A Slovakian bookstore has drawn some negative attention for an ad campaign about “the power of books” to transform people into well-read, thoughtful individuals sex criminals. Because nothing makes people want to frequent a store like jokes about child rape!

As you can see above, the ad features an older businessman who, following a tragic misreading of Lolita, decides to turn to a life of pedophilia and (probably) murder. The power of books, indeed.

I’m not sure what the appropriate reaction here is. My first impulse is to write a post along the lines of “WTF, NOT COOL,” but that’s obviously what the ad wants me to do. In a world where people are increasingly difficult to shock, you have to resort to talking about the worst shit to get any attention at all, positive or negative, right? Jokes about pedophilia work because it’s such an absurdly unthinkable act that your brain goes on the fritz and responds with nervous laughter. You could say the same thing about jokes about murder, genocide, etc. I’ve even made a few of these dark kinds of jokes myself, so I really have no right to be mad about this. Then again, these kinds of jokes might require a little more finesse than I see here.

Also, I think their other ad is more clever:

…Even if I had to do some Googling in order to understand it. (I’m guessing the Slovakian people are more knowledgeable about anti-Stalinist critiques than we are.)

And this one is borderline offensive, too, but also somewhat cute in its faux-naiive conceit that if only suicide bombers knew about all the cool things they hadn’t seen yet, they’d halt their plans to suicide bomb things immediately:

(Via Buzzfeed)