June 10, 2010

About that warning label on the reprint of the Constitution (and other documents from the Founding Era).

"This book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today. Parents might wish to discuss with their children how views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and interpersonal relations have changed since this book was written before allowing them to read this classic work."

Why a warning label?
Had you heard of Wilder Publications before? It's PR, plain and simple.
It will help young people get into something they might otherwise reflexively reject.
It's a cute way to get parents thinking about discussing the Founding documents with their kids.
The Founding documents deserve (and invite!) critique, especially on the subject of equality.
These documents live and evolve and it's good to cue readers to interpret them appropriately.
Here's the edition for liberals to buy. They can see that it irks conservatives.
  
pollcode.com free polls

56 comments:

GMay said...

Didn't vote because I didn't see the options:

"No, because the document on which our society is based require no disclaimers." (or something to that effect)

or:

"No, because the ammendments reflect the changes in societal values."

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Never heard of them before and now that I have...I will never purchase a publication produced by them.

I also plan to send a link about this to everyone that I know and forward to everyone linked to emails that I recieve.

Ann Althouse said...

@GMay The question is: Why is there a warning label, not should there be a warning label? There IS a warning label, so you can't object to that fact. Start there, then give the best explanation of why the company put on a warning label.

George Grady said...

It sounds like standard boilerplate. I would guess that they put it on everything they publish.

Lincolntf said...

The warning label is there because re-writing history is often the way that the Left chooses to advance it's agenda. In ten years, the label will straight out declare that the founding documents are obsolete in the minds of all "enlightened" people.
To. read the Constitution is to understand that the citizenry holds all the power in our nation. Leftists cannot have that notion propagated at the same time that they're trying to dupe people into believing that Government is the sole arbiter of all that is right and good in the world

Joan said...

There IS a warning label, so you can't object to that fact.

Why not? I do.

(feeling particularly dense this morning)

Paddy O said...

I've come across this on other old texts that are reprinted. I think some of Twain's books have this, and I seem to remember older religious books with this on it.

I suspect it's just a standard policy for anything printed a while back.

Most folks don't read anything older so this seems unusual.

edutcher said...

Oughta be another option:

This is to insure the US Constitution is not the object of lawsuits and demonstrations by Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and The Southern Poverty Law Center.

Lincolntf said...

I'd love to see a warning label on Obama's books.
"These views represent a philosophy that has a consistent record of resulting in poverty, prison camps and war."


wv: dismol

A big swomp?

Synova said...

The warning label implies strongly that there is something wrong with the Founding Era documents and that suspicion of them is responsible.

The fun part of reading old stuff is the alieness of the language and attitudes. That's the case if I'm reading Georgette Heyer or Edgar Rice Burroughs. Or, for that matter, the Boxcar Kids... wasn't that called Boxcar Kids?

I resist the notion that I'm smarter than other people or that, as a young person, I was somehow uniquely able to recognize the differences in what I read compared to prevailing attitudes.

Scott M said...

If I remember correctly from the original story (some months ago), they are putting this label on all works over x number of years. If that is case, it's fairly innocuous, if unnecessary. In that, I mean that it's not the outright attack on our founding documents that it may first appear.

Now...if they did something like this and ONLY put those labels on founding documents, it would be a rabble-rabble-rabble moment.

Synova said...

"These views represent a philosophy that has a consistent record of resulting in poverty, prison camps and war."

8-)

buster said...

Mindless PC.

WV: bumbo a dumb bimbo

Old Dad said...

Wilder appeats to be a lefty fringy small run publisher, so the disclaimer is simply marketing. The assumption is that most of their market will not have read the Consitution or know anything about American history. God forbid, they get the vapors. Moreover, God forbid anyone anywhere even remotely think that Wilder supports the Constitution--yuck.

HKatz said...

they are putting this label on all works over x number of years.

Yep, this sort of warning label can be put on many other things, fictional and non-fictional. From the Iliad (with additional warning labels for violence and animal cruelty), to something like Huckleberry Finn (with additional warnings about the hazards of living on a raft without wearing a proper flotation device).

Perhaps they're afraid of getting sued by people claiming emotional trauma, mental harm, and physical damages from generations-old ideas.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Suggested disclaimer for more recent work:

"This book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written 50 years from now. Parents might wish to discuss with their children the sort of discussions they can expect to have with their grandchildren someday about how views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and interpersonal relations have changed since this book was written before allowing them to read this temporarily up-to-date work."

pduggie said...

Wilder publications seems to be a whacky publisher. They put the SAME DISCLAIMER ON EVERY BOOK THEY PUBLISH

ricpic said...

Liberalism is pure evil.

Synova said...

If they're publishing older public domain work (they don't have to pay for) then it's all over a certain age by definition.

The disclaimers may be an effort to keep anyone from insisting that they only publish what they wish to promote. Seeing as guilt by association is the order of the day (ie. Elton and Rush) they're likely wise to do so.

