So for the past few days, I’ve watched people clutch their pearls and display overt outrage that the estate of Dr. Seuss has removed six books from its catalog, based on the books containing unsuitable and racist imagery. And when people start freaking out over Dr. Seuss – trust me, they’ve not canceled Green Eggs and Ham, they’ve not canceled Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, and they’ve surely not canceled The Cat in the Hat or Yertle the Turtle or Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now? (although that last one is essentially an allegory for the 1973 Richard Nixon / Watergate scandal, fight me if you disagree).
But yeah, there are people out there who actually believe that President Biden himself ordered the removal of the books from circulation. Yeah, didn’t happen. Biden’s too busy getting the COVID relief package into functionality and undoing the complete clusterfuck of the past four years.
Trust me, what was acceptable years ago has shown, over time, to be completely unacceptable, and we change our times and we acknowledge moving forward. But I would wager that the same people who are up in arms for six minor Dr. Seuss books (two of which haven’t been in print in 20 years) are the same people who would argue that the following books be removed from high school and public libraries.
You know, books like, oh, The Catcher in the Rye or The Grapes of Wrath or Lord of the Flies or Of Mice and Men, all of which were successfully challenged and removed from several public school libraries and curricula. George Orwell’s two greatest books, 1984 and Animal Farm were also yanked out of the library at one time or another. The works of John Updike and Kurt Vonnegut and Toni Morrison and Alice Walker and Ernest Hemingway were also treated with censorship and deletion.
These are the same people who are up in arms because, upon its broadcast by the Disney+ streaming channel, there are now content warning notices on episodes of The Muppet Show. Well, yeah, considering that there was some adult humor in that program that hasn’t aged well, and isn’t really considered family friendly in this day and age. They’re also the same people who want Disney to put Song of the South back on the channel, while at the same time are gnashing their teeth over a tiny reference in the Beauty and the Beast live-action remake that one of that movie’s characters is gay. Ugh.
These are the same people who are now saying that we should not remove Pepe le Pew and Speedy Gonzales from the Warner Bros. syndicated cartoons, while not realizing that Warner Bros. already has pulled what they called the “Censored Eleven,” which includes episodes with such titles as Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips and Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarves. Both of those have cringe-worthy anti-Asian and anti-Black stereotypes that are repugnant in any generation.
Trust me, the same people who were screaming to cancel Netflix over their airing of the film Cuties are the same ones who will binge-watch a Toddlers and Tiaras marathon. So there you go.
But getting back to Dr. Seuss. You know who took those books out of circulation? It was the Estate of Dr. Seuss itself. They were the ones. They’re in charge of what gets published and what doesn’t. That’s why there isn’t a “children’s exclusive” book that features Seuss’ early 1940’s war propaganda drawings out there. They’re not suitable for today’s time.
In other words, there are too many people out there who kvetch over the speck in their neighbor’s eye, while at the same time completely ignoring the log in their own vision. You know where that phrase came from? The Bible. Which, by the way, has also been challenged and removed from several public school libraries. Dude, have you read the Song of Solomon chapters?
Trust me, that’s some straight-up old testament Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, right there.
I think it’s TCM who is going to be showing movies such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Mickey Rooney’s bucktooth Asian) and GWTW with some sort of contextual discussion. Actually, I’d like the same done with Song of the South.
The “distress” over content warning for the Muppets reminds me of people who complain, “I used to ride before there were seatbelts and I turned out fine.” That was then, and we’re (presumably) smarter people. Tiger Woods would be dead with a seatbelt and airbags.
People who have never read those 6 books of Dr. Seuss suddenly are Suessian experts. The same people who could care less about the 22 accusations of sexual assault against Donald Trump considered themselves the arbiters of morality. That ship has sailed for them long ago..
The only one of the cancelled six I had actually heard of was the Mulberry Street book. Seen it in libraries, and was stunned no one thought to adapt it for television, after they’d adapted The Lorax, Green Eggs & Ham, Daisy-Head Mayzie, The Butter Battle Book, Horton Hears a Who (which was first adapted by WB as a Merrie Melodies short), and, of course, the Grinch.
Oh, and Chuck? Marvin K. Mooney would today be an allegory for Donald Trump, but that’s just me. I think.
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