How to Tell Good People from Bad People


64 Responses to “How to Tell Good People from Bad People”

  1. But the text makes a lot of sense. This is basically anti-molestation literature. “They act bad only when alone with you or other children”…”Don’t wonder…tell!”

    • Mark_Frauenfelder says:

      I agree. The art director should have been fired, though.

      • The whole thing creeps me out, because it’s all implied. “Daddy, that man said the Soviet Union is a force for good in the world!” “That’s fine, dear, but did he diddle you?”

        • SomeGuyNamedMark says:

          I was wondering if there was an anti-communist screed in that pamphlet somewhere.  They look like good people you know.

      • Brainspore says:

        Maybe the point was supposed to be that it’s hard to tell “good” people apart from “bad” people based on appearances.

        • Sagodjur says:

          It’s easy to tell the bad people from the good people based on appearances. That book I read when I was a child in the 80′s clearly illustrated that the bad people who try to abduct children all have shadows across their faces even in broad daylight!

          • Bill Beaty says:

            Only “Wire Mother” gives milk us!

            Also penciled eyebrows, untwisted coathanger purse in.

            Can’t convince new wife wear stilettos net hose.

            Sad us

        • jimh says:

          Essentially, don’t judge a book by its cover.
          Which is ironic because I am doing exactly that with this particular book.

    • fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

      9.5 out of 10 parents and respected adult authority figures are in favor of ‘stranger-danger’ themed anti-molestation literature…

  2. Anthony says:

    Yeah, because Mommy and Daddy could never be bad, could they?

    • corydodt says:

      Why didn’t Mr. and Mrs. Bad have children? They could have been redeemed.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      BAD people may ask you to ride in a car.

      O RLY?  Are these BAD people likely to be any drunker than Mommy and Daddy?

      BAD people may offer you candy or money.

      Thanks, but Mommy and Daddy have already taught me the hard way how to tell M&Ms from sleeping pills.

      BAD people may invite you into an empty house.

      And Mommy and Daddy will be fucking pissed that somebody else is horning in on their prerogatives.

  3. Brainspore says:

    I found myself more attracted to the bad lady than the good one.

    Isn’t that generally true to life, though?

  4. Stefan Jones says:

    I vaguely remember a safety coloring book being passed out in Kindergarten or first grade. It had a lot of the same advice, but with better artwork. I recall a picture of a kid writing down a license plate number in the dirt with a stick.

    • Cornan says:

       Holy crap I don’t remember anything else but I’m pretty sure I know which picture you’re talking about. I remember as a kid thinking that was a pretty dumb idea because the number would just get washed away in the rain and that it would be easier to just memorize the number (it rained a LOT where I grew up.)

  5. BarBarSeven says:

    I have a funny feeling this booklet was given out by the “Harry J. Hill Funeral Home” when Harry himself said, “Look! I deal with dead bodies all day but I am not a creep! We need to hand these booklets out to all kids who stand awkwardly in front of this funeral home so they know that Harry J. Hill is not a creep!”

    • Petzl says:

      I call conflict of interest.

    • SedanChair says:

      No matter what, trust Mother and Daddy so i can embalm you

    •  Not to be a Debbie Downer, but maybe Harry Hill was just sick and tired of embalming dead kids with mysterious bruises, anal tears, and lacerations. If your job involved mopping the semen off a dead three-year-old, you might have an opinion.

      Adding, that what I find creepy is the way that these old anti-molestation media dance around a) the sexual nature of child molestation, and b) the likelihood that the molester was Dad, or Uncle, or Coach, or Priest. All of which was well known at the time, but couldn’t be said out loud. (Presumably because the desire to maintain hierarchical institutions outweighed the welfare of children.)

      I am old (relatively), and come from good rural stock. When Farmer Brown down the road told the sheriff his son fell out of the hayloft, that was that. Everyone knew better, but no one said anything.

      When people bemoan the immorality of the present age, I like to point out that unlike the past, today when family members or authority figures abuse children, we put them in prison. This is a huge advance in human morality, a major sea change comparable to the Code of Hammurabi or the presumption of innocence. And when people do look the other way (Catholic Church, Penn State), it’s a major outrage, instead of business as usual. And, oddly enough, we have 1980s daytime talk shows to thank for this. Thanks Oprah, Maury, Phil, etc., for making childhood sexual abuse something that can be said out loud.

      • Luna says:

        A friend of mine in high school had been molested, repeatedly, over a period of years, by her father.  Another girl I knew — not a friend — was going through much the same experience with her stepfather.

        Teachers knew, too.  In fact, the school nurse risked her job and a whole lot more by helping my friend get an illegal abortion to deal with the result of said abuse.  And one teacher had tried to go to the local sheriff with a report of abuse.  But this was very-rural-Colorado, and the local sheriff was buddies with my friend’s father.  Nothing ever happened.  Except continuing abuse, that is.

