Friday, March 14, 2008

Horton Hears a Quote-Miner

Horton Hears a Who has already been on my shit list for a couple of weeks due to (1) Jim Carrey giving me hives and (2) a relentless promotional campaign that has hijacked the college basketball coverage on Fox Sports. We're looking forward to the second half here in Charlotte. But you know what I'm also looking forward to, Jimmy? A new movie called Horton Hears a Who. Let's take a look! Seriously, let's not. There was no way I was going to see this--even with Steve Carrell, who I love--given the reprehensible version of the Grinch Carrey and company shat out several years back, so it could have just ended there.

But no. Now there's even more reason to hate this movie, and through no fault of its own. The legions of the small-minded have found their pearl of great price falling from a CGI elephant's lips, and they're brandishing it with glee.
But with a movie version of Dr. Seuss' much-loved children's book opening Friday, another Horton saying has drawn attention from activists who see a message in the movie — a message that suits their purpose.

That message: "A person's a person, no matter how small."

"Exactly," say abortion foes.

Huh? you say. That's right. Never mind that Horton's crusading to protect an entire society of independently living, breathing, sentient creatures that have built a city on a speck of dust on his puffball, which, by the way, is the biggest vindication of stoner rights to come down the mainstream entertainment pike since, well, ever. If the compulsory birth contingent has shown us anything in the past 30 years, it's that context is irrelevant. Horton says a person's a person, no matter how small, so fertilized eggs are people, and birth control is evil, QED.

When Jim Carrey, the film's Horton, said those words during the Los Angeles premiere of the film last week, demonstrators who'd slipped into the theater started to yell. It was a surprise, to say the least, for the premiere audience.

"I thought maybe there was a nut loose in the theater or something," says Karl ZoBell, an attorney [who] has represented the interests Theodor Geisel for some 40 years.

Oh, Karl, honey. You have no idea.

After the premiere, the protesters handed out anti-abortion literature. Other anti-abortion groups plan similar actions at premieres elsewhere in the country. Theodore Geisel's widow, who has never enjoyed watching her husband's material get twisted for political purposes he did not intend, is seriously pissed.

Some anti-abortion Web sites say Audrey Geisel supports Planned Parenthood. ZoBell says he's never discussed such matters with her or her late husband, and that the Geisels never wanted Dr. Seuss characters used to advance any political purpose.

That doesn't matter to the anti-abortion quote miners who heard magic words that could, after some contextual stripping and laundering, be used for their own purposes. And coming from a character guaranteed to be beloved by little kids? Little kids who can easily be convinced that the holy preborn are really fully developed, thinking, talking Whos from day one who must be preserved at all costs, even when everyone around you ridicules you as they rapaciously try to destroy them? Pure gold.

Hey, give them credit. At least they didn't need to use ellipses to make the quote work for them. How long do we have until Horton is automatically hailed as the great pro-life film of 2008? At this rate, I give us a week.

More from Slate (h/t, as always, to Top!Secret G-woman, and to anonymous officemate for the original warning).


patrick said...

Dr. Seuss is classic; after seeing Horton Hears a Who i remembered how much he packs into relatively simple storylines...

Anonymous said...

Seriously it's a freakin kids movie I think your reading a little too much into a simple story line.

soccergurl said...

do you believe that babies outside of the womb are alive...should they be considered human?? if not at conception, then when do fetuses become human??? I don't understand how you don't get that people inside the womb are just as human as you or me...