the baby bears?”

    (Exuent patient, pursued by a Grizzly Momma, raving about bombing something. Nothing is bombed.)

  62. 62
    kdaug says:

    @Linnaeus:

    Saying “I found the Berenstein Bears annoying” isn’t quite the same as saying, “Yeah, the mother reminds me of that girl in school that I wanted to kill.”

    You’re not real familiar with conservatives, are you?

  63. 63
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ed Drone:

    You’d be surprised — we saw “Avenue Q” and damn if you didn’t forget all about the puppeteers and only watch the puppets after a few minutes. And “Avenue Q” is, um, not for children. At all.

  64. 64
    dead existentialist says:

    The one who disdained your baloney sandwich and pulled from salad out of her lunch box, minding her cholesterol in 1958.

    The actual quote has “fruit” salad.

    Sorry, I couldn’t help but think that Krautty’s editors wouldn’t have assisted him here although it is telling that he has been eating “baloney sandwiches” (rather than bologna) since his youth.

    ETA: I always thought it was the Berenstein Bears, not the Berenstain Bears. Those Bears left a stain, and they’re not Jewish, which is why they got Krauthammered.

  65. 65
    Shiny Beads says:

    You’re not wrong.

  66. 66
    Linnaeus says:

    @Satanicpanic:

    There just might be a correlation.

    @kdaug:

    Oh, I am. I really shouldn’t be surprised by Krauthammer’s murder fantasies at this point.

  67. 67
    jheartney says:

    When my kids were young at one point I actually was able to grok the Teletubbies. You see, it’s really a cousin to religious rituals like Catholic Mass. They do the same shit every time, with a tiny number of small variations kind of like Gospel readings. And the imagery is totally weird (that baby in the sun by rights ought to be nightmare fuel) but everybody acts like it’s normal, kind of like people acting like having a big graphic image of a guy being brutally tortured to death on a cross is normal.

    The wingers completely miss all that while freaking out because they imagine one of these pseudo-infants is gay. I don’t understand how that kind of stupidity survives in a modern technical society.

  68. 68
    kdaug says:

    @jheartney:

    When my kids were young at one point I actually was able to grok the Teletubbies.

    I don’t remember now – which one was the gay one?

  69. 69
    cthulhu says:

    @Satanicpanic: There is a bit of a disconnect here in that originally the Berenstein Bears were a staple of the books available from Scholastic when I was learning to read. The regular animated series that Krauthammer is referencing didn’t premier until 20+ years later in the mid 80’s and onward. As my kids did watch the latter here and there (they were never huge fans), I did think that the animated characters seemed more “modern” and “PC” than I recalled from my youth, But they weren’t horribly so and the biggest criticism that my kids and I had of the show was that it was simply boring compared to the alternatives. That anyone would find this show, of all children’s shows, worthy of sociological commentary baffles me.

  70. 70
    Suffern ACE says:

    @kdaug: Tinky Winky (the purple one with the red magic bag).

  71. 71
    Marcellus Shale, Public Dick says:

    @kdaug:

    that was just gossip from the other teletubbies, jealousy that only one of them could afford cable.

  72. 72
    jheartney says:

    @kdaug: This one: Tinky Winky

  73. 73
    Brandon says:

    While I am sure he would argue otherwise, you just don’t write about the desire to drown young women or girls out the blue as the result of some creative license. It had to come from within his own mind, which his writing continues to reveal as truly sick and perverse. Not to mention the fact that from what I have seen and read of him, his public persona is an obviously angry, comtemptible and bitter man

    What I find most detestable about Krauthammer is his past proclivity for abusing his professional training through projecting mental health diagnoses on his political enemies. So it would be wrong of me to repeat that mistake in regards to my criticisms of the published expressions of his psyche. However, I do know enough about his biography and freak spinal injury (I believe it happened diving when he was in medical school) to understand that could have had a formative role in shaping his politics, relationship with his religion, as well as his angry and bitter disposition.

    But if that’s the case, not all people similarly afflicted by tragedy respond by making it their life’s mission to ensure the entire world becomes equally acquainted with miserable fortune. I just hope for his sake that the public persona is an invention, because it would be a terrible shame if he went through his day-to-day life carrying so much anger.

