Fact Check

The Binch

Who wrote 'The Binch' and why.

Published Oct. 15, 2001


Claim:   A writer named Rob Suggs penned the poem "The Binch" in order to help explain the World Trade Center attacks to the children at an Atlanta hospital for whom he performs story-telling therapy.

Status:   Not quite.

Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 2001]

The gentleman who wrote this, Rob Suggs, is a children's author and illustrator. He works a lot with the children at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. He is able to "lighten their load" through his art and story telling therapy. The children obviously are asking questions about the dire circumstances we are in, as well as the adults. This is what he has written to further explain the situation to the children he is working
with in the hospitals . . . adapted from a classic story "How the Grinch Stole Christmas".

Every U down in Uville liked the U.S. a lot,
But the Binch, who lived Far East of Uville, did not.
The Binch hated U.S! The whole U.S. way!
Now don't ask me why, for nobody can say,
It could be his turban was screwed on too tight.
Or the sun from the desert had beaten too bright
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.

But, Whatever the reason, his heart or his turban,
He stood facing Uville, the part that was urban.
"They're doing their business," he snarled from his perch.
"They're raising their families! They're going to church!
They're leading the world, and their empire is thriving,
I MUST keep the S's and U's from surviving!"

Tomorrow, he knew, all the U's and the S's,
Would put on their pants and their shirts and their dresses,
They'd go to their offices, playgrounds and schools,
And abide by their U and S values and rules.

And then they'd do something he liked least of all,
Every U down in Uville, the tall and the small,
Would stand all united, each U and each S,
And they'd sing Uville's anthem, "God bless us! God bless!"
All around their Twin Towers of Uville, they'd stand,
and their voices would drown every sound in the land.

"I must stop that singing," Binch said with a smirk,
And he had an idea--an idea that might work!
The Binch stole some U airplanes in U morning hours,
And crashed them right into the Uville Twin Towers.
"They'll wake to disaster!" he snickered, so sour,
"And how can they sing when they can't find a tower?"

The Binch cocked his ear as they woke from their sleeping,
All set to enjoy their U-wailing and weeping,
Instead he heard something that started quite low,
And it built up quite slow, but it started to grow —
And the Binch heard the most unpredictable thing . . .
And he couldn't believe it--they started to sing!

He stared down at U-ville, not trusting his eyes,
What he saw was a shocking, disgusting surprise!
Every U down in U-ville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any towers at all!

He HADN'T stopped U-Ville from singing! It sung!
For down deep in the hearts of the old and the young,
Those Twin Towers were standing, called Hope and called Pride,
And you can't smash the towers we hold deep inside.

So we circle the sites where our heroes did fall,
With a hand in each hand of the tall and the small,
And we mourn for our losses while knowing we'll cope,
For we still have inside that U-Pride and U-Hope.

For America means a bit more than tall towers,
It means more than wealth or political powers,
It's more than our enemies ever could guess,
So may God bless America! Bless us! God bless!

Origins:   The little satirical poem quoted above — penned in response to the September 11 attacks on America and based on Dr. Seuss' classic children's story, "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" — has garnered a great deal of attention: NPR and CNN have covered it, The New Yorker printed an excerpt, several city newspapers and untold numbers of radio stations have performed their own readings which are being passed around in MP3 format, and WCBS-TV in New York City even produced a filmed version.

The poem is correctly attributed to Rob Suggs, an author, illustrator and humorist living in Atlanta, Georgia. However, Mr. Suggs is not associated with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, nor did he write "The Binch" for children. He created the piece for the enjoyment of a few adult friends, and amidst the chain of e-mail forwards someone added the preface with its erroneous explanatory information:

This wasn't a grand gesture, a premeditated desire to minister to children, or an effort to speak to America through cyberspace. It was a parody that I spent ten minutes writing after considering the mythic parallels between Dr. Seuss' character and this horrific contemporary figure who was suddenly thrust like a dagger into the middle of our national psyche . . . I merely wrote the verse for a few adult friends on the Net, not children — not even my own kids, who are 8 and 10. I tossed it off without even adding my name, and I had no expectation of forwarding.

In the words of Mr. Suggs, "I love Dr. Seuss and hope the poem will direct people back to his wonderful work — in addition, of course, to providing us with a literary reference point we
can find comforting and encouraging in a time of terrible national crisis."

Additional Information:

    The Untold Story of America's Favorite E-mail Forward The Untold Story of America's Favorite E-mail Forward (Christianity Today)

Last updated:   7 March 2008

  Sources Sources:

    Ferguson, Carrie.   "Parody of Dr. Seuss Takes Aim at Terrorist, Pumps U.S. Spirit."

    The [Nashville] Tennessean.   27 September 2001.

    Olsen, Ted.   "Weblog: The Untold Story of America's Favorite E-mail Forward."

    Christianity Today.   1 October 2001.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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