Author Topic: Cancelling Dr. Seuss  (Read 6605 times)

Liquidambar

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Re: Cancelling Dr. Seuss
« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2021, 01:43:31 PM »
The depiction in If I Ran The Zoo is indeed problematic.

Yes, but IIRC it's only portions of 1-2 pictures out of the entire book.  I don't recall the words being problematic.  I'm perplexed why they didn't just start selling a revised version with the problematic pieces of those couple pictures cropped out.

Correspondingly, I used to have an old cassette with the soundtrack to the animated Aladdin movie.  The soundtrack they sell now has one problematic line from the first song updated.
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mahagonny

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Re: Cancelling Dr. Seuss
« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2021, 02:34:55 PM »
Over the years, our public library has periodically had a display about books which were historically banned, making the point that book-banning (or burning) is, in hindsight, a really bad thing. It's sad to see those same organizations now seriously contemplating removing "inappropriate" books.


You might be surprised to learn about library collection 'weeding' practices...

I think Robin DiAngelo's "White Fragility" is stupid and racist, but I would never tell the library they shouldn't have it. I don't think it needs some kind of warning label; posterity will determine its fate.

If I owned a bookstore I would stock Robin d'angels's books but I would display them in the horror section.
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Parasaurolophus

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Re: Cancelling Dr. Seuss
« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2021, 04:24:55 PM »
The depiction in If I Ran The Zoo is indeed problematic.

Yes, but IIRC it's only portions of 1-2 pictures out of the entire book.  I don't recall the words being problematic.  I'm perplexed why they didn't just start selling a revised version with the problematic pieces of those couple pictures cropped out.

Correspondingly, I used to have an old cassette with the soundtrack to the animated Aladdin movie.  The soundtrack they sell now has one problematic line from the first song updated.

That's certainly a possibility. I imagine that the book wasn't really selling well enough on its own to justify the effort
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dismalist

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Re: Cancelling Dr. Seuss
« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2021, 04:40:24 PM »
Yes, it's best to take a picture or two, or a page or two, out of such books, and replace them. The Great Soviet Encyclopedia was updated in that fashion from time to time.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2021, 04:44:57 PM by dismalist »
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marshwiggle

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Re: Cancelling Dr. Seuss
« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2021, 04:51:52 PM »
Yes, it's best to take a picture or two, or a page or two, out of such books, and replace them. The Great Soviet Encyclopedia was updated in that fashion from time to time.

I think that was Winston's job in the Ministry of Truth.
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Caracal

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Re: Cancelling Dr. Seuss
« Reply #20 on: March 12, 2021, 05:07:32 PM »
Yes, it's best to take a picture or two, or a page or two, out of such books, and replace them. The Great Soviet Encyclopedia was updated in that fashion from time to time.

I mean that's sort of how all encyclopedias work...

In general this discussion is so strange. You guys know these are books for kindergarters right? There's a bit of a different standard in terms of troubling content than if we were talking about The Great Gatsby.

dismalist

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Re: Cancelling Dr. Seuss
« Reply #21 on: March 12, 2021, 05:15:41 PM »
Yes, it's best to take a picture or two, or a page or two, out of such books, and replace them. The Great Soviet Encyclopedia was updated in that fashion from time to time.

I mean that's sort of how all encyclopedias work...

In general this discussion is so strange. You guys know these are books for kindergarters right? There's a bit of a different standard in terms of troubling content than if we were talking about The Great Gatsby.

Depends what's on the page!

« Last Edit: March 12, 2021, 05:31:33 PM by dismalist »
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Wahoo Redux

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Re: Cancelling Dr. Seuss
« Reply #22 on: March 12, 2021, 05:42:15 PM »
I mean, look. I grew up on Astérix and Tintin, and I absolutely love them, and look forward to introducing my hatchling to them when the time comes. But there's no question that there's a hefty dose of racism in there (I think it's worse in Tintin,

I loved Tintin too and still have all my books. But man, they are really, really racist. And, of course, Herge was a fascist. There's a decent amount of anti-semitism miked in to Tintin as well. I wouldn't keep my kid from reading it when he gets older, but I'm not sure I'd introduce him to it. This stuff is weird, because, on one hand, I read Tintin as a kid and understood that the depictions of subservient, simple black people with giant lips and tomahawk wielding native Americans were messed up, but still enjoyed it. But I dunno. There are plenty of great graphic novels that aren't just filled with blatant racist and anti-semitic tropes and images.

I just had this brief debate on another forum with a person who refused to believe that Seuss was racist.  Before that I argued with someone on this same forum who argued that because slavery was a historical reality, Gone With the Wind was not a racist movie.

