This clever and hilarious post popped up on NPR’s website yesterday for the blog Monkey See. Written by Linda Holmes and titled “I’m Your Lawyer, Mr. Grinch,” it playfully addresses a libel suit that Mr. Grinch is posing against the Whos down in Whoville. (If you’re not familiar with the story of the Grinch who stole Christmas, you really should watch it. It was fundamental to my childhood.)
Here’s the song for the uninitiated (or for those who want to listen while reading):
The post is all about how Mr. Grinch really wouldn’t be successful in court suing the Whos. I sent it to my father, who has always been a huge fan of the Grinch (not the movie, but the Grinch himself; yes, my dad is a big grump).
He replied thusly (and I just had to share):
“Mr. Grinch needs a better lawyer. This one missed the most obvious line of attack.
The Grinch is a definite minority in this Community and therefore the entire song can be classed as “hate speech”. With hate speech, it does not matter if he is a public figure, the attacks are satire, there are any actual damages, or if the insults are hyperbole. Look how many comedians have gotten into trouble using language they meant to be “funny” about certain ethnic groups. You can’t discriminate based on race, religion (some exceptions–Christianity and Scientology), ethnic group, gender (or lack therof), sexual orientation or species identification. I’m not sure exactly what a Grinch is, but it’s a definite minority. This hate speech is a violation of his civil rights by an oppressive majority who have 100% of the power in this community (figuratively and literally, since they have a huge number of lights on all over and the Grinch lives in a cave.) The Attorney General needs to step into this case and probably should mandate that there be Grinch representation at all levels of government. I expect Whovillians will have to attend anger management and sensitivity training, too. Yes even little Cindy Lou.
The song and its depiction of Mr. Grinch certainly create a hostile environment for him and he should be awarded compensation since he has been made to feel uncomfortable by being mocked in unflattering racial stereotypes. Even if the award was only $1 per person who heard this song, Mr. Grinch would get several trillion after you factor in the number of households with televisions and radios, the fact it is aired multiple times per year (some radio stations play it near continuously from Thanksgiving to Christmas), and the fact it has been on every year since practically the invention of television.