CONSERVATIVE KIDS’ BOOKS

In 2006 I pitched a series of fake titles and cover concepts for a line of conservatism-indoctrinating children’s books to the fine folks over at Cracked. They were just re-launching the magazine, so this was for a full-on printed piece, which was a rare thing in comedy back then, though even more so now. So I was very excited to hold the crisp, laminated pages in my hands as proof that something I’d created and was proud of finally existed in hard copy, something that could even conceivably outlast me on this planet (Hint: Earth), you know, after the EMP blasts destroy the grid and marauding becomes the fastest growing professional field. For the record, I’ll be one of the first to go after the apocalypse hits since my survival training only goes as far as “don’t eat sharp things.” Good to know, sure, but it’s sort of a given. Whereas “what kinds of berries won’t make your eyes pee blood” would be a lot more valuable.

Well, obviously, the magazine version of Cracked was merely the pupal stage of what was to metamorphosize into an Internet phenom, but back then for this one brief moment in time, PAPER WAS KING!

||| Author checks dentures, then yells at still functioning VCR to record Hill Street Blues |||

Unfortunately, Cracked went entirely digital right before they had a chance to print these fun fake book covers, and as happens so often with so much creative work, these files were put on a hard drive and left alone to gather e-dust. #sadface

Until now. #happyface

I’m posting these today because, besides the fact that the brilliant art work still makes me laugh, looking at them eight years later in an even more rightward-tilted America, I’m really just shocked these aren’t actual published books by now.

I stumbled onto these a week or so ago, and it just seemed a shame to keep them buried. Thankfully, Cracked has graciously allowed me to post them here since the magazine obviously doesn’t exist anymore except in our heart dreams. Which was super cool of them because I’m pretty sure they didn’t have to say yes to my request.

(sigh)

OK. I guess that’s all I wanted to say. So yeah. I better sign off here.

I humbly thank you for taking the time to enjoy these while also realizing I’m an unappreciated genius visionary warrior poet…and that you should send me money and sex.

Yours,

Sean Crespo

P.S. Thank you to the artist(s) who made these. I never learned your name(s) but you deserve as much credit for these as I do…or, well, ok not as much…but SOME. The point is, you worked on these too. #winkyface

PPS Seriously, you did amazing work. Thank you.

PPPS Giant thanks to the man who made this piece possible in the first place, the hilarious James Pinkerton. 

Shakespeare is credited by the Oxford English Dictionary with the introduction of nearly 3,000 words into the language. Which is just…I mean…come on.

I.i.Scene: Elsinore.

Enter Bernardo and Francisco, two sentinels.

BERNARDO

Who’s there?

FRANCISCO

Nay, answer me: stand, and unfold yourself.

BERNARDO

Long live the king!

FRANCISCO

Bernardo?

BERNARDO

He.

FRANCISCO

You come most carefully upon your hour.

BERNARDO

’Tis now struck twelve; get thee to bed, Francisco. 

You’d not risk your wife’s Scrimulation,

With lateness, would ye?

FRANCISCO

Indeed. 

Nay, I suppose I would not…

Do that…thing.

Scrimulation you say?

BERNARDO

Ay. 

FRANCISCO

As in, to Scrimulate?

BERNARDO

Ay.

FRANCISCO

Ne’er heard I such language.

BERNARDO

‘Tis employed in the lay, I am told.

FRANCISCO

Told by whom?

BERNARDO

                    A joiner. 

FRANCISCO

                                  A joiner?

BERNARDO

                                                 Well,

Mayhaps he was a tinker, yet he was 

Simple enough.

FRANCISCO

             In what context did this 

Simple tinker employ this-

Scrimulation?

BERNARDO

           O, let me ponder but 

A moment. Er-

FRANCISCO

                            Yes?

BERNARDO

Something about, er, nay. Tush tush, it has 

Slippèd my mind. 

FRANCISCO

                          Well ‘tis a glaring 

Omission in mine own lexicon.

BERNARDO

Your what?

FRANCISCO

                But as Lady Fortune would have’t, 

Ipossess here rare copy of th’ Elsinore 

Unabridgèd Dictionary, stowed with

Mine armor many a weary eve’n 

T’occupy my wary mind amidst the 

Still and hollow sands of our watch, ere the

Russet mantle of Phoebus bedecks the 

Heavens anew. So let us see…

Screech, screeching, scrim—

BERNARDO

                                    Nay! 

