A few years ago, a couple read all 50 of the Dr. Seuss books and selected six they felt were offensive. They contacted Dr. Seuss Enterprises, and eventually it was determined that the books were “hurtful and wrong” and the decision was made that they would no longer be published.

This is not the same as banning a book, but the results are just the same. The lifespan of a popular children’s book in a public library is not long. And once one of these books is no longer repairable, it cannot be replaced. So these books are not banned but also not available.

The earliest book of the six was published in 1937 and the last was published in 1975, and they are all drawn in the typical Dr. Seuss style which is to say, cartoons. When they were originally published, 84 to 45 years ago, they were acceptable. But because we now live in a country that thinks differently, they are not to some people.

Dr. Seuss Enterprises could have gone in another direction. It could have put a disclaimer on the front of the books stating that they were written many decades ago and that some readers might find a few illustrations offensive. Parents could then make their own decisions.

Getting rid of books because a few people are offended is a dangerous act. There will always be someone who is offended by some book. I can think of several works that could cause offense: “The Taming of the Shew” (depiction of women), “The Merchant of Venice” (anti-Semitism), “Macbeth” (unflattering portrayal of woman having a psychotic episode), “Romeo and Juliet” (14 year old in relationship with older boy, adolescent suicide), the “Harry Potter” series (non-supportive portrayal of Lord Voldemort who was of mixed race, muggle/human, and had a very deprived childhood), the Bible (violence, never-ending wars, labelling of individuals with a disease as “unclean,” unfavorable depiction of women, teenage pregnancy, torture, I could go on and on). How many of these would you ban?

If you are offended by a book, do not buy it, do not read it and respect others’ right to do the same. And if you care about books and don’t want to be told what to read, leave a note on Dr. Seuss Enterprise’s Facebook page titled Dr. Seuss or write to CEO Susan Brandt directly at Dr. Seuss Enterprises, 1200 Prospect St., La Jolla, CA 92037. We cannot lose our right to choose what we want to read.

Katherine E. Robertson

Black River

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(16) comments

rdsouth

I recommend Usenet. You can get all kinds of contraband there.

KRobbins

Getting rid of books because a few people are offended is a dangerous act.

It’s not a few people it’s whole races of people. And one of those peoples was just the subject of a mass shooting. I’m not getting into any ridiculous argument about the shooter’s motivation.

I’m pretty sure the people in charge of Geisel’s legacy have a greater feel for what’s appropriate than a bunch of wounded rightwingers writing to complain about being deprived of looking at racist drawings.

hermit thrush

[thumbup]

zeitgeist

[thumbup]

She's back

"Someone's" been watching too much Fox news. The same Day that most channels were covering the congressional testimonies on the Insurrection and the Growing threat of white Supremacist militia groups , fox concentrated on Dr. Suess , mentioning it about 140 times that day.

Of all the things that a person could decide to care about enough to write a letter to the Editor on, THIS (?)

BUT since we are on the topic let's get some background.

The evolving and somewhat complicated legacy of Theodore Suess Geisel from a bitter Political cartoonist with some pretty severe Anti Asian Sentiments. His White Centric attitudes continued especially in his early books. Look at some of the images fromthe book "If I ran the Zoo" (ya they are pretty offensive) . Theodore himself regretted his early depictions especially of Asians (after he visited Japan and saw the devastation of the Bombings there). HE evolved.

AS adults we can appreciate such a complicated legacy, much as we do with our founding fathers whose ideas on slavery evolved. Adults might be able to see these books in their context and Hopefully learn to avoid falling into the trap of Racist 'humor".

But these books were not meant to be read by Adults, but by VERY Young and easily impressionable children.

More on this here:

https://www.openculture.com/2014/08/dr-seuss-draws-racist-anti-japanese-cartoons-during-ww-ii.html?fbclid=IwAR1-H2w7pfFjIA9zi6_Wlprz5c40Jif-W9y5olkxbcfre3l-vaWsMFbCF5M

hermit thrush

[thumbup]

Eagle24

Nailed it again...

She's back

Thank you

Joseph Savoca

https://www.christianpost.com/news/conservatives-urge-ban-on-harry-potter-over-witchcraft-homosexuality.html

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/harry-potter-books-banned-nashville-catholic-school-bans-series-read-by-a-human-being-risk-conjuring-evil-spirits/

hermit thrush

in a way the really incredible thing about conservatives is that they simply won't bat an eye at being called out for hypocrisy like this.

rdsouth

What nonsense. The spells in Harry Potter don't work. You have to say them backwards.

hermit thrush

no one's rights are being violated here. dr. seuss enterprises is a private company and they have every right to choose which of their own stuff they want to continue publishing. the reality is that that the now-discontinued books contain some pretty racist drawings.

Farmer Liz

Perhaps if the illustrations in the books that were pulled were offensive to your ethnicity, you would feel differently. Geisel himself was ashamed of some of his earlier work. These books are for YOUNG CHILDREN, who are unlikely to contemplate whether the pictures are maligning an ethnic group; they simply subliminally accept them. I would not want any of my family members to allow their children access to racist illustrations, and I applaud the Seuss estate for removing insensitive material.

Pitbull

Very well written, Katherine. The ancellation process is being used to overwhelm our society with alternative values. I hate to be negative but something tells me this will not end well.

hermit thrush

always a treat to hear about cancellation from the people who made colin kaepernick and the dixie chicks famous.

Eagle24

Hate to be negative???? [scared]

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