Dr Seuss Canceled

    BOSTON (AP) — Six Dr. Seuss books — including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo” — will stop being published because of racist and insensitive imagery, the business that preserves and protects the author’s legacy said Tuesday.

    “These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises told The Associated Press in a statement that coincided with the late author and illustrator’s birthday.

    “Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalog represents and supports all communities and families,” it said.

    The other books affected are “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!,” and “The Cat’s Quizzer.”

    The decision to cease publication and sales of the books was made last year after months of discussion, the company told AP.

    “Dr. Seuss Enterprises listened and took feedback from our audiences including teachers, academics and specialists in the field as part of our review process. We then worked with a panel of experts, including educators, to review our catalog of titles,” it said.

    Books by Dr. Seuss — who was born Theodor Seuss Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 2, 1904 —- have been translated into dozens of languages as well as in braille and are sold in more than 100 countries. He died in 1991.

    He remains popular, earning an estimated $33 million before taxes in 2020, up from just $9.5 million five years ago, the company said. Forbes listed him No. 2 on its highest-paid dead celebrities of 2020, behind only the late pop star Michael Jackson.

    As adored as Dr. Seuss is by millions around the world for the positive values in many of his works, including environmentalism and tolerance, there has been increasing criticism in recent years over the way Blacks, Asians and others are drawn in some of his most beloved children’s books, as well as in his earlier advertising and propaganda illustrations.

    The National Education Association, which founded Read Across America Day in 1998 and deliberately aligned it with Geisel’s birthday, has for several years deemphasized Seuss and encouraged a more diverse reading list for children.




    Agatha Christie was more straightforward 

    Let’s get one thing out of the way. When I ask Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: Why Amazon is still listing on its site for sale Agatha Christie’s classic crime who done it, with its original racially offensive name, Ten Little Niggers, it’s not yet another PC screech for censorship of a beloved crime classic. In fact, I resolutely opposed the demand a few years back to get rid of Mark Twain’s timeless classic, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn because it uses the word nigger countless times and one of its principal characters is “Nigger Jim.”

    I said then it was much ado about nothing because Twain was not a racist. The goal in the book was to show the ugliness an evilness of slavery and to do that he had to use the rawest racist language of his day. That Huck Finn reflected not only the times but was a beautiful poetic, literary gem that readers young and old could learn from and admire for its historic and artistic content and quality. And, in any case, to pull it from libraries and curriculum was censorship in its rawest and ugliest form.

    Christie’s Ten Little Niggers, and Amazon’s sale of it, though, is a horse of a totally different color. The “n word” is not buried in the novel for added literary effect. It’s the cover title in bold letters. In some editions in case the intent is missed there’s a picture of an upper crust white couple with a look of fear and revulsion staring at a semi-naked black boy on a pedestal. In others there’s a circle of Sambo caricatured blacks dancing around in a circle. Christie based the title on a racist poem with this ditty:

    Ten little nigger boys went out to dine;
    One choked his little self and then there were Nine...
    Two little nigger boys sitting in the sun;
    One got frizzled up and then there was One.
    One little nigger boy left all alone;
    He went out and hanged himself and then there were None
    The title was clearly meant to shock and pander to the prevailing racist sentiment of the day. It had absolutely no relation to the story line of the novel.


    It's still not obvious where and how the original title was being sold, since it's last rare publication in the UK under that title (never in the US) was 1980, now 41 years ago (the Huffpost article was written 5 years ago)

    Dr Seuss and Agatha Christie are respected authors. The point is about how some of their original work is viewed today.


    The original title was *never* accepted in the US, so originally appeared in the US as "Then There Were None" and later as "Ten Little Indians". So I still don't know in what context it appeared on Amazon - in the UK or elsewhere? (there's a Russian version criss-titled with the British original).

    Agatha Christie is largely respected, but certainly that title was a major brainfart even for 1939/1940. And while words to 10 Little Indians aren't great, theyre not nearly as horrific as the black version. Of course in a murder mystery that type of horror may be what you want to convey, but it's certainly not very acceptable to build it up on a particular race - again, even in 1939 this was known, though European colonialism didn't really get wrung out until late 60s to 1970s.

