Is this a grumpy and mardy old sod who you’d never let within a mile of any children, or what?
Parents who think the new film of Maurice Sendak's picture book Where the Wild Things Are is too frightening for children can "go to hell", the author has said.
Telling the story of a naughty little boy, Max, who is sent to bed without his supper only to journey by boat to a land where wild monsters live, Sendak's classic tale was first published in 1963 and has captured children's imaginations ever since. With a film version adapted by Dave Eggers and Spike Jonze out later this year, Sendak told this week's edition of Newsweek that he would "not tolerate" parental concerns about the book being too scary.
"I would tell them to go to hell," Sendak said. And if children can't handle the story, they should "go home," he added. "Or wet your pants. Do whatever you like. But it's not a question that can be answered."
Truthful good sense or call the cops time if he wanders away from the press and towards the fans on opening nights?
He may also have some disillusionment issues, to say the least.
Sendak also criticised Disney, saying it was "terrible" for children. As a child himself, he'd loved Mickey Mouse as "the emblem of happiness and funniness", and at the cinema he would stand on the chair screaming "My hero! My hero!" at the mouse – who at that point still had teeth. "He was more dangerous," the author told Newsweek. "He did things to Minnie that were not nice. I think what happened was that he became so popular – this is my own theory – they gave his cruelty and his toughness to Donald Duck.
That old transfer the cruelty and toughness from the mouse to the duck gambit again: everybody does it, but it never fails to hurt. Marketing!
And they made Mickey a fat nothing. He's too important for products. They want him to be placid and nice and adorable. He turned into a schmaltzer. I despised him after a point."
He may also be working out some childhood trauma issues.
He based the monsters of Where the Wild Things Are on relatives who visited his family home as a child, speaking practically no English. "They grabbed you and twisted your face, and they thought that was an affectionate thing to do," he said. "And I knew that my mother's cooking was pretty terrible, and it also took forever, and there was every possibility that they would eat me, or my sister or my brother. We really had a wicked fantasy that they were capable of that. We couldn't taste any worse than what she was preparing. So that's who the Wild Things are. They're foreigners, lost in
He’s homosexual and managed to hide the fact that he lived with his gay lover for 50 years from his parents in a touching demonstration of filial concern, and from possible residual fears of cannibalism. Who knew?
Sendak also recalled a fight he had with his publisher about Where the Wild Things Are, with the safety-conscious publisher keen to change the word "hot" to "warm" at the end of the book, when Max returns from his reign as king over the monsters to find his dinner "was still hot". "It was going to burn the kid. I couldn't believe it. But it turned into a real world war, just that word," Sendak told the magazine.
He won out eventually by "just going at it", he said. "Just trying to convey how dopey 'warm' sounded. Unemotional. Undramatic. Everything about that book is 'hot'."
So he’s capable of great discretion for the sake of his family (and maybe peace and quiet for himself at weddings, funerals, etc.) – but also of crassness in public now he’s richer and famous.
I’m not wise and so I can’t decide if this is a bad, rude man who writes great stories for kids, or a nice one who got roughed up by life and is getting his own back now he’s got the publicity to do it big-style.
At first sight, I’d put this down (gratefully) to our free and varied culture allowing the pungent exposure of an open secret concerning how we are misgoverned.
After all, he’s being boorish and callous at worst. It could be worse.
Here, according to Julia and others, we see how the jokers have decided that it’s much, much better if children are sprayed like silly string out of tiny crescent-shaped bomb-holes in plummeting jetliners at 30,000 feet than to risk some airport security man seeing them in the buff.
Oh, and here are three of the daftest paragraphs I’ve ever read in Wikipedia. Read them ladies and gentlemen and weep for the human condition one way or another.