6 Artists You Won't Believe Made Stuff Just For Kids
We all need the occasional break from who we are in everyday life. That's why shy, awkward teenagers like to go on Xbox Live and ... selectively quote Django Unchained. It's also why a bunch of famously serious or edgy artists secretly make children's entertainment so wholesome that any cynic's heart would vomit puppies and rainbows in response. For example ...
George R.R. Martin Wrote A Game Of Thrones Book For Kids
Game Of Thrones, adapted from George R.R. Martin's epic book series, is one of the most popular TV shows despite, or because of, the fact that it contains more sex and violence than all of Tarantino's back catalog.
We aren't fully caught up, but we assume these two end up boning and killing each other.
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Which is why it's especially worrying that there's apparently a children's book for introducing your sweet summer child to Martin's depressing winter of death and debauchery. Martin's 1980 book The Ice Dragon was recently re-released and advertised as taking place in the same literary universe as his A Song Of Ice And Fire series, which, for emphasis, we'll refer to as the Penis-amputation-verse. The novel tells the story of a young girl named Adara who befriends a dragon made of bluish ice.
There are fire dragons, too. And songs, probably.
Some have pointed out that The Ice Dragon doesn't actually fit into the history of Game Of Thrones, but that's because it's a fictional story within the Penis-amputation-verse that Old Nan told to Jon Snow as a bedtime story when he was a kid. So it's nice to think that, when they're not being burned alive, the kids of Westeros at least get some nice fairy tales where nobody is raped or castrated.
Motorhead's Guitarist Is In A Cute Panda-Themed Kids Band
What can you say about the legendary band Motorhead? They're so inappropriate for kids that, upon birth, any child conceived at a Motorhead concert automatically gets taken away by the state.
Just showing this photo to kids counts as reckless endangerment.
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The guitarist and second-longest surviving member of Motorhead, Phil Campbell, is also in a costumed band called Panda Party that creates "engaging kids songs and upbeat nursery rhymes to teach ABCs, colors, and so much more." And this isn't another bullshit "kids' product" that's obviously for adults like Go The Fuck To Sleep. By all accounts, this is Campbell's sincere attempt to educate youngsters under 6 with the power of pop rock ... even if the Panda Party costumes look like something you'd find at a furry orgy.
Although Campbell does play the guitar in Panda Party, it's not actually him in any of the costumes. Presumably because they don't have a whiskey flap built in.
Andy Warhol Was A Children's Book Illustrator
Andy Warhol was the kind of creative nutjob who liked to get all of his friends together, throw buckets of drugs at them, and then film them doing totally unauthorized and nonsensical adaptations of Batman, A Clockwork Orange, and Frankenstein.
"'Buckets of drugs'? Don't be ridiculous ... they were bathtubs."
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Early in his career, Andy Warhol provided drawings for children's stories.
Like all geniuses, he shared cute cat pics in his spare time.
Working as a freelancer for the Doubleday publishing company, Warhol was once hired to illustrate six stories in the Best In Children's Books series. They were fine and adorable drawings. It's just hard to imagine the man at the epicenter of the doped-up '60s art scene sitting down to illustrate the story of kids happily playing cards and the adventures of a red chicken. Finding out that Warhol did all these cutesy sketches is a little like finding out that Beatrix Potter was a heroin-addicted swinger.
Sex Pistols Saved Christmas With A Special Concert For Children
In the '70s, Sex Pistols were probably the most controversial and despised people in Great Britain. The legendary punk band's songs about abortion and the Holocaust caused so many monocles to drop, it created a nationwide glass shortage.
We should explain, for American readers: In the U.K., sex and pistols are taboo.
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Near the end of 1977, British firefighters around the country staged a strike demanding wage increases to help them feed their families. Obviously, being out of work put a bit of a damper on Christmas. That's when the most morally divisive band of the time came in and put on a secret, very special show for the firefighters' children on Christmas Day. Setting up at the Ivanhoe's club in Huddersfield, England, the Sex Pistols threw a huge party where they gave out presents, food, and even played some of their songs, tastefully rewritten for young audiences.
Hey kids, get ready for ... the Snuggle Slingshots!
Monty Python Started Out As A Children's TV Show
Monty Python was a comedy group that revolutionized pop culture by creating their own brand of surreal, experimental, and unpredictable humor. Today, we honor their memory by blindly quoting two or three punchlines over and over until we're politely but firmly asked to leave.
We'd quote them right now, but that would be rather silly.
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Before there was Monty Python, there was Do Not Adjust Your Set, a 1960s sketch show for kids that starred Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin, three people who would go on to make a TV show about vomit-chocolate and proto-furries. In contrast, Do Not Adjust Your Set's jokes were more about musical instruments that made the wrong sound when played. But the signature style was there: They even transitioned between sketches using young Terry Gilliam's cutout animation style.
Which is fine, because we NEVER got nightmares seeing those cutouts as kids. No, sir.
And you can almost trace the origin of some of Python's best sketches back to DNAYS, like the skit about a grocer who would only give a patron shoe polish when he asked for food, which was very reminiscent of the famous "Cheese Shop" routine. Another sketch, starring Jones as a befuddled Englishman fending off a raunchy Italian customs officer, seemed like a rough draft of the well-known "Nudge Nudge" joke.
Hey, kids need to learn eventually that all Italians are perverts.
Sylvia Plath And William Faulkner Both Wrote Children's Stories
Poet and author Sylvia Plath is mostly known for her classic novel The Bell Jar, a deeply personal story of a woman's crippling depression that mirrored Plath's own life. William Faulkner, on the other hand, preferred to depress the hell out of his audience with rich, multifaceted narratives like The Sound And The Fury. Either way, they're not the kind of authors whose work you would give to kids, unless you were sick of the chipper way your kids kept bouncing around the house.
"Now they're sitting on the bed and staring at the wall, silently. Perfect!"
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In 1927, Faulkner wrote a touching little book called The Wishing Tree, as a personal gift to Victoria Franklin, the 8-year-old daughter of a close friend. The story is about a young girl going on a magical quest and learning to use the power of wishes wisely, and at no point does anybody drown themselves or embezzle money.
Then he gave it as a personal gift to another child. Then another, because free books don't pay for bourbon.
Plath's book The It-Doesn't-Matter Suit was written shortly before the birth of her first child, in 1959. The book tells the lighthearted story of a boy who gets a special bright yellow suit that allows him to be carefree and ignore other people's bullshit.
We just use our birthday suits.
The book, which wasn't actually published until 1996, can be seen as an allegory for how to cope with depression and anxiety, something that Plath had to struggle with every day. Or, it might be a secret origin story for The Man In The Yellow Hat from Curious George, because that dude dresses like a '70s pimp and owns a pet monkey -- he plainly doesn't give a fuck about pretty much anything.
J.M. McNab co-hosts the pop-culture nostalgia podcast Rewatchability, which can also be found on iTunes. Follow him on Twitter @Rewatchability.
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Also check out 5 Insane Children's Books That Will Ruin Your Child and 5 Classic Children's Books With Horrible Hidden Messages.