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Cancelling Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss is being cancelled.
It’s true. Dr. Seuss enterprises released a statement yesterday confirming that they are removing books from print due to “portraying people in the books in ways that are hurtful or wrong.”
You’re kidding me?
“He’s Not Being Cancelled, They Are Just Removing Books from Print”
The rebound narrative is that this isn’t a big deal. Liberal media is arguing that it’s the right thing to do and that he’s not “really being cancelled.”
Nope. He’s being cancelled.
You want to know why? Because that’s the narrative. Because liberals are so afraid of being offended that the go to stance is to cancel people. It happens so often that “cancel culture” is now part of our public discourse.
So regardless of what it is actually happening, the narrative says that Dr. Seuss is being cancelled. It’s a shame.
What we have is a collective group think mob ganging up on a private institution of ideas and forcing them to act in a way that the group mob has decided is appropriate.
The private institution is forced to bow down to the woke mob’s wishes for fear of being singled out as racist or insensitive.
It’s not good.
The Printing Press and the First Amendment
The printing press was the most important invention since farming. There hasn’t been anything more revolutionary to our way of living until the internet.
The printing press enabled us to mass produce and spread ideas.
The written word is the lifeblood of the first amendment. Books are the bedrock of democracy. There is nothing more important to democracy than an informed republic, and books have been a main driving force of these ideas. (That is until the internet got here of course.)
So when you start cancelling books, what you’re really doing is cancelling ideas. And when you cancel ideas, what you’re really doing is telling individuals that they are not smart enough to read potentially offensive material and make decisions for themselves.
We are activating the “group think” mob to protect you from yourself and to protect itself from narratives that don’t fit it’s collective identity.
It’s a terrible thing to do to society, and it’s a terrible thing to do to children and families.
My personal stance is this: No matter what happens. You can never, ever, fuck with books. I don’t care what the book is, or how hateful or wrong or insensitive it is, you should never, EVER, fuck with books. Because books breed individualism.
Without individualism, what do you have?
I’m not even gonna say the S word.
Liberals Are Trying to Get Trump Elected
Unfortunately, this is political. Of course it is. How could it not be?
How many of us grew up on Dr. Seuss? How many Americans learned to read by reading Dr. Seuss? Dr. Seuss has had a more positive impact on children (and the relationships between parents and children) than maybe anyone.
He’s certainly had a huge impact on me.
“Oh the Places You Will Go” is a book I have kept with me since I was in elementary school.
So what are we doing here? Is this really the battle we want to fight right now? Is this really the hill we want to stamp our flag on?
We’re going to discontinue the printing of some mildly offensive drawings that were created by a man who probably had some racist undertones in a time that was much different from now?
It’s important to make the distinction that this decision was forced upon Dr. Seuss Enterprises by the mob of morality. They didn’t wake up one day and decide it was the right thing to do. The mob pressured them to implement censorship on their material and products.
What’s the end game with this? Who are we protecting? What are we achieving?
I want no part of this. I want nothing to do with these liberals who are warping the democratic party into a group of weaklings who don’t have the emotional fortitude to consume offensive content, put it into context, and then have conversations around it. (i.e. - thinking).
The democratic party is unable to think for itself. All that is happening is here is Trumpism and radical right wing thinking are digging in deeper and deeper for the fight against socialism.
*Insert face slap emoji here* 🤦♂️
So What Do We Do?
Anytime I write something that has any sort of moral or political undertones, I expect to see at least a dozen replies and who knows how many DM’s from people calling me any combination of insults, which is actually very ironic.
So for the purpose of absolute clarity, let’s get a few things out there.
Yes, these drawing were probably offensive. If I were Asian American, I wouldn’t feel good about reading those books to my children.
Yes, we have a racism problem in this country. The country was stolen from Native Americans and then built on the backs of slaves.
Yes, I’m white. And no, my family had nothing to do with our country’s awful past. My father was the first Stoddart born in America and I am the first American born of the next generation of Stoddarts.
Yes, Dr. Seuss Enterprises is a private company and they have the right to take books out of print whenever they want. This wasn’t forced on them (at least not directly) by the government.
So we all agree that the country is flawed, that Dr. Seuss is flawed, that our country has a terrible past and that the world is complicated and full of idiosyncrasy.
Great… so then let’s talk about it.
Instead of cancelling Dr. Seuss, why wouldn’t we acknowledge that Dr. Seuss wasn’t a perfect man? Just like you’re not a perfect person. Why wouldn’t we put it out there? Admit that all of these things happened, because they did happen.
Why are we so unwilling, or unable, to work through uncomfortable situations and conflicts without needing safe spaces?
How are we supposed to talk about these things and bring clashing cultures together if we aren’t even strong enough to look at a drawing and acknowledge it’s potential offensiveness?
Why wouldn’t we let free markets decide for themselves what ideas and content they want to buy and support? Because if you don’t like the book, you don’t have to buy it.
We are losing our ability to work through problems. We are losing the call to individual responsibility.
WHY. CAN’T. WE. USE. OUR. BRAINS??!!!
The only result from this is that actual racists and actual radical right wingers now have more ammunition to hit people over the head with.
All because we were afraid of being offended.