The “My Topic is More Boring Than Yours!” Challenge
Sometimes I like to take a boring topic and see if I can make it interesting. I’ve written about book machines, and the Justice Department suing Apple, and a movie based on a poorly-written book by a celebrity author. Those were all dull topics that I chose to write about. But now I think I’ve met my match.
Last night I stumbled upon an abstract from a study called… wait for it…
I mean… uh… are you serious?
Something like this doesn’t give me a lot to work with. The study was conducted by people who are probably a lot smarter than I am, and I don’t like to make fun of people who are smarter than I am, so mockery of a silly study (that I might not understand) is out of the question.
First of all, I was surprised that I’d have to pay in order to read the actual study. Charging money to read a research study is antiquated (if they can use “egalitarian,” I can use “antiquated.”)
Do people really pay money to read studies anymore? I’m not familiar with how research works (because I usually avoid it), but I wouldn’t pay anything to read a study about egalitarian parental roles. In fact, I’d have to get paid a lot to read anything with the word “egalitarian” in it. People don’t have to pay much (if anything) for content anymore. Even a lot of porn is free. If people aren’t willing (or don’t need to) pay for porn, they won’t pay to read a study about egalitarian stereotypes in children’s picture books.
I probably shouldn’t have written a sentence that has both “children’s books” and “porn” in it. I hope the government agencies that monitor internet content take context into consideration.
Also, reading a children’s book to find parental role stereotypes just seems weird. The best children’s books are the ones that are too crazy to have gender roles. The Cat in The Hat had a mom, but she was just a nice pair of legs. Oh the Places You Go had a kid. Where the Wild Things Are had a mom who was in only a couple pages of the story. Harold and the Purple Crayon had a kid with a magic crayon.
If a children’s book has a bunch of human characters, then it probably (with a few exceptions) isn’t a good children’s book. A good children’s book usually has a bunch of animals/creatures walking around naked (but it’s okay because their gender doesn’t really matter). Parental involvement usually doesn’t affect the quality of children’s book (except maybe to make it less interesting).
When I was a kid, I read a lot of children’s books with animals/creatures walking around naked in public, and I have never once walked around naked in public. My older brother once ran around naked in public, but he got arrested for it and he never did it again. The weird thing is, I don’t think my older brother liked reading children’s books when he was a kid. Maybe if he had read more books with naked animals/creatures walking around, he would never have run around naked in public. That would be an interesting study.
The researchers might have been interested in how parental role stereotypes in children’s books influence the kids that read them (or vice-versa?). The summary suggested that even though gender roles changed during the 2000s, parental roles in children’s books stayed the same. To me, that’s good. There is plenty of time to mess with a kid’s gender identity. They don’t need to do it with children’s books.
Writers often don’t have a choice about their topics. Students have to write about whatever their teachers tell them to. Employees have to write about whatever their bosses tell them to. But I chose to write about egalitarian gender stereotypes in children’s books, even though it’s a dull topic that I know nothing about.
Can anybody beat this? What is the most boring topic that you have ever voluntarily written about?