Where Does Bad Writing Come From?
by Ebeneezer Grinch
I don’t know, but that never stopped me from opining before, now did it?
FROSTY THE SNOWMAN, which you’ve probably been subjected to dozens of times this year and every year. First we have a snowman. He comes to life because of some magic hat. The hat belonged to some loser who spent all his life doing fake magic because he didn’t know he had real magic.
Credibility has already been stretched. How old is this guy? How long has he had this hat? I was six years old when I first saw this. And I thought, what a moron. The rabbit has more sense.
Rule #1 – Don’t lie to your reader. With the important corollary, don’t insult him either. Regardless of age.
Then we have this little girl who loves Frosty so so so very very much that she has to get him to the North Pole so he’ll never ever melt. Never ever. We’re all pulling for the kid. Maybe Frosty isn’t the most likeable protagonist. That voice, that look, just that wimpiness. And he sings too much. Kids hate singing. What kind of drugs were those writers taking? A whole lotta nog and almost no egg.
But it’s okay. We like the girl, badly drawn though she is. Her dialogue is unrealistic, but it’s okay. Everybody’s dialogue stinks. Let’s forgive her and like her, okay? And then, when the film’s almost over, Frosty dies. Poor kid’s heartbroken. But wait, here comes Santa in the last reel to explain Frosty’s made of special “Christmas snow” that won’t even melt in the Chiang Mai summer. Except that it did, but only long enough to create some fake tension. Talk about your deus ex machina. Horrible writing.
RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER. You want me to believe an animal, any animal, could be born with a red nose? I’ve got a real problem willingly suspending my disbelief on that one.
Rudolph is the ultimate wimp. Frosty could clean his clock. Bullied kids are having painful flashbacks while bullies are encouraged to keep doing what they’re doing. I hate this movie.
Oh, and what about the elf who wants to be a dentist? That was funny for five or 10 seconds, but the movie is 30 minutes long. It seems even longer.
And that dude in the box whose name wasn’t Jack. Who cares? When I was a kid, I never got an anything in the box. Wouldn’t it be cool to have one who talked? Who cares what his name is? What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. And a skunk named flower would still bloody well stink.
Plus, if you must know, I was a misfit toy. I don’t need to see this crap on a happy holiday. I’m trying to forget. Who moved my egg nog?
Finally, here’s Rudolph with a girl and he can’t even talk. Oh man, that hurts. My life, right there.
Deus ex machina again. Something about a snowstorm so bad that Santa and the venison — er, reindeer — can’t see. Ever heard of a flashlight? A headlight? Something electric? Nope, gotta put Rudolph glow-nose in charge. Being a freak can make you a hero. No kid in the world should buy what they’re selling.
If I was one of those reindeer behind Rudolph, I’d be kicking him in the butt. Got hard hooves, you know, being a reindeer and all. Then, when Rudolph plummeted down to earth, screaming all the way like the pussy he is before he died a horrible death — haha! — I’d strap on one of those miner’s caps with the light on the top and be a hero because I had something everyone else lacked, which we call intelligence.
No, I don’t have children. What about it?
Now, let’s look at some great literature. Not enough of that in the world, is there? HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS.
Nice kids can watch Grinch, voice by Boris Karloff, and cringe because he’s just so bad. Naughty kids can watch Grinch and think “Yeah!” I was a good kid. Really, I was. I wanted to be bad, but I was so afraid of getting in trouble. So I could only be naughty vicariously, by cheering for Grinch. Something for everybody, just like Shakespeare. Great writing.
Grinch, the original Dr. Seuss Grinch, also had the greatest dog in the world. Funny, overworked, pitiful little guy. At age 30 I found a dog just like him. And trying to put antlers on him. That’s hilarious. Something for everyone again.
Whoville. All the goodie two shoes love Whoville. Meanwhile, I’m hanging with my cousin, the naughtiest boy in history, yelling, “Go Grinch, get ‘em Grinch!” There can’t be a kid in the world, from six to 106, who isn’t taking sides. Good vs evil, like Star Wars but far more intelligent. Take those presents, take those trees. Go Grinch!
Okay, last scene. You know the one. Grinch stole everything. Presents, trees, lights, tooth-rotting junk food, everything. On one tiny sled with that poor little dog sliding up and down the mountains. Can one dog do that? Probably not. But we don’t care. We can willingly suspend our disbelief for this classic timeless story. Whoville’s got nothing. Looks like Baghdad. Grinch won!
But wait. Those little Whoville Whos are singing anyway. Huh? Yeah, they really are. It’s Christmas Day, and they don’t care if they have no material goods. Maybe in the 21st Century that seems unrealistic, but back then it worked. Maybe I wish it still did. And then, old Grinch breaks down and gives it all back.
So that might be where bad writing comes from. Too much Frosty and Rudolph, not enough Grinch. I don’t know.