Are you upset that a Silicon Valley giant pulled six books by children's artist Dr. Seuss? Don't be! There are plenty of other edifying books you can still buy
I mean, the real problem is that almost every single book or author before our present time (literally our present, as in today) harbored some kind of socially objectionable thought or content in their lives or work. Not a hyperbole - literally everyone in the past was imperfect: abusive, ethnocentric, homophobic, transphobic, religious, crude, sexist, racist, ableist, or exclusionary in some way. Don't worry if you can't make the connection easily, just keep reading harder and the problematicness will reveal itself (e.g. JRR Tolkien is antisemitic because his dwarves are secretly a veiled commentary on Jews).
Right now, the only thing preventing every author and book pre-2021 from being cancelled and pulled off shelves is simply... effort. It takes a whole campaign - you've got to be motivated enough to deploy some big wet victim tears, get a crowd of loud people to high-step behind you, and gain enough critical mass to explode into the media mainstream, like this Suess thing did. But just imagine if cancelling a book were an easy frictionless process, like say if every activist had access to an app that let you pull a book or author from circulation by selecting a reason and tapping a button... most of the world's literature (from the classics to the harlequins) would disappear overnight. All we'd be left with is wordless baby books and impenetrable postmodern academic doorstops.
I follow a bunch of these people on Twitter, and they are implacable. If they had that magical button, they'd push it for every single book above and all the others. Because the world is spinning off its axis and everything's going to shit and nobody with a conscience can do anything substantial to materially improve it anymore, so whining to get our overlords to cancel some financially unimportant villain of the day is the closest they'll ever feel to having power. And each of them will cheer for it until it finally turns on them.
If you'd told me 20 years ago that the Democratic party would be militarizing the Capitol and their progressive allies banning Dr. Suess' books, I wouldn't have laughed, I'd have looked at you very strangely, thinking you were off your rockers. The Republicans circa 2000, with the evangelical wing, perhaps, yes, I could have seen that.
I really don't have much more to say beyond that it's sad and tragic. It's not funny, it's not humorous, it's tragic.
I never would have imagined that I’d feel as much contempt for mainstream Democrats as I once did for the homophobic, racist religious fascists who surrounded me while I was growing up... and I definitely never thought I’d feel angry and depressed about, of all things, Dr. Seuss... but here we are.
Among the (many) gross, depressing points that Very Smart People are making in defense of the memory-holing of Dr. Seuss, these are two that aren’t getting enough pushback:
1) “It’s a shame that the trashy MAGAtards have nothing better to do than pretend to get upset about racist children’s toys.”
Art—even art for young people that becomes hugely commercially successful—is not a “toy” or merely a “product.” Dr. Seuss was an author and artist, a figure of major cultural importance and massive influence. He was not a manufacturer of racist water guns.
In some ways, the reduction of art to “content,” and the elevation of advertising executives to “creatives,” was a necessary preamble to the coming wave of cultural destruction and censorship.
2) “I’ve never heard of these books, and I’m willing to bet that none of you had ever heard of them before this week.”
If I Ran the Zoo is not an obscure book.
And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street is a major work of children’s literature. It wasn’t just Dr. Seuss’s first children’s book; it’s also one of his finest, which means it’s one of the most beautiful and delightful children’s picture books of all time. (I fucking LOVED that book when I was a little kid. After this ugly cancellation, I looked at a PDF to see whether it was actually any good. In other words: I read it for the first time since I was four or five years old. It’s a beautiful book about the imagination of children, and the weirdness of the world as seen by a child. It’s a sweet, joyous, humane book.
True “unchecked privilege” is shrugging off cultural losses like this, pretending that they are meaningless, or using this frightening moment in the progression of corporate censorship as an opportunity to be aloof on social media for the likes and retweets.
We are barreling through 1858. It could be Russia 1915 with COVID taking the place of WWI. Either way, those of you who study history have, I suppose, pondered the 3-5 years before first shots were in a major conflict, “how did the people allow that to happen?” “How did decent human beings sit idle as crazy took over?”
The United States is in “crazy”. I don’t know if it’s the 2nd inning, the 7th inning stretch, or the top of the 9th. I suspect we haven’t hit the half life on the insanity this nation is putting itself through.
