News outlets are reporting that several Dr. Seuss books will be discontinued, supposedly for depicting racial minorities in a derogatory manner. Personally, I do not remember anything about Dr. Seuss from my childhood. I cannot remember reading one book, nor any cartoon, except The Cat In The Hat TV cartoon.
In the early 1990s, I used to watch The Cat In The Hat with my daughter. Even then, all I could remember was the music composition, particularly, “Sweep Up The Memories”. In the 1960s, good music for TV was a requirement, for instance these songs and themes: Underdog, Hawaii Five-O, Gilligan’s Island, Batman, Conjunction Junction, and Green Hornet. I have always felt that the reason why I have a good musical ear is because early in life I listened to Country Music. Country in the old days was built on simple, basic four part harmony.
As far as being offensive, Cat In The Hat irritated me because of all the “newspeak” that it introduced. The cartoon is full of linguistic nonsense. That might be why I do not remember much; for instance, “The Moss Covered Three Handled Family Gredunza“, “Calculatus Eliminatus”, “Topsy Turvus”. What kind of nonsense is this? This is supposed to be educational?
The vocabulary is only the start. The worst part is that the kids let in the Cat while their mother is out and they are all alone. The Cat then starts, in a creepy way, to make excuses as to why he should be allowed to stay. The only voice of reason, the bad guy, is the fish in the bowl: Mr. Carlos Krinklebine. Surprisingly, it is only Krinklebine who speaks flawless English. Have you ever noticed how it is always the bad guy that has a Germanic last name: Blofeld (James Bond), Freddy Krueger (Nightmare on Elm Street), Richter (Total Recall)?
If Dr. Seuss is going to be censured, it should not be for racism; rather, lack of value and content. It is just a garbled cacophony making an attempt to corrupt the English language. When I was in elementary school, there were hard rules for language. By the late 1970s, when in high school, language was whatever you wanted it to be – how YOU speak it, is what is correct. What a nightmare.
As a final note, I want to remember the Frito Bandito. I loved the Frito Bandito. I am Hispanic and he never offended me – not to this day. Everyone at school, including me, had a Frito Bandito eraser on our pencil. Fritos and bean dip were my favorite foods – they still are. I used to sing the song “I am the Frito Bandito” all the time. Sure, living in SE Texas, I heard racial slurs frequently; but we all liked the Frito Bandito.
Below, is the statement from Dr. Seuss Enterprises. What has the world come to? This is truly the Brave New World of the dreaded Thought Police.
Today, on Dr. Seuss’s Birthday, Dr. Seuss Enterprises celebrates reading and also our mission of supporting all children and families with messages of hope, inspiration, inclusion, and friendship.
We are committed to action. To that end, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, working with a panel of experts, including educators, reviewed our catalog of titles and made the decision last year to cease publication and licensing of the following titles: 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. These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.
Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’s catalog represents and supports all communities and families.