Make America Great Again: Where the Red Fern Grows, and why dogs dying in books suck

I don’t get right wing conservative parents and educators. Each year a list of the most banned books is released and each year author Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants is on it.

You’d think that the book was some sort of sordid novella filled with kiddie porn, instead it is the carefree tale about a superhero in his underpants. I grew up reading the first several in the series, Lolita it is not.

However, each year your children will probably read a number of books for class. Many of these books will probably feature a dog, and that dog then dying of some sort of horrible death.

Thinking back to my time as a student at St. Paul’s Lutheran Elementary and Middle School, I can recall at least two books vividly in my mind that featured the above literary trope. The first of which is pretty well known, Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.

For those unfamiliar with the book, it tells the tale of a boy and his dogs. They are hunting dogs, and well needless to say they die.

I firmly recall as a young child reading this book and then crying my little heart out. If it wasn’t bad enough we then watched the movie. Teachers are bastards, I just want that on the record.

The next book I remember reading was a book called Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner. Not as well know as the Red Fern Grows, but it also had a movie made based on it. Stone Fox tells the story again about a boy and his dog. This time the dog pulls a sled, and he is in a race to win a dog sled race.

For much of this book it comes off as an underdog story. The boy is the scrappy upstart that most don’t believe can win against the reigning champion Stone Fox. However, he has something special, he has a connection with his dog, and well in these sorts of stories intangibles are usually the deciding factor in the end.

So does the kid win? You bet your ass he does, but the dog heart explodes right at the finish line. So sure there is that sweet taste of victory, only it isn’t quite sweet because your best friend and partner died while getting it. Fuck school!

School, you would think is meant to be a place to inspire hope, and foster curiosity for the world. That might be the case, but seldom in English/literature class, instead they try to terrify and let you know just how deep, dark, and depressing life can be.

Instead of encouraging reading things that make you happy and that might inspire, like Captain Underpants, school decides to do the opposite by having people read the most fucked up shit ever written.

Sure I love to read, but just how many people were scared away from the activity because of unfeeling English/literature teachers that forced them to read Old Yeller? Bonus points if they made them watch the movie.

Reading in my point of view is the fastest way to get educated on a topic. The more a person reads the smarter they are going to be. The less a person reads, well lets just say that someone like Donald Trump just might get elected for president as a result of it.

So remember if Trump gets elected and you hate the result, blame the idiots the ban books like Captain Underpants, and instead make kids read Where the Red Fern Grows instead.


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