Dave Barry's New Book Accidentally Advocates for NAMBLA
Dave Barry is a very funny man. South Floridians have spent years reading and laughing through his columns and published books. And through local appearances and charity events, Barry has earned a ton of goodwill in the Miami community.
In fact, he's probably the only man in the state of Florida who can insist that "You Can Date Boys When You're Forty" without anybody batting an eye.
Barry's next book, due out in March 2014, is really, truly titled You Can Date Boys When You're Forty, for real, no kidding. Because this is Dave Barry, it's probably safe to assume that the title is intended to speak directly to his daughter. But, um, it's also safe to assume that it's a title that'll make a lot of people very uncomfortable, and also a title that'll make a small subset of creepy Internet dudes very happy.
Andrew Goldman, a journalist who received a preview copy of Barry's upcoming book, pointed out the squicky connotations on Twitter this morning:
Just me, or did Dave Barry pick an unfortunate NAMBLA-esque title for new book? pic.twitter.com/gNhn6QuRlW— Andrew Goldman (@andrewrgoldman) October 30, 2013
Look, I get the joke; "You can date boys when you're 40" is the kind of hyperbolic warning my own father issued to me when I was a kid. But come on, Dave, you're a smart guy. You've gotta know better than this. You must know that taken out of context -- on, for example, the cover of a book -- that line will put people more in mind of To Catch a Predator than parenting. Who can date boys when they're 40, Dave? The general public? Parents? Even if you take the joke to its logical conclusion, it's bad news; when Dave Barry's daughter is 40, it will still be a criminal offense for her to "date boys."
Plus, as Barry surely knows, Florida is an especially bad place to make such a statement. It wasn't so long ago that city government quietly set up a squatters' village to house its displaced sex offenders. And the number of Florida teachers who've gone to jail for having sex with their underage students seems like it's constantly on the rise.
It's worth noting that the title belongs to Barry's "guide to parenting and other topics he knows very little about." Perhaps there's also a section in there on avoiding uncomfortable implications of pedophilia.
Follow Ciara LaVelle on Twitter @ciaralavelle.
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