  74. 74
    DaddyJ says:

    Good Lord, the Berenstain Bears (the books at least) are all about home-spun family values: honesty, faith, pluck, picking your socks up off the floor, doing your gender-traditional chores. not cussin’. I bet when David Brooks dreams about the elites transmitting their shining values to the lower classes, mass readings of Berenstain Bears books are part of the curriculum.

    For anthropomorphic morality tales give me the Frog and Toad stories or that clever little badger named Frances (by another author who recently passed away, Russell Hoban).

  75. 75
    sfinny says:

    Jeez, I would hate CK’s take on the Thundercats.

  76. 76
    Redshift says:

    @Suffern ACE: And the triangle on his head.

  77. 77
    MikeJ says:

    @DaddyJ:

    or that clever little badger named Frances

    Oh yeah! Frances had jam, if I recall correctly.

    I don’t remember what I read when I was young, but I read Hojo the Laughing Dragon and the Wizard of Wallaby Wallow to my brother.

  78. 78
    kdaug says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Tinky Winky (the purple one with the red magic bag).

    Oh, God. Now I know why you’re Suffern’, ACE.

    Here’s some brain-bleach. Play it loud for the little squirmy ones. (And, yes, I did have to post this.)

    And something for the adults. Good show.

  79. 79
    MikeJ says:

    @MikeJ: Better source for laughing dragon info.

  80. 80
    Steve Finlay says:

    I also found the Berenstain bears irritating and preachy. But doesn’t Krauthammer outdo almost anyone else in that department? Maybe he doesn’t like competition.

    But what I really didn’t like about the Berenstain bears (both as a kid and now) is the same thing I didn’t like about so many children’s books: Most of the authors write badly. Dr. Seuss made it look easy. The Berenstains prove that it is not.

  81. 81
    Canuckistani Tom says:

    @butler:

    Carpenter/Furniture maker, I think (it’s been a couple of decades)

  82. 82
    Gex says:

    @Lit3Bolt: That’s Scott Adams’ schtick.

  83. 83
    Martin says:

    @Paul W.:

    Exactly, I just don’t get where this bottomless well of outrage comes from…

    The evening discussion with the teenager was to address the question of “Why do these people dislike gays so much?” The ensuing conversation explored two conservative trends:

    1) Fear of losing social and political power.
    2) Casting blame on the powerless for the ills of the country and absolving those in power of responsibility for things that only they could possibly control.

    Everything in conservatism boils down to one or both of those things. The bottomless well of outrage comes out of that fear of having to share power with the kinds of people glorified in these stories and movies.

  84. 84
    DaddyJ says:

    @MikeJ:

    Frances had jam, if I recall correctly.

    She did. She did indeed. (Sadly, the illustrations are deliberately bleached out.)

  85. 85
    YellowJournalism says:

    The Berenstain Bears were part of my introduction to reading. My mom read the three or four of them we had to us every night. Our favorite was The Messy Room, the one where Mama Bear loses it after having to clean her kids’ room and starts tossing their toys in the garbage. Mama Bear getting the short end of the stick and teaching everyone to help out is a common theme, so I guess that’s a little feminist, but it wasn’t like she was starting a Bear Country chapter of NOW or burning her bra on the steps of the Mayor’s office.

    Even so, the stories are pretty conservative in terms of gender roles and messages about manners and health issues (seeing a dentist). I’m also pretty sure there’s an entire set of stories devoted to God and Christianity. (Not fun to read.)

    But the cartoon does suck. It waters down the stories. And Papa comes off as Homer Simpson without the alcoholism and satirical storylines.

  86. 86
    Martin says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    And “Avenue Q” is, um, not for children. At all.

    You don’t go to the right church. Wife’s church did quite a few Avenue Q pieces for one of their concerts – and for kids. Not that song, alas, but Everyones a Little Bit Racist and If You Were Gay.

  87. 87
    YellowJournalism says:

    Oh, I forgot! Mama Bear did start her own small business–a quilt shop. Fucking working mothers.

  88. 88
    Martin says:

    @YellowJournalism:

    Mama Bear did start her own small business

    And when someone threatened to raise her top marginal rate, she decided to withhold her productivity rather than have it stolen by a looting usurper.