Tarry not to fret nor to quibble. 

‘Tis past twelve; speed thee to bed, man. 

FRANCISCO

For this relief much thanks: ‘tis bitter cold,
And I am sick at heart. Scrimulation.

Hum. Well, give you good night .

[Exit Francisco.]

BERNARDO

Adieu till the Elanthiptical morrow!

[Enter again Francisco, hurriedly.]

FRANCISCO

What didst thou call?

BERNARDO

O, halloo. Methought you had retired.

FRANCISCO

Indeed. As I thought too. Now what ‘twas you

Called to me?

BERNARDO

               Tush tush. ‘Twas but a parting 

Benediction.

FRANCISCO

                           Nay, I mean to say, 

Thou augur’d the morrow in strange fashion. W

ith which modifier didst thou describe’t?

BERNARDO

The?

FRANCISCO

            Nay, not “The.” T‘other, thou dullard.

BERNARDO

Tush tush, ‘Cisco. Why such int’rest in my 

Speech at such late hour? Tush, tush. Th’hoary 

Gates of Tartar stand agape yet here we 

Banter-

FRANCISCO

             I would know this élan- that word  

Thou employed!

BERNARDO

              Tush-

FRANCISCO

                       No tush! If thou wilt not 

Share with me, my thirst must slake avec 

L’Elsinore Unabridgèd-

BERNARDO

                          Wait!

FRANCISCO

                                        What?

BERNARDO

Uh…Hark?

FRANCISCO

What meanest thou by, “Uh…Hark?”

BERNARDO

Hark, I heard a keen wailing?

FRANCISCO

                                  Dost thou ask or 

Dost thou report?

BERNARDO

               I heard a keen wailing.

FRANCISCO

And?

BERNARDO

                       And ‘twas keen.

FRANCISCO

                                  ‘Tis humorous, sith I 

Perceiveth’d no keen wailing. Nor did I 

Espy a keen wailer. Come, do not my 

Purpose circumvent. 

BERNARDO

                       Do what?

FRANCISCO

That word whose speaking was much the like to 

Elliptical yet was by some strangeness altered? 

Elanthiptical? Have I hit the mark?

BERNARDO

Hark! That wailing, returnèd. ‘Tis keener 

Than ever! O, the keenness! Hark!

FRANCISCO

                                           That? 

Keen wailing? ‘Tis a ‘hoot.’ From an owl. 

Art thou daft? Truly, thou mayst confess it.

BERNARDO

O, simple ‘Cisco. Thou art the daft one. Ha!

And deaf! Ha! ‘Twas not an owl keening 

And wailing but now. Ha! 

And Hark! 

And Also Tush Tush.

I’faith, Ha! Hark! Tush! 

Wait for it…

Tarshk!

FRANCISCO

Sigh.       Then by what name goes this keening, 

Wailing beast which maketh the Hoot Hoot?

[Bernardo picks at something on his arm.]

FRANCISCO

Hellooooooo?

BERNARDO

Hark yet again!

FRANCISCO

 No.

[Bernardo stares footward.]

FRANCISCO

Come now, dull pate. What name?

BERNARDO

Tar- [covers mouth, coughs]

FRANCISCO

Tar-something?

BERNARDO

Tarmin. A Tarmin, thou smug over-letter’d

Bastard, a damnèd Tarmin.

FRANCISCO

Seriously, Bernardo. Truly, now. 

No dissembling. Tell me, with honest heart: 

Art thou a fucking moron?

Or what?

[Enter Ghost.]

BERNARDO

But a moment, please.

[Ghost shrugs.]

FRANCISCO

With whom dost thou prattle?

BERNARDO

Ah, so thou thinkest me the feeble of mind?

And yet whose wisdom lacked the words of a 

Simple tinker? Was’t mine? Was’t the ow—

I mean Tarmin’s? Or was’t thine, O Simple 

Simple ‘Cisco?

FRANCISCO

                         Thou speakest the right, man. 

