DR. SEUSS’S SELF-DEFENSE STORY
Not in a box, with a fox, not on a train, but on a blog with Jane…
Everyone is excited about the recently discovered orphaned Dr. Seuss story. Dr. Seuss was an awesome, politically progressive storyteller. For example, Horton Hears a Who and The Lorax deal with environmental protection; The Grinch Who Stole Christmas is a critique of consumerism; The Sneetches is about the rich using cosmetic surgery to distinguish themselves and the technologists who profit from their efforts; and The Butter Battle Book is about prejudice and discrimination.
Ranking in the top 10 best selling Dr. Seuss books of all time is Green Eggs and Ham; ostensibly about a picky eater, it can also be read as a commentary about male sexual entitlement, with green eggs and ham being a thinly veiled reference to unwanted sexual intercourse. Sam-I-Am just pushes and pushes (“do you like them in a car? do you like them in a boat? with a goat?” etc.) until the other person finally gives in and, in a reversal of fortune typical of a porno, that person enthusiastically declares green eggs and ham likable after all.
That’s why we believe the Dr. Seuss story to be released today is the second part of Green Eggs and Ham and will be about women’s empowerment, as follows:
I am Sam. Sam-I-Am.
That Sam-I-Am, that Sam-I-Am. I do not like that Sam-I-Am!
Do you like green eggs and ham?
I do not like them,
Now, go away! You heard me – scram!
Would you eat them with an elf? The one who sits up on that shelf?
Not even with a little green elf.
Do you need me to repeat myself?
Maybe if you have a drink?
Then you’ll change your mind, I think.
If you get drunk as a skunk
You’ll eat green eggs and ham, I thunk.
Not with some drinks
Your hearing just stinks
Not with an elf
I decide – myself!
I do not like green eggs and ham.
AND I do not like YOU, Sam-I-Am
I do not like them, drunk or not.
So I will not eat them; not a shot.
What if I dim the lights and get you solo?
Then you’ll eat them – this I know.
Not with the lights dim.
Not with the lights bright.
Not in the day.
Not in the night.
Not in a plate or on a cone.
Now I want you to LEAVE ME ALONE!
How about in a bed—or on a train?
You’ll eat them then, without complaint.
Not in a bed or on a train.
I tell you, Sam, this is in vain!
But all the same,
How about in a tree?
In a tree you’ll like them; you will see.
Not at all, now let me be!
What if I now turn on the charm?
You’ll like them – and me – what is the harm?
Just one jump into the sack?
You say no now, but you’ll take it back…
Take it back? No, I’ll take your arm….
And bend it back to cause YOU harm.
I’ll get in your face and let you see
You really must take me seriously.
I’ll kick your legs
And you’ll stop asking about eggs
And as I deliver a
You stop talking about ham.
So listen closely, Sam-I-Am
Before you’re truly in a jam.
I will not eat them with an elf
Not with you, not by myself
I will not eat them drunk or sober
So back off now; this talk is over
I will not eat them day or night
And when you don’t stop, I’m gonna fight.
Not in a train, not on a bus
Not in a bed, not if you cuss.
I will not eat them here or there
I will not eat them ANYWHERE
I, not you, choose what I eat
What I wear, with whom I sleep.
And I do not want your green eggs and ham.
I’m done with you, now, Sam-I-Am.
MEN DON’T PROTECT YOU ANYMORE
“MEN DON’T PROTECT YOU ANYMORE” is the statement on a large electronic sign that greets you as soon as you walk into The Whitney Museum at its gorgeous new location in NYC’s meatpacking district. The sign, hanging above the ticket purchasing area, is one of many statements done in LED lights by American feminist conceptual artist Jenny Holzer.
This message can, of course, be interpreted in multiple ways. Here at Chez Jane, we see it as a reminder that women’s liberation comes, at least in theory, with new risks and new responsibilities for self-protection. While some women have resisted feminism precisely because they preferred the old patriarchal bargain that promised women some protection from poverty and men’s brutality, that bargain was kept intermittently at best, and often with serious strings attached. Feminists have always hoped that women could, individually and collectively, challenge the system that made economic survival and physical safety conditional on patriarchy.
Jenny Holzer’s electronic sculptures, projected statements, and her texts printed on Tshirts, electronic signs, and billboards are famous for their power, their insights, their sensitivity, and their willingness to traverse public and private, body politic and body. Holzer’s narrative statements render the invisible visible, voicing what we might be thinking in silence. Holzer makes up her own statements, but more recently has worked with texts written by others. Sure, these texts are often from literary greats or declassified military documents, but we can’t help hoping that our own statements become Holzerisms in LED lights:
WHY ARE YOU WAITING FOR A BYSTANDER TO SAVE YOU?
SEXUAL LIBERATION COMES WITH THE NEED FOR SELF-DEFENSE
FIGHT THEM OFF
I HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE MY OWN BYSTANDER
MY RESISTANCE DOESN’T REQUIRE YOUR APPROVAL
I AM THE ONE WHO CHOOSES MY BOUNDARIES
MY RESISTANCE CHANGES THE RAPE CULTURE
ONLY I MAKE MY SEXUAL CHOICES
SEE JANE FIGHT BACK; SEE DICK RUN
If Jenny Holzer ignores these Jane-generated #Holzerisms, we will settle for dominating the feminist fortune cookie industry.
And really, if any of you would like Jane’s printable feminist fortunes with our favorite recipe for homemade fortune cookies, just say the word and it’ll be our next blog post.