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Monday, December 10, 2012

Day 10 - "Christmas, Why Can't I Find You" from How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) - 25 Days of Christmas Angst

Preview the remaining days of angst or review the previous days here:   
http://www.carneylentz.com/p/25-days-of-christmas-angst.html
Green, at Christmas time, is symbolic
of many different feelings and ideas.
In a few days I will discuss a song from the 1966 animated version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas.  Today's song comes from the feature length, live action movie released in 2000.

In that future post I will also deal with the Grinch as a character.  Today, however, is about Cindy Lou Who.

In the film, Cindy Lou (played by Taylor Momsen) is going through some precocious teenage-style angst at the age of eight.  That is where "Christmas, Why Can't I Find You" comes in; you can hear Momsen's performance of it here:  http://youtu.be/UHdBVi0GcEI.

This is actually a cut down version of a longer song called "Where Are You, Christmas."  You can hear Faith Hill perform this longer version here:  http://youtu.be/sLHwIAQAmLM (this music video also contains clips from the movie).

Cindy Lou in this version is much different from Seuss' original vision and the 1966 cartoon version.  In those she was "not more than two" and therefore was not dealing with any of the growing pains that the film version presents.  It could be argued that The Grinch's kindness toward Cindy Lou in the original was the beginning of his transformation.

The film version makes many changes.  For example, it explains why The Grinch is the way he is.  (Again, more on that in a future post.)  Making Cindy Lou into an angst filled Who makes her much more closely aligned with The Grinch and his view of Christmas.

It also makes it easier for me to connect with this story on a deeper level.  I understand Cindy Lou's concern that her feelings about Christmas have changed.  I share them.  The pain and difficulty of growing up are very common themes in literature and film.  This story doesn't fit exactly within the coming-of-age paradigm but it certainly comes close.

Cindy Lou's personification of "Christmas" is also interesting.  I want to add "traditions," "customs," or "spirit" after "Christmas" when I hear her sing this song.  Yet, the song just uses "Christmas."  

Perhaps this is related to a feature of Seuss' original work that always intrigued me.  Unlike the Charlie Brown take on Christmas, this story completely, willfully, and thankfully ignores the religious origins of Christmas.  It does so not to snub religion but to deal with the contemporary traditions and practices that dominate the holiday season.

The film takes this one step farther.  Part of Cindy Lou's problem is that she is bothered by the commercialism of the holiday season.  So, perhaps as a distraction from what is going on around her The Grinch becomes a curiosity and then a project for her after an encounter in which he is first kind and then cruel to her.  As much as Cindy Lou feels she can't find Christmas herself, she doesn't like the idea of someone being left out; so she campaigns for The Grinch to lead the holiday festivities.

Cindy Lou's story explains her acceptance of Christmas much more than the longer version of the song:  "Christmas is here / Everywhere, oh. / Christmas is here / If you care, oh."  This does not adequately explain the joyous praises sung about Christmas in the second half of the longer song.  It isn't simply caring about Christmas that helps Cindy Lou.  It is caring about someone else that makes a difference.

Yes, Cindy Lou, Christmas has changed but so have you.  And that is okay.  Perhaps it will continue to change so that some day every Grinch will feel welcome in Whoville. 

-----

For a bonus today, take a look at Taylor Momsen's Wikipedia page:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taylor_Momsen.  She certainly has grown up and changed a lot herself (she is now 19).

"Christmas, Why Can't I Find You"
from How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
performed by Taylor Momsen

Where are you Christmas?
Why can't I find you?
Why have you gone away?

My world is changing.
I'm rearranging.
Does that mean Christmas changes too?

Where are you, Christmas?
Do you remember
The girl you used to know?
You and I were so carefree
now nothing is easy.
Did Christmas change or just me?

"Where Are You Christmas"
as performed by Faith Hill

Where are you Christmas?
Why can't I find you?
Why have you gone away?
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me?
Why can't I hear music play?

My world is changing.
I'm rearranging.
Does that mean Christmas changes too?

Where are you Christmas?
Do you remember
The one you used to know?
I'm not the same one;
See what the time's done.
Is that why you have let me go?

Christmas is here
Everywhere, oh.
Christmas is here
If you care, oh.

If there is love in your heart and your mind,
You will feel like Christmas all the time.

I feel you Christmas.
I know I've found you.
You never fade away.
The joy of Christmas
Stays here in silence,
Fills each and every heart
with love.

Where are you Christmas?
Fill your heart with love.

Resources:
The Text of the Book by Dr. Seuss 
http://xmasfun.com/stories/Grinch/Text.asp

Lyrics
http://www.stlyrics.com/lyrics/grinch/christmaswhycantifindyou.htm

"Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (film)"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Seuss%27_How_the_Grinch_Stole_Christmas_%28film%29

"Taylor Momsen"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taylor_Momsen


25 Days Of Christmas Angst
Day Song Download/Purchase Info
10 "Christmas, Why Can't I Find You" from How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) Buy the full album:

Buy the song:

Buy the DVD Blu-Ray Combo:

Amazon Instant Streaming:
Read my blog post for more about this song.
I think this song, more than any other, expresses the feelings that cause all of the angst. As we grow up or grow older and change it seems the world changes more.
9 "Hard Candy Christmas" from The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas Buy the full album:

Buy the song:

Buy the DVD:

Amazon Instant Video:
Read my blog post for more about this song.
How does a brothel full of prostitutes singing about what they might do to move past a depressing time that tap into the Christmas spirit?
8 "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" by Dr. Elmo Buy the full album:

Buy the song:

Buy the cartoon inspired by this song:
Read my blog post for more about this song.
Santa is like the rest of us, capable of both good and evil.
7 "What's This" from The Nightmare Before Christmas Buy the full album:

Buy the song:

Buy the DVD:

Buy the Blu-Ray:

Amazon Instant Video:
Read my blog post for more about this song.
This song captures how we are supposed to approach the season with childlike wonder and then destroy it with greed.
6 "O Tannenbaum" by Henry Lowman FREE! Read my blog post for more about this song.
Get this free album from C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply. There are other Christmas cigar box guitar albums discussed here.

Click this link to preview the remaining days of angst or review the previous days:  http://www.carneylentz.com/p/25-days-of-christmas- angst.html
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