Monday, March 2, 2009


It’s Dr. Seuss’s birthday!
The day to pronounce his worthday!
A day of joy and mirthday!

Dr. Seuss — or Theodore Geisel, if you insist — taught me more than Shakespeare or Rousseau or Kant. Dr. Seuss taught me that if I stand on enough of my coworkers, I can be the king of Willoughby; and just because I hear a Who, doesn’t mean I’m crazy; or that I didn’t need that thneed.

Seuss taught young girls that they only needed one tail feather. That tart Lolla-Lee-Lou may have two, but one can be enough for you.

Seuss taught me the value of nurture over nature. Mayzie may have laid that egg, but Horton raised it into the elephant-bird thing it is today.

A lot of people want to intellectualize Dr. Seuss. It’s easy to do, if only because the guy was smart. But sometimes a wocket is just a wocket. Sure, a megalomaniacal turtle may end up king of the mud, but that doesn’t make Yertle an allegory for Hitler. Isn’t it enough that he be Yertle?

Just because everyone’s telling Marvin K. Mooney — the single most reviled figure in the history of the written word — to leave, doesn’t make him Richard Nixon.

I’m not saying he never used subtext — for example, it took a butter battle to make some people realize the silliness of Cold War posturing — but it never mattered more than the story.

Simple morals, that’s why Seuss matters. If an eastgoing thing meets a westgoing thing, some thing has got to give.

Nobody knows the places you’ll go.

Don’t be afraid to indulge your imagination. Just have it cleaned up before your mother gets home.

Most importantly, words don’t need to exist for them to rhyme.

So tomorrow I can return to pontificating about the importance of translators or the supremacy of Thomas Hardy, but today’s a day to appreciate the Seuss.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m out like Marvin K. Mooney.

-Jason Lea,

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