Sylvester McMonkey McMusk
How Dr. Seuss predicted the world’s richest chaos agent
Dr. Seuss was not just a children’s author, he was a ferocious activist in his own way. His books were not only funny and entertaining, they were full of antifascist allegories.
One of my favorite Dr. Seuss books is “The Sneetches and Other Stories” which was published in 1961. But The Sneetches was originally published in 1953 — less than a decade after the Holocaust.
Dr. Seuss knew then that it could happen again. So he warned generations of children — and their parents.
Some of the Sneetches had stars on their bellies, and some of them didn’t.
“The stars weren’t so big. They were really so small.
You might think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all.”
The Star-Belly Sneetches believed themselves to be superior to the Plain-Belly Sneetches, so the ones without stars felt oppressed. They had a grievance that was ready to be exploited. So a fascist shows up — Sylvester McMonkey McBean, or as he calls himself the “Fix-it-Up-Chappie.”
“Just sitting there wishing their bellies had stars.
A stranger zipped up in the strangest of cars!”
Needless to say, one is reminded of Elon Musk, the former richest man in the world who has zipped up in the strangest of cars to tell us all how only he can fix everything for eight dollars.
Sylvester McMonkey McBean told the Plain-Belly Sneetches that for three dollars he would turn them into to Star-Belly Sneetches.
“Just pay me your money and hop right aboard!”
So they clambered inside. Then the big machine roared.”
Needless to say, this upset the Star-Belly Sneetches, who were used to being special, and believed themselves to be superior, so Sylvester McMonkey McBean sold them a way to remove their stars for ten dollars.
“‘Belly stars are no longer in style,’ said McBean.
What you really need is a trip through my Star-Off Machine.”
Of course, at the end of the day, after exploiting their grievances and radicalizing them against each other, Sylvester McMonkey McBean took all the Sneetches money and ran.
“And he laughed as he drove
In his car up the beach,
‘They never will learn.
No. You can’t teach a Sneetch.’”
It is impossible not to see the chaotic fiasco surrounding Elon Musk’s selling blue checks on Twitter for $8 in this context.
What used to be a status symbol is now a scarlet letter — except to people who agree with Elon Musk’s worldview. Now he’s giving them to people who don’t want them.
He is Sylvester McMonkey McMusk, exploiting grievances, causing conflict and distrust — for money and more importantly, power.
Dr. Seuss was an optimist who believed that in the end we would figure out — that it was not true that you can’t “teach a Sneetch.”
“That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars
And whether they had one or not, upon thars.”
Seventy years ago, Theodor Seuss Geisel told us exactly who Elon Musk is. It’s time to listen to him.
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