Saturday, February 13, 2016

Horton hatches the Egg - doubletalk (Feb 2016)

I'm used to double meanings.  There are whole movies dedicated to it.  Shakespeare had them. Lady and Tramp had them.  They have been around from the beginning of writing to modernity.

So I heard about "Horton hatches the egg*" and thought it might be one of them.  If it is then it will use culturally normative terms from the era when it was copyrighted.

The plot is that Horton takes over egg-sitting for a lazy bird who flies away promising to come back.  She doesn't, and Horton gets all sorts of adversity.  In the end, she comes back at the last moment to try and take his reward, but the nature of the egg has changed.  The message for children is to be "faithful".  The message to adults might also be.

"Bird" is a colloquialism for a young lady.  Although there are versions from the middle ages, it gained more common use in the early 1900's, and became conventional slang in the 1950's and 1960's. (reference)  The book was copyright in 1940, within the two.

"Lays an egg" is a reference to a show that opens, then shuts quickly because of some great failure. (reference)  Hatching the egg is spending time taking care of the egg, waiting for it to mature until it is able to fly. 

In context of bird, the double meaning, given the timing of the book, might be to conceive and have a child outside of marriage.  In the 1930's, the context from which the book is derived,  such a thing would be a gross fail on the part of a young woman. 

Elephant has meant several things over the years.  Sometimes it is about physical endowment in a muscular sense.  There are European coats-of-arms to show this.  It has also been used as a metaphor for the intimate endowment of a male being of size larger than typical.  The most appropriate use is "Elephant in the room", a colloquialism that became very popular in 1935. (reference)

The derivative "babysit" was first used in 1947,  (reference, citation) and is derived from the phrase babysitting.

Mayzie the bird "flies away" or leaves.  Nest means home of bird since 1600's (reference).

First, Horton had to prepare the nest to support an elephant.  He must prop it up, to make it stronger, because he is big.  But prop is "support" and while the usage has been around since the 1500's, there was a late 1890's use that pointed to "props in a play".  (reference)  In this sense, he is both "supporting" the "house" and "making a show" in a play for respectability.

The "storms" of life have been since Shakespeare.  The freeze had a particular economic meaning at the time meaning "to make non-transactable". (reference)  In this sense it means that Horton was committed to retaining the marriageability of the child by protecting her from the cold.

Next the animals of the jungle came and taunted him for being "up a tree", or treed.  This term was used in the 1850's, and would have been known.  (reference) Instead of a predator like a wolf (term for assault that goes from 1700's to 600 BC reference) driving Horton up the tree, he drove himself there.  Being treed, for an animal, means that the predators can get to him with much more ease.

Immediately thereafter the hunters came.  He did not run when they aimed their weapons at him.  So they shipped him to a circus.  This is really only 14 pages, but it is making a consistent story.

Horton made her his own, though he wasn't.  He took great scorn upon himself, and endured storms and contempt for her sake.  When she was able to fly she was transformed to be truly his - the offspring of his nature - though she was not his biological child.  The elephant bird - it is a daughter who stays with her dad, and by his raising her with the deadbeat mom gone, she is transformed to reflect his character and not her mothers.  She was strong, great, unique.

I wonder who the real one, the one that Seuss knew, was.  I am glad that he did not take the habits of his community to hate on someone who diverged from the hate of the time. 

I wonder if the liberal media knew what the story was about, what it meant, and how it both displayed gross negligence on the part of a woman, and possibly lead to the questions of the 1960's, if it would be banned, or at least if Dr Seuss would be less lionized.  No gender has a monopoly on negligence is good in theory, but when it is actually taught - they don't like it.  In their economy only men can be evil - there are no heroes.

When you grow up and become adults, don't forget your roots.  Learn to not only listen to stories, but to learn about what they meant to the original authors. 

Right now the world is going through a sexual revolution.  They are sexualizing the young at a much younger age.  Eight was the wall below which it is all evil, and they are transgressing it.  They call "hater" anyone who says "you cannot sexually abuse a child" and call criticism of their was "hate".  I don't know how that storm is going to end.  It will provide context for your great grandchildren, assuming you live so long, and our participation in the gene pool lasts that long.  Perhaps your great-grand-eggs will be there too.  

I think we should all hatch eggs.  I was an egg like that.  I have had "Hortons" like Doc Dye, or Tom West.  I have tried to, as I can, be a good "Horton" as well.  Be what you can, the good you have - be it, wherever you can.

Now I have to go to your rooms, and there are toys and mess all over the floor.  I have told you that what you do not clean of your own will be carted away to goodwill.  Earlier this year I hauled two full trash bags out.  Today I hope to haul out less.  We will see.  Enjoy your cleaning, I will see you shortly.


* This reminds me of the user-interface thing that amazon has never got, and has no way to suggest.  Because they don't want to hear it why should I say.  I will only say that they are missing one of the highest use-cases for their links, and they are losing the benefit that comes with it.

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