18th Annual Salute to Dr. Seuss

Two weeks ago at MIT, Henry Jenkins performed his traditional Annual Salute to Dr. Seuss for the last time before he leaves to join USC later this year. Perhaps because this was his last performance he read, commented and showed cartoons for a longer time than usual, adding up to more than 120 minutes of Dr. Seuss’ tales and history.

Henry described Dr. Seuss as a man with a political vision that chose to turn his voice in the direction of children, sending them a message of tolerance and diversity through his fantastic fables. Dr. Seuss became a master of propaganda before becoming interested in writing and illustrating books for children, and Henry’s reflections left me thinking about all the tricky relationships hidden between education and indoctrination.

It took me two weeks to access the pictures I took that day for a number of reasons directly related with using film instead of a digital camera. First, I needed to accumulate enough motivation to take the exposed film to the lab in South Station. Then the lab happened to be running an equipment maintenance procedure that usually takes an unknown number of days bigger than three. Time went by rather quickly, MIT style, and I had to start a new process to find more motivation, this time to go back to the lab and pick up the photos.

I still remember the good old digital days when I could have a picture online a few seconds after I took it, but I don’t miss them. Film and the photo lab are a positive influence in my behavior, moderating my attention and adjusting my vision.

Next thing I know, two Mondays have gone by, IAP is over, and I already feel halfway through a semester that I was supposed to keep myself safely distant from.

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