Terrifying Nixon-Era Children’s Books


Ever since shoving Bush into his helicopter with an expletive and fantasizing about letting go of Cheney’s wheelchair at the top of a long, steep hill, I find I have a tender place in my heart for the plight of hideous ex-presidents. That lasts only seconds. Then I remember the complete saturation of harm. Few of us need such reminders about Nixon, who left this country with not only shame, confusion and decades of political nihilism, but, as the  bloggers of Sweet Juniper! remind us, shelves full of disturbing children’s literature. Selections like Peggy Mann’s 1973 divorce instructional for unlucky offspring entitled My Dad Lives in a Downtown Hotel and Sally Hobart Alexander’s ever-optimistic gem Mom Can’t See Me mandate a kind of we-can-make-it-right attitude. Best of all, you know you’re among friends when, in the midst of all this Nixon-era merry-making, your blogger finds a way to hyperlink to a scene from Freaks and Geeks. It’s good stuff.

Julie Greicius was Art Editor for The Rumpus when it launched in January 2009. One year later, she became Senior Literary Editor, and later, Senior Features Editor. Julie also co-edited the first book published by The Rumpus, Rumpus Women, Vol. 1, featuring personal essays and illustration from twenty kick-ass contributors. Her writing been featured on The Rumpus, Midnight Breakfast, Stanford Medicine Magazine, and BuzzFeed, as well as in the anthology The 27th Mile. She lives in California and is a member of The Rumpus Advisory Board. More from this author →