  6. bkhl says:

    What you can learn from the illustrations is that who is good and bad is mainly a matter of perspective.

  7. Vivian M says:

    Does this remind anyone else of Something Awful’s “Instruction for a Help”?   

  8. Felton / Moderator says:

    I don’t know about the people, but that cat really does look like it wants to kill me.

  9. semiotix says:

    I just let BB commenters tell me who’s good and bad. I mean, they’re going to anyway.

  10. oasisob1 says:

    If a bad person touches you in a movie theater, run and tell Usher. He likes bad people and will know what to do with them:

    “I hear you sayin’/I need a bad girl/If you’re a bad girl”

  11. iamlegion says:

    I found myself more attracted to the bad lady than the good one.
    Isn’t that always the way…

  12. Boundegar says:

    For a six-year-old, this is a valuable lesson. Sadly, I have known a lot of people whose moral development ended with “good people and bad people.”

  13. retchdog says:

    bad people present themselves in exact profile. good people are closer to a 3/4-view, and of course good women pivot their heads sharply to the left. (oops, too late.)

  14. Shibi_SF says:

    Wow.  How did I ever reach adulthood without this pamphlet?   [I was also an elementary school kid in the same area of Colorado at about the same time... I clearly remember the droughts and the water rationing and oil/gas shortage(s) but I do not recall any education of good vs bad people.]

  15. oldtaku says:

    Tip: The BAD people will have NAMES like Goldstein or Kozlov!

    • voiceinthedistance says:

      Yes, the good people will look just like Mommy and Daddy, and the bad people will look funny and different.

  16. dcorbett says:

    Gee, Mommy.  I’m confused… the priest tried to touch me in my secret place.

  17. Someone who is nice to you, but rude to the waitress, is not a nice person. – Dave Barry

  18. Vaughn Marlowe says:

    ”Look, Kid, we don’t bury people — we take them to a special room and burn them.”

  19. Jonathan Ray says:

    This stupid meme of conditioning kids to be xenophobic (afraid of all strangers) needs to die.

  20. Lodewijk Gonggrijp says:

    I’ve always felt more attracted to bad ladies as well :P

  21. beemoh says:

    “BAD people may ask you to ride in a car.”

  22. egriff5514 says:

    I don’t think we tell our 5 year olds to ‘look out for bad people’ anymore.

    Instead we go to obsessive lengths to make sure no one who could possibly be bad gets near a kid – or does anything that might be bad in a public space near a kid.

    I’m thinking of the UK indoor play centre that has banned men and male children over 9. I’m thinking of the woman who ran out of a building as I passed on a public footpath, to explain it was a nursery ‘and we had to be very careful of people passing by with cameras’ (I had my binoculars, for the nature reserve up the path).

  23. chris jimson says:

    I remember seeing this pamphlet when I was a kid.  It kind of freaked me out, made me start thinking about “the evil in the world”, but I agree, the “bad” woman looked more attractive than the “good” woman, which confused me.

  24. archanoid says:

    Well, (1) the bad woman should be more attractive than the good woman because the good woman represents your mother [eww], (2) why is is male parental unit gets the softer “Daddy” moniker but the female parental unit is referred to consistently as “mother” ? Was this written by Norman Bates?, (3) the idea of cops as always in the good category made me spit coffee out of my mouth…but on second thought, even dick cops that would happily taze you and me and beat their own children are usually nicer to strange kids so it’s not entirely bad advice for a young kid, and (4) I was thrown by the sudden switch to “now let’s talk about squirrels…”

    • Boundegar says:

      The policeman is the friend of the kid who’s being chased by the serial killer, as long as he is not also engaged in peaceful protest.

  25. Listener43 says:

    The simple answer is that there are no good people.

  26. Well, the anti-molestation part is obvious. I learned that in Kindergarten.
    (although the advice only ever concerned strangers. Afaik people in the extended family or friends of the family are generally more likely to be “bad”
    That thing about strange animals .. oh gee, I always played with any cat I ever met anywhere. Never was a problem, but well. I just learned to wash hands after you touched an animal.
    But then … never play with kids who are not your age? wtf? I mean, okay, the big kids were always picking on us, at least some of them, at least on some of us (almost always including me). But I wouldn’t have played with them anyway. Apart from that, why would I not play with younger/older kids? As long as you find some sort of common ground, why wouldn’t you?
    At least there was nothing about communists.

  27. Beercritic says:

    Bad girls are great! Who needs a spanking?

  28. kiptw says:

    This is like, the exact opposite of the pamphlet our friendly funeral home gave me! They said I should play with electric wires, and chase balls into the street, and hang around seedy parts of town. Oh, and they said to be sure and burn the book, and ps: Isn’t fire fun?

  29. Richard says:

    Am I the only one who thinks it’s weird that the pamphlet uses “Mother” and “Daddy”?

    If you want to be formal, you’d use “Father”; if you wanted to be informal, you’d use “Mommy/Mummy”. Mixing the two just seems odd…

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