Two Sizes Too Small

First, let me say this: I love the Grinch. The Dr. Seuss book is magical — a perfect Christmas story — and the 1966 cartoon version is one of the greatest and most successful adaptations of a literary work for TV or film ever. Seriously.

Because I love the Grinch, I hate Ron Howard’s revolting film version of the story. It’s a hideous mess and if there were a way I could destroy every copy of the movie I could find, I would do it. Yes, I know that sounds a tad… extreme, but what can I say?

And because I love the Grinch, seeing him mischaracterized in the media troubles me — and every December, writers trot out Grinch as their description for every holiday evildoer. I’ve explained before (ad nauseam) that this is inaccurate because the Grinch returned everything he stole back to Whoville.

Bear with me. When would you describe a thief as being like Robin Hood? Only if he turned over his booty to the poor — not if he kept the loot. Similarly, without giving back, one can not be like the Grinch.

Nevertheless, every December the Grinch gets a bad rap. A few examples:

Woman Stealing Wreaths Called “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”

Grinch Steals Salvation Army Kettle in Oak Lawn

The Grinch Who Stole Jesus

Real-Life ‘Grinch’ Committing Christmas-Related Crimes

‘Grinch’ Arrested for Stealing Readstown’s Christmas Tree

As you might suspect, I could go on all day.

So how can you help? The next time you see Grinch misused in a news story, leave a friendly comment pointing out the error. And be nice! It’s Christmas — and you wouldn’t want to be inappropriately compared to Scrooge.

4 responses to “Two Sizes Too Small

  1. Very good post and point.

    Yet, when Scrooge saw the light at the end of the tunnel (or, more precisely, the dying of the light at the end of the tunnel) and gave back in the end.

    We should perhaps invoke Marley instead . . . he took all of his ill-gotten spoils to the grave!!

    • Of course. My point of citing Scrooge was a bit oblique; I changed the line to read “inappropriately compared to Scrooge.”

      Poor Marley… completely unredeemed. Or was he? I’m a fan of the re-telling of the story, Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol. The book is based on a play which I once heard adapted for radio; wish I could find a recording, because it was terrific.

  2. Huh!! I’ll have to check out the Marley books . . . that sounds great!
    I should also note that I agree that Chuck Jones’ “Grinch” is an utter masterpiece, and put a plug in for another holiday classic . . . Richard Williams’ 1971 version of “A Christmas Carol.” Jones was Executive Producer, and they won an Oscar for it.

    This is the best version I can find online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTzyC9CZuOA

    I watched this when it first aired. The points where Marley unwraps his jaw, and where Scrooge notices the orphans under the Ghost of Christmas Present’s cloak utterly traumatized me as a little kid . . . and they remain horrifically effective to this day.

    I can’t believe this one hasn’t seen a loving clean up and re-release all these years on.

  3. The true Christmas villain is Mr. Potter of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Potter is every bit the heartless miser that Scrooge was, and despite his wealth, he is a thief. Potter steals $8000 from George Bailey’s Building & Loan, pushes Bailey to the brink of suicide, and then calls the Sheriff to arrest him for being short in his accounts.

    Potter never redeems himself and never returns the money. After George returns from his alternate reality and wishes Potter a Merry Christmas, Potter replies, “Merry Christmas to YOU! IN JAIL! Go on, they’re waiting for you!” And this is his last line in the movie.

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