What the Grinch movies get wrong about the Grinch

December 12, 2021

Recently, writer Jesse Spector surfaced one of the most cursed tweets of this, or any, Christmas season. Behold: police “arresting” the Grinch.

As Jesse correctly noted — with appropriate profanity — the biggest point of the Grinch story is that he learns the spirit of Christmas and redeems himself. Having police arrest the Grinch is bitter irony for those of us who believe the American carceral state holds too much sway in the popular imagination, because arresting and jailing the Grinch mostly forecloses upon his opportunities for redemption and improvement, and it's deeply dispiriting to see that display lauded as some kind of happy conclusion.

Jesse’s tweet inspired me to revisit Dr. Seuss’s book, and a few things occurred to me while reading. It’s very good as these things go — in the Seuss canon, I put How the Grinch Stole Christmas! behind only Horton Hears a Who!, The Cat in the Hat, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, and Green Eggs and Ham — but I also think the two major movies that have been made based on it fall short in specific ways that may be contributing to people thinking of the Grinch as merely an antisocial asshole.

Of all the fake slides in all the world

December 5, 2021

In the first quarter of this year’s ACC championship football game, Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett dropped back to pass, saw no one open, then took off to his right and downfield. As several Wake Forest defenders converged on him, he appeared to break down his running gait in preparation to slide feet first, which, under longstanding football rules, is an option available to ball carriers to give themselves up and end the play without getting hit, which would be a penalty on the defense. So, the defenders slowed down to let him slide. He did not slide.