Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss – Now Remove Those Books!
What's going on with Dr. Seuss? This is his birthday and some of his work is being cancelled?
Theodor Seuss "Ted" Geisel is an American born March 2, 1904. He spent his working years as an children's author, political cartoonist, illustrator, poet, animator, and filmmaker. Maybe he wrote some of your favorite stories.
Along the way he wrote and illustrated more than 60 books for kids writing them as Dr. Seuss. Wikipedia says, "His work includes many of the most popular children's books of all time, selling over 600 million copies and being translated into more than 20 languages by the time of his death" on September 24, 1991.
You know the titles, you likely read them to your kids or grandkids - And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street (1937), If I Ran the Zoo (1950), Horton Hears a Who! (1955), If I Ran the Circus (1956), The Cat in the Hat (1957), How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1957), and Green Eggs and Ham (1960).,
How popular were the doc's characters and stories? How about 11 television specials, four television series. five feature films and even a Broadway musical.
An online article from the Cheatsheet tells of Dr. Seuss's financial success "According to Celebrity Net Worth, the cartoonist was worth $75 million. Dr. Seuss died of cancer in 1991 at age 87. However, his death has not lessened his impact on children’s literature, and his estate continues to make millions each year. The late author’s Seussville is still thriving, thanks to seven-figure television and film deals. His books are also still best-sellers. Dr. Seuss sold nearly six million books in the United States in 2020."
Geisel's birthday, March 2, has been adopted as the annual date for National Read Across America Day.
That's a lot of cash an accolades. Check out the wikipedia page for all full list of all his awards and recognition but - all is not Green Eggs and Ham in the world of Mr. Sam I Am.
According to the WRAP, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the company in charge of preserving the author’s legacy, announced "that six Seuss books will be permanently discontinued due to material deemed racist or insensitive. “These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” the company said in a statement.
The six books targeted for extinction are “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” “If I Ran the Zoo,” “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!” “Scrambled Eggs Super!” and “The Cat’s Quizzer”.
It's important to note this is the Seuss operation making the call, self cancelling if you will but it's being done in today's "quick to cancel" environment. Funny thing is, Seuss was a liberal Democrat so I have to imagine he would probably even approve of his own cancellation!
On our radio show we criticized the idea of someone combing through his books looking for offense and signs of racism and "white supremacy"!
Lance said I should write a Dr. Seuss-like rhyme for kids in reaction to the decision to cancel in the context of today's political climate. Challenge accepted....just for fun.
As sleepy Joe Biden turns each page, He reads Dr. Seuss to the kids in the cage. I came to America and now here I am, Stuck in the cage hearing Green Eggs & Ham. Joe said to head North for free milk and honey. Now I'm trapped in this cage with no sign of the money! Speaking of green eggs that's just what we had - I'll threaten a lawsuit -tell 'em conditions are bad! Then they'll let me out, they'll set me free! Oh, America, what a great place to be!!
Toward the end of the show I wrote another couple of lines from the perspective of Dr. Seuss not appreciating what was happening to his work 30 years after his death. A little more research shows the process has been going on for a year and his foundation approves as a way to "protect his legacy". Whatever. As with all the cancellations, what happened happened. He wrote and drew what he did. Eliminating six books from his catalogue won't change that.
Dr Seuss From Beyond the Grave
They've combed through my books, put my words through the wringer, looking for hate or some racist zinger. You cancelled my drawings, you put down my sketches. How dare you rewrite me you cold Sons-of-a- not very nice people... I made children laugh, I made moms and dads smile. Now you take six of my books and burn them up in a pile. I feel bad for you - who seek hate everywhere. That's no way to live and it's surely not fair when you take insult and offense at things that aren't there. It's good that I'm gone, your world's not for me. I'm up here in heaven where imaginations run free!
SO, maybe we defended our interpretation of the positive impact Dr. Seuss had on our families and kids. I'm willing to bet that's how most people see it. After all, we read the stories to help put our kids to sleep, not to search for ways for them to be more "woke".