the listenerd

optimized for maximum incontinence

Regarding the phrase that kicks off the Wild Rumpus

I am no Dave Eggers apologist and I never have been. In fact, my regard for Eggers normally hovers somewhere near my feelings about Bono, black mead and the online zine Slate. Which is to say: not my bag.

However, I can’t but take issue with this particular criticism from Tom Scocca of the Awl, leveled at Eggers’ “Where the Wild Things Are” screenplay adaptation:

Tom Scocca: Sendak: “And now,” cried Max, “let the wild rumpus start.”

Tom Scocca: Eggers: Blah blah blah blah the beasts gathered around blah blah blah Max understood that he was supposed to say something blah blah blah “Let the wild rumpus begin!”

Tom Scocca: I would say that the difference between that crisp “start” and Eggers’ flaccid “begin” defines everything that could be said about the literary gap between the two, except I am also fixated on “understood that he was supposed to say something,” which is essentially the epigram and epitaph for the literary imagination of Dave Eggers.

Disregarding the “understood that he was supposed to say something” part (which is fine and all), I respectfully submit that Scocca’s preference of “start” rather than “begin” is just plain wrong. So wrong that it nearly drives me stark-raving mad. So wrong that I cannot begin on, much less buy, the rest of the argument.

*In fact: Said word choice pays no attention to how the entire line scans.
*In fact: To call “start” crisp because it’s a single-syllable word with an alvealor final phonetic is somewhat acceptable, but it ignores completely the two-syllable rhythm setup of “rumpus” – along with the rest of the phrase. “Let the frat bash start!” MAYBE. But the opening of the original line makes “start” not a “crisp” choice, but an abrupt one.

(I have read this thing aloud thousands of times, and after so many readings, chinks in prose become apparent. Don’t get me started on “Hide ‘N Seek Elmo.”)

*Furthermore: One does not let something start. Starting is to move suddenly. It is to throw into motion. Begin, on the other hand, means “to do the first part of an action.” If you are “letting,” then you are beginning. If you are starting, you’re starting. CHRIST.

In summation, if there’s one worthy thing Eggers did in his screenplay (and please note that I have not yet seen the film, so I have no real judgement on it), it is to right the decades-old wrong that was “Let the Wild Rumpus start.” Which is awful. I will apostatically add that some of the prose in those “Little Bear” books is really wonky, too. In a bad way; not just weird, bad.

(Also, I love the Awl. In general. But not on this. Goodbye.)

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Links for 9.2.09: Urinal protocol, Three Moon book deal, manly albums…

*Sociology: XKCD’s “Urinal Protocol Vulnerability” is a must-read for any man who cares about his private parts and uses urinals on a regular basis. [mefi]

*Reviews: I wrote a review of “Twitter Wit,” the book I have a couple lame quips in, on Amazon. In it, I reference waterproof socks. Did you find this link helpful?

*Gutenbait: The Three Wolf Moon shirt has a book deal? [urlesque]

*The Absence of Everything: I hate Slate with a passion I normally reserve for the likes of Bono and black mead. However, here they talk about the power of the musical pause: “Vermeer understood the power of withheld information. Composers have a similar understanding that in shaping sound, a nothing can be just as expressive as a something.” Go eff yourself, Slate! [earfarm]

*Albums: The list of the 10 Manliest Album Covers is topped by Manowar. Greasy. So greasy. [the daily swarm]

*Headline: I love the headline (not to mention the sentiment) of this Metalhammer post – “Metallica Are A Monkey Sedative.” I always suspected. Anyway, music can calm monkeys.

*Skin flutes: If you have always wondered how to make a frozen weiner skin flute, have I got a video for you! It’s a how-to video. Not some sick video. Sickos. [buzzfeed]

*Literature: T.S. Eliot liked lesbian fiction. But what did he think about lesbian FAN FICTION. Wait. Where am I going with this? Abort line of thought. [harper’s]

*Food: My friend and colleague Abelardo de la Pena, Jr. is in an upcoming episode of The Naked Chef’s TV show, “Jamie’s American Road Trip.” He’s in the second video (with a cameo by the ladies Beal).

*Grade: D-. Manly in flavor, weak in constitution. The links, effers. Gawd.