Jan Berenstain, who co-authored the childrens’ book series The Berenstain Bears along with her late husbad, Stan, died last week. This is a tragedy to your Wonkette writer, who read and made bad political jokes about dozens of these little family bear books as a child. And your Wonkette writer is apparently the same age as the son of Washington Post torture scribe Charles Krauthammer, who opined about his experiences reading these books to his child back in 1989. “I hate the Berenstain Bears,” his violent screed against this all-American anthropomorphic bear family begins.
The problem with this family? The father bear was a “post-feminist” manslave pussy who was always doing chores for his wife, who apparently never gave Charles Krauthammer a handsy under the bleachers:
It is not just the smugness and complacency of the stories that is so irritating. That is a common affliction of children’s literature. The raging offense of the Berenstains is the post-feminist Papa Bear, the Alan Alda of grizzlies, a wimp so passive and fumbling he makes Dagwood Bumstead look like Batman.
Consider the well-known “Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners,” wherein Mother, fed up with rudeness, sets down a new set of family rules of conduct. Each commandment is accompanied by a penalty (“wash dishes, empty garbage, beat two rugs”) for those family members who dare transgress. Papa glumly acquiesces to the new maternally mandated regime. But he proves incorrigible. Long after even the kids have reformed, he continues his sloven, cravenly ways, spending much of his time mopping up around the house to pay off his doltishness.
Mother Bear, too, is a creation. Every adult will recognize her as the final flowering of the grade-school prissy, the one with perfect posture and impeccable handwriting. The one the teachers loved. The one who disdained your baloney sandwich and pulled from salad out of her lunch box, minding her cholesterol in 1958. The one you always dreamt of drowning.
Indeed, Chas, these books were true American classics. RIP, Jan!