News:

Welcome to the new (and now only) Fora!

Main Menu

Cancelling Dr. Seuss

Started by apl68, March 12, 2021, 09:36:21 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

Sun_Worshiper

Quote from: dismalist on March 14, 2021, 12:46:25 PM
QuoteIn this case there has not been any "cancelling" by the left, but rather a business decision by the estate to discontinue production of the books.

And this business decision was wise because?

Because most consumers don't like racism

dismalist

Quote from: Sun_Worshiper on March 14, 2021, 02:06:46 PM
Quote from: dismalist on March 14, 2021, 12:46:25 PM
QuoteIn this case there has not been any "cancelling" by the left, but rather a business decision by the estate to discontinue production of the books.

And this business decision was wise because?

Because most consumers don't like racism

Nah, no mention of consumers or declining sales. Rather, a response to invited experts' opinions in the form of a virtue signal. Wise business decision to prevent potential future attacks.
That's not even wrong!
--Wolfgang Pauli

Wahoo Redux

Quote from: ciao_yall on March 14, 2021, 01:09:05 PM
Mr. Geisel and his publishers, likely all educated white people, probably saw the world through this lens.

Had someone Black, Asian or otherwise pointed out at the time that these images somehow stereotyping or objectifying, one can imagine the puzzled look on the faces of Geisel and his league. "But that's what they look like, isn't it?"

Dahl's original "Oompa Loompas" were an imaginary African tribe he made up. 

As a kid my family would take me to "Sambo's Restaurant," and I remember that I had the "Little Black Sambo" book in my bedroom when I was a child.

The Lone Ranger's kemosabe "Tonto" has a name derived from the Spanish slang for "fool" or "stupid" (but at least the original TV show hired a Native American actor and not Johnny Depp).

I'll say it again, our pop-culture used to reflect our "Western" (N.America, Brit Isles, and European imperialist) cultures' implicit racism.

We should know that this was simply the way we did things for many generations, but somehow we don't, and we seem to want to correct these outrages now.     
Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To flutter--and the Bird is on the Wing.

dismalist

QuoteThe Lone Ranger's kemosabe "Tonto" has a name derived from the Spanish slang for "fool" or "stupid" ... .

And from Western Apache koun ľnde ("wild rough people").
That's not even wrong!
--Wolfgang Pauli

mahagonny

#49
QuoteWe should know that this was simply the way we did things for many generations, but somehow we don't, and we seem to want to correct these outrages now.   

For example, by having the First Lady Michelle Obama declare that Beyonce, who sells pornography to the nation's children, is a role model for girls, because she's a successful black woman? Is this some kind of reparations gesture, or is Obama really that dishonest and shallow? Whatever the reason, it's gross, and the left and democrats think it's just dandy.

Thing is (1) we're in a culture war, (2) bigotry is far from the only ugly, mean or hurtful thing, and probably not the worst thing, that people do to each other, and (3) consequently fixating inordinately on theories and realities of oppression means some of the worst people will use the opportunity to aggrandize themselves. For example the professor who went ballistic when someone asked for the Women's Lingerie Floor on the elevator. And it's a mania.

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/05/07/when-one-scholar's-lame-joke-another's-offensive-comment

Wahoo Redux

Quote from: dismalist on March 14, 2021, 06:53:29 PM
QuoteThe Lone Ranger's kemosabe "Tonto" has a name derived from the Spanish slang for "fool" or "stupid" ... .

And from Western Apache koun ľnde ("wild rough people").

The word in Spanish is pretty specific.

My father, who came of-age in the Eisenhower era, was a very good man.  He was very intellectual.  He was also a former Army special forces officer pre-Vietnam War, and he had a very particular reaction to any criticism of American culture that was pre-Rock'n'Roll, which he hated, or tied to the military, the government, or Americana.  He was a very proud veteran and government worker who could be driven close to rage by criticisms such as those in this thread.  He once admitted to me that he saw those John Wayne films and wanted to become a war hero.  Whenever race or sexism came up his mouth went tight as a trap and I could see the steam building between his ears.

I never understood this reaction because he was very quick to denounce Southern racism or Jim Crow and considered the antebellum slave owners to be, in his own words, "the scum of the earth"...but he would get very angry if one tried to tie any of these historical facts to the United States of America.

It was a bit like the reaction of fervent religious people to criticism of their canonical beliefs.

My dad only started to question his double-think after his beloved little brother, who was a Vietnam vet, began displaying severe repressed PTSD in his 50s and 60s, and after my dad and I had had a number of superheated cultural debates, sometimes about Rock'n'Roll.

I imagine all cultures have people who feel the need to contradict anything, particularly overt evidence, that is damaging or embarrassing to the groupthink, but I don't understand it.
Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To flutter--and the Bird is on the Wing.

Sun_Worshiper

Quote from: dismalist on March 14, 2021, 02:22:27 PM
Quote from: Sun_Worshiper on March 14, 2021, 02:06:46 PM
Quote from: dismalist on March 14, 2021, 12:46:25 PM
QuoteIn this case there has not been any "cancelling" by the left, but rather a business decision by the estate to discontinue production of the books.

