I am a firm believer that there is a time and a place for everything and everything has a place. It is not a law or a commandment but perhaps we need to add it.
It seems that in this day and age everyone has an opinion and everything is a teachable moment.
Does it really have to be?A story in the New York Times this week written by Sopan Deb, a former CBS News Political reporter, now a man who writes about when culture and politics meet --He makes us all think about where we are in society today.
He writes that despite the sculptures and writings and everything else that Theodore Geisel created in his day, left out of the museum that has his name-- is his life as a political cartoonist in which there are alleged racist and politically and socially unacceptable depictions of Asians and others.
And. the basic question -- Is the omission proper or improper based on the the world we live in today. And the answer is not an easy one.
If you are a purist you want the whole story. You want history to depict the literary hero accurately and with every smudge and blemish that the man has to offer because it is the history that we want so that people don’t repeat it.
However - and I think more accurate, history is well prepared to deal with the man behind the writings and sketches, but the current format and structure of the Dr Seuss Museum deals with the value behind his profession as it deals with kids.
Let’s face it. People, particularly these days are not angels. They have sides that in the case of the profession that Ted Geisel had, needed in order to make ends meet. You do what you have to do.But the main question is---Do the kids really need to hear that? Do they need to have a teaching moment with every breath they take? There is no right answer but one that pits both side of a social and political issue together. Kids can be kids but get the whole story later if they want it. It is not like the issue that Sopa Deb talks about is being hidden by anyone.
They say there is only one right answer. But in this case omission of the political characterizations of people back in his day is acceptable and takes parents off the hook for trying to explain what it is to their kids in an afternoon sojourn to the museum. Deb gets a lot of credit for revealing a social flaw that we all have in a professional and direct way.
But even the good Doctor knew this day was coming. He said, “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”
Well except for this question - that’s for sure.
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)