THE POLITICAL DR. SEUSS

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10/26/05
Emma
New Mexico
Me and to of my friends are doing a history day project on Dr. Seuss , the topic this year is taking a stand . Now that I have come to this website , i know how he took a stand but we need more books that are political and how that Dr . Seuss wrote . So if anyone has any info, please write me an e-mail asap !

8/5/05
Chico
Chicago, IL
Anyway, I was at a wedding in upstate New York and I was in line waiting to acquire my liquid drug in order to drown my sorrows away from all the pretentious banter that happened to be occurring all around me. I overheard a man behind me waxing idiotic about how he was part of this play that took Dr. Seuss stories and I guess made vignettes out of some of them and one of them was Horton Hears a Who. He proudly proclaimed that he was so clever because he found a �right to life� message in this story and he exploited it as such during this play which of course was his main intent. I turned around to see who this person was and he, of course, had decided to find and corner the man he knew he could be obnoxiously self-righteous to � The priest; who was only listening to his story halfheartedly anyway. This is all very interesting considering old Ted said he wrote Horton about a Japanese friend, after he came back from Japan. Horton represents his idea of America and Who-ville is Japan. The Who�s are the Japanesepeople after Hiroshima. They are optimistic but they and the atrocities against them during World War II went widely ignored. Horton helped the Who�s and is the America Geisel wished for. And yes this is ALL TRUE.

Anyway, I was wondering if anybody knows what play this is I am talking about. I am not sure where this guy was from or what the play was called. I just couldn�t listen to him for too long. I�m sure Ms. Bencieengo would also like to find out about this if she does not already know.

P.S. As for Reagan and the cold war � There is such a thing as fortuitous circumstances. Here is an example! Gorbachev was elected and wanted reform for his country after decades of unrest, the economy had been struggling greatly, and East Germans wanted the Berlin Wall to come down. They all wanted reform and Reagan was in the right place at the right time. Reagan may have helped the middle class squeeze but that of course is not a good thing. And surprisingly Ron Jr. and Nancy have pretty strong views about stem cell research, which also ties into abortion issues! Guess why for 50 points!

P.P.S. I guess freedom of choice does not apply in Jacksonville Florida. Dissention is the most patriotic thing you can do. But if Ted was against the war why did he create cartoons such as Private Snafu and work as an editorial cartoonist for the paper, PM, from 1941 to 1943, drawing cartoons that condemned isolationism, racism, anti-Semitism, and Hitler � and, in turn, Mussolini and the Japanese for drinking the kool-aid - as many people do today. If the ends don�t justify the means then you have no argument. And believe me, if he were alive today, Dr. Seuss would definitely be standing up to evil empires, tyrants, and liars. It just would be inside our borders.

Now I realize I am waxing but I am just sick for the anti-intellectualism that runs rampant throughout this country.
3/9/05
M
Was Dr Seuss a proponent for social change or did he believe that? I work in a school in which the health teacher hands out book marks; on one side of the book mark is a picture of a "living 6 week unborn child from [an] ectopic pregnancy". The fetus is shown in its placenta and is being held from someone's hand so it looks like a teardrop. On the other side of the bookmark is the quote "a person's a person, no matter how small". Do you think this is an appropriate bookmark to hand out in an 8th grade public school health class? Did the estate of Dr Seuss license this? I'd love to contact the estate to see about copyright infringement or if they really okayed this. If Ted Geisel was truly a proponent for social change, there is NO WAY he would have given permission for this sanctimonious, self-righteous, judgmental use of his words.

Below is an excerpt from a write-up I found:

AUDREY GEISEL, WIDOW OF DR. SEUSS (Theodor Seuss Geisel), became "very disturbed" when she found out a pro-life group in Ottawa, Canada used a line from her husband's book Horton Hears a Who on a poster. The line, "A person is a person no matter how small," accompanied a picture of an eight-week-old fetus. "We don't want to take a position one way or the other," said Geisel's San Francisco lawyer, Cathy Bencieengo. "But this is not an area in which Dr. Seuss participates."

Planned Parenthood is listed among the organizations benefiting from the fund. Also, New Notes reported last May that Mrs. Geisel chaired a big money fundraising dinner for Planned Parenthood at the Harbor Island Sheraton.

National Post, January 29, 2001
Ontario: Use of Seuss protested
OTTAWA - The lawyer representing the widow of Theodor Seuss Geisel, known around the globe as children's writer Dr. Seuss, is protesting the reprinting of a quote from the author's work, Horton Hears a Who!, on an anti-abortion poster being distributed in Ottawa Roman Catholic churches. Cathy Bencieengo said she will ask the local anti-abortion group Action Life Ottawa to remove the line "A person's a person, no matter how small" and Dr. Seuss's name from a color poster showing an embryo.