    ETA if course Dr Russ' "racism" in Mulberry is including a Chinese guy using chopsticks - oddly enough these are the utensils 90+% of Chinese used in the 1920's and largely even today, while he referred to a "Chinaman", which seems similar to "Irishman", or "Dutchman" (the name of many a boat?),so I'll be honest I never thought of this as racist as I would "Chinee", and maybe the slant of the eyes was too much...

    Again the point was about how works have been viewed over time

    References to things like "nigger in the woodpile" were included in U.S. versions


    "Woodpile" was in some versions of the play, not the book. So did we just switch subjects? Largely what's sold on Amazon is the book.

    Didn't Christie write the play?

    Uh, yes, but many more people bought the book.

    Many if not all rare book vendors list on Amazon. When you search for a book by title that's been in publication for a long time you will therefore get results that include current editions AND old rare editions that are collected at a much higher price.

    That's all that happened here: Amazon sells both current books and old rare books from dealers of rare books.

    Old racist titles are sold for big bucks because people collect them, most notably lots of black people..I know rmrd knows this, that black collectors of racist collectibles are the main ones that push prices high.

    Here's the old rare version of being sold on rare book collector aggregate site Biblio.com. Note they have now added the politically-correct provision that any racist books they offer, they donate the "profit," (or their commission) even though, like Amazon, they are not the actual seller but just a platform for sellers


    Obviously you can see from the prices that the original title is very rare and therefore valuable, most of them destroyed, hard to find.

    If you scroll down you will see fascimile editions recreated in plain cover for scholars who might want to study the original edition of racist books. They are not mass marketed, not "published" in the usual manner, these are often made by people who also reprint other old out-of-print books for scholars who can't afford the collectible version.

    This is exactly the way books like "Mein Kampf" by Adolph Hittler is sold if you do not want an annotated version. And unpublished PHD theses for that matter.

    Edit to add: it is common for facsimile and reprint makers of out-of-print books to list on Amazon too. You will get therefore get their offerings if you search for a title as well. They are not mass market publishers, they cater to people who need to have an older version of a book and cannot get the older version because it is rare. They are usually plan text and plain cover, though if illustrations are important to interpretation some might offer that as well.

    National Geographic is next !!


    In “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” an Asian person is portrayed wearing a conical hat, holding chopsticks, and eating from a bowl.

    “If I Ran the Zoo” includes a drawing of two bare-footed African men wearing what appear to be grass skirts with their hair tied above their heads.


    Frank Luntz (who is known for being a pollster for Republicans hence NCD and rmrd types would say we must not listen to him) says:

    Well, society did "cancel" those books, rather than confronting whatever was cringy in our past. We used to think we looked dorky and laughable in our earlier guises. Now we're all toxic and unacceptable. I mean, sure, some things are too awful to paper over. But part of it is a lack of respect for what's aged as well. Instead have to blot out the sun.

    The estate "simply" decided to discontinue 6 books, because they received pushback from the public.

    The books were canceled.


    I'm with him, spending time on this story is taking silly culture wars bait

    The @washingtonpost totally blew it. Not a single Dr. Seuss story on the front page. The lead is "FBI chief stresses domestic threats." Other top stories are about vaccines and voting rights. Don't they read https://t.co/sNpCifqCFr?! pic.twitter.com/dzHaM6ng3Z

    — Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) March 3, 2021

    THINGS GO OUT OF STYLE ALL THE TIME and smart companies stop trying to sell what isn't selling. Not re-publishing a book from a line of books that you still own full rights to doesn't mean one couldn't publish it again if people are clamoring to buy it.

    I betcha if there were a flood of orders for these 6 right now, they'd change their mind! Fuck, outrage and protesting had nothing to do with it, people's taste changed and they stopped ordering these particular Dr. Seuss titles.

    NASCAR wasn't forced by protests or cancel culture to change their image, they instead decided it was past time to grow their market in another direction.

    This is the marketplace, not politics or academia. This actually reflects how culture changes, and it's not through protests, law or force, like it or not.

    There's all kinds of terrible things "The Woke" are doing in academia and a lot of institutions in our society, this is not it.