  89. 89
    Bill says:

    Krauthammer should have read The Bear: History of a Fallen King, by Michel Pastoureau. Then he would have known that the bear, once the king of beasts and worshipped by early European tribes was subject to an implacable war by the Catholic Church who sought to introduce the foreign lion as the new king and stamp out the bear cults. Already by the time of the Roman de Renart in the 12th century the bear is the subject of ridicule in literature.

  90. 90
    Geoduck says:

    Just to nitpick, Jan was the co-creator of the franchise, with her husband Stan. Also, it’s probably rare to come across a copy anymore, but I highly recommend their non-Bear book “Flipsville Squaresville” which is about teenager-parent relationships. Dated of course, but still genuinely hilarious in places.

  91. 91
    kdaug says:

    @Bill: Yup.

    Was in a bar, somewhere in Colorado (Telluride, maybe?), where they had a stuffed, 13-foot grizzly.

    Each claw was as big as my hand.

    Did you know they can run faster than a horse?

    Keep your sharks and meow-meow lions – bears would be the top of the food chain if we hadn’t figured out bows and spears.

  92. 92
    Suffern ACE says:

    @kdaug: Phooey. I take my a capella Canadian. Even if they might be prone to becoming Gingrich-curios.

  93. 93
    Satanicpanic says:

    @cthulhu: Ah, I only remember the books. I remember thinking “I know I should clean my room, I don’t need to read a book about it.” But that was the extent of it. I never would have guessed it would send an adult into a frothing rage. I would have been even more surprised that said adult had the title of “pundit” and would be widely looked upon (by other pundits) as some sort of wise old man. If I had known this I probably would have given up on society much earlier.

  94. 94
    Chet says:

    No shit, I can remember as a kid the pastor of our conservative Missouri Synod Lutheran church devoting an entire sermon one week to “The Get-Along Gang” and how it perfectly encapsulated the godless relativism of the age.

  95. 95
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Satanicpanic: Well perhaps if you did what you knew you had to do, you wouldn’t need a lecture on it in the form of a book and your mom would have bought you the one about their pleasant outing to the beach instead. (muttermutter. ingrate. muttermutter.)

  96. 96
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Chet: Well, to be fair, the basic theological and ethical stance of LCMS since Walther has been “No frickin way am I going to get along with y’all. Especially you heretics and by “heretics” I mean everyone.”

  97. 97
    weasel says:

    Isn’t there a bible verse at the beginning of these books? I remember them from my childhood without any affection or dislike, but was recently perusing one for my daughter and immediately rejected it when I opened the book and saw some chapter and verse.

  98. 98
    kdaug says:

    @Suffern ACE: Newt’s soundtrack.

  99. 99
    Jager says:

    @kdaug: On a climbing trip in the Bugaboos on our approach hike, we saw a grizzlie across a narrow valley from us hauling ass up a 90% slope. He was moving up through the rocks and brush like a train. Amazing to see.

  100. 100
    Bill says:

    @kdaug: Apparently in the Roman colosseum bears always won against lions, but Martial records an instance where a bear suffered ignominious defeat on the horn of a rhinoceros.

  101. 101
    kimp says:

    kdaug-
    Win. The idea that we readers here even try to engage in a discussion this trivial and inane is beyond me. This ranks up with Teletubbies and Elmo. Next thing you know, they will be seeing images in toast.

  102. 102
    Tehanu says:

    @Chris:

    I can’t fathom how people with that much privilege can develop such a tremendous victimhood complex.

    It’s the fear of losing the privilege. They have no self-esteem, no faith in themselves, so they’re terrified; if they don’t have privilege to protect themselves, they have nothing.

  103. 103
    Tehanu says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I thought it was “Millenium hand and shrimp! Bugrit!”

  104. 104
    Ruckus says:

    I got it figured out.

    Conservatards have little tiny dicks and are trying to compensate. Conservatard wives didn’t sleep with the men with tiny dicks because, well, they are conservatards and now they are pissed off that they have to sleep with men with personality problems due to their tiny dicks. But of course they can’t do anything about this because then they would all have to admit conservatard men have small dicks. And their wives weren’t smart enough to find out. And religion is no help because they don’t discuss dick size anywhere in the instruction book nor tell them that the equipment they have is sub standard. In fact they are told they are OK and god made them in his image and it’s everyone unlike them that is inferior. And are they pissed off. And taking it out on us and everything else in the world.

