Theodor Seuss Geisel, author of some 60 children’s books, objectively helped animate, educate, and entertain hundreds of millions of children. His playful, rhyming verse, whimsical intentionally nonsense and comic characters kept attention, part of building literacy. His books appear in 20 languages, have sold 600 million copies, and are now – six of them – banned.
Bottom line: If the runaway trend of banning books for offense can take down Dr. Seuss, it can take down every book, picture, collection of verse, everything from Shakespeare and Mark Twain to Pippy Longstocking and Peanuts, historical novels, fairytales, ballads to probing poetry and the Bible. There is no limit if mere offense is the standard for exclusion.
As the Wall Street Journal noted “in the end, the only literature allowed will be literature that adheres to the values of our postmodern world – a world in which we are not expected to conform to societal rules” but subjective norms. Lost is free thinking, publishing, and reading.
Put differently, banning Dr. Seuss signals an awful turn in the road, a U-turn against classical, tolerant, mind-expanding liberal education – exposure to newness, difference, contrary, creative random, offensive, serendipitous, the comic, caustic, and absurd.
As the Wall Street Journal adds, this is an epic error. It “means goodbye to cultural icons, large and small – goodbye to all vestiges of the past, replete with their ‘bigoted’ value systems.” It means cancelling not just people, but history. “It means that the purges have only just begun.”
Perhaps sharing an alma mater with Dr. Seuss, is what irks me on his behalf. Perhaps knowing that if good-humored art, with proven utility to society, can be blithely banned – nothing is sacred. Perhaps childhood attachments to Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, Seuss’s Zoo and Mulberry Street still rattle within me. But if books are banned, some of us are drawn to the fight.
In book-banning societies, only parody survives the censor – even then, not always. But let us give it a try, while we can. Let me try to put on my best “Dr. Seuss,” festoon with jest, lampoon the left, and see where parody leads. Okay?
Dr. Seuss drew a moose, whose rack was rather big. The left contested the awful truth, censored him, banned the book, wagged and shook. Then he drew, in feathered form, simple timeless themes. What un-woke audacity, poking fun and stoking fear, before the birth of memes!
Worse yet, Seuss did not conform to a future norm, PETA sanctifying cats. How could he be so bold and blind, thinking children’s books benign, disrespecting things feline. And speak of things, he named them One and Two, what a sham! He tossed tofu, wham, kazaam, for eggs and ham! At least he got the color right, green I mean, for eggs – how sad, little green chicks un-had.
If only everything from Yertle and unactuated turtles could be defended by the state, then even one-finned fish would rate! And what about those undefended Mulberries – a thousand streets by name if one – and all those “whos” Horton did not hear, underrepresented in name of fun?
And what if that fellow who says he is Sam, who says it is he, does not know his identity? What a repressive, regressive thing humor is, full of offense, cause to rue, not like that spotted fellow in the zoo.
No, that awful Seuss must go, kicked hard by swinging Democrat toe. Can you imagine one turtle being on top of all that anti-Socialist slop? Who has the right to ride the pile and ban the past? Only a socialist iconoclast! Seuss be gone, and now … Who is next? Surely the elephant, whose words beseech readers to value old free speech.
Now mind your manners, and dare a deed, write about some flying steed, give him feathers and some speed, but make sure you know the Socialist creed. Be safe like me, practice parody. We must be quick to laugh, read, and think – or will cry, knowing once we did, and no more try. A simple Ode to Dr. Seuss, who loved his colors, words, and Flying Turtle birds!