Paul Zrimsek said...

This book was written by dead people who disagreed with us about race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and interpersonal relations. It is axiomatic that we are right and they were wrong.

bagoh20 said...

I think any one who does not already understand that things were different 200 years ago needs to back up and start with something more basic like: " See spot run. Run Spot run.

Pogo said...

I would argue that, given the current President and Democratic Party-run government, the US Constitution does not in fact reflect the same values as it would if it were written today.

The Constitution as written is dead, or euphemistically "living" (i.e. it is meaningless).

Lincolntf said...

First come the warnings, then comes the ban.

I wonder how much cash Wilder gave to Obama's campaign (or vice versa)?

Ann Althouse said...

"'There IS a warning label, so you can't object to that fact.' Why not? I do. (feeling particularly dense this morning)"

I think you're playing dense. The fact is: There is a warning label. That it exists cannot be disputed. You may not like it, but I am not polling about why you don't like it. I am polling about why they put the label there. That is the only question, and the option requested by GMay would not make sense as an answer to that question.

bagoh20 said...

"...give the best explanation of why the company put on a warning label."

Hate speech is illegal.

Ann Althouse said...

And in case a sledgehammer is needed: That is the only question that I am polling about.

You can ask your own questions to, but I deliberately restricted what the poll was about.

Ann Althouse said...

too

Richard Dolan said...

None of the proffered explanations for the warning label really fit. All of them presume that Wilder Publications wanted people to pay attention to the warning label, because it would be good PR or attract liberals or cause parents to react or whatever. But the linked blog-piece says that these editions with the warning label have been around for three years, and no one seems to have noticed the label. I don't know where it appears in the Wilder editions, but the reference to the 2007 copyright notice suggests that it's on the copyright page that most people skip entirely.

There has to have been some element of snarkiness in inserting the warning label on these editions. But the decision to put it in an inconspicuous place (assuming I'm right that it is on the copyright page) and not to use it as part of some marketing scheme that might have caused anyone to, you know, actually notice it in the three years these editions have been available, suggests that snarkiness combined with a bit of clueless PC-speak is all that it's about.

Commenters above say that Wilder Publications puts this label on everything they publish. If so, I think snarkiness-cum-clueless-PC-speak is what this is about.

GMay said...

"There IS a warning label, so you can't object to that fact. Start there, then give the best explanation of why the company put on a warning label."

Well, I agree with Joan's response, but I'll go ahead and start from the starting point you specify.

Still didn't vote because I didn't see the option:


"Because we're a product of leftist indoctrination in higher education."

Mitch H. said...

Pfft. I still say "Wilders is dumber than a box of hammers & gets its legal advice by shouting questions into an echoing ravine" is a valid answer to the question "why a warning label". IIRC according to someone who examined the edition, it was copyrighted to the publisher despite it being a common, public-domain version of the text with no interpretive text, editorial insertions, or additional material, aside from an unusually high percentage of typos.

chuck said...

Looks like a standard disclaimer to avoid lawsuits and such. These days everything comes with a warning label.

Eric Muller said...

Ann, look here:

http://books.google.com/books?id=JgacwXiHZDAC&pg=PA5&dq=%22wilder+publications%22&hl=en&ei=KBQRTJv5M8-gnQfLv8nLBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22wilder%20publications%22&f=false

Bob_R said...

Why did Wilder Publications apply this warning label?

I think the guess I'd like to put on your poll is that Wilder Publications is run by people who believe the founding on the US was an act of evil and that the US will be a force of evil in the world until people like me are subject to the totalitarian rule of people like them.

Bob_R said...

I guess that should be "people like myself" who ain't so good at grammar.

t-man said...

I bought DVD's with older Disney cartoons. Before several of the cartoons that someone in the Disney corporate world decided could be offensive, Leonard Maltin comes out and give a similar warning.

My kids now cry out, "Shut up, Leonard Maltin, we hate you! Just play the cartoon."

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I suspect it's just a standard policy for anything printed a while back.

So if they are printing the Bible or the Koran or the Torah, do you think they should put warning. NSFW ..unsafe for children on the book? Really?

How about Oliver Twist? Of Mice and Men? Grapes of Wrath? Beowulf? The Great Gatsby? The Color Purple? Gone With the Wind? War and Peace? For Whom the Bell Tolls?

Where does it stop for the warning labels?

How about we just don't allow people to print such dangerous things because they might accidently fall into the hands of "the cheeeeldreeeen" and damage their innocent itty bitty minds.

Censorship and government control starts in small ways.

I also didn't vote because the option something like: they are obviously politically motivated and attempting to denigrate the documents wasn't a choice.

Andrea said...

"Warning: this publication contains examples of people who think differently than the Approved Way of Thinking that Our Politically Correct Overlords have devised. Parents: please monitor your children carefully for signs of individuality and creativity that do not follow the approved Guidelines."

shoutingthomas said...