The above excerpt was written in 2001 and here we are over 4 YEARS LATER with those inappropriate, unlicensed bookmarks littering our schools.

1/21/05
J. West
San Diego, CA
The film shows the limitations of the commissioned documentary. The Seuss myth is carefully managed by his estate, with only talking heads supportive of his views presented.

If he's a harmless children's author, that's appropriate. But if (as his widow would have us believe) he's a serious political commentator, then his ideas should be engaged and challenged, not just lionized. For example, would Lech Walesa or Vaclav Havel agree that in 1984, the US and USSR were morally equivalent?

It would have changed my opinion of his work, except that when Audrey asked the Geisel (i.e. UCSD) library to do an exhibition of his 1940s political cartoons, the same myth-making was obvious.

1/14/05
It is a common misconseption that Seuss, the greatest children's author to ever live, did not like children. He did say that children as a large group terrified him, not that he disliked children. Anyone who writes children's books with such loving and moral statements cleverly held within could not be a person who 'hated' children.

1/5/05
Sarah
hot springs
I have loved Dr.Seuss since i was old enough to read, and never have i ever thought he had hidden political views in his books! It's amazing! It's makes me have more respect for him now then i ever did! He wasn't just a children's book writter, he was a genious! And reading those books really helped me understand alot about political situations! I'm doing my sophmore paper on this subject.. you helped me alot PBS! (*the channal that i grew up with also..one of my favs*) Thank you for doing this!

Seuss lover,
Sarah

11/16/04
Sara Porter
St. Louis, Mo.
I remember when I was a child and my parents bought the Butter Battle Book and I could just tell that they didn't approve of it, and they explained the message to it and I thought how silly it seemed.

I remember after Seuss died in '91, my middle school teacher took us through some of his books and talked about the political ideas behind them (like the Lorax and Butter Battle Book) and read us Oh the Places You'll Go and I realized what an impact he had on our lives.

Through his works, Dr. Suess provided us with a gift to look back on our world and to see how silly our prejudices and violences (The Sneeche's stars and The Yook/Zook butter donnybrook) can be and how we must help those in trouble (such as Horton and the Whos), through the eyes of a child reading these works maybe Suess' last statement "Do better" will come to pass. His characters give us the life that could be through their vibrant bent world that truly isn't that different from our own.

11/2/04
B. Rick Layer
Indianola, IA
I enjoyed the program quite a bit, but I kept waiting to hear about the Pro Life stance of Horton the elephant. After all, how much more clear could Ted have been by saying "A person's a person. No matter how small." I find it a little surprising that this program didn't mention this quote, or even the two Horton books at all for that matter. Thank you.

11/2/04
T owens
lexington, KY
George W. Bush, will you please go now!
The time has come.
The time is now.
Just go.
Go.
Go!
I don't care how.
You can go by foot.
you can go by cow.
George W. Bush, will you please go now!
You can go on skates.
You can go on skis.
You can go in hat
But
Please go...
Please!...

i think the doctor would agree

10/29/04
Joseph Oliansky
Rye, NY
Seuss did not think the war against Hitler and Mussolini was unneccesary but Reagan threatening the fate of the entire world in order to defeat a dangerous and oppressive enemy may not have been the best solution. The ends don't always justify the means. These are lessons that are lost on our current President, who has proven to be not calculating, like Reagan, but merely a reckless bully.

Human nature dictates that "we can... and have to... do better than this" will always apply, no matter who's in power. If you see this is a jab at Bush, that's only because it's painfully obvious in his case, even to those who won't admit it publicly.

10/29/04
Lake Jackson, Texas
Please air it again. I only saw the last 10 minutes of it and it seemed super interesting. I would like to know more about the books that I read when I was a child and that now I realize are more than rhymes.

