Posted by: nicodemomanifesto | October 31, 2009

Dr Seuss

Okay who doesn’t love Dr Seuss?! His books are the best, they present a world everyone wishes they could live in. Well a world I wish I could live in, at least. But not only did Dr Seuss write and illustrate his own books, he also painted! And some of them are quite political.

Economic Situation Clarified - Dr Seuss

Economic Situation Clarified - Dr Seuss

Like this painting (“Economic Situation Clarified”) for example. It presents what has become of the work force since the Industrial Revolution. If you look closely, you’ll notice the ones walking up have smiles on their faces whereas the ones walking down are sad and frowning.The rich become richer and the poor become poorer. This situation has been developed into an almost mathematical system (hence the characters walking in straight lines, all orderly) in order to justify it even though it’s destructive for the overall happiness of society. I especially like how Dr Seuss titled this painting, because he’s basically cutting all the bull shit economists spew to try and substantiate what’s going on in society, and he simply presents it as it is, or as he says, ‘clarifies’ it. I also like the top of the painting, because it seems like either the characters are falling into place or the whole system is disintegrating – so there is some kind of action happening, we just don’t quite know what it is.

King of the Pond - Dr Seuss

King of the Pond - Dr Seuss

 This piece, called “King of the Pond”, is of a similar idea. It’s about the rich being rich at the expense of the poor. All the turtles have to stack up on top of each other in order to please the turtle on top, who is having a jolly good time while the others suffer. Is the happiness of few really worth the misery of many? Hell no! It’s time to rebel, my little turtles! But ya, I also couldn’t help thinking about the philosophical theory “Turtles all the way down” – which is about the idea of infinity. I have a feeling Dr Seuss meant for this philosophy to be in his drawing, and it’s not just coincidence that he used turtles. Maybe he’s trying to say that the turtles’ pain is infinite and that you should never exploit someone like that, or that the turtles will forever be in this situation if they don’t rebel. Anyways, another thing I like about this drawing is that even though it’s about a rather morbid topic, it still has a fun and playful look to it.

The final painting I will be talking about is not political, but I still feel like it has a really powerful message. It seems to me as though it is a painting of a bird flying over the ocean. The only thing that makes me doubt this is that the waves are so colossal they could almost be mistaken for mountains. But this is what makes me like the painting so much, it’s the scale of the waves (or mountains – but I’m gonna go with waves) compared to the scale of the bird (who is much smaller). Yet the bird does not faulter, it keeps its head held high as its elegant tail flies high in the sky (I rhyme! – just like Dr Seuss). I don’t want to use the word ‘hope’ or some expression like ‘a light in the dark’ because they’re cheesy, but that’s essentially the feeling I get from this painting. The painting also reminds me of the novel “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel, which is about a boy and a tiger (there used to be some other animals too, but you can guess what happened to them) who are floating on a raft across the Atlantic ocean. They (like the bird) are completely isolated and seperate from any kind of civilization. There is something very peaceful and spiritual about this, and that being utterly alone isn’t always such a bad thing. 

Freebird - Dr Seuss

Freebird - Dr Seuss



  1. love the connection.
    never saw it before.
    It’s interesting that even books for children are politicised, what does that tell us about our influence on future generations?

    keep up the blogsss 🙂

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