Dr. Seuss was Wrong

November 17, 2003

Dear Editor:

Dr. Seuss was wrong. Unfortunately, the philosophy that The Cat In The Hat expounds became the behavioral guideline for the first generation that was educated by it. The moral of Dr. Seuss’s story is this: Any behavior, no matter how chaotic or destructive, is permissible as long as you don’t get caught.

The Cat’s escapades were OK as long as the house was cleaned up before Mother got home. In other words, it was OK because she knew nothing about it. How else are we to interpret this couplet at the end of the tale: “And Sally and I did not know what to say. Should we tell her the things that went on there that day?” Even the fish in the pot is ridiculed for his words of caution. As a result, donning a tall, floppy, red-and-white striped hat like the Cat in the Hat’s is popular among miscreant segments of society because it symbolizes their freedom to misbehave as long as they’re not caught.

That’s why I’m sickened not only by the movie version’s release this Friday, but even more by the flood of pre-release publicity. I find the Cat in the Hat’s image on boxes of Kraft macaroni-and-cheese, on jars of Smucker’s strawberry preserves – even in the Post Office on gigantic posters! Not only did we have to endure the original book’s influence, but now we’re being forcibly subjected again to Theodor Geisel’s anti-social philosophy.

Sincerely,

Lee Cuesta

This letter was published on November 18, 2003 in The Gazette (Colorado Springs), and it generated quite an explosive response from other readers, whose letters were published subsequently.