NO, Dr. Seuss Isn’t ‘Cancel Culture’!!!

Let’s talk about this hullabaloo some people are calling ‘cancel culture’.  I wrote a post a while back about the so-called cancel culture, and to me it’s a meaningless, made-up phrase, but since it’s being bandied about like a ping pong ball this week, let’s examine a couple of things, starting with the folks who are up in arms over Dr. Seuss.

On Tuesday, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, which oversees the 20th-century children’s author’s estate, announced that it had decided to discontinue publication and licensing of six books by Theodor Seuss Geisel, saying, “These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.” Though four of the six books are basically unknown and make up a fraction of the author’s oeuvre, Fox News and other conservative voices, as if on autopilot, are treating the decision as another example of “cancel culture.”

Note that it was not I, nor any other person the republicans like to call snowflakes and bleeding heart liberals who decided to discontinue the books … it was the author’s representatives, the owners of the books!  And yet, I’ve seen story after story about how liberals are now canceling Dr. Seuss.  For the record, Theodor Seuss Geisel wrote and illustrated more than 60 books under the pen name Dr. Seuss.  More than 60!  That means, that even with 6 being taken out of publication, there are still at least 54 books to read to your children/grandchildren!

Now, about that hullaballoo.  Times change, societies evolve, things that were widely used 50-100 years ago become obsolete.  We evolve, we grow, we learn … well, some of us do anyway.  And as we learn and grow, some things will inevitably go by the wayside.  Terms and images that were once thought acceptable are no longer so, as we’ve learned that they are hurtful to others. This isn’t ‘cancel culture’ or anything like it, this is evolution, this is a society trying to be better than it once was.

You don’t still use grandma’s old wringer washing machine to do your laundry, do you?  Or drive your grandfather’s old Model-T?  The owners of the Dr. Seuss books evaluated and decided it was time to evolve, time to put racism and racist remarks in the past, to move forward in a more diverse, inclusive society.  Anybody who is up in arms over this obviously doesn’t understand how the world works.  And leave it to the likes of Fox News to play those ignorant people like fiddles, to pour fuel on a fire that didn’t even exist until Fox lit the match, and to find a way … any way … to blame those who are trying to put out the flames of bigotry in this nation.

I’ve heard those who call this ‘book banning’ and ‘censorship’ … it is neither.  No library, religious group, school or government made the decision to stop publishing these books … the books’ owners made the decision, as was their right to do.  Kevin McCarthy, Matt Gaetz, Marco Rubio and others in government have erroneously made such ignorant remarks such as …

“First, they outlaw Dr. Seuss and now they want to tell us what to say.” – House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy

“When history looks back at this time it will be held up as an example of a depraved sociopolitical purge driven by hysteria and lunacy.” – Senator Marco Rubio

“While we’re able to joke about the absurdity of these things, tonight, each and every day Americans have to decide whether or not to self-censor, to self-cancel, to maybe not fly their America First flag in full but rather half mast.  And I think that’s really the goal of the left, to cause us to be less expressive about our love for our country and our values.” – U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz

I’d like to think that with a pandemic that has swept across the nation for the past year giving us the highest death rate on the globe, voting rights on the chopping block, threats of violence by extremist racist groups, systemic racism in law enforcement, threats to our national security by domestic terrorists and more, our elected officials might have more serious things to spend their time on than being outraged because the owner of six books chooses to no longer publish them.  I really resent paying these peoples’ salaries these days!

And then there’s the Mr. Potato Head ‘scandal’, also being called ‘cancel culture’.  Hasbro, makers of the Potato Head, announced on Thursday that it would drop the “Mr.” from the brand’s name in a new playset to be released this fall, in order to be more inclusive and so all could feel “welcome in the Potato Head world.”  The new sets are designed without the Mr. and Mrs. designations that will let kids create their own type of potato families, including two moms or two dads.

Naturally … sigh … the homophobic bigots went ballistic.  The bottom line here is there’s no such thing as ‘cancel culture’, merely a natural evolution into what we hope will be a more inclusive, more compassionate world.  People who spend time ruminating over these non-issues have too much time on their hands and too little maturity to find other things to think about.

52 thoughts on “NO, Dr. Seuss Isn’t ‘Cancel Culture’!!!

  1. I hear you and agree. I used to sneak into his backyard as a kid, with my friend who lived near him. We so hoped to meet him. Never did. Horton Hears a Who, was revolutionary to me as a kid in terms of individual thought and experience vs accepted social norms and beliefs. Plus, I loved Horton with a passion. He was even weirder and more perceptive than me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This isn’t evolution or anything like it, it’s censorship. I can’t wait till banned books week comes along. The most frustrating thing about it is someone telling me what I can or can’t read to my grandchildren.