  105. 105
    Abby Spice says:

    To be fair, my mother, who is a socialist feminist atheist pro-choice pro-gay hardcore lefty, hated the Berenstain Bears, though I imagine for different reasons.

    I won’t tell her she agreed with C.Krau, I think. I value my life more than that.

  106. 106
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    Well I thought the Berenstain Bears sucked, and not for any political reason, it just sucke.

    Now if you want a great children’s book, buy The Day the Goose Got Loose from Amazon or B&N. It’s from around 1988. My oldest is 20 and the rhymes in that book are still going through my head.

    BSoSR +3 god help me i have to get up for work in < 3 hours.

  107. 107
    PurpleGirl says:

    @kdaug: Also hearing that people think you look like a turtle. (But he does…)

  108. 108
  109. 109
    Linda says:

    You seem surprised. I’m not. I know wingers that I love dearly who are just a bundle of repressed rage, who feel the universe has been screwing them all their lives, and they clasp conservativism to their breasts because it articulated their sense of persecution.

  110. 110
    BryanS says:

    If that bothers him, watching Dora the Explorer would blow his mind. There is a squirrel who won’t raise a drawbridge unless you shout “raise” in Spanish. Also the door to the library won’t let you in unless you say “open” in Spanish.

  111. 111
    rea says:

    These people think Sponge Bob and Patrick are sleeping together, too.

  112. 112
    Donald G says:

    @BryanS:

    If that bothers him, watching Dora the Explorer would blow his mind. There is a squirrel who won’t raise a drawbridge unless you shout “raise” in Spanish. Also the door to the library won’t let you in unless you say “open” in Spanish.

    Is anyone old enough to remember when Sesame Street would have a Muppet segment, and then, several minutes later, perform the same Muppet segment in Spanish. I think that they pretty much dropped that by the late seventies.

  113. 113
    Emma says:

    @kdaug: You know, not to be insensitive to his physical problems, which I am sure are many and painful, but I share a bus ride most every morning with a guy in a wheelchair that still has to get up and go to work for a living, rather than sitting in a plush home and barking and frothing about everything under the sun, and I have never known hmi to be anything but polite and cheerful. I think he’s a vet, btw, and he got his new traveling chair in one of those wars Mr. K. is always cheerleading.

    I think his physical problems are real, but his character… the less said the better.

  114. 114
    jefft452 says:

    @butler: “Never seemed that effeminate to me, but then again I was 6 and probably wouldn’t have realized it if he was”
    Yeah, but at 6 you’re far more emotionally mature then the average wingnut
    Would he have seemed effeminate when you were 3?

  115. 115
    redbeardjim says:

    @Donald G: Sesame Street is the reason I know how to count to 20 in Spanish.

  116. 116
    chopper says:

    don’t get him started on pocoyo’s eurososhulist values system.

  117. 117
    Svensker says:

    @Satanicpanic:

    Oh shit, I thought the Berenstein Bears were preachy and annoying when I was a kid, does that make me Charles Krauthammer?

    My son loved the BBs and he especially wanted me to read him the stories mimicking the cartoon voices. I f*cking hated Papa Bear for being such an incompetent goof and Mama Bear for being right all the time and annoyingly smug. So, yeah, Krauthammer is right on this one. So shoot me.

    Actually, I think Krauthammer is a very smart man, unlike most of the righties. He’s a f*cking warmonger and Evil Git, but he does have a brain.

  118. 118
    Mjaum says:

    One could assume that in general, conservative males were raised by their mothers, idolize their (seemingly) strong, distant fathers, and are very, very unhappy about not being able to live up to their own twisted image of what a “man” should be. And they blame everyone they perceive as having “held them back” from being “real men”. This includes the state, the culture, europeans, women, and most of the inhabitants of the planet. But not, somehow, themselves.

    Would be funny, if they weren’t so bloody destructive…

    (This idea probably belongs to someone, but I can’t remember who, so meh.)

  119. 119
    ladies auxiliary fuckhead (a/k/a eemom) says:

    Meh, let’s cut Krautie some slack. He does, as Svensker says, possess a brain, and he sees very clearly the big-ass writing on the wall that says YOU ARE SO FUCKED COME NOVEMBER. Thus, he is beside himself with evil grief.

