Very Hungry Caterpillar (with message this time)

Jacob Proffitt Jacob at
Wed Feb 19 00:21:46 EST 2003

---Original Message From: jackie e stallcup
> I can't resist quoting someone from a different listserve on 
> this particular topic.  For the first post,  I'm not going to 
> give the person's name because he may not want to be 
> associated with this anymore, but it made me laugh.  It also 
> set off a series of protests about politicizing the list (and 
> about not being funny), so if anyone is offended by political 
> remarks, I will apologize in advance. 

It isn't about being offended.  The reason I protested is because if you are
going to take pot-shots at my politics, I will tend to respond.  I value the
atmosphere here and I'd hate to destroy it with an unrelated political
discussion.  Which is why, though I am very politically active, I don't
bring it up much on-list.  I don't take offense at political remarks, but I
*do* respond when under attack and that probably isn't something we want.

> And just to make it 
> clear, I didn't write either of the following--I'm just 
> passing them along to you all!

I wish you had refrained.  You don't want to see all the anti-liberal humor
I could pile on.

> Here's the first one:
> I have often thought it curious that George W. Bush's 
> favorite book to read to children is Eric Carle's The Very 
> Hungry Caterpillar, but yesterday it suddenly occurred to me 
> why this book appeals to him so much.  He must see it as his 
> life story.  After all, it's a tale about a young hedonist 
> who indulges his oral cravings at an increasing rate until he 
> finally reaches a crisis stage, at which point he makes a 
> dramatic and highly visible change. All you need to do is 
> substitute beer for food, and you have Bush's life in a nutshell.

Or, if the idiotarian who wrote this fluff had bothered listening, he'd find
what George W. says every time he's finished reading the book to students.
He discusses the potential that each of them has to become beautiful
butterflies even if they don't look or feel much like it now.  You know,
ugly duckling, that kind of thing.  Gee, what a horrible thing to tell

> And here's the second one:
> >>The Very Uncurious President
> >>By Arianna Huffington

Yeah, yeah.  Nice invective and all.

> >>The problem is not that W only feels comfortable reading the same 
> >>children's book again and again. It's what this confirms about him. 
> >>After all, the essence of reading is encountering new ideas and 
> >>different viewpoints, and here is a man who has no interest in
> >>either of those things.

Okay, let's do unto Arianna as she has done to others, shall we?  The
problem with her over-the-top pseudo-analysis of Bush is what it reveals
about her.  Am I to suppose that she hasn't actually heard the president
read the book to kids?  Since her article strongly implies that she has,
then she must have heard the follow-up he delivers *every* *time*.  She must
have heard him move on to his actual point so she *must* have actually
*heard* the reason he reads this book to kids all over the country now.  So
what does it say about someone who takes the president's message to children
that they can achieve great things and uses it in a callow and demeaning way
to ridicule him?  Perhaps it says that she is uncomfortable responding to
him on an intellectual level and has to resort to petty trickery to score
points off him.

> >>The next time W visits a school, maybe he should take a
> >>risk and leave "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" behind. He
> >>could always read that kids' classic "Curious George."
> >>But I've got a feeling irony isn't really his strong
> >>suit.

Next time Arianna is given a by line, maybe she should leave her invective
behind and find something of actual substance to respond to.  But I've got a
feeling that substantive humor isn't really her strong suit.

> > Sorry about the last post,
> > I have just been doing some research on George W Bush
> > and he lists his favourite childhood book as "Very
> > Hungry Caterpillar" I will leave it to those who's
> > children like this book as whether they should be
> > pleased or alarmed. The fact that he was 23 when the
> > book was published should not be taken as an
> > indication of his mental age ;-)

This is pure bunk.  It comes from a literacy campaign by Pizza Hut in 1999.
I can't find the actual question phraseology used.  I wish I could.  Pizza
Hut's spokesperson after it all blew up said "The question we asked
governors was what was their favorite childhood book."  Partisan reporters
relate it anywhere from "What's your favorite book as a child", to "what's
your favorite book growing up".  However it was asked, it is clear that the
question was answered as what children's books he feels are best and that
book certainly qualifies.  He's never claimed to have read the book as a
child (Michael Moron claims notwithstanding).  The worst reading you can
make is that he mistook the question--easy enough to do in the pile of
public service requests fielded by governors every day.

Jacob Proffitt

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