Sunday, March 02, 2008

Horton Hears an Evangelical

Today is Dr. Seuss's birthday. And so, in his honor:



In a place known as Whoville the folks got distraught
When Horton the elephant said what he thought.
“The oddest of oddities isn’t as odd
As people believing that there is a god.”

The Who Jews and Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists
The Who Vegetarians, Wiccans, and Nudists,
The Who Presbyterians, Baptists, New Agers:
All spread the sad news on their cell phones and pagers.

A Who Evangelical fell to his knees
And he said, “Oh no, Horton! I beg of you, please!
We always have liked you. We all think you’re swell,
And we can’t stand the thought that you’re headed to hell!”

But Horton just laughed and he wiggled his trunk.
The bible to him was a big bunch of bunk.
He meant what he said and he said what he meant,
“Religion is silly a hundred percent.”

The Who Evangelical let out a snort in
A very snide way most insulting to Horton.
“You say you’re an atheist? Here’s what we’ll do —
We all know that atheists are anti-Who —

We’ll drive you from Whoville; we’ll send you away.
Or else we will force you to worship and pray.
A person’s a person, no matter how small
But an atheist isn’t a person at all!”

But Horton just laughed once again even louder
And told all the Whos he would not take a powder,
Nor worship some stupid nonsensical being
That no one was hearing and no one was seeing.

“I will not be threatened,” he said. “It’s not funny.
I won't trust your god with my flag or my money!
I will not allow him to influence science.
An elephant thrives on his own self-reliance!”

The Who Evangelical said, “My dear chap, sure
You think you’re so smart, but just wait till the rapture.”
The anti-Christ’s coming and then you will find,
That your friends are in heaven but you’re left behind.

“We cannot allow that to happen to you,
Because, after all, Jesus loves ev’ry Who.
You must accept God for the good of us all.
A person’s a person no matter how small.

“And though you’re no Who (you are just a big elephant),
God loves you, too. What you are is irrelevant.
He can destroy us if someone’s defiant.
A sinner’s a sinner no matter how giant!”

The Whos approached Horton, began to surround him.
If some of the Whos had their way, they’d have drowned him.
Some others thought maybe they might build a fire.
And stoning was mentioned among the Who choir.

But Horton was huge and avoided the crunch of them,
Picked up his foot, and he stepped on a bunch of them,
Hoped the survivors would give up their mission,
So here’s what he told them about superstition:

“The oddest of oddities isn’t as odd
As people believing that there is a god.
There isn’t a heaven, or hell you should dread.
A person’s a person — unless he is dead.”

36 comments:

tina FCD said...

Oh my goodness!
I just love Dr. Seuss books.
I would so love to re-post this on my multiply blog, with links and credit back to you.
How about a book written like Dr. Seuss? Is that legal? Probably not. :)
You are just awesome.

Larro said...

Hey, that was very good!

Cindy said...

That was excellent...next time someone at work sends me some Christian "feel good" story, I'm sending this back to them (properly credited, of course!)

the chaplain said...

I love Dr. Seuss. You captured the style and cadence very well.

blf said...

Bravo! claps

Mike Haubrich, FCD said...

HA!

Excellent!

Consider it Stumbled!

PhillyChief said...

Awesome! I nominate for a Stermy! Oh, that's right. Shucks. Well this one's sure a keeper. I gotta bookmark this one in the extra special bookmark folder. ;)

It sure would be nice to be as big as elephants and just step on a bunch of them.

We may not be as big as our friend Horton,
But those evangelicals should not sell us short 'n
Be most careful of what they do say
For we're many and growing and not going 'way.

Adrian said...

Vegetarians and nudists? What are they doing in this story?

The Exterminator said...

tina:
I would so love to re-post this on my multiply blog.
Well, when I first read that request, I thought: Since this post has absolutely nothing to do with arithmetic, poor tina must have finally been driven totally bonkers by her atheism. Then, I decided: No,that can't be right; I know tina, and she's as sane as anyone else whose blog is named after a dog. So I looked up "multiply blog" and actually learned something new.

You, tina, may re-post this on your multiply blog, with links and credit. But please also introduce it with a line saying specifically that you sought and received my permission.

Cindy:
Next time someone at work sends me some Christian "feel good" story, I'm sending this back to them.
Yeah, and when they show up here, please have them mention that Cindy sent them. That way, we can all share in your imagined glee.

Larro, chappy, blf, Mike:
Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Philly:
I think your verse sounds like a new 60s-style protest song for atheists. In fact, by making some slight changes in Dylan's original note rhythms, I can sorta sing it to "The Times They Are a-Changin'."

Adrian:
Vegetarians and nudists? What are they doing in this story?
Well, they're what we in the drivel biz call "scanning."

But, seriously, you must not know some of the vegetarians and nudists that I do. Those folks are crypto-religious fanatics.

PhillyChief said...

