Wednesday, March 2, 2011
No Dr. Seuss Birthday Doodle - Google Slights Memory of Great American Author
OP ED -- Today, March 2, commemorates the 107th birthday of literary genius Theodore Geisel, known to generations of young readers as Dr. Seuss. So where’s the Google Doodle honoring the legacy of this great American? I opened my browser today and saw only the standard Google home page. I suppose that because Seuss was considered a raving liberal, Corporate America and its overlords have decided to give the good doctor a pass today. As perhaps the only Democrat in San Narciso County, I certainly know how that feels. I can’t even get a bus ticket in this town without an interrogation about my destination, my reasons for traveling, or who I’m meeting once I get there. But no, I’m not going to equate these uncomfortable inspections to a trip through East Berlin’s Checkpoint Charlie. The treatment I receive in San Narciso’s much worse, because the scrutiny is being instituted by businesses. Think of writing a check at Radio Shack, and you’ll understand the life of a progressive in this eugenic Stepford community.
Dr. Seuss was a staunch liberal in his day. His early political cartoons demonstrated a passionate opposition to fascism; and he urged Americans to oppose it, both before and after the nation’s entry into World War II.
His cartoons regarded the Red Scare as overblown, finding the greater threat in the Dies Committee and those who threatened to sever America’s “life line” to Soviet Russia.
Dr. Seuss, before he was known by that moniker, also called attention to the early stages of the Holocaust, denouncing discrimination in the United States against African Americans and Jews. Geisel himself experienced anti-Semitism in his college days, when he was mistaken for a Jew. As a result, he was repeatedly denied entry into WASP-dominated social circles. I suppose it had something to do with his surname, even though he was actually of German stock and a practicing Christian.
He lived under that misrepresentation for most of his life. Did no one ask why a Jew would have penned one of the most popular Christmas stories of the 20th century? But if Barbra Streisand can have a Christmas album, perhaps the point is moot.
(Because Barbra Streisand is a gay icon, we’re also not allowed to discuss her openly among most people in San Narciso).
Nonetheless, Dr. Seuss overcame these obstacles to author some of the most lauded and educationally crucial stories for both literature and child development. He masked his liberal leanings cleverly within the text, hoping that the messages of the Golden Rule, anti-discrimination, and harmony would prevail in the young minds that absorbed the stories outside the editorial brainwashing they’re subjected to today from outlets such as Fox News.
“Green Eggs and Ham” taught us not to fear black people. “The Cat in the Hat” warned Americans of the dangers associated with absentee parenting and latch-key kids, byproducts of the looming corporate enslavement of the working class. “Horton Hears a Who” depicted the triumph of love salvaging an entire race of repressed beings in the face of adversarial xenophobia and social conservatism. “Hop on Pop” recalled a day when parents still gave a damn about their children, or spent any time with them.
But today, through popular literature, we worry about the hormonal yearnings of teen vampires or the poor, conceited academic travails of a boy wizard, who despite his “humble” upbringing still receives the benefits of being born into an upper caste. You don’t get accepted to places like Harvard or Hogwarts unless mommy and daddy had influence there. Sorry, Harry. You’re no Horton.
Why Do You Hate Dr. Seuss, Google?
So again, I ask, “Where is the Google Doodle?” The National Education Association, of whatever’s left of it since the GOP destroyed public schools, has declared March 2 “Read Across America Day” in honor of Dr. Seuss. And because there will soon be no more teachers left -- either because of lay-offs or lack of interest in the job (if Republicans get their way in Wisconsin and elsewhere, who’d be crazy enough to take a job with no pay and no benefits, babysitting the next Cheney, Rumsfeld, or Bush?) -- America may soon find itself unable to read.
But Google, of all corporations, threw me for a loop in slighting the memory of Dr. Seuss. What happened to not being evil? There are Google Doodles for people you’ve never heard of, nor are likely to. There are Google Doodles for some of the rarest and silliest events across the globe.
Here are a few. Estonian Independence Day, Mihaly Munkacsy's Birthday, Lantern Festival, and, get this, Start of Cricket World Cup 2011. Are you serious, Google? Cricket?
Lest we forget the global significance of Israel’s New Year of the Trees or Family Day. You know who cared about children and families more than Israelis who sit around and start abominable holy wars with Palestine so their kids can die in combat over what truly amounts to a real estate dispute? Dr. Seuss, that’s who. But in America, you can trash talk people like Seuss until the cows come home; you can’t so much as sneeze in Israel’s direction without the government forcing you out of your career. Just ask Helen Thomas.
I also saw a Doodle for Ernest Shackleton, the British explorer who sailed off to the South Pole in the grand old spirit of adventure -- at least for those privileged enough to have the time and money to do so instead of toiling away in the factories. Surely enough, Google paid homage to Shackleton, a man who voyaged toward a huge chunk of ice that everyone knew existed but had no desire to see. For that, he was knighted. Both by the Queen and Google. What’s happened to Shackleton’s legacy? Well, the global warming we’ve created with industry and consumerism is causing it to melt. And nearly everyone in San Narciso County contests that. But they all read Dr. Seuss, for some strange reason. It must be the pictures.
So finally, and speaking of pictures, I expect a Dr. Seuss Doodle next March 2, Google. If you find the man so revolting as a humanitarian, perhaps you should remove all his works from your online bookstore and stop profiting off the labors of a person you so clearly despise or disregard.