Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Importance of Dr. Seuss

     I have not always loved Dr. Seuss.     At least I did not know until recent years just how much he was to be liked.   Born Theodor Seuss Geisel on March 2, 1904,   he eventually entered adulthood with the enviable memory of a life he had enjoyed growing up in.    He is of course better known by his pseudonym,  "Dr. Seuss," which also happened to be his middle name and his mother's maiden name.     His books have been translated into 20 different languages and Braille.  

     Is it any wonder that he is so well know with works like The Cat In The Hat, or my personal favorite,  Yertle the Turtle?     Yertle,   that books main character,  is a petulant brute who makes up his mind that all shall indulge him to create the throne that he deigns worthy of his position as the ruler of "the pond."     A man like Theodor Geisel,  who lived through two wars that ensued at the behest of similar brutes who's kingdoms needed expansion,   knew a little about the lunacy of such figures and the particularly narrow minded way they had of viewing others as well as the whole world.    As with most brutes,  no one or no thing is too small to be made into their footstool.     In our time as well as times past,  these sort of people have always taken time out of their important activities to decide what the other turtles of the pond should be doing.    Central planners!     Aha!   Now you see why I enjoy Dr. Seuss.   He took what many may see as trivial child chatter, and all the while he is schooling the young on how to spot a "Yertle" all by them self.  It's a quintessentially American thing to do.  

     When I meet someone interesting like a Dr. Seuss (via  his writings),  I wonder when another like him may come along.    Whether writing for kids or adults,  I think the primary purpose of all writers with heart is to discover some truth,  to illuminate meaning,  and to hail our souls from a foggy and stunted purpose.    If eating, drinking,  and sleeping were all it takes to stimulate us,  we'd be no better than a colony of meerkats.    Actually,  I believe if Dr. Seuss were still with us he would probably enjoy creating a new masterpiece with these interesting creatures in mind.   He claimed that his books began with doodles.     He dropped out of Oxford because he claimed that his studies were "astonishingly irrelevant."     Many parents love Dr. Seuss because of his contribution to a sizable library of early reading fun,  but I say that we should love him just as much because of his proof to the world, where academic snobbery abounds,  that the best gift of all is to actually think for one's self.                    

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