    As for the Berenstains, I was always kinda meh about them too. Except there was one book I liked, where the Papa Bear plans this rustic camping vacation and he’s all excited but of course it all goes horribly wrong — and yes, Mama steps in and saves the day. They all got a good laugh at the end though.

  120. 120
    Nicole says:

    I’d just lurv to hear his take on Yo Gabba Gabba. I think Super Action Robot Girl alone would make his head go kaboom.

  121. 121
    Tom says:

    I can see what he’s talking about… check out this left-wing extremist picture of the feminist ideal.

  122. 122
    Cacti says:

    Everything I’ve ever seen from Charles Krauthammer leaves me with the impression that he’s a deeply miserable human being.

  123. 123
    flukebucket says:

    @TBogg:

    I don’t even know how to respond to something that hilarious. That kind of gold should not just be thrown out there free of charge. Casting your pearls before the swine you are. But I surely do appreciate it.

  124. 124
    Marc says:

    Every adult will recognize her as the final flowering of the grade-school prissy, the one with perfect posture and impeccable handwriting. The one the teachers loved. The one who disdained your baloney sandwich and pulled from salad out of her lunch box, minding her cholesterol in 1958.

    The one who wouldn’t date, or look at, Charles Krauthammer.

    The one you always dreamt of drowning.

    Also, too: maybe the police in Krauthammer’s home town should take a second look at any mysterious drownings?

  125. 125
    Baron Jrod of Keeblershire says:

    @Svensker: You only think Krauthammer is right if you think it’s normal to be driven to homicidal rage against someone you knew in elementary school because that stuck-up bitch had good posture and ate healthy lunches. If you just want to drown that lousy whore, then yes, you agree with Krauthammer.

    I suspect you don’t really agree with him at all.

  126. 126
    LAC says:

    @ladies auxiliary fuckhead (a/k/a eemom):

    Agreed! That is pretty much why Chuckles is spewing his bottomless bile on a fucking cartoon. A CARTOON!! BWHAHAHA!!!

    Really? This who idiots on the right think is an intellectual?

  127. 127
    chopper says:

    @Baron Jrod of Keeblershire:

    seriously, what kind of crazy old dude still carries a rage boner over some grade-school kid who didn’t want to eat garbage and stood up straight? oh noes, she had good handwriting too! if i had my druthers back then that whore bitch would have tasted the curb!

    what the fuck is wrong with people?!

  128. 128
    Tone In DC says:

    @Ruckus:

    LULz.

  129. 129
    Tone In DC says:

    I think if Chuck watched the early “Zoom” episodes from the 1970s, his head wouldn’t just explode, it’d be a mushroom cloud.

  130. 130
    Interrobang says:

    I hated those books too. I thought they were preachy and Christian-y, and even by the age where I would have been reading them, I had pretty much decided that religion of all kinds sucked. I vastly preferred Eloise, Dr. Seuss, and the Star Trek of the month series.

  131. 131
    different-church-lady says:

    @Redshift: And he was pink! OK, purple… CLOSE ENOUGH!

  132. 132
    Surly Duff says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    “Maybe the Father Bear should kill a camper and feed him to the cubs, just so we know he has fulfilled the proper role as breadwinner. “

    Actually, if he was a proper modern conservative of the Krauthammer mold, Father Bear would, after fabricating a nonsense story to create fear and incite action amongst the bear community, such as “the squirrels and rabbits in the field have grenade launchers and are coming for our honey”, recruit and engage younger, more idealistic bears to fight the enemy rabbits. These younger bears who would sacrifice themselves in this battle against the creatures in the field, and while Father Bear would become immeasurably rich on rabbit pelts and other spoils of war, the fighting bears would have to scrap for a single rabbit haunch amongst themselves.

    That is how a True Manly Bear would act.

  133. 133
    g says:

    The Berenstain Bears first appeared in 1962, so I hardly think they were “post feminist”.

    And yeah, I hated them, too, but the formula of bumbling dads and smug competent moms is as old as entertainment, and has nothing to do with American partisan politics.