And this business decision was wise because?

Because most consumers don't like racism

Nah, no mention of consumers or declining sales. Rather, a response to invited experts' opinions in the form of a virtue signal. Wise business decision to prevent potential future attacks.

Got it, so they cancelled themselves.

mahagonny

#52
Quote from: Sun_Worshiper on March 14, 2021, 09:31:14 PM
Quote from: dismalist on March 14, 2021, 02:22:27 PM
Quote from: Sun_Worshiper on March 14, 2021, 02:06:46 PM
Quote from: dismalist on March 14, 2021, 12:46:25 PM
QuoteIn this case there has not been any "cancelling" by the left, but rather a business decision by the estate to discontinue production of the books.

And this business decision was wise because?

Because most consumers don't like racism

Nah, no mention of consumers or declining sales. Rather, a response to invited experts' opinions in the form of a virtue signal. Wise business decision to prevent potential future attacks.

Got it, so they cancelled themselves.

In addition to agreeing with dismalist's assessment (which I actually posted first, upthread), I'll add: it's a purging of white guilt ritual that pretty much always gets you a little bump in your bank account of bigotry-free status. Sort of like showing you've been tested for COVID before going to work. This happens regularly and is done by almost all American businesses and public figures, irrespective of whether the thing that's getting canceled has been shown to have any detrimental effect on anyone.

Re: John Wayne. We can have a field day with him over considerations for cancelling. In his day everybody smoked cigarettes in the movies. The Marlboro Man was  a Wayne knockoff. Wayne of course smoked a lot in real life and ended up with one lung. Should we cancel all the chain smokers or even just the ones who paid dearly for it: Humphrey Bogart, Nat King Cole, Arthur Godfrey, Leonard Bernstein, Johnny Carson? Or could it be that children today can watch old movies and television and simply process the experience as 'that's how we lived back then, long ago. And now things have changed.' Again, bigotry is not the only harmful thing people do and not the only thing that might influence kids in ways we don't want.

Quote
Quote from: Liquidambar on March 12, 2021, 01:43:31 PM
Quote from: Hegemony on March 12, 2021, 11:16:14 AM
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.
QuoteI'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.

Isn't that revisionist history? How would you feel if people did that to your work after you're dead?

marshwiggle

Quote from: Sun_Worshiper on March 14, 2021, 09:31:14 PM
Quote from: dismalist on March 14, 2021, 02:22:27 PM
Quote from: Sun_Worshiper on March 14, 2021, 02:06:46 PM
Quote from: dismalist on March 14, 2021, 12:46:25 PM
QuoteIn this case there has not been any "cancelling" by the left, but rather a business decision by the estate to discontinue production of the books.

And this business decision was wise because?

Because most consumers don't like racism

Nah, no mention of consumers or declining sales. Rather, a response to invited experts' opinions in the form of a virtue signal. Wise business decision to prevent potential future attacks.

Got it, so they cancelled themselves.

How do you tell the difference between people doing this because they've actually changed their thinking and their actions are changing in consequence, versus people doing it for fear of social disapproval and/or punishment even though they have no particular change of heart?

And the history of totalitarian regimes everywhere include a big emphasis on the latter. Is the fact that it's technically "voluntary" enough to decide that it's no big deal?
It takes so little to be above average.

Caracal

Quote from: marshwiggle on March 15, 2021, 05:32:39 AM
Quote from: Sun_Worshiper on March 14, 2021, 09:31:14 PM
Quote from: dismalist on March 14, 2021, 02:22:27 PM
Quote from: Sun_Worshiper on March 14, 2021, 02:06:46 PM
Quote from: dismalist on March 14, 2021, 12:46:25 PM
QuoteIn this case there has not been any "cancelling" by the left, but rather a business decision by the estate to discontinue production of the books.

And this business decision was wise because?

Because most consumers don't like racism

Nah, no mention of consumers or declining sales. Rather, a response to invited experts' opinions in the form of a virtue signal. Wise business decision to prevent potential future attacks.

Got it, so they cancelled themselves.

How do you tell the difference between people doing this because they've actually changed their thinking and their actions are changing in consequence, versus people doing it for fear of social disapproval and/or punishment even though they have no particular change of heart?

And the history of totalitarian regimes everywhere include a big emphasis on the latter. Is the fact that it's technically "voluntary" enough to decide that it's no big deal?

It certainly makes the comparison to totalitarianism absurd.

Your basic argument seems to be that there's something new, alarming and worrying about people moderating their behavior and language based on how others are going to perceive it and the potential consequences of that perception. It's a bad faith argument. Nobody believes that. I could attach a giant swastika flag to my car if I wanted to. I'm guessing it would lead to a lot of social disapproval. The government couldn't punish me for it, but I'm betting if I took my Swastika flag car to school, I wouldn't have a job much longer.

Really, all of this is just a cover for people who are worried that their ideas are going to come to be seen as socially unacceptable. Its rather telling that rather than trying to defend those ideas or beliefs, all we get is a lot of whining about how terrible it is that someone could face social or professional consequences for saying things that others find repugnant.

