I read my son How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, because why the hell wouldn’t I?
Wait a Moment…
One particular picture gave me pause:
What bugged me about this picture? No, it wasn’t the bizarre egg-stacking method that the Whos seem to engage in:
It was this:
There is a live fish just sitting in some Who’s refrigerator. That means on the night before Christmas, somebody in Cindy Lou Who’s house decided to take a fish and leave it in the refrigerator to slowly suffocate to death next to the roast beast.
And don’t try to tell me the fish is already dead. It’s very clearly thrashing its tail and gulping for air, begging the Grinch for mercy. Unfortunately for it, the Grinch probably just stuffs it into its sack to die next to some stolen firewood.
No Pets in Whoville
Then I realized there are no pets in Whoville. In fact, every animal that gets shown in this book is being mistreated in some way. In addition to the fish, there’s poor old Max, who is stuck pulling a sled filled with an entire village worth of Christmas swag:
There are mice who are left to starve to death after the Grinch deprives them of the crumbs they apparently live off of. And then there’s a single bird:
That bird may seem to be peripheral to the story, but I’m beginning to think it’s no coincidence that the Grinch is about to dump the entirety of his sleigh on top of its head. The bird isn’t looking at the Grinch in curiosity as it tries to figure out what’s going on – it’s looking in abject terror at the impending yuletide doom.
Some Things Never Change
But surely things change once the Grinch learns his lesson?
If you can’t tell due to the blurry picture I took, that’s the Grinch bringing the toys back to all the Who girls and boys. And where is Max? He’s pushing the damned sled. Even when his master has a triple-sized heart, he’s still got to do more manual labor than any one creature should ever do.
The animated adaptation of the story ends with Cindy Lou Who giving Max the first slice of roast beast. This is a complete add-on. The actual scene in the book has Max nowhere in sight. Considering that the Whos apparently don’t believe in pets and like to torment animals by slowly murdering them, we can only guess that Max was cooked alive to be eaten as a second course.
I always thought it was odd that Santa didn’t step in to help out the Whos after the Grinch stole from them. As it turns out, he’s staying the hell away from Who-ville, because everybody near that place is a bunch of animal-killing psychopaths.
Images: Chuck Jones, Dr. Seuss