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Rational Politics

Thoughts by Charles E. Brown

Banning Dr. Seuss

ByCharles E. Brown

Mar 3, 2021
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How are the goals of book banning any different than the goals of book burning? Both are meant to prevent people from reading what a dictitorial few do not want the general population to read. When the Catholic Church did it it was WRONG….when dictators such as Hitler and Stalin did it it was WRONG….and now when the Leftist woke culture does it….it is WRONG!!!!

They are no longer going after just southern Civil War icons that they fear might awaken racial hatreds, but now everything from Beethoven to movies to now Dr. Seuss.

Yes…classic favorites like “The Cat in the Hat” and “Horton Hatches the Egg” are targets. And the irony is that some of the woke shooters are descendants of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. Now let’s throw in the Biden administration and the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center who declares war on anyone who might mildly disagree with them.

The licensing of Geisel’s works is handled by an organization of his heirs called “Dr. Seuss Enterprises.” They released the following recent statement:

Dr. Seuss Enterprises, working with a panel of experts, including educators, reviewed our catalog of titles and made the decision last year to cease publication and licensing of the following titles: And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, and The Cat’s Quizzer.  These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”

Now, care to tell me exactly what in these works is offensive? Or, for that matter, who exactly this panel of experts was?

In light of this, the NY Post reported this:

“Of the 2,240 (identified) human characters, there are forty-five characters of color representing 2% of the total number of human characters,” according to a 2019 study from the Conscious Kid’s Library and the University of California that examined 50 of Dr. Seuss’ books. Last week, a Virginia school district ordered its teachers to avoid “connecting Read Across America Day with Dr. Seuss” because of recent research that allegedly “revealed strong racial undertones” in many of the author’s books.

Now, if you don’t know the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) they are known for their anti-Christian bigotry, incitement of violence, and many sexual and financial scandals. They have an arm call “The Learning for Justice” branch. They wrote of one of Dr. Seuss’ books, “The Sneetches” the following:

At Teaching Tolerance, we’ve even featured anti-racist activities built around the Dr. Seuss book The Sneetches. But when we re-evaluated, we found that the story is actually not as “anti-racist” as we once thought. And it has some pretty intricate layers you and your students might consider, too. The solution to the story’s conflict is that the Plain-Belly Sneetches and Star-Bellied Sneetches simply get confused as to who is oppressed. As a result, they accept one another. This message of “acceptance” does not acknowledge structural power imbalances. It doesn’t address the idea that historical narratives impact present-day power structures. And instead of encouraging young readers to recognize and take action against injustice, the story promotes a race-neutral approach.

You may want to reread that a few times to quell your disbelief.

By the way, for reference, The Sneetches was written in 1953. In 1998, NATO and the U.N. distributed copies of this book to children in Bosnia. But, SPLC seems to have a problem with anyone speaking out against identity politics. But, then again, SPLC, like many leftist organizations, makes its living off of trumped up racial grievances.

Sure, Dr. Seuss’ books have all kinds of messages on morality and life. And sometimes you might agree with them and sometimes you might not. Many were written in the 1940s in response to the political turmoils of the world at the time. Some of his writings were distinctly anti-Nazi and anti-Imperial Japanese and, at some level could look a bit racist by 2021 standards. But all were concerned with the free world’s struggle against two particularly brutal racist regimes. Seuss himself corrected that when, in 1954, he wrote “Horton Hears a Who!” after a visit to Japan. Since that time, however, Seuss’ works have been appropriated by all sorts of political causes. But, in the end, through the use of whimsical wordplay and imaginative illustrations children are introduced to thought-provoking moral questions about the world they live in. And sometimes that world is messy and unjust.

Leftism builds their society of hate upon vague terminology and abhors anything that brings its ideology into real focus. It feeds off of constantly changing language and a constantly changing list of so-called offenses. You will never know what will be next on the list. Once it does put something on the list, it blows it way out of proportion and judged as if it is happening today by a majority of a particular class. It then treats people as if they are incapable of independent thought or mentally fragile. Finally, there is no mercy. So what if slavery happened 160-years ago, and most white Americans today had nothing to do with it and whose ancestors weren’t even in this country at the time. We must all issue groveling apologies and begin self-flagellation. We must be shunned from society because we are beyond redemption.

In the case of Dr. Seuss he is being condemned for featuring too few non-white people in his books and is also being condemned for depicting non-white people in his books. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

In the past, conservatives were characterized as book burners. That was made clear in Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451.” It seems like the shoe is on the other foot now.

3 thoughts on “Banning Dr. Seuss”
  1. Yet another attack on the culture…just like Mao’s cancel culture where he demanded the “Four Olds” be destroyed and replaced with the “Four News” 😡 (The Four Olds were old ideas, old culture, old customs, and old habits.)

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