    If someone's really outraged over this "cancellation" it's time to start shelling out cold hard cash to back it up and buying some of these Seuss books wherever they are still in stock. Meanwhile they are not being pulled by libraries just from a stupid politically correct reading program that really does want to try to force kids to learn certain things and not others.


    Yglesias gets it, he's joking but this would be the real thing, this is the type of thing The Woke are doing, canceling real history, hiding realities of history behind new narratives

    The children’s book that truly needs to be canceled is the colonialist propaganda of Babar.

    — Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) March 3, 2021

    Edit to add: though he's joking I would not at all be surprised to hear that someone is doing a PHD thesis on this topic right now. It's exactly this that's happening: erase the past.

    Yes genius Mullah Omar's narrative of history to be taught to all citizens did not include human imagery nor Buddhism, not to mention his genius interpretation of the narrative of Koran prohibited not just music-making but kite-flying...

    I'm not so concerned, as i didn't know these 6 books existed, but still Seuss is obviously a very well-known and well-sold author, and just putting part of his output out if commission would normally be a fairly big deal, especially for a foundation promoting his memory. I imagine St Exupéry maybe said some un-PC things in travels to North Africa. George Orwell certainly had his controversial side. Sartre lived by it. Which of their works should disappear in this digital age? The attacks on Margaret Sanger have been horrific considering the good she did. Think of all the political cartoonists who lived by caricature - will we let certain parts of Thomas Nast et al's work "expire" (not "cancel") because the humor in that image or collection no longer sits right by us? Zettabytes of data produced each day, but we're going to start promoting holes in our historical record? Ringo famously said, "Oi've got 'a 'ole in me pocket" - i didn't realize he was talking about a subversive insurrectional act, fighting back against Blue Meanie oppression (did they remind of some ethnic group? quick, scrub), but yes, his metaphorical act of resistance resonates 50 years later.

    Took a look at the Zoo book - it's got curly shoed pashas and funny Frenchmen and big bearded Russian cossacks and Chinese wearing clogs and Arabs and Africans. The Africans could be toned down a bit, but still, it's all pretty much 19th century caricature - no one gets spared, and no one looked like that when the book came out. But is it wrong to portray Africans as they were?

    Mulberry Street had an Indian guy in turban riding an elephant ( i had one of those come down in the water with me while swimming in India - much later than 19th Century). There's a guy riding a Roman chariot - should Latins/Italians be upset? Sure, Chinese guy - downplay the coolie hat & pigtail and especially decrease slant to the eyes, and call him Chinese man" - cadence is the same as Chinaman. But yes, Chinese largely ate with chopsticks at that time. Is that a problem?


    I'm ashamed to admit that I always used chopsticks when eating out in Japanese restaurants during the two years I spent in Japan. I never requested a fork. My only excuse is that cultural appropriation wasn't well know or understood in those days and I was never offered or given a fork even though I was clearly white.

    Racist of you not to even ask, dont you think? You should have committed seppuku, but that would've been cultural appropriation, so you shouldn't have, but still...

    And why do you mention Japan when we were discussing China? Totally different, no? #AsiansSoWhite

    NEA has been backing way from Seuss

    A group of advisers suggested taking the books off the shelf

    You advice would be to spend money on new artwork?

    Dr Seuss is pretty iconic. Delete a book or touch up a single offensive Chinese illustration?

    Apparently the company didn't think these 6 books were iconic

    Fox News is having a meltdown too 

    Conservative media turned 2021’s National Read Across America Day into an epic culture war meltdown.

    On Tuesday morning and into the afternoon, programming on Fox News and Fox Business ceaselessly harped upon the purported “cancellation” of legendary children’s author Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, as the latest example of woke liberalism run amok — conveniently ignoring the fact that Dr. Seuss has not, in fact, been canceled.

    “The cancel culture is canceling Dr. Seuss,” lamented Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade, adding later, “It’s out of control.”

    “People are too scared,” echoed co-host Ainsley Earhardt. “They don’t want to be involved in all of this, so they’d rather just cancel it all ... the places we are going in this country right now.”


    I'm not melting down, thanks.