Vegetarians are one thing, vegans are another. You simply never ever find someone who won't eat anything of or by "something with a face" who doesn't feel compelled to tell you (at great length) why you shouldn't either. That's when I have to pontificate about the glory of a fine, rare porterhouse and the fine contrast between seared outer flesh and succulent, juicy and soft inner flesh. ;)

yinyang said...

I knew there was a reason I liked Horton.

Adrian said...

But, seriously, you must not know some of the vegetarians and nudists that I do. Those folks are crypto-religious fanatics.

Which is the exact same claim that Creationists level against Evolutionists, or Christians against atheists with as much support.

Believing that it is wrong to eat meat or that it's nice to be nude are not religions, any more than atheism is a religion. You may be passionate and some may carry it too far, but they aren't religions, and saying they are is incorrect no matter who says it.

PhillyChief said...

I believe it's the combo of irrational and/or unsubstantiated beliefs and the need to proselytize that prompts the comparison to religion, Adrian; therefore, the comparison of charging atheism as a religion and charging nudism or veganism as religions are not comparable.

The Exterminator said...

Adrian:
Philly's explanation should suffice, but I'll add a few points:

First of all, it's a poem about a fucking talking elephant. You noticed that, right?

Second, maybe you'd better look up the definition of "crypto," before you come back with any further silly arguments. OK?

Third, there are plenty of nudists and extremist vegetarians who treat their passions with almost religious fervor. If you don't know those people, good for you. But if you go to any "raw food" restaurant in New York City, you'll hear folks at the next table discussing their latest high-colonic as if the procedure was a sacrament. No one but a crypto-religious nut would think that his or her bowel movements are appropriate dinner conversation.

Fourth, "Horton Hears an Evangelical" is a satirical joke. I suspect you're a scientist and take everything literally, so I thought I'd better make that clear -- before you start asking me for evidence to prove that Whos exist.

fdqpink/Baal's Bum said...

Absolutely brilliant!

Adrian said...

PhillyChief

I believe it's the combo of irrational and/or unsubstantiated beliefs and the need to proselytize that prompts the comparison to religion

Both vegetarianism and nudism are lifestyle choices and as such are neither rational nor irrational, any more than wine drinkers are. Your reasons for being a vegetarian can be rational, and they can be irrational. Surely this isn't hard to accept.

Christians like to call atheism a religion because atheists can be so passionate, and many atheists can be irrational and make unsubstantiated claims. It's still wrong to say it's a religion, just because some individuals take it too far.


@Exterminator

First of all, it's a poem about a fucking talking elephant. You noticed that, right?
I'm with you. If you'd leave it at that instead of trying to argue that vegetarianism was a religion, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Third, there are plenty of nudists and extremist vegetarians who treat their passions with almost religious fervor.

I agree, and I'm sure we both know that some animal rights militias will go so far as to harm humans in order to protect animals. That seems to me to be genuine delusion.

But atheists can and do act with similar levels of passion and almost religious fervor (though I don't know any who've hurt anyone). So? Does that make atheists a crypto-religious movement? It's a claim that's leveled against atheists a lot and I'd bet you'd get upset, yet here you are making the same mistake.

The Exterminator said...

Adrian:
You're starting to sound pretty wacko here. I'm guessing you're a vegan or near-vegan, and you've gotten your nose bent out of shape by being classed in with some other champions of the irrational. In any case, you're uncannily beginning to remind me of a troll. (That "uncannily" was a bow to fresh produce.)

So what are you looking for from me, exactly? An admission that I secretly have faith in vegetarianism? I don't. I've looked at my teeth from an evolutionary perspective, and I see that some pretty heavy-duty omnivorous dining went on for quite a few generations back.

I remind you, for the last time (because I won't engage in this nonsensical repartee with you any further): You're responding to a parody of a children's story about an elephant from the Jungle of Nool and some characters who live on a speck of dust. If you ate some meat once in a while, you might be a bit more clear-headed.

PhillyChief said...

Both vegetarianism and nudism are lifestyle choices and as such are neither rational nor irrational
That's nice. I hear Paris is nice in the Spring. Why do I bring this up? I don't know, but it makes about as much sense and bring as much to the table as this comment.

What I spoke of were the beliefs associated with these things, which include some of the reasons for the choice and claimed benefits from it as well as, of course, it's superiority as a choice.

Your reasons for being a vegetarian can be rational, and they can be irrational. Surely this isn't hard to accept.

Not at all. Since once again I see no apparent point to yet another statement of yours, I'm going to have to fish for one and guess that you think I was claiming all their beliefs are irrational and unsubstantiated. I don't claim that. However, there are substantial claims made by both nudists and vegans that have little if any evidence behind them, and that's what I was referring to.

many atheists can be irrational and make unsubstantiated claims

Bullshit. Cite me at least 5 examples. That should be easy if many atheists do in fact exhibit these traits.