    Liked by 2 people

    • No, it isn’t censorship. If I write a book, then decide years later that it was not an appropriate book, it is my right to pull the book out of publication. Period. There are many causes today to get angry about, to become an activist — this is not one of them.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a load! (as in ‘of’).
    I’m done being eloquent today (21.43 GMT)….all I will Add is
    Republicans….. Objects of 360 degrees where each point in equidistant to the centre……. to you. You are not worth an intelligent argument.
    Go and find rocks to bang your heads with….as the old saying goes…’Where there’s no sense, there’s no feeling’

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Seems like some exaggeration going on in order to stir up controversy and distract us from something more important. Some people would rather create external chaos than look within at their own stuff and what might need improvement there.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hello Jill. The rage machine. That is what it is all about. The fact is that it is far easier to distract a person who is angry and emotionally riled up. The business model of Fox News is to get people stirred up, on and emotional high, and keep them that way as long as possible. I do not know how Fox viewers sleep at night after being wound up all day and ending up with Laura Ingraham and Jeanine Pirro. Talk about adrenaline producing. The Republican party uses that tool also, get the cult fired up on culture war wedge issues and keep them that way so they never notice the harm Republicans are doing to the people / country. Hugs

    Liked by 4 people

    • Good point, Scottie! Yes, stir up the hornet’s nest, then stand back and watch. Sigh. Like you, I don’t know how they survive on a steady diet of Fox, for about 45 seconds is all I can stand before I’m ready to throw the laptop across the room! I just wish I knew how to make these people listen to facts, open their eyes to reality. Jeff had a good idea … tie them to chairs and force-feed them factual evidence of what is true, what reality is, for 2 weeks, then turn ’em loose! Tempting. Hugs

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hello Jill. I heard a guy on the news this morning say that in order to deprogram the Q / conspiracy believers you have to give them something to replace what you are trying to take away, but rarely can that be current reality or facts. I am at a loss to understand it though, if reality is not enough, what could be? Hugs

        Liked by 1 person

        • In other words, this nation is doomed to become a nation of conspiracy kooks and nuts! Sigh. My own take on it is that people are so bored with their shallow little lives that they NEED those conspiracy theories to spice things up a bit. Common sense and logic don’t seem exciting enough for the small minds. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Hugs

          Liked by 2 people

          • Hello Jill. Not as long as you and people like you are around. The country may wobble and stumble but it wont fall as long as you have a voice.

            I am not sure it is boredom with these people. I look at what attracted them to tRump and see that he was not any smarter or capable them them, but he acted it. I often have said they wanted to be him, and with the way he acted they felt they could.

            Now we have adults in government that people can look up to and see making a big difference in the country. As long as there are people like you to challenge and destroy the misinformation of the bad faith opposition to democracy, we will move to a progressive future. I thank you, and more salute you. Hugs

            Like

            • Thank you so much, Scottie, for your kind words and encouragement. In truth, I have reached a point that I don’t think I can make a difference anymore. I don’t think the people of this country realize the danger of giving the GOP their way, so brainwashed have they been. Oh, I’ll still keep trying to wake them up, still keep yelling and cussing and screaming, but … I’ve concluded that the propaganda machine has a far louder voice than I do. Big hugs, my friend.

              Liked by 1 person

  6. Why they are always capturing terms, not useful for their goals? ;-(
    Jefferson’s relationship with slavery was twofold: he had slaves himself, but he also spoke out against the institution on several occasions. Shouldn’t one also have to remove Jefferson’s portrait from Mount Rushmore? Michael

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Everything those on the political right object to, will be called “cancel culture” — at least until that expression loses its meaning.

    Let’s call it what it was. The dropping of these Dr Seuss books was capitalism. It was about maximizing profits.

    Liked by 4 people

    • You’re right that they have a new term to use, and they will wear it out over every minute imagined infringement. I’m not so sure I agree that it was a financial decision, but … I hadn’t considered it until now. Hmmm … let me think on it a bit.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s a canny recipe they have, blame the Government for cancel culture and people will hopefully not focus on the Republicans too closely. Their attempt to derail thee Covid relief monies might not sit too well with their voters.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yep … I suspect that if a meteor hit the U.S. tomorrow, it would somehow be the fault of “liberal snowflakes” and President Biden! You may be right that they didn’t do themselves any favours by holding up the relief package, but you know how people are … in a week or two, they will have their checks and the fight will be forgotten. Sigh.
      Cwtch