10/29/04
Cheryl Kingsley
Springfield, Massachusetts
I enjoyed the program and learned a lot I didn't know. But I was surprised that a local lecture given by the head of our museums several years ago included information that your documentary did not. For example, when Ted Geisel was growing up, there were actually 3-wheeled trucks in downtown Springfield that ran on steam which looked very much like some of the vehicles he later drew. There are still bushes growing in Forest Park which were probably the original models for some of his odder trees and plants. The flights of stairs, especially in the Bartholomew Cubbins stories, are based on the stairway in Forest Park which leads up to the top of the Barney Estate Memorial. The "star" which some sneetches had represents a star awarded by an important dignitary to every boy scout singled out for superior merit in Springfield -- EXCEPT for Ted, who was on the stage with all the others but didn't get one because he was part Jewish. The reason the Grinch lives on top of a mountain is that the owners of Spfld. stores, who wanted to keep their sales clerks working on Christmas Day, resided at the top of the hill in Spfld while their poorer employees lived at the bottom of the hill, down by the river. Publication of The Grinch was intended to force these rich store owners to give their employees a day off on Christmas. Maybe Channel 57 could do a follow-up piece to this one by taping lecture illustrated by fascinating slides that was done by this museum director several years ago? I'm sure he would do it again!

10/27/04
Jacksonville, NC
Sirs:

I note that Dr. Seuss' final thoughts were, "We can do better than this."

Since those words are exactly the same as those Senator John Kerry uses to describe every thing Bush, I wonder:

(1) Were you aware when you decided to run the Seuss documentary that those words are a John Kerry refrain?

(2) When did you decide to run the Seuss documentary?

(3) Was there a desire to help or a coordination with the Senator or anyone representing him?

Considering the content of all of the programing of PBS, "Seuss'" political opinions, the ongoing Dan Rather scandal, and, just today, the Qaqaa-missing-weapons misinformation I hope you will understand and forgive my skepticism.

By the way, I did enjoy the presentation. Thank you.

10/27/04
Jacksonville, FL
I do not like Dr. Seuss
He really gets my goose.
How very naive
for him to believe
that standing up to evil empires,
tyrants and liars
is just as insane
as a silly food fight
about buttering your bread
on the top or the bottom
or the left or the right.
That's what he said.
Where is the man's brain?
In his caboose?
No I don't care for your Dr. Seuss
According to him
Nothing is worth fighting for
or going to war.
Give peace a chance.
and let's all dance.
Put flower in your hair
and show the terrorist you really care.
They'll come around
Just you wait and see
If I'll be nice to them.
They'll be nice to me

And for goodness sakes don't argue, he said
about which side to butter your bread.

Because in his wierd world
we'll all be dead.

10/27/04
I really enjoyed watching this show. I hadn't realized how politically oriented these books were. I knew that "The Cat in the Hat" was written because they had asked him to do a primer but other than that I really learned alot from this documentary about Seuss... especially how to pronounce it correctly.

I've seen the Snafu cartoons when they've showed them on cable and never new he had helped with them. It's interesting to find so much about such a prolific and talented artist and writer.

It made me wish I had met the writer when he was alive. He was truly one or our greatest childrens writers.

10/27/04
Russell Swanger III
Endicott, New York
I was born in 1959 and for my entire life I have suffered from the declaration that Dr. Seuss is my favorite author of all time. I say suffered because I have felt somewhat embarrassed to have an attraction to the works of a "childrens' author" as opposed to a "real" author/poet.

I never really gave it any deep consideration other than to recognize my attraction to his prose and drawings.

As an artist, I find my fanciful doodles to often bear a similarity to Seuss's and any poetry I write begins to sound all too familiar. I even painted my baby daughter's bedroom with larger than life characters stolen straight from the good Dr's books.

Not being well read, my second favorite author was a result of required reading in secondary school-Robert Frost. In fact STOPPING BY WOODS and THE ROAD NOT TAKEN have described if not guided my adult quest-to forge my own way in the world and to try to make a difference for other people while I make my fortune.

How strange and exonerating it feels as I have now begun to realize what Dr. Seuss was really up to. We are very fortunate to have the legacy of Theodor Geisel.

Given current global and national events, we should all pay more attention to the real messages from the real Dr. Seuss. Ted gave us a mandate while facing the abyss, "We can and we've got to do better than this."

10/27/04
jay perkins
lexington ky
I like Dr. Seuss.
I like him a lot.
But he's wrong about Reagan.
Who won without firing a shot.

10/27/04
Dr. Seuss was my original thesis idea when I was in college, I wish this had been around then. Unfortunately I missed 1/2 of the program before I even realized it was on... my only comment is please air it again, for all of us Seuss fans.

10/27/04
Charles E. Yoder
St. Simons Island, GA
I always enjoy, and come to expect not only interesting and informative programs on Indy Lens, but also that, unlike commerical tv (and commercials), are narrated by authoratative and literate voices.

Your narrator, undoubtedly a fine fellow, has a voice awaiting its adolescent chage and a poor command of English--ouch--repetedly sounding the "t" in "often."

10/27/04
michael
griffin georgia
i love it i grew up with it but i have aquestin is it true that he didn't like children
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