For the Love of Seuss

I am a bit bothered by the decision of Dr. Seuss Enterprises to stop publishing six of the great man’s books, especially as a few of them are among my favorites. There is a particular kind of thing Seuss does, starting with a simple leap of the imagination and then building on that and then building on that. The Cat in the Hat is like that, and fortunately it’s not on the list, but books like McElligot’s Pool, Scrambled Eggs Super, and To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street are like that, too. I remember thinking (at a very young age, his target age) “Now, here is somebody who understands how imagination works,” one thought leading to another thought leading to another thought and you’re on the journey to forever that began with a single step, you’re climbing a ladder that goes right up into the sky. It’s a very different thing to just being somebody with a good imagination.
Of course, similar to the Potato Head case, it’s a company decision, there was no outside pressure brought. And, it appears to be a done deal. Nonetheless, as a Dr. Seuss fan, and someone whose life has been, at a very formative level, shaped by his words, I must object. Seriously, “a Chinese boy who eats with sticks…” How is that offensive? Do Chinese people eat with chopsticks, or do they not? There was no meanness in it, at all. And in McElligot’s pool, the offensive part was some Eskimo fish swimming down from the North Pole. In Scrambled Eggs, I couldn’t see the problem at all, except maybe the character named Ali, who was wearing a turban as he carried his basket into the mountains to fetch a rare egg. But mere ethnicity itself should not cause offense.
The other books are If I Ran the Zoo, On Beyond Zebra, and The Cat’s Quizzer.
I’m not sure how much of an effect not publishing those books will have. There are pdf versions of them online and plenty of teachers have them as a resource. But, we will see. We are moving into a Puritanical, or Victorian era type of mindset, where any impure thoughts cannot be expressed in public. And things can retroactively become taboo.

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