  134. 134
    Someguy says:

    I hate to admit this publicly, but I’m sorta with Krauthammer here. My kid watched that show – a little – and quickly ditched it for ninja stuff. It was as preachy and sanctimonious as Jerry Falwell, but without the fiber.

  135. 135
    Michael says:

    I’m not exactly an expert on the Berenstain bears series, and maybe K-hammer is right that later books in the series featured a more Alan Alda-ish Papa Bear….but….I currently read one of the earlier books, The Bear Scouts, to my 5 yr old son, and from what I can tell, Papa Bear is the prototypical conservative male:

    Brother and his friends are going camping by themselves, but Papa decides to come along bragging that he knows better than the guide book. Trouble occurs when Papa tries to prove himself smarter than the guide book; he makes a spaghetti knot to swing across a collapsed bridge, but it unties and Papa almost falls down a gorge and the cubs are forced to rescue him; When they come to a fork on the trail, the guide book says to go the long way, but Papa goes the short way and when he refuses to obey the guide book map, he finds a group of crocodiles on the short way and is forced to go up the long way; when the cubs are forced to go down a river, they build a canoe to travel down with, but Papa grows impatient and tries to use a log to go down the river and gets trapped into a whirlpool and the cubs are forced to rescue him again; Papa tries to make stew for dinner, but the cubs go fishing and Papa finds that his stew tastes horrible and he dumps it down a cliff; he then tries to sleep in a cave that night rather than tents, but is chased away by a group of bats and he injures himself as he falls down the cliff. The cubs bandage him and takes him home to a displeased Mama.

    Chauvanistic arrogance? Check. Anti-intellectualism? Check. Massive FAIL that goes totally unacknowledged by the culprit? Check.

    I really don’t know what Chuck is bitching about. If Papa Bear were any further to the right, he’d be outpolling Romney.

  136. 136
    Lex says:

    The Berenstain Bears went to hell when they stopped making the prose rhyme and (not coincidentally) stopped leavening the didacticism with humor. The later ones are so damn sincere they make me want to go hunt up 6-year-old me so we can puke together.

  137. 137
    ThresherK says:

    @cthulhu:

    “minding her cholesterol in 1958”

    Apparently Mother Bear was an NIH-level nutritional scientist.

    Krackhammer also missed out on retconning us DFHs as having been pushing for arugula, mesclun and endive in 1950s Suburbia.

  138. 138
    Someguy says:

    @Lex:

    stopped leavening the didacticism with humor

    I can’t think of a more unleavened, didactic way to put that. Nicely done.

  139. 139
    different-church-lady says:

    @Lex: This is the way of all children’s medai nowadays. You should check out how damn badly they ‘effed up Sesame Street sometime.

  140. 140
    Mike says:

    Conservatives are the old Soviets: Everything must conform to the Party Line. It was called Zhdanovism back then.

  141. 141
    Michael57 says:

    @Svensker: Yeah, it’s true, or at least I agree–Krauthammer for once was absolutely right about something. I hated the bears. And don’t get me started about Thomas the Tank engine.

  142. 142
    Delia says:

    Krauthammer certainly knows about smugness, complacency, and prissiness. It oozes out of every sentence he writes.

    As to the Berenstain Bears: They weren’t great children’s literature; more the sort of ‘problem’ story you resorted to when you had a situation coming up. Trip to the dentist? Starting school? Moving to a new neighborhood? There’s a Berenstain Bear book to discuss every problem.

  143. 143
    iceskatingschnauzer says:

    My daughter only had one BB book “The Spooky Old Tree” and we read it together every night. She didn’t turn out too badly – she received a dual degree in Aeronautical and Mechanical Engineering a full semester early and works as an engineer developing a new propulsion system for nuclear submarines. I think it was the slide that intrigued her the most…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjFXf9iVvQw

  144. 144
    jafd says:

    @ThresherK: Actually, the relationship between cholesterol and heart disease was discovered a hundred years ago. Problem, though, was that the research was done at the Medical Institute of the Imperial Russian Navy, in St. Petersburg, and World War One started up before they could get it published.

  145. 145
    David in NY says:

    My rigid mathematical son loved them, but I hated them (as an adult). So I confess that, for the first time, I have been in agreement with Charles Krauthammer through about half a sentence: “smugness and complacency of the stories.” Yup, that’s it.

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