Green eggs and spam

Boston Herald - - NEWS - Open let­ter

It’s one thing for a Cam­bridge school li­brar­ian to suc­cumb to a bout of Trump Derange­ment Syn­drome. It is Cam­bridge, af­ter all. But did she re­ally need to dis Mas­sachusetts’ own beloved Dr. Seuss in the process?

Liz Phipps Soeiro, li­brar­ian at the Cam­bridge­port El­e­men­tary School, re­jected a bun­dle of books that came as a gift from first lady Me­la­nia Trump in­tended to mark Na­tional Read a Book Day. One school in each state was se­lected to re­ceive 10 copies of books by Dr. Seuss.

What the White House got in re­turn was a lengthy screed in the form of an from Soeiro prais­ing her school’s li­brary of “nine thou­sand vol­umes and a li­brar­ian with a grad­u­ate de­gree in li­brary sci­ence” — al­beit one who would flunk com­mon sense and cour­tesy.

“Why not go out of your way to gift books to un­der­funded and un­der­priv­i­leged com­mu­ni­ties that con­tinue to be marginal­ized and ma­ligned by poli­cies put in place by Sec­re­tary of Ed­u­ca­tion Betsy DeVos?” Soeiro sug­gested.

She could have stopped there and ap­peared to be merely a po­lit­i­cally in­spired jerk. But no, she had to show how very, very clever she is by dis­parag­ing one of the most beloved au­thors of chil­dren’s books ever.

“You may not be aware of this, but Dr. Seuss is a bit of a cliché, a tired and worn am­bas­sador for chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture,” Soeiro wrote.

“An­other fact that many peo­ple are un­aware of is that Dr. Seuss’s il­lus­tra­tions are steeped in racist pro­pa­ganda, car­i­ca­tures, and harm­ful stereo­types. Open one of his books (If I Ran a Zoo or And to Think That I Saw It On Mul­berry Street, for ex­am­ple), and you’ll see the racist mock­ery in his art.”

That a gen­tle, lov­ing and gifted au­thor is sub­jected to such breath­tak­ingly mind­less abuse is be­yond be­lief.

Cam­bridge Pub­lic Schools is­sued a state­ment in re­ac­tion to the brouhaha say­ing, “In this in­stance, the em­ployee was not au­tho­rized to ac­cept or re­ject do­nated books on be­half of the school or school district. We have coun­seled the em­ployee on all rel­e­vant poli­cies, in­clud­ing the pol­icy against pub­lic re­sources be­ing used for po­lit­i­cal pur­poses.”

And who will cor­rect the slan­der to the late Theodor Seuss Geisel?

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