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George Bernard Shaw: esteemed writer and world's first Grinch

One of the greatest writers, playwrights, and poets of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was an Irishman named George Bernard Shaw. Among his credits is a story named "Pygmalion." It is about a professor that takes a woman off of the streets of London to later present her as a lady of high society. You know it as "My Fair Lady," the stage play starring Julie Andrews and film starring Audrey Hepburn. Also, there is the play entitled "The Importance of Being Earnest." You might remember this one from High School English classes. With such works to his name we can see that this is a remarkable writer.

However, there is a sadder and more disturbing side of George Bernard Shaw. Though described by one writer as looking like "Santa's skinny brother" Shaw had a dislike for Christmas. Upon examination of his collected works we see this sentiment creeping up in various places and ways. In fact Shaw is quoted as saying the below statement:

"Christmas is forced upon a reluctant and disgusted nation by the shopkeepers and the press; on its own merits it would wither and shrivel in the fiery breath of universal hatred."

Yes, these words sound more like the famed Ebenezer Scrooge brought to life by the pen of Charles Dickens. But Shaw felt just this way. Christmas was purely commercial to his frame of mind and so he dismissed the deeper meaning of the occasion. Could it be that Dr. Seuss concocted his Grinch after Mr. Shaw? Unlikely. But the two do exhibit the same disdain for the holiday. We can only hope that in later years his heart grew as did that of the Grinch.

Today, we can look at the quote given by Shaw and can see a half truth. Look in the stores and we see that they are pushing Christmas sales long before Halloween. But there is also a lesson. We find that the second part is not true at all. As we look through human history we find that some of the finest moments of humanity took place at this special time. So, today we say not so to Mr. Shaw and are thankful that it is not. But, we will let you decide about the similarities of Shaw and Seuss' character.



  • ed 5 years ago

    THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST is by Oscar Wilde, another Irishman, but not Shaw.