Early this year, political correctness killed a favorite book of mine.

In March, Dr. Seuss Enterprises (which owns and controls books by Theodor Seuss Geisel) stopped publication of the book, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” saying that it contained imagery they deem ‘hurtful and wrong.’

Mulberry Street is a children’s picture book about a boy who is walking home from school. Along the way, he remembers some advice his father gave him: “Marco, keep your eyelids up and see what you can see.”

The only thing Marco sees is a horse pulling a wagon. That’s not a very interesting thing to tell his father, so he imagines some details to add to his report.

It wasn’t a horse pulling the wagon, it was a zebra. No, a reindeer. No, an elephant, assisted by two giraffes. The wagon was actually a chariot. No, a giant sled. No, a cart carrying a brass band.

In his mind, Marco’s story gets wilder and wilder. There was a parade. An airplane dropped confetti. A magician pulled rabbits from a hat. There was a China man and a man with a ten-foot beard. There was a police escort. The mayor was there. So were the aldermen.

When Marco gets home and his father asks what he saw along the way, the boy, despite all his wild imaginings, says simply, “Nothing . . . but a plain horse and wagon on Mulberry Street.”

Dr. Seuss Enterprises didn’t specify which images it thought were hurtful and wrong.

What is hurtful and wrong is to use political correctness to bludgeon a beloved book to death.

In 1957, Stan Freberg predicted this sort of heavy-handed approach to non-offensiveness. In a skit, he begins to sing Old Man River from the musical, Show Boat, but is interrupted by a representative from the Citizens Radio Committee.

The representative says, “The word ‘old’ has a connotation that some of the more elderly people find distasteful. I would suggest you make the substitution, please.”

So Freberg starts over, singing, “Elderly Man River, that elderly man river. He must know somethin, but he don’t say nothin.”

He is stopped again, this time for leaving the G off the end of somethin, and because “he don’t say nothin” is a double negative.

Freberg makes the changes and struggles onward, but finally gives up as the song becomes less and less recognizable, all the life having been sucked out of it.

Of course, Freberg was just being funny. Or was he?

It has been said that “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” was pulled because one of the things Marco imagines is a China man, depicted as having yellow skin and slanting eyes.

What would Stan Freberg say about that?

In a TV commercial he produced in the 1950s, the announcer said, “Nine out of ten doctors recommend Chun King Chinese food.”

The ad then showed nine smiling Asian doctors and one frowning white doctor.

Such an ad would never make it on the air today.

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