He’s irritating, he’s destructive, his friends are poster children for Ritalin – and he’s a marketing dream. His face can be slapped on everything from Swiffers to Kit Kats, and the painfully forced couplets that are invariably used in his commercials practically write themselves.

He’s the Cat in the Hat, bastardized and exploited by our friends in Hollywood. Having never seen the movie, I’m not qualified to review it, and I doubt the Campus Times would allow the sort of language I would need for such a task anyway. The fact that they made the movie is, unfortunately, not too surprising – making mediocre movies out of wonderful books to save children the trouble of learning to read is nothing new.

Mike Myers’ latest project is more than just another lousy holiday movie though. What’s so tasteless about “The Cat in the Hat” is more than the movie itself – it’s the extent to which the Cat has been whored out to promote Sierra Mist, MasterCard and a slew of other products whose commercial tie-ins to the – ahem – film are a far cry from logical.

What kind of a person would be a willing participant in this? It’s difficult for me to understand how the man behind “Wayne’s World” could be the same man behind the jarring, computer-generated, somewhat cat-like face that wants extra napkins with his Value Meal. Is Mike Myers simply unaware of how blasphemous it is to turn the Cat in the Hat into an appendage of the endorsement machine? I doubt it. In his interview with Nickelodeon that airs regularly during commercial breaks in Tiny Toons, Myers claims that his love of the story was what motivated him to do the film in the first place.

Yes. He loved it so much that he had to destroy it. Please join me on the journey I imagine his train of thought must have taken – “here’s a clever, imaginative, uncorrupted and beautifully illustrated book that helps young children learn to read without the drudgery of Dick and Jane.”

“How can I ensure the next generation of kids will enjoy it as much as I have? Of course! Make it into a movie! It’s a lucky accident that it isn’t happening until after the book’s author is dead so he can’t complain about its mutilation. All the money I’ll make from inappropriate endorsement deals is an inevitability that I’m only willing to accept for the sake of the children. And the fact that it will come out right around Christmas, the most sickeningly commercialized holiday there is, is just a lucrative coincidence.”

I haven’t been on such a trip since my friend Liz “accidentally” put the wrong mushrooms on our pizza.

Flaschen can be reached at jflaschen@campustimes.org.



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