But of course you cheekily put in "can", as in "it's possible they could" or "it's not impossible they could" which of course is technically correct in the way one might say I can be President, I can win the lottery or I can stop eating so many sweets, but of course we know the probability of those things actually happening is slim to none. So of course why say them? Well either to be funny or to imply they're likely things, and you don't strike me as having a sense of humor Adrian, so I have to conclude you're implying atheists are likely to be irrational and make unsubstantiated claims, which is why I charged you with bullshit, because that is bullshit.

Now it's true that it's a common colloquial to call one's passion for something their religion, but it's tongue-in-cheek. This is a far cry from christian motivations for referring to atheism as a religion, which are quite insidious. I for one have said my motivation for referring to nudists and vegans this way was predicated on their many irrational and unsubstantiated claims and their proselytizing, not on their passion. Ex, on the other hand, has a better and more active sense of humor than I do (and apparently you as well) so it's highly probable that he was using the tongue-in-cheek reference. I find it hard to believe that in an ode to Dr. Seuss and Horten Hears a Who, Ex was laying down a serious charge of vegetarianism actually being a bona fide religion, so to continue to post serious objections to that is not only a mistaken endeavor, but is largely not funny, which was the whole fucking point of this wonderful blog post, to be funny.

Ummo said...

Holy cats that was brilliant. I intend to share it with everyone.

To Adrian and others who took offense at the "vegetarians, Wiccans and nudists" line, I challenge you to come up with an alternative line that fits the topic, meter and rhyme scheme.

Spanish Inquisitor said...

Coming late to the party here.

That really needs more than the one illustration. Perhaps there's someone you know with computer skills and some artistic talent that would have the time to illustrate a book version? You know, someone who has great illustrations on his own blog. I'm wracking my brains but can't seem to think of anyone.

Anyway, I know it could never be published, but it would be fun to circulate around the atheosphere. Then, when I have grandchildren, I could read it to them.

Lynet said...

Brilliant. Approaching the Seuss-master himself in cuteness and message.

And I'm vegetarian, too, but I can't be bothered being offended :-)

The Exterminator said...

Ummo, Lynet:
Thanks for the compliments.

SI:
Then, when I have grandchildren, I could read it to them.
"Please, Grandpa, read us that story written by the guy who got pelted to death by a gang of fundamentalist vegans armed with cabbages."

Lynet:
And I'm vegetarian, too.
Shucks. I was kinda hoping you'd announce that you were a nudist.

Psychodiva said...

bloody wonderful!!
I have given you a 'you make my day award' - pick up the pic at my blog- if you care to :)

The Exterminator said...

Psycho:
As I said at your blog:
Thanks for the award. I'll cherish it for eternity -- if Satan allows me to bring it along to hell.

If not, I guess my wife will auction it off on eBay when I'm dead.

tina FCD said...

Aw oh, I gave you an award too! Well, do you want two?? :)

The Exterminator said...

tina:
Yes, thank you, I'd love two. And please include those two question marks, as well; they can join Psychodiva's two exclamation points. Now I have one of each kind of punctuation per award. I think my wife will have an easier time auctioning off a pair with matched extras.

Nathan said...

Just because you put "Who" in front of everything doesn't make it less painful!

AphroditeRising said...

You're a creative chap, aren't you. Fantastic! Loved it.

ozatheist said...

better late than never, I guess.

Very clever and funny

Anonymous said...

Just want to jump in about the whole vegetarianism/nudist thing. Just because you are personally annoyed by vegetarianism/veganism/vegetarians/vegans/etc., doesn't mean it is a religion. I would agree that there are dogmatic vegetarians/vegans, but not all are. Please, don't group it all together! There are plenty of non-dogmatic vegetarians, vegans, or in my case, pescatarians, who simply made a personal choice and will join you in rolling your eyes at the lecturers. In the same way that I find it annoying when people find out that I am a vegetarian and start lecturing me about protein, or descibing in detail the juciest steak they have ever had or how they could never give up chicken and here is an in depth description of their favorite recipe. Let's just skip it, alright?

rant-like thing over.

in other news, this is pretty damn brilliant.

PhillyChief said...

So who wants to share some Turkeyday recipes?

Kat said...

I am so late to finding your brilliant poem, but I wanted to let you know that I absolutely loved it!

I found it when I did a search tonight for "is horton hears a who religious?", and ta-da! This post of yours came up in the search results...LOL
I watched it for the 1st time tonight, (always late to the party) and I couldn't believe what I was seeing and hearing.
I seriously doubt that Dr. Seuss ever meant for his wonderful story about people being people, being respected, being a part of community, to be interpreted in this way.

But anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed your poem, and am very glad to have found your blog.
I am also part of the atheist blogroll, but somehow missed finding your link on it.
Glad to have found it now.

katjcooper.com

Jose Ortega said...

Hey, wonderful poem.

I was wondering if you would give me permission to record it over an instrumental?

Just for fun, I would not sell it or anything and I would give you all the credit.

Thanks!

lord_ofchaos@live.com

Mike Daniels said...

That there's some purty rhymin', fella!

Nice work. The good Dr. would be proud!

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