Friday, March 1, 2013

Happy Birthday Ted Geisel!

Today is the birthday of Dr. Seuss and it is time to celebrate this great progressive champion(H/t Truthout)!

What few Americans know is that, despite his popular image as a kindly cartoonist for kids, Dr. Seuss was also a moralist and political progressive whose views suffuse his stories. Some of his books use ridicule, satire, wordplay, nonsense words and wild drawings to take aim at bullies, hypocrites and demagogues. He believed that children's books should be both entertaining and educational. His most popular children's books included parables about racism, anti-Semitism, the arms race, and the environment. His books consistently reveal his sympathy with the weak and the powerless and his fury against tyrants and oppressors. Many Dr. Seuss books are about the misuse of power - by despots, kings, or other rulers, including parents who arbitrarily wield authority. His books teach children to think about how to deal with an unfair world. Rather than telling them what to do, Geisel invites his young readers to consider what they should do when faced with injustice. Generations of progressive activists may not trace their political views to their early exposure to Dr. Seuss, but without doubt this shy, brilliant genius played a role in sensitizing them to abuses of power.

1 comment:

  1. My father taught Children's Lit at Madison and I grew up with the early & middle period Seuss books. What great morality tales for my youth. A few years ago, when Sen.Bernie Sanders was on the Senate floor for hours in his “almost” a filibuster, I tried to get copies of HORTON HATCHES A WHO and BATHOLOMEW AND THE OBLECK to him so he could read them at the podium during the “children’s hour” -6-5pm.. His grandfatherly manner and voice would have brought sense to the argument in ways only great literature can. Palli

    My all-time favorite Seuss book is To THINK THAT I SAW IT ON MULBERRY STREET, the book my father called the greatest American tragedy.

    Mr. Geisel had dinner at our house once and when he recognized how disappointed I was that he spoke "regular" words, he broke out into a hilarious harangue of Seussian gibberish about little girls who were never satisfied! I was delighted.