The expression 'Star-Bellied Sneetch' is commonly misspelled, perhaps as a result of Jello Biafra incorrectly transcribing the term when providing the lyrics to seminal Dead Kennedys song Holiday in Cambodia on the inlay sleeve to Give me Convenience or Give me Death.

Quite what Jello was thinking of I have never resolved but it seems that he draws a similarity between the tendency to form ill-informed stereotypes of the right-on lefty students he criticises in the song and the immortal creations of Dr. Seuss. The resulting association between this reference and the New Wave movement of the late 1970s has led to countless misinterpretations of the term, the most common among which seems to be `a woman with a lot of jewellery'.

The now classic childrens book The Sneetches and Other Stories (ISBN: 0001700138) deals with two ostensibly identical breeds of the same creature, the only difference being that one has as star on its belly while the other does not. Using this metaphor, Dr. Seuss powerfully illustrates the complete unfounded idiocy of apartheid and, more subtly but in the tradition of children's tales, the folly of self-consciousness and materialism.

The final irony of the story is that the amusingly named villain Sylvester McMonkey McBean, intending to exploit the prejudices of both sides, is eventually the saviour of the Sneetches since he obscures the division between them so much as to make it laughable.

Sadly, the policy of Everything2 is, quite rightly, not to publish copyrighted works (although there do appear to be exceptions to this rule). The full text may be appreciated online at the following URL:

although you need to see the wonderful illustrations fully to appreciate this masterpiece.

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