Sunday, November 10, 2013

porky days and porky nights

As my wife will tell you at prodigious length at the slightest provocation, my daughter takes after me in a large number of ways. For one thing, she loves my spicy noodles - it's a rare occasion indeed when I get to enjoy a full bowl all to myself any more without a small person tugging at my elbow and saying "Daddy, noonles" (that being Nia's version of "noodles") until I twirl up a forkful and deposit them on her plate. That's not really a complaint, as it is rather adorable, but still.

Another way in which she resembles me is in her love of books. We've mostly moved on from the simple flap-based board books now to actual stories, many of them featuring the work of the stupendous Julia Donaldson, mostly in collaboration with illustrator Axel Scheffler. Another thing we've embraced fairly recently is the cute anthropomorphic porcine world of Peppa Pig - not so much the TV programmes, as they're on Channel 5 and we're still pretty loyally bound to CBeebies, but we do have a lot of Peppa Pig clothing (mainly cast-offs from Nia's cousin Kira) and, now, a book.

There's something a bit rum about this book, though - maybe a few sample pages will help you see what it is:

1. Crikey, it's raining, a lot

2. Wow, seems like the whole world is flooded; unless you've got a boat you're pretty much screwed.

3. At last the waters recede, leaving boats high and dry on top of hills, and a bird brings a green frond as a symbol of rebirth or some such shit.

4. And there was much rejoicing.

So, yeah, it's basically the Great Flood/Noah's Ark story from the Bible. Now while I'm instinctively disapproving of any attempt to shoehorn crypto-religious nonsense into kids' heads, I suspect that the motive here was more likely to have been the desire to borrow a story whose authors weren't going to be around to sue for breach of copyright.

In any case, even if the Christian churches were somehow able to get a case together, it would be a pretty hypocritical one, seeing as how the Genesis flood story is itself just a mish-mash of various older folk-tales, most notably the Sumerian Epic Of Gilgamesh. Pretty much every civilisation that started up by farming the delicious fertile soil of river flood plains (and that covers pretty much all of them) had, for obvious reasons, folk tales featuring catastrophic flooding, spun retrospectively as a necessary cleansing act by the gods as punishment for some vaguely-specified acts of depravity and/or disloyalty.

So I think I can manage an indulgent shake of the head here, rather than a full-on book-burning. By the time Nia gets to school she'll have been brutally schooled in critical thinking anyway, so if anyone tries to do any proselytising she'll be well-equipped to tear them a new one.


Emma said...

Nia likes ramyun? Go Nia!

electrichalibut said...

She loves it. Haven't tried her on kimchi yet though.