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I just posted about the Dr. Seuss controversy as well Jill. As it was Dr. Seuss Enterprises themselves who made the decision to pull the six books, I agree this isn’t your typical book banning. However, as a retired children’s librarian, I do believe it’s a form of censorship. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand why they did it. I just believe that children could have perhaps been served better by the lessons taught about the time period these books were written in, why the illustrations and text are hurtful, and how no one is perfect, including people we think of as heroes.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I would agree with you, Kim, that keeping the books in circulation could have served as a learning tool to teach … but with nearly half this nation being overtly racist, I doubt that would have happened in most cases. I do see your point, though, and it’s a valid way of looking at it. It’s just a damn shame that we even have to have these conversations, that people still somehow thing one race or religion or gender is better than another. Time for this nation and its people to do some growing up. Thanks for your input … I do appreciate it!

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Jill, I just wrote this comment on Kim’s post, so will repeat it here.

    I must confess, I have read countless Seuss books, countless times to my three children and niece and nephews. But, I have not read any of those. I used to be able to recite “The Cat in the Hat,” because my wife read that reading the same book for a stretch would be helpful. We abandoned that idea after a week.

    I guess the way I look at this, is words are written in the context of the time and unfortunately they cannot be easily erased from all publications. The best example of this is the lesson of “Huckleberry Finn.,” whose key punch line is we are all the same, but it annually debated over its use of the N-word which helps prove Mark Twain’s point. Would it still do it without the use of the word?

    I guess where I come down is what Senator John McCain said a year after losing to George W. Bush in the South Carolina primary, when he failed to address a key issue of 2000 regarding the Confederate flag flying at the SC capitol building. He later said he was wrong not to speak up, as if a flying a flag gives so much anguish to a group of people, then it should not be flown.

    So, Dr. Seuss should not unduly tarnished, while still addressing language than needs to deleted or flagged.

    Keith

    Liked by 5 people

    • Like you, Keith, I’ve spent hours on end reading Dr. Seuss books first to my children, and later to my granddaughter, and none of those I’ve read have had offensive language or images. I come down on the side of … we learn from our past. I grew up hearing my parents use the ‘N-word’, but that doesn’t make it right. I like to think it’s time … not to cancel or erase our past … but to learn from it and not continue to promote racist rhetoric, images, etc. It’s a thorny issue, for sure, but in this case, since it was the owners of the copyright to the books who made the decision, there is no way it can be considered a political move by either party or by government. Sigh. Thanks for your input, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. The thing is, these politicians know that they’re lying. OK … maybe they’re just using hyperbole but their constituents (by & large) don’t know the meaning of the word & lots of time, that’s just a 4-syllable word for what my gramma called “stretching the truth a wee bit” & my mother called “dishonesty”.

    What I don’t get is that none of these people listening to these politicians ever think of reading even the local newspaper for themselves or looking beyond click bait for the news. & if you suggest doing this, you get told that it’s “all lies” & that you’re a “libtard” for suggesting it, even though I’m not a liberal at all. My politics are one hundred years old, that’s not exactly liberal.

    The thing is … as an INVESTOR … these books are now going to be worth WAY MORE than they ever were, ESPECIALLY if you’re lucky enough to have an edition that was published, say, before 1960. They were ALREADY worth a lot of money. Cancel culture, my ass.

    The other thing is that stupid Potato Head toy. It’s been around since I was a kid … I don’t think we ever had them but I know my cousins did, they had all the trendy cool toys we never did, that’s why we loved going over there to play. Mr & Mrs Potato Head parts were ALWAYS completely interchangable. To the point where we could have some really good fun with them. Feet stuck in the ears & eyes in the mouth & stuff like that. This whole thing about “families” & “gender” is an ADULT issue that kids DON’T CARE ABOUT & SHOULDN’T CARE ABOUT & IMHO STFU about it already … let the kids be kids. & stop all that stupid pink & blue BS, too. When I was a kid, girls toys came in all kinds of colors. & we were lots more things than PRINCESSES in frilly dresses.

    Sorry … got a little carried away …. LOL

    Liked by 5 people

    • I love it when you get carried away! I agree with most of whal you say, especially about people not even bothering to so much as pick up a newspaper or do a bit of research before jumping to the conclusion they were told on Fox News! I do think it’s time we become more diverse, get rid of the stains of blatant racism that have haunted this nation since its inception. And yes … let kids be kids, but don’t limit their views to thinking there is only one right way. I think I was a tomboy, for I never had any interest in playing with dolls, but much preferred matchbox cars and electric trains!

      Liked by 3 people

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