Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Gat in the Hat

Someone with too much time on his or her hands and access to Twitter asks folks to think up Dr. Seuss crime fiction titles. One Twitterer came up with "I Can Shoot With My Eyes Shut!", for example, and another offered "Horton Heard A Who But Won't Tell The Police Unless He's Put In Witness Protection," while crime writer Wallace Stroby submitted "Son of Sam I Am."

I have a special fondness for two of my own entries. One is "The Gat in the Hat," the other a story about grifts, cons, and inexperienced safe crackers: "Green Yeggs and Scams."

 If you're already on Twitter and not worried about Twitter agreeing to comply with government censorship. go to #SeussCrimeFiction
© Peter Rozovsky 2012

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27 Comments:

Anonymous I.J.Parker said...

:) SON OF SAM I AM. Think of the possibilities of rewriting that.

January 28, 2012  
Blogger Kelly Robinson said...

The Star-Bellied Snitches?

January 28, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I.J., one commenter took upon herself to award "Son of Sam I Am" the prise for best title/

January 28, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kelly, the suggestions included "The Snitches and Other Stories" and one I thought was better: "The Scar-Bellied Sneetches."

January 28, 2012  
Blogger seana said...

Tell me more about the craven compliance with censorship and then I'll decide whether to come up with a title.

January 29, 2012  
Blogger Kelly Robinson said...

Should have read the Tweets. I should have known that would be an obvious riff.

January 29, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, here's one story on the subject: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/twitters-country-specific-censorship-tool-prompts-user-protest/2012/01/27/gIQALWoMVQ_story.html

But here's the day's big media story for me: http://m.nypost.com/p/news/business/hedger_pausing_on_print_9PLBSnWVPgWi88vsBxyEjN

January 29, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yes, Kelly, had you read the tweets, you would have known what we do with sneetches.

January 29, 2012  
Blogger seana said...

Peter, that last link sounds pretty worrying. I have to admit that I can't entirely understand its implications.

As to Twitter, well, I don't think anyone should be surprised that any of these big social networks would do what they deemed expedient.

January 29, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The implication is that we are right back where we started a few years ago, though possibly a few steps closer to professional apocalypse.

I don't know the implications of the Twitter decision but yes, this ought to be one more blow to the idiots who believed that Twitter and Facebook were anything but big corporations and would behave as big corporations do.

January 29, 2012  
Anonymous solo said...

You know I never heard of Dr Seuss until a few years ago. Must be an American thing. But if I recall correctly you never heard of Golliwogs, so we're even.

This Blogger thing, that's some Mom amd Pop operation, isn't it? You wouldn't host your blog here if it belonged to one of those nameless, faceless corporations like Facebook or Twitter, would you?

Oh, dear. Am I piling on again. I hope you let me away with a slap of the wrist, Peter.

January 29, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Oh, Google is right up there with the rest of them, but I don't pretend it's anything else.

January 29, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I had heard vaguely of Golliwogs. Dr. Seuss' writing dependeds so much on wordplay that I was not surprised when I found that a Dutch friend had never heard of him. I don't know why he would not have spread to other parts of the English-speaking world, though.

January 29, 2012  
Blogger seana said...

I believe I learned to read on One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish.

I don't think the social media enthusiasts are idiots so much as naive. They won't stay that way forever.

January 29, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, the "mainstream" media may be even more guilty of boosterism than are the social-media enthusiasts. We're presumably the ones, after all, who coined and certainly gave circulation to the term "Facebook revolutionaries."

January 29, 2012  
Anonymous solo said...

It wouldn't be only your Dutch friends that hadn't heard of Dr Seuss.

Here in Ireland we had a version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire for a while. The opening questions, supposedly the easy ones, were frequently based on nursery rhymes. My mother, who grew up it the 20s, knew the answers instantly. I, on the other hand, being a child of the sixties, was frequently stumped. TV, and not nursery rhymes, was my babysitter.

January 29, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Solo: Yes, generational differences may play a part. Dr. Seuss wrote his first children's story as early as 1937, but my mother, for instance, became familiar with his work only when she began reading it to me.

January 29, 2012  
Blogger seana said...

He is still big here, though. People pass him along to the next generation.

I kind of left them behind after I could read but I know adults who still enjoy them for their inventiveness.

January 29, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That Dr. Seuss crime meme on Twitter is evidence of his continuing vitality. I have bought copies of some of the books since I became an adult. Even if one has gone beyond the Curious Crandalls and the Hinkle-Horn Hinking Club, the drawings are treasures of crazy inventiveness.

January 29, 2012  
Blogger seana said...

I understand that now,but I didn't come to it intuitively.

January 29, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I loved the drawings from the first. Every so often I'll see some odd architectural construction -- with stairs that lead into thin air, for example -- that will remind of a Dr. Seuss drawing. I once and such an experience in Sidi Bou Sayed, in Tunisia, where we had stopped for a refreshing cup of tea.

January 29, 2012  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Regarding Dr. Seuss + Crime, did any of the Twitterers mention that Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) and Raymond Chandler were neighbors in La Jolla, CA? Among other adventures, the two were involved in rescuing and caring for a cat that had gotten its foot caught in a trap (The Cat in the Trap?). Seuss’ The Sneetches was a sly dig at his and Chandler’s snobbish fellow La Jollans, the same ones parodied by Chandler in one of his letters in which he relates his attendance at the La Jolla Women’s Club to hear the (fictional) lecture, "The American Home, and How to Avoid It."

While working as an au pair in England in the late 1970s, I sent home for some Dr. Seuss books (they were unavailable in the UK at the time) and my young charges would squeal with glee whenever I read one of them. Green Eggs and Ham was a particular favorite, and the 5-yr-old knew it by heart.

January 31, 2012  
Blogger seana said...

What great additional information for this post, Elizabeth!

As Solo has made clear, Seuss did not manage to cross the Atlantic. I really wonder why--there is nothing particularly American about their content, I'd think.

January 31, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Nobody made that connection, including me. I'll have to go back and reread some Dr. Seuss in light of this new knowledge.

Hmm, Chandler best-known novel is The BigSleep, and my favorite Seuss book was Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book. Coincidence? You decide.

Hmm, and I wonder if some local girl could have inspired both Sally in The Cat in the Hat, and Carmen Sternwood.

January 31, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Just think of what they might have done had they decided to write Dr. Seuss's and Raymond Chandler's Big Sleep Book:

"The news just came in from the town of L.A.
Of a sleazy pornographer -- possibly gay ..."

January 31, 2012  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Well... The Big Sleep and Carmen Sternwood predate the Chandlers' permanent move to La Jolla in 1946, although they had visited the town before, so to be strictly historical any Seuss/Chandler comparisons are more likely to be found in The Little Sister, The Long Goodbye and, definitely, in Playback. But I know that pesky details like that won't hold you back, Peter!

I think my favorite Seuss book (in my present decade) is You're Only Old Once. Along with Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?

February 01, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

In that case, perhaps Chandler based Terry Lennox on Thing 1 and Thing 2.

February 01, 2012  

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