The Grinch was much more evil than we thought.

May 24, 2006 | By | 2 Replies More

Behold the incredibly evil Grinch!

“I know all about him,” you might think.  “He’s the guy who almost dumped Christmas over the cliff.  Thank goodness that he saw the light in the nick of time.”

In the classic Dr. Suess story, the Grinch’s heart grew three times right there by the edge of the cliff.  But it was at that same precise location that the true evil of the Grinch manifested itself.  How so?  Let me tell you!

It was at the edge of the cliff that the Grinch realized that Who villagers had just about learned a huge lesson that night.  They had almost learned that they did not need all those Christmas baubles.  They learned that forging a meaningful community didn’t require decorations, sugary treats or glittery whatnots. They realized that maintaining a strongly-knit community could be accomplished without the things money buys. 

As already mentioned, the residents of Who-ville held hands and sang together, their angelic voices drifted up to the precipice where the evil Grinch (small “e”) was disrupted in his evil (small “e”) quest to dump the Christmas kitsch where it actually belonged: into some far-away God-forsaken place. If the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes that day, though, his capacity for evil simultaneously grew tenfold. 

[This was predicted by Hannah Arendt’s concept of the “banality of evil.”  Arendt wrote that it was thoughtlessness, not intentional or premeditated acts, that predisposed people to engage in the greatest evils.]

The Grinch’s (capital “E”) evil impulses then took control of his demonstrably weak mind and convinced him to glide back down to Who-ville in his new role as the ultimate corrupter.  It didn’t take much to sell the residents on the materialistic version of Christmas because the Who-people are much like us. 

Upon the sight of the Grinch peddling his brand of blatant materialism, all of that conspicuous consumption piled high, the residents of Who-ville ran to his sleigh as heroin addicts might run to their pushers.  Loaded to bear with sparkly things, the Grinch did an incredibly deft bit of curbside mental chiropractic on the Whos.  In a couple of heartbeats, he convinced the almost converted Whos that their community actually needed trinkets to celebrate the birth of the Who version of Jesus. 

I hope there will someday be a movie called Grinch II, involving the tale of a solitary Who (he is not mentioned in the Grinch I), who slunk away from the triumphantly-returned Grinch, tears in his eyes, devastated that a significant holiday had come oh-so-close to being cleansed of superfluous plastic and extravagance.  In Grinch II, that solitary Who would sit down with his fellows and point out the shallow motives that drove the Grinch to return: his desire to play the role of hero and his desire to make “friends” in the shallowest way possible:  by handing them baubles. 

In the Grinch II, the elders of Who-ville would actually catch on.  They would then be able to warn all the Whos of that insidious disease some have called Affluensa.  Those elders would carefully teach that only a tortured logic could justify spending money on baubles while even one child needs medical treatment, food or a decent education.   Those Who-elders would remind all of Who-ville that dollars are fungible: that a dollar spent on a bauble is a dollar not spent on pressing needs like medical care for truly desperate people. The Who elders might even start a educational campaign against the ubiquitous advertisers who perniciously displayed lots of images of other people buying unnecessary things to convince the Whos that they needed to have to such things too.  Those Who elders might even go so far as to declare that Christmas has essentially become a huge money-laundering scheme wherein incredible amounts of money pass through manipulative merchants where it is scrubbed clean while invoking the Christmas spirit.

I know . . .this sounds SOOOOO harsh.  But to those who are feeling shell-shocked and still skeptical, I would ask this: Did the Grinch come close to stealing Christmas when he stole his huge sleighful of Who possessions?  Absolutely not, if you follow the logic of the classic story.  Thus, there was nothing of importance that he could have brought back.  Hence, this essay.

Ps.  1) I truly admire the work of Dr. Suess.  2) I actually still enjoy the original tale of the Grinch, though I now find it much richer and thought-provoking.  3) I think we ought to go out and plant trees at Christmas instead of chopping them down 4) My family is convinced that I’m the Grinch.

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Category: Culture, Good and Evil

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (2)

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  1. gina says:

    i love this idea of a grinch two movie. Oh please let me know if we could collaberate on this topic. i mean after all doctor suess did do the LOREAX!!!

  2. kevin says:

    If the making of the toys involves no form of injustice, I have no problem with materialism.

    Consumerism isn't the problem. Apathy is.

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