Let me start by telling you my history with Dr. Seuss. My mother always said, “Dr. Seuss taught you how to read.” She also said that I would never let anyone borrow my Dr. Seuss books.
After my mom died while I was going through my parent’s house, I found my Dr. Seuss books. I had written my name in all of them. I guess I really was pretty protective of them.
If you asked me where all those books were right now, I’m not sure I could tell you. I have them… somewhere.
More on my Dr. Seuss history in a bit, but I was struck this week by what the New York Times calls: “Dr. Seuss Books are Pulled, and a Cancel Culture Controversy Erupts.”
Here’s the gist of it if you haven’t been following. The estate of Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, pulled six books from its catalog this week because they “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”
The six books include “If I Ran the Zoo” and “And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street.” The others are more obscure.
The Seuss estate says these books portray racial and ethnic stereotypes and decided to stop selling them.
Immediately, Dr Seuss books became the top sellers at Amazon. The books in question have fetched top dollar at EBay.
Some say this is the latest example of “cancel culture” out of control. That’s when someone or something is thrown out of social or professional circles. Cancel culture is the equivalent of being ostracized.
Others say that it is time to reassess some of the writings of Dr. Seuss and weed out some of his works that might be considered inappropriate today.
Still others say leave it alone. It was written during a time when certain things were more acceptable. It’s literary history.
Honestly, I’m not sure on this one. Since it was the estate of Dr. Seuss that made this decision, it makes me think more about it than I might. However, I kind of hate that they made the announcement on Theodor Geisel’s birthday, March 2. That’s also, not by coincidence, Read Across America Day.
I started this by telling you my Dr. Seuss history. I’ll end with some more.
It was 1999. Universal Studios Florida in Orlando was opening its new park, Islands of Adventure. Seuss Landing was one of its original attractions, or “Islands” as they called them. Theodor Geisel had died. His widow, Audrey Geisel, had been a hard sell. She didn’t think Universal could pull it off. The staff was nervous about her seeing it. Somehow, someway, I got an interview with Audrey Geisel as she walked through Seuss Landing for the first time. I asked her what she thought? I’ll never forget her answer. Audrey Geisel said, “They did it. I like it.” All of Universal, I think, gave a sigh of relief.
It’s the weekend. I think one of my projects will be to find my Dr. Seuss books. The attic? The closet? The garage? The storage unit? Oh, the places I’ll go! Sorry. I just had to do it. Just one.