But I know where it’s going and it’s not going to end well for millions.
I think we're at the beginning of a bad Ray Bradbury novel. This is 21st Century book burning, no fire trucks required. Beaning Dr. Seuss really frosted me, as did neutering Mr. Potato Head. In an oddly American twist, messing with Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head managed to get through to some people when nothing else had. This isn't minority rule, it's fringe rule, and it's insane.
I notice a tendency of some people on the left to cherry-pick the worst argument from ignoramus's on the right to argue against. It's always something like, "look at these free-market conservatives idiots whining about cancel culture these are private companies they can do what they want..." As if the estate of Theodore Giesel woke up one day and thought "ya know some of these books are racist lets stop publishing them." I think it's more from the outside pressure of CRT activist psychos exerting their newfound power on our culture. Maybe a re-imaging of Matt's famous Goldman Sachs vampire squid analogy is in order:
The world's most powerful critical race theorists act as a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of American culture, relentlessly jamming their blood funnels into anything that smells like racism.
The rich, white and woke are pandering in ways we've never seen just because they can. What a repellent second act for companies I watch rise beginning in 2000. The goal here is not antiracism by now. It's finding ways to punish and humiliate to set an example. The bigger the target the better. What better target than Dr. Seuss. Now his books and his name are a shameful thing. The name will be associated with either racism or those who bowed to cancel culture hysteria. Neither is good.
Liberals are trying to create reactionaries at this point, right?
Nice work Matt, but as plenty of reply guys on Twitter have been declaring, eBay should take this opportunity to pull these books too, as well as those by the likes of Trump; the likes of Jordan Peterson; the likes of Bari Weiss... and maybe even Matt Taibbi!
Seriously though, there's been PDFs of said books going around, and most of them don't even seem to have anything questionable in them, like the aforementioned outdated stereotypes in a couple of them. Leighton Woodhouse posted what he could come up with as the offensive elements of one, and he came up with nothing. Seeing sniveling, anti-comedian brown-nosers like Stephen Colbert declare to his cult "we're just fixing the culture!" is dismaying.
It's no longer surprising to see #resistance-libs come out as free-market libertarians when it comes to eBay's decision, or try to paint the whole thing as a nebulous right-wing talking point, or point to the fact that the books "were pulled by the publisher," as if a team of "sensitivity readers," spurred on by several years of "wrong-think" presumed to be in Seuss's work weren't involved. Ugh.
Just more woke silliness. Good thing it's taking so much attention away from other things like vaccine availability, the lack of min wage increases, Uighars being tortured, Hong Kongers having their basic rights stripped away by the CCP. Why worry about real problems when we can squander our time talking about this?
Quinn the Eskimo
(The Mighty Quinn)
Everybody’s building the big ships and the boats
Some are building monuments
Others, jotting down notes
Ev’rybody’s in despair
Every girl and boy
But when Quinn the Eskimo gets here
Ev’rybody’s gonna jump for joy
Come all without, come all within
You’ll not see nothing like the mighty Quinn
Quite enjoyable, even though I know that no one who needs to understand the point of the joke here will get it.
The complete and utter inconsistency of Cancel/SJW Culture was evident to me right from when I saw it starting, probably 10 years ago. When they're shouting constantly I suppose they can't hear any reasoning against their hypocrisy. At some point I've realized that the only way things will ever shift is when the mainstream media decides the market for the backlash is lucrative enough to shift over to at which point all the current shit stirrers will then claim the opposing side, as they've done already.
Time to ban Brown Sugar by the Stones.
You forgot Mein Kampf. https://www.ebay.com/itm/MEIN-KAMPF-1939-Complete-Unabridged-Annotated-Reynal-Hitchcock/373479460581?hash=item56f51c4ee5:g:NMUAAOSwrAFgPBn3
Lack of reading concerns me more than this.... I put this story in same category as the "THE WAR on CHRISTMAS"
The Dr. Seuss banning is the woke equivalent of strike breakers evicting families from company housing-every cubicle drone and millenial voice of social media engagement is familiar with Dr. Seuss and is thus receiving the message full force-they remember from elementary school and can relate. Hammer of the Witches, Historical Dialecticism, PoZ-that’s for Gen X and older nerds-people on this substack like me!!!!!