Oct/Nov 2013 Humor/Satire

Frosty the Abstract

by Tripp Reade

Electronic/fiber artwork by Phillip Stearns

Electronic/fiber artwork by Phillip Stearns

TI: Silk Hat Epicurus: The Eschatological Snowman

AU: Arthur, Jules

SO: Philosophy & Culture, 11(3): 461-470

AB: Reviews the salient differences between pure strains of Epicureanism and Stoicism, paying particular attention to how each defines the concepts of greatest good and God. Deconstructs the plot of the 1969 holiday classic, Frosty the Snowman, from a non-nihilistic, post-structuralist perspective, explicating Frosty's carefree, simple nature as revealed by his resolve to "make a party" of his leave-taking for the North Pole and to "have a parade." Argues that his freedom from fear, as evinced in his ability to laugh at the life-threatening danger of a humble country greenhouse, is indicative of an Epicurean outlook, and extends this argument with a deep analysis of the key line, "So he said let's run and we'll have some fun now before I melt away." Isolates a pure kernel of Epicureanism in this line, refuting recent attempts to interpret Frosty as a Stoic, especially the egregious overreach by Karen De Wolfe in "Marcus Aurelius Frosty: Virtuous Toon." De Wolfe's attempt to classify Frosty's movement from near-idiot to clear thinker, plus what she regards as his unsentimental acceptance of the inevitability of death (melting), as being emblematic of the Stoicism codified by Zeno of Citium, is as misguided as her movement from our townhouse to the house of the history department chair. Her argument that Frosty's fame runs counter to the Epicurean motto, "Live unknown," is specious, not to mention simple-minded: Frosty never seeks fame, but merely engenders it by living modestly and pursuing simple pleasures, like the walks along the river that Karen and I once took, or the art crawls through the Golden Leaf district that were our favorite weekend past-time. The history department chair can hardly walk to the end of his overlong driveway for the mail. Not that I know this from direct observation, merely through reasoned speculation. But as Frosty jokes of himself in the third act, the history department chair could stand to lose a few pounds. He waddles much as Frosty does in the Act 1 rendition of the title song. Concludes with a thorough exegesis of Frosty as a near-perfect example of atomic materialism, and in no way a Stoic. No way. Frosty's heart is on his sleeve, if he had one; it is out there for everyone to see. Many of us could follow his example.

DE: Epicureanism; Eschatology; Animation; Bitterness; Bass; Heartbreak; Rankin; Romeo

LA: English; Love

DT: Journal-Article-Revenge; Journal-Article-Plea


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