Grinch Season

Yes, it’s Grinch season, that time when unimaginative reporters overuse the Grinch metaphor. Experienced scribes know that a good story needs a bad guy, and this time of year labeling someone “Grinch” is a handy tag.

Grinch Robs Elderly Oakland Couple’s Home While They Slept

Grinch Destroys Christmas Decorations

Cops replace Sick Girl’s Christmas Lights Stolen by ‘Grinch’

Grinch Stealing Packages Off Porches in South Pasadena

Real-life Grinch Steals Salvation Army Kettle

Those are five examples. I could give you five-hundred.

The problem with this is that like many real-life stories, the Grinch tale is about something more complicated than simply an evildoer stealing all the Christmas stuff — but when you start in with all those other things, those inconvenient truths, you begin to lose what makes your story powerful: the bad guy.

A really good reporter will go out and build his case against his story’s antagonist. Maybe talk to the Grinch’s angry ex-landlord or interview his former spouse and disgruntled children. Make the Grinch looks like a real dirtbag. And then — the truth doesn’t much matter, does it?

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