The thing is, the Western World in general was very racist, and our pop-culture reflects this.  We will always find racism and sexism and Orientalism of all kinds if we look back.  We will find racism over and over and over.  People, including writers and artists and filmmakers, simply embraced racism in their works.

The question is whether we can conquer our own time's racism by pointing out what we already know over and over again.

Anybody remember the "‘Mary Poppins,’ and a Nanny’s Shameful Flirting With Blackface"?

dismalist

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Re: Cancelling Dr. Seuss
« Reply #23 on: March 12, 2021, 05:48:44 PM »
Quote
The thing is, the Western World in general was very racist ... .

The West ended slavery, at great expense to many of its members.
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Wahoo Redux

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Re: Cancelling Dr. Seuss
« Reply #24 on: March 12, 2021, 06:46:20 PM »
Quote
The thing is, the Western World in general was very racist ... .

The West ended slavery, at great expense to many of its members.

Is this one of those cars that derails the train?

hmaria1609

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Re: Cancelling Dr. Seuss
« Reply #25 on: March 12, 2021, 06:58:36 PM »
During one of my annual spring conferences attendance at Pratt Library in Baltimore City, one of the library staff mentioned To Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street since the original central library was built facing Mulberry St. When I think of this book that I read as a kid, this little tidbit comes to mind!

mahagonny

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Re: Cancelling Dr. Seuss
« Reply #26 on: March 13, 2021, 04:17:05 AM »
Quote
The thing is, the Western World in general was very racist ... .

The West ended slavery, at great expense to many of its members.

Well, yes, the west ended slavery within its borders but has no control over what goes on in Pakistan or West Africa.
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mahagonny

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Re: Cancelling Dr. Seuss
« Reply #27 on: March 13, 2021, 04:21:43 AM »
Quote
The thing is, the Western World in general was very racist ... .

The West ended slavery, at great expense to many of its members.

Is this one of those cars that derails the train?

Before technology made it possible to bring large numbers of people to another continent, most of those enslaved looked just about like their masters. Racism was cultivated to justify enslaving people because of their race, and not merely because you can through force. For the vast majority of our history slavery was accepted as part of life.

random thought: In let's say the year 1800 the majority (white) did not believe racism was a sin, an idea that today most find ignorant and misguided. What are we doing or thinking today, en masse, that is ignorant and misguided, that will reveal itself in thirty, fifty, 150 years?

Quote
If the Seuss foundation had just quietly stopped publishing them, I doubt there would have been any outcry.

Right, they don't have to give a reason but the elect (John McWhorters' term) is just getting started with its overhaul of our entertainment and teaching culture. Perhaps by announcing the reason the publisher hopes to be looked upon more favorably as we go along. Selling books being a very competitive business. The outcry is more than offset by the desired placating of the activists. During my lifetime there has been tremendous power in an accusation of racism,  but the current phase is there is that same power in the accusation of neutrality over racism.

on edit: Wahoo, you introduced slavery to the thread. I wouldn't go accusing others of derailing just because you have prompted them to share their own thoughts.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2021, 04:44:23 AM by mahagonny »
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marshwiggle

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Re: Cancelling Dr. Seuss
« Reply #28 on: March 13, 2021, 06:16:15 AM »
Yes, it's best to take a picture or two, or a page or two, out of such books, and replace them. The Great Soviet Encyclopedia was updated in that fashion from time to time.

I mean that's sort of how all encyclopedias work...

In general this discussion is so strange. You guys know these are books for kindergarters right? There's a bit of a different standard in terms of troubling content than if we were talking about The Great Gatsby.

If a children's book had one page that described Canadians as people who play hockey and eat poutine, I wouldn't have a case of the vapours and demand its banning, even though I don't do either of those things. Many people in Canada do one or both of those things, and I don't for one microsecond believe that a kid reading that book is going to have a psychic break if they visit Canada and fail to find anyone doing either of those things.

Kindergartner's books often contain magic, talking animals, and so on. Is that "troubling content"?
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Caracal

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Re: Cancelling Dr. Seuss
« Reply #29 on: March 13, 2021, 06:32:54 AM »
Quote
The thing is, the Western World in general was very racist ... .

The West ended slavery, at great expense to many of its members.

This is one of those things people say, which, if you know anything about the history, is just totally meaningless. It is basically akin to saying that the Irish saved civilization, or Jews created the polio vaccine, although it actually has less specificity than those incredibly broad and silly claims.

Who the heck is "the west." It like a club of white leaders who you imagine met in 1830 and decided to end slavery? Because thats....not what happened. Also does "the west" include people of African descent, because they were really crucial in movements to end slavery. And where are we taking about here? Haiti, where slavery was destroyed by a massive slave revolt? The British Empire? The United States where slavery ended during a Civil War where enslaved people basically revolted against the confederacy and played a crucial part in its destruction. Just a silly statement.