Dr. Seuss is still tops | Tom Camfield

Tom Camfield
Posted 4/9/21

Born March 2, 1904, Seuss-Giesel died in 1991. He published his first Seuss book when I was 8 years old. He was almost 38 when the U.S.entered World War II (a contemporary of my father).

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Dr. Seuss is still tops | Tom Camfield


Born March 2, 1904, Seuss-Giesel died in 1991. He published his first Seuss book when I was 8 years old. He was almost 38 when the U.S. entered World War II (a contemporary of my father).

After World War II, Geisel returned from patriotic work to writing (as “Dr. Seuss”) children’s classic books such as “If I Ran the Zoo“ (1950), “Horton Hears a Who,” (1955), “The Cat In the Hat” (1957), ”How the Grinch Stole Christmas “ (1957), ”Green Eggs and Ham” (1960), "One Fish, Two Fish , Three Fish, Blue Fish” (1960), “The Sneetches“ (1961), etc. He published over 60 books during his career, which have spawned numerous adaptions, including 11 television specials, five feature films, a broadway musical, and four television series.

The Sneetches, my favorite, was intended by Seuss as a state of discrimination between races and cultures specifically inspired by his opposition to antisemitism. In the story, young readers learn that neither plain-belly nor star-belly Sneetches are uniquely superior on the beaches and that they can get along and be friends.

Donald Trump grew up to be an unchanging Sneetch of the original star-bellied variety — dedicated to the conception of his personal financial superiority, his magnificent whiteness, etc. He’s a lot like Dr. Seuss’s Sylvester McMonkey McBean and much like the original beach Sneetches in general.

I still have visions of Sneetches every time I see the name Trump in a headline . . .

. . . And that’s why — when the latest kerfuffle hit the fan — I hurriedly bought myself a new copy of the 1961 Sneetches book with which to start a new Camfield family library for my great-grandchildren . . .

Wondering where and why it all might apply to the future of my great-grandchildren (some of whom are growing up to be women such as those currently at the head of the racial stereotype list). Several are not only half Asian but also one-quarter Jewish — and one is a step-grandchild who is black and was born to lesbian parents. All are at the impressionable age of 6 or younger.

And that all is much of why I voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and probably why I insist on hanging around at the age of 92.

Meanwhile, Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ decision to pull six books containing outdated and racist imagery incensed GOP lawmakers and Fox News personalities recently, with many falsely blaming the private company’s decision to stop the publication on Democrats and President Joe Biden. With his video and reading, McCarthy appeared to join in with the criticism. But critics pointed out that he read “Green Eggs and Ham” — which is not one of the books that have been pulled.

Other stories by the way, included in the Sneetches book, are “The Zax,” featuring two individuals who refuse to get out of one another’s way when coming face to face crossing the empty prairie (illustrating a combination of stubbornness and superiority with no thought of compromise). Also “What Was I Scared of ?” (the power of unknown fear) and a nonsense short titled “Too Many Daves.”

So each book found to be possibly objectionable by the Seuss organization also involves the innocent withdrawal of several stories along with the specified book-title stories — putting the objectionable material in a truer perspective for those who have not actually read the Seuss material.

While Americans are desperate to get vaccinated and desperate for COVID relief, here is what Kevin McCarthy is doing right now, “CNN Tonight” anchor Don Lemon had to say.

“That really happened. Those are your Republican leaders,” Lemon said, slamming McCarthy for having nothing better to do than “stoke this fake outrage . . . It has nothing to do with Democrats, nothing at all,” Lemon continued. “And that particular one by Dr. Seuss is still in distribution, so none of it makes any sense. They are playing you. Are you going to fall for it?”

There are, of course, those who sided with McCarthy when he reacted to the outrage against him with the explanation: “I still like Dr. Seuss, so I decided to read Green Eggs and Ham.”

However, looking on from the middle of a global pandemic ,economic turmoil, racially-biased mass shootings, misery at our southern border, poverty in general etc., I line up more with tweeter Chris Gender who commented; “I honestly think this is the dumbest thing that’s happened in my time covering politics. Seuss Enterprises has announced it has stopped publishing six books . . . that it decided employ racial stereotypes. That’s it! This is absurd gaslighting!”


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  • MargeS

    As if they had nothing to do! It would be nice if they put some effort into things like gun control, COVID-19 vaccination information that is true and not imagined, electing Republicans that aren't really a very good image for their party .

    Dr. Seuss was a staple in my home, I also had the Tin Tin Series which is also considered racist. The graphics in these books are amazing. What will we do when we have to wait to see if a book shouldn't be read? I talked to my children, they learned about why it's wrong to present people or groups in a derogatory way. But I let them choose which books they want to read.

    Friday, April 9, 2021 Report this

  • Thomas Camfield

    I remember only one book at home during the earlier years of the Great Depression. It was about pirates and had large glossy pages—a Christmas present, probably from a grandmother. As there were four of us in a small bedroom with bunk beds, there was no real place to keep it; so I squirreled it away in a small living room closet and took it out on occasion.

    I lived out on San Juan Ave., but soon got a bicycle for my birthday—and my first real job, part-time at the local library. In the months ahead I read all the Oz books (and believe me there were plenty) all the Edgar rice Burroughs “Tarzan” books and all the Zane Grey western novels.

    The following 80-or-so years moved quickly and among other things swallowed up the work of Theodor Giesel.

    Saturday, April 10, 2021 Report this