    I'm commenting. I know you hate it when someone breaches your black wall.

    suggested correction: black wall bubble

    This sort of thing is silly - will just result in a huge counter wave of nostalgia for things that were previously cliched.

    You would not remove the books because of fear of a backlash?

    Nice, Orion pegs Streisand Effect

    Rupar thought the FoxNews over reaction was funny


    The NEA program has been de-emphasizing "Seuss" for several years to address a more diverse group of students.

    Times change.

    The books are still in their original form in Spain, Germany, and Russia.

    Edit to add:

    The source of the concern

    As Cobb parent and former teacher Charis Granger-Mbugua wrote in a column in this space Monday on her concerns about those Dr. Seuss books, “Black and African characters in his books are often depicted as monkeys and apes, while Asian characters are said to be ‘helpers that all wear their eyes at a slant’ from ‘countries no one can spell.’”


    Lots of lefties and righties eating culture wars troll bait while publishing company laughs all the way to the bank


    Is the publishing company selling the book at inflated prices?

    So if they're putting Spanish in Dr Seuss' mouth, they could fix 1 or 2 drawings out of hundreds.

    Experts on Dr. Seuss thrilled! This one even got the Room Rater's attention:

    Pretty soon we'll see colored U.S. maps depicting "The 6 books,for or agin", suggesting civil war soon.

    I have several books of art work by famous artists I like. One book in my collection is by children's book illustrator Arthur Rackham. Kids books can be very good art, though I've never found the crude drawings in books like Suess' very interesting.

    Rackham's work quite famous indeed, espec. among connoisseurs of illustrations for children (it is an active collecting area for decades, way before like anime and concept art). Original art by him quite valuable for quite some time, more popular in the UK of course, like way way more popular, see here for an idea http://arthur-rackham-society.org/

    Something I wanted to add - a friend of my mom had a huge collection of antique items. Among them was an Amos and Andy video tape, which I got to watch when I took interest in old time radio after hearing it on the radio during the night.

    The video tape, although made afterwards, had a bunch of 1970s footage where people in tight clothes, afros, bowl cuts, bell bottoms and other weird styles talked about how they viewed the overt racism of Amos and Andy:



    While it might seem like Amos and Andy is obviously racist now, most of the show's run was on the radio and therefore not in blackface. It could be rationalized by some fans. The cartoon Tintin was made in to films very recently and had an overtly racist legacy, especially in print (although the cartoon had its share of stereotypes).

    The 1970s was a period of malaise and social tension after abrupt social shifts, just as has occurred in recent years. Dr. Seuss, James Gunn, Marilyn Manson and other canceled art and artists will return with a new following, albeit social warning labels attached.


    You see the 1970s as malaise and not progress?

    Progress happened in the 1970s


    Amos n Andy faced a boycott from the NAACP and was pulled off the air.

    There were better offerings in "I, Spy":and even "Julia"

    Edit to add:

    "Roots" came in 1977


    Episodes of Amos N Andy are available on DVD and YouTube

    Uh, "I, Spy" and "Julia" were in the 60's. Maybe ask Orion what he means by malaise - i doubt he was referring to Satchel Paige and Frank Robinson, or even Roots. What happened in Detroit? Gary? Philadelphia? Cleveland? St Louis? How'd southern civil rights shape up after MLK's death until say Jimmy Carter took office in 1977? 

    Orion, what do you mean by malaise?

    Amos N Andy ended in 1960.

    The shows that followed were better.


    January 19 Harrell Carswell nomination defeated

    July 1. Kenneth Gibson became the first black mayor of an Eastern city when he assumed the post in Newark, New Jersey.

    August 7. There was a shootout during an attempted escape in a San Rafael, California, courthouse. Implicated in the incident, Angela Davis went into hiding to avoid arrest. Davis would be acquitted of all charges on June 4, 1972.


    March 24. The Southern Regional Council reported that desegregation in Southern schools was the rule, not the exception. The report also pointed out that the dual school system was far from dismantled.

    April 20 Busing upheld


    Shirley Chisholm runs for President 


    May 29. Thomas Bradley was elected the first black mayor of Los Angeles.

    October 16. Maynard H. Jackson was elected the first black mayor of Atlanta.


