Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Twat in the Hat

...And no, I'm not talkin about this picture of Paris Hilton. I'm talkin about how last week we all forgot to celebrate the 100th birthday of Dr. Seuss, which was exactly one week ago today (March 2, 1904). To celebrate, the Seuss estate encourages everyone to go hop on their pop. Eww!

Anyway, the NEA has a lenghty Seuss biography, while the BBC honors the artist formerly known as Geisel by listing a bunch of little-known facts about the good doctor, first and foremost being the fact that he wasn't actually a doctor. Hell, he never even finished reading for his masters at Oxford, forget about getting a full doctorate. (Well, Dartmouth, his alma mater, gave him an honorary doctorate in 1955 [how do colleges give doctoral degrees?], and rightly so: aside from the fact that Big Green is the only place in the world where the populace is consistently drunk enough to truly appreciate his books, it was while at Dartmouth that he first started using his "pseussonym." This news item from Dartmouth details Seuss-related events at the college, including the inevitable green-egg breakfast.)

Speaking of which, did you know Green Eggs & Ham was written after someone bet Dr. Seuss that he couldn't write a book using only 50 words? He did, and they are: I am Sam; that; do not like; you green eggs and ham; them; would here or there; anywhere; in a house with mouse; eat box fox; car they; could; may will see tree; let me be; train on; say the dark; rain; goat; boat; so try may; if; good; thank. Now if only he could have used a few more words to clarify one thing: does "green" modify both eggs and ham, or just eggs? Because while green eggs are fine, green ham is just narst, and sounds like either a small town in the English countryside or something dirty you do in a back alley in Amsterdam.

Though chances are you'd be hard-pressed to find a kid who hasn't at least flipped through a Dr. Seuss book—the Beeb says 1 in 4 children gets The Cat in the Hat as their first book (mine was actually One Fish, Two Fish...)—it's unfortunate that kids these days are forced to associate Dr. Seuss with the horrid film versions of How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Cat in the Hat, or worse, Seussical The Musical. Relatedly, did you know Dr. Seuss has not only a special Pulitzer but two Emmys and an Oscar (Best Animated Short 1951)?

If it weren't 9 o'clock in the fawking morning I would have written this posting in adorable but also subversive rhyming couplets à la Seuss himself. [More Seussentennial information]

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