I know not your Scrimulation, nor what 

An Ellanthiptical morrow portends,

Nor why the sound a Tarmin emits is 

Twin to the common forest owl. I’ fact, 

If asked how one might Scrimulate 

A Tarmin Ellanthiptic’lly, as lost 

As Theseus sans Ariadne in 

Minas’ labyrinth would be I. Wait. Hush.

Voila, they sound once more! Hoot Hoot! 

O, those boist’rous Tarmins. 

BERNARDO

Tarmini.

FRANCISCO

What?

BERNARDO

                       The plural of Tarmin 

Is Tarmini, not tarmins, thou pompous 

Lickspittle.     

[Ghost twirls finger for them to wrap it up.]

BERNARDO

                    And if the vasty fields of 

Thy mind hold such fertile soil, why take up 

Castle guard as employ? Am I t’assume 

The joiner’s guild already met their “Preening 

Malcontent” hiring quota for the year?

FRANCISCO

For thine edification-

BERNARDO

My what?

FRANCISCO

-I joinèd this guard to honor now late

Our king. Lamentable tears, come you now! 

O, Hamlet! Dead King Hamlet, return t’us!

Mirth live eternal in mine heart if but 

Thy ghost fleshless, yet visible mind you, 

Were to haunt these turrets and chase ‘way this 

Foolish fardel afore me!

[Ghost waves arms in front of Francisco.]

FRANCISCO

O, would thou wert Hades’ truant tonight!

[Ghost jumps about in front of Francisco.]

FRANCISCO

Earthèd Hamlet! Buried Hamlet! Still and

Wormy Hamlet with melty face and goopy 

Spleen, dead these two months, nay not so much 

Not two, pray speak to us!

[Ghost sticks tongue in Francisco’s ear.]

FRANCISCO

To specify:                            

I speak not of the melancholic prince 

Hamlet, who is alive, but the dead one, 

Who also is namèd Hamlet, as is 

The custom in Denmark’s patriarchy.

[Ghost crumples to floor in ghost tears.]

FRANCISCO 

Just so everyone is clear on this point.

[Ghost glares at Francisco.] 

FRANCISCO 

O! O, O, O, O!

[Exit Ghost.] 

FRANCISCO 

O.

[Nearly O.S. the Ghost hoots.]

BERNARDO

There ‘tis! The noble Tarmin hath returned! 

[Exit Ghost again, does fist pump.]

BERNARDO

Though judging by the timbre in this one’s 

Throat, ‘tis not just any Tarmin, but one

Of th’elusive and rare…

Nautipular Tarmini.

FRANCISCO

Nautipular Tarmini. I see. 

Might it be also of the-

Vestriturgic variety? 

BERNARDO

Perhaps…

FRANCISCO

    Or is its heritage 

Neo-Phomanian in origin?

BERNARDO

Mayhaps.

FRANCISCO

             Ah.

BERNARDO

                   But it must needs be, er…

Tzulkratizèd, of course, with, well,

Utilizing only the most modern

Mipricocious techniques in as, uh…

Saludious a manner as possible 

To be fully assured, wouldn’t one,

Simple Simple Simple ‘Cisco?

FRANCISCO

Hurrah! Thrice Simpl’d! Thanks sirrah.

And may I cry thy talents to all: A

Splendible grasp of numbers 

Thou possess! Thy knowledge of things is 

Almost -what is the word-

Gristastical, yes, in its scope.

BERNARDO

Thank you.

FRANCISCO

Truly thy faculties have reached that final 

Bristiloprauklid plateau of wisdom,

A towering… 

Pestuary of the unknowable.

Excuse me, not unknowable, I meant 

Quimprisculdarianegogic.

BERNARDO

Quimprisculdarianegogici.

FRANCISCO

Of course of course. Thou art nothing if not Viclavitous, Bernardo. Blessings and 

Galubritations be on thy most 

Pancontransinterqualiminent-

Iversitalitouscienty house.

BERNARDO

Freep!

FRANCISCO

Indeed. And a (terrified goat noise) to you.

[Exeunt Francisco as he drop kicks the dictionary O.S.]

END.

The mission is a psittacine.

The mission is a psittacine.

I think Carol and I feel pretty alright about this one.

I think Carol and I feel pretty alright about this one.