Monday, August 28, 2006

Dr. Seuss's New Villains

Q. Can you illustrate your last lesson about characterizing villains on one of the works of Dr. Seuss? I really enjoyed it last time you lambasted him.

A. My point, dear Philistine, is not to lambast other authors, and especially not a single author exclusively. However, Dr. Seuss's popularity still baffles me, when it's so obvious that he was an utter novice. His novels show not only traces of mediocrity and amateur technique, but large veins and deposits.

Q. Yeah, yeah. Can you ream him over How the Grinch Stole Christmas!?

A. I'll be glad to. The opening is a stinker, when it really didn't have to be. He could have fleshed out his villain right there, but totally punted. Here it is:
Every Who
Down in Who-ville
Liked Christmas a lot...

But the Grinch,
Who lived just North of Who-ville,
Did NOT!

The Grinch hated Christmas!
The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be that his head wasn't screwed on quite right.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.

This is a cop-out. It's yet another manifestation of the mindset that all bad people are simply born that way, which just isn't true. They're made, usually by unthinking, selfish people like your friends and neighbors.

Q. Right. I feel nothing for him at all.

A. We can change that just by adding a few background facts:
It could be that he had body image issues--who wouldn't, looking like that?
It could be, perhaps, that, as a young Grinchling, he was beat up by a department-store Santa Claus.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that he had developed a capture-bond with Ebenezer Scrooge when he was jailed one Christmas for not keeping up on his rent, and he had never really gotten over it.

Q. The Grinch has Stockholm syndrome. Brilliant.

A. Quite.

Q. So Ebenezer Scrooge jailed him? Is it kosher to bring in another character from someone else's novel?

A. It's a crossover, and illiterate Philistines love them. For the sake of women and fame and glory and millions in advertising revenue, we'll overlook the fact that it's not quite wicked literate.

Q. More like spiteful.

A. Exactly. Yet behold the resounding success of the Star Trek: The Next Generation novel X-Men: Planet X. Dr. Seuss could have cashed in on the same kind of buzz if he'd been forward-looking enough to have the spectre of Scrooge's ghost haunt his novel. The literary mistakes this man made are legion.

Q. I could totally see Geordi and Storm hooking up.

A. They've got the same eyes, yeah.

Q. So what's up with the Lorax?

A. An eco-terrorist, through and through. If I'd written that, I'd have had the Lorax strapping explosives on Brown Barbaloots and using Swami Swans to deliver chemical agents. And all because his nemesis chopped down the Truffula Tree upon which he had carved his own name and the name of his forbidden love.

Q. You've got quite a keen grasp on the criminal mind.

A. Thank you.

Q. What about the Cat in the Hat?

A. He's just a communist.


At 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

your blog is full of crap

At 3:01 PM, Blogger Mr. Writing Person said...

I shall assume that you have simply had a bad day, and that on a normal day you would have been brimming with praise.

This, dear Philistines, is why you should always start your mornings with a vodka, coffee and fish oil cocktail.

[Ed: Quick question for "anonymous": Why didn't you log in as Captain Obvious?]


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