Wahoo Redux

#55
Quote from: Caracal on March 15, 2021, 07:31:59 AM
Its rather telling that rather than trying to defend those ideas or beliefs, all we get is a lot of whining about how terrible it is that someone could face social or professional consequences for saying things that others find repugnant.

I love your post, but...well...we have seen a rash of people whose careers actually are threatened by saying things like "all lives matter," which many find rightly offensive, I think, but is a topical political opinion nevertheless. 

We can't pretend there is not a PC mania out there that is ALSO dangerous.
Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To flutter--and the Bird is on the Wing.

marshwiggle

Quote from: Caracal on March 15, 2021, 07:31:59 AM
Really, all of this is just a cover for people who are worried that their ideas are going to come to be seen as socially unacceptable. Its rather telling that rather than trying to defend those ideas or beliefs, all we get is a lot of whining about how terrible it is that someone could face social or professional consequences for saying things that others find repugnant.

To a certain extent, that's correct. History has shown that ideas that are perfectly acceptable in one place and time may be completely beyond the pale in another.  It's a safe bet that everyone will at some point in their life hold some "socially unacceptable" belief in some context. A society that discourages hostility to people purely for the views they express, rather than for their actions, is a much better place to live than one where either the government or the mob can basically scare people into silence.

There was a column in the Globe and Mail on Saturday pointing out that many people seem more unwilling to forgive someone's inappropriate tweet than they would be to forgive previous criminal activity, including some violent crime. That is insane.
It takes so little to be above average.

Sun_Worshiper

Quote from: marshwiggle on March 15, 2021, 05:32:39 AM
Quote from: Sun_Worshiper on March 14, 2021, 09:31:14 PM
Quote from: dismalist on March 14, 2021, 02:22:27 PM
Quote from: Sun_Worshiper on March 14, 2021, 02:06:46 PM
Quote from: dismalist on March 14, 2021, 12:46:25 PM
QuoteIn this case there has not been any "cancelling" by the left, but rather a business decision by the estate to discontinue production of the books.

And this business decision was wise because?

Because most consumers don't like racism

Nah, no mention of consumers or declining sales. Rather, a response to invited experts' opinions in the form of a virtue signal. Wise business decision to prevent potential future attacks.

Got it, so they cancelled themselves.

How do you tell the difference between people doing this because they've actually changed their thinking and their actions are changing in consequence, versus people doing it for fear of social disapproval and/or punishment even though they have no particular change of heart?

And the history of totalitarian regimes everywhere include a big emphasis on the latter. Is the fact that it's technically "voluntary" enough to decide that it's no big deal?

Totalitarianism? Lol. Get a grip man. We're talking about a publisher making a decision to stop printing new copies of racist books.

Look, the company chose to stop printing books that they decided are racially insensitive (with some advising from teachers - how scary!). They did that because they don't want to be seen as a racist company, because being seen as a racist company isn't good for sales. You can blame the left for creating an atmosphere where racism is frowned on (racism should be frowned on, of course), but none of that matters unless consumers are moved. The company thinks consumers will prefer to buy from a company that disavows racism, so they made the choice that reflects that.

marshwiggle

Quote from: Sun_Worshiper on March 15, 2021, 08:22:36 AM


Totalitarianism? Lol. Get a grip man. We're talking about a publisher making a decision to stop printing new copies of racist books.

Look, the company chose to stop printing books that they decided are racially insensitive (with some advising from teachers - how scary!). They did that because they don't want to be seen as a racist company, because being seen as a racist company isn't good for sales. You can blame the left for creating an atmosphere where racism is frowned on (racism should be frowned on, of course), but none of that matters unless consumers are moved. The company thinks consumers will prefer to buy from a company that disavows racism, so they made the choice that reflects that.

So if a children's book in another country has a bit about Americans, and shows them in cowboy hats riding horses, is that racist? If it shows a French person wearing a beret and eating a baguette is that racist? If it shows a Pacific islander (from any number of small nations) in a fishing boat, is that racist? If shows a Canadian playing hockey, is that racist?

Is showing a woman in a dress sexist?  Is showing domestic assault as a man attacking a woman sexist?

At what point does showing an individual exhibiting some stereotypes of a particular group to which they belong count as some sort of bigotry? What kind of disclaimer would be needed to clarify that any specific individual from that group might not, in fact, exhibit any of those characteristics?


It takes so little to be above average.

ciao_yall

Quote from: marshwiggle on March 15, 2021, 08:43:57 AM

So if a children's book in another country has a bit about Americans, and shows them in cowboy hats riding horses, is that racist? If it shows a French person wearing a beret and eating a baguette is that racist? If it shows a Pacific islander (from any number of small nations) in a fishing boat, is that racist? If shows a Canadian playing hockey, is that racist?

Is showing a woman in a dress sexist?  Is showing domestic assault as a man attacking a woman sexist?

At what point does showing an individual exhibiting some stereotypes of a particular group to which they belong count as some sort of bigotry? What kind of disclaimer would be needed to clarify that any specific individual from that group might not, in fact, exhibit any of those characteristics?

When they come from a perceived place of superiority, condescending and mocking to the culture being represented.