The good news:

The young generation will age. In 30 years, they'll be old.

Their race, class and gender fetish will be completely exhausted. (It already is. )

A new, young generation will take the stage and mock the race, class and gender fetishists as stupid old fogies. And the young will embrace a new, equally loony doctrine guaranteed to solve all human problems.

It will take a while, but the revenge will be sweet.

lemondog said...

Virginia based publisher......ironic, no?

It appears Wilder sells exclusively through Amazon. Amazon has self-publishing technology.

Self-Publishing Through Amazon

Is Amazon doing the printing, production, and distribution?

If so, is Amazon requiring the boilerplate?

Just askin'

Methadras said...

This publishing company needs a warning label. For some reason the Talking Heads "Once in a lifetime" is going off in my head as I read this article.

Joan said...

Sorry, Ann -- I wasn't playing dense, I was just reading quickly, and your meaning escaped me -- that is, objecting to the existence of the warning itself is off point because you were looking for answers to the specific question you asked.

My point was that you're asking the wrong question.

AJ Lynch said...

T-man:

That is funny and you have very smart kids!

edutcher said...

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I suspect it's just a standard policy for anything printed a while back.

So if they are printing the Bible or the Koran or the Torah, do you think they should put warning. NSFW ..unsafe for children on the book? Really?


There's a real can of worms. I'll bet there are people exploring the options to gang up against anybody who keeps a Bible at work (all that begatting and those belly-dancing temptresses).

shoutingthomas said...

And, I forgot to say:

I'll bet the Constitution outlives the race, sex and class fetish.

dick said...

edutcher,

Going on right now. In Ohio there is a case about a teacher who kept a Bible in his desk at school. although he went too far with it the question was also raised about whether teachers could keep a Bible in their desk at school. Case has not been decided yet.

AJ Lynch said...

I have one copy of the Constitution. I got it from the ACLU with a mailer seeking donations. Even the ACLU did not put a warning disclaimer on the copy they sent to me.

Ann Althouse said...

"My point was that you're asking the wrong question."

Obviously, I disagree. The lack of a need for a label is plain. What's interesting to say about that? What question would need to be asked there? "Should there be a label?" People would say no. It's not interesting.

It's when something that wouldn't normally be done happens that we search for an explanation. Maybe you're assuming that my asking why implies that I agree it was right to have a label, but you shouldn't.

Fen said...

Dear Libtards,

Cultures EVOLVE.

You might try it too.

From Inwood said...

See, in this regard

This year's finalists for the [Lawyer-Decreed] Wacky Warning of the Year.

http://www.pointoflaw.com/archives/2010/06/use-of-a-headse.php

From Inwood said...

That the publishers feel that they need to so label all their reprints says more about them than it does about anything else.

With all due respect to your fertile mind & to “inquiring minds wanting to know”, I find it impossible to comprehend what problem on the part of the publisher's committee this label is intended to address. Any further comment on this obvious & useless pap seems a waste of time.

Paddy O said...

So if they are printing the Bible or the Koran or the Torah, do you think they should put warning. NSFW ..unsafe for children on the book? Really?

People still read these?

I did laugh when I saw warnings like that for the first time, but I suspect it's a response to the litigious nature of our society. And while the Constitution is easy to find a lot of the reprints are really helpful, so if labels like this helps a company feel free to do these reprints, then I'm fine with the policy--whatever the text.

I kinda do wish the Bible had something like this. There's a lot of plain offensive stuff in there that people might take more seriously if they were told to notice it. David and his Philistine foreskin collecting is just one of the parts that just aren't suitable for today's delicate sensibilities.

c3 said...

I didn't take the poll because the response OMG!!! was not one of the options.


STAY TUNED: In the not too distant future I predict this news item:

Local Library bans copy of US Constitution

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I kinda do wish the Bible had something like this. There's a lot of plain offensive stuff in there that people might take more seriously if they were told to notice it. David and his Philistine foreskin collecting is just one of the parts that just aren't suitable for today's delicate sensibilities.

Incest, slavery, surrogate motherhood, torture, murder, fratricide, patricide, war, betrayal, greed, lust, prostituting your children, some of the best erotic poetry (Song of Songs)....the Bible has it all.

Yup....definitely needs to have a stern warning on the cover.

Charlie Martin said...

I think you missed an option: it's the warning they put on Uncle Tom's Cabin ("pickaninny"), Huck Finn ("nigger Jim"), and Kipling's stories. They just autom,atically put it on any 19th and 19th century literature.

Joan said...

I make no assumptions regarding Althouse's beliefs, especially when she's in professor mode. Something about the tone here makes me think the semester ended too soon for her.

Old RPM Daddy said...

How about, "PARENTAL WARNING: This document contains ideas which were pretty radical for their time, and are pretty radical even today. Parents may wish to discuss carefully the ideas contained in this document with their children, as they are unlikely to have that chance anywhere else."