    April 8. Henry Aaron hit his 715th home run to become the all-time leading hitter of home runs.

    July 1. The largest single gift to date from a black organization was the $132,000 given by the Links, Inc., to the United Negro College Fund.


    Black History Month established


    February 3. This was the eighth and final night for the miniseries based on Alex Haley's Roots. This final episode achieved the highest ratings ever for a single program.


    The riots in the 1960s were much bigger

    The 1970s didn't have the assassinations of the 1960s, that was malaise.

    The Carswell defeat, the election of mayors, the Presidential run of Chisholm, and the establishment of Black History Month were celebrations. Roots was inspirational.

    My, that's a pretty scintillating series of events to keep us on the edge of our chairs. I know when to admit I'm beat.

    I'm glad you recognize that facts

    Progress is incremental 

    Ask Black women in office and running for office about the impact of Shirley Chisholm 

    Oh, I will - you can count on it.

    Here is a start

    Kamala Harris enters 2020 bid with tribute to woman who broke barriers

    California senator’s logo is a tribute to Shirley Chisholm, the first woman and African American to seek the nomination for president in a major political party, in 1972


    Edit to add:

    Ayanna Pressley

    Pressley announced Monday that her new congressional office will be the same one Chisholm, the first Black woman ever elected to Congress, once occupied.

    Chisholm was elected in 1968 to represent a district in New York and held the seat until 1983. She also was the first Black candidate to run for a major party’s nomination for president, running as a Democrat in 1972. She died in 2005.

    Chisholm has long been an inspiration to Pressley, who tweeted out a photo posing under her idol’s portrait in November.

    “Shirley Chisholm has been a shero of mine since I was a girl,” Pressley told HuffPost on Wednesday in a statement. “Her commitment to fighting injustice and lifting up the voices of the disenfranchised is an inspiration and an example I hope to follow.”

    “I am humbled to occupy the same space she did on Capitol Hill, and I am deeply thankful to my colleague, Congresswoman-elect Katie Hill of California, for so graciously offering to switch offices,” she added.




    Feb 26, 2018

    Shirley Chisholm broke barriers so the rest of us could too. https://twitter.com/proviewsusa/status/967886461830877184



    Wow, iconography. What'll they think of next?

    Tintin in the Congo drew similar criticism and debate through the years (though it's much much worse than Dr Seuss).

    Racism, colonialism, animal cruelty.

    Some don't give Hergé a pass, saying he deliberately ignored contemporary discussion that conflicted with his world view, and often would source a single book (e.g. Sovietism) on which to base his new book. In any case, Belgium's colonial position changed greatly 1930-1960 and then after, not to mention Civil Rights knock-on effects from the US.

    It's also interesting the much more drastic rewrites, outtakes, and other forms of editorial control over the decades (I'm reminded of Burgess's publisher removing the last chapter of Clockwork Orange - in that case because it was too nice and killed the excellent shock value he'd built up as a weak anti-climax - sorry, Anthony - sometimes editor knows best)



    psssst: important not to tell anyone that cares but fact is the Potato Heads still have gender roles:

    While researching why people are pretending to be mad about Dr. Seuss being “cancelled,” I learned for the first time that I had been previously misled about the Mr. Potato Head cancellation. https://t.co/V1DqLHQhuF pic.twitter.com/VX0wuW154G

    — Wesley (@WesleyLowery) March 3, 2021

    edit to add missing word

    Live on? Let me be your Spud Muffin?

    And what happens when kids find out what getting "potato head" means? Take a walk on the wild side indeed.

    Nothing like a typical sexist Hollywood scene as embodied by a fake French skunk as setting people off.
    Strike a blow for skunk feminism! Attractive Brazilian starlet upset doesn't get to slap him!!!
    But, we'll always have Space Jam I. (And men who can't take no for an answer.)
    Meantime Biden's doing good things, so let the distractions continue - bread & circuses.


    Let's get physical. Teen spirit?

    (close encounters of the athletic kind, expressing & exploring the ambivalence of human physicality)

    (no French skunks were harmed in the making of this film. Though Pepe's a lousy skier)


    Why Dr Seuss's important

    Sometimes you just have to back up to kindergarten level

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