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In recent weeks we've been deluged with a whole lot of harrumphing about how the new Grinch movie violates the true spirit of the blessed Dr. Seuss's original story, and about how the marketing campaign is a horrific manifestation of exactly the kind of commercialization that the tale is intended to combat.  But there's a deep dark secret that we all share : no one truly cares about the good Doctor's message : we love the Grinch who steals Christmas, not the one who returns it.  All those Whos down in Whoville are too annoying for us to care much whether they enjoy their holiday and the pre-conversion Grinch is so delightfully evil that we root for him, rather than against.   The Grinch succeeds, not because of its intended message, but because in the midst of all the saccharine of the Christmas season, we all welcome the sight of a total curmudgeon.  Think about it, our favorite characters in three great yuletide tales are Scrooge, the Abominable and the Grinch.  In every story, it's the anti-Christmas figure we're attracted to : to heck with Tiny Tim, the misfit toys and Cindy-Lou Who.

Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas, the whole deal--the baby Jesus, the presents, the food, family, friends, classic movies and tv shows, music, decorating the tree, etc., etc., etc...  But there's also that buzzardly part of me, and I bet of many of you, that needs an antidote, however temporary, to all of the artificial sentiment of the season.  I admit that I still mist up every time they sing Auld Lang Syne at the end of It's a Wonderful Life, but beats there a heart so sappy that it actually thrills to the strains of "Fahoo Doray ?"  No, the Grinch lives on because, until his heart grows those three sizes, he provides a brief respite from the hoopty-do of a holiday that takes not just commercialization but vacuous sentiment to an unbearable extreme..


Grade: (A-)


See also:

Dr. Seuss Links:

    OBITUARY: Dr. Seuss, Modern Mother Goose, Dies at 87 (ERIC PACE, September 26, 1991, NY Times)

Book-related and General Links:
    -The Dr. Seuss Web Page
    -FILMOGRAPHY : Dr. Seuss (Imdb)
    -Mandeville Special Collections Library Presents : Dr. Seuss Went to War:  A Catalog of Political Cartoons
    -Dr. Seuss's Seussville!
    -Wayne's World - Fun Stuff - Dr. Seuss
    -WEBRING : The Dr. Seuss WebRing
    -LINKS : Dr. Seuss WWW Links
    -LESSON PLANS : (A to Z Teacher Stuff)
    -ARCHIVES : seuss (NY Review of Books)
    -ESSAY : Innocence Lost With everyone from Visa to the U.S. Postal Service teaming up with the Hollywood version of the The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, a writer has to ask: What would Dr. Seuss think? (Jen Chaney, Pop and Politics)
    -REVIEW ESSAY : Dec 20, 1990 Alison Lurie: The Cabinet of Dr. Seuss, NY Review of Books
       And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street
       Horton Hatches the Egg
       McElligot's Pool
       Bartholomew and the Oobleck
       Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose
       Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories
       If I Ran the Zoo
       Horton Hears a Who
       On Beyond Zebra!
       If I Ran the Circus
       The Cat in the Hat
       One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
       I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today!
       The Lorax
       The Butter Battle Book
       You're Only Old Once!
       Oh, the Places You'll Go!
    -REVIEW : of DR. SEUSS & MR. GEISEL A Biography. By Judith Morgan and Neil Morgan (Ann Hulbert, NY Times Book Review)

    -BUY IT : How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) DVD (
    -INFO : How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)(Imdb)

    -REVIEW : of PIPERS AT THE GATES OF DAWN. The Wisdom of Children's Literature. By Jonathan Cott (Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, NY times)
    -REVIEW : of PIPERS AT THE GATES OF DAWN, The Wisdom of Children's Literature. By Jonathan Cott (Cynthia Ozick, NY Times Book Review)