Saturday, January 20, 2007

What I Like About You

Some of my fellow children's literature classmates remarked during our last class that Dr. Suess was a communist. Why is it that everyone who is just a little bit avant guard gets labeled a communist? In reality, Ted Geisel was a life-long Democrat. He even enlisted in WWII though he was in his late 30s at the time. He went to California and, among other things, made propaganda films cautioning American soldiers not to fraternize with the natives while they occupied Germany after the war.
But what I like about Dr. Seuss is that according to his biography by Judith and Neil Morgan, when approached by a sales manager at Random House who had "worked himself into an absolute frenzy thinking about merchandising Dr. Seuss," the author declined. "He was wary of anything - product franchising, most of all - that might cheapen the Dr. Suess image."
I also like this, in the town of La Jolla, CA, where he lived for more than half his life, Dr. Suess petitioned the town council for a local billboard ban even though it cost him an advertising contract with a sugar company. His appeal consisted of a story about two stone age business men who litter the countryside with signs. The short story ended with the following rhyme: And, thus between them, with impunity/They loused up the entire community.../And even the dinosaurs moved away/From that messed-up spot in the U.S.A/Which is why/our business men never shall/Allow such to happen in La Jolla, Cal.
And one last piece of trivia: what was Dr. Suess's best selling book? It's not the one that comes to mind first - it was Green Eggs and Ham.

song: What I Like About You • artist: The Romantics

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