Dr. Seuss is Politically Cancelled, Plus My Observations on "Thidwick the Moose"

Mish

Dr. Seuss is the latest target of the book burning activist educators.

Note that the politically correct activists have a New Cancellation Target, Dr. Seuss. 

Former First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed the Cat in the Hat to the White House in 2015. Six years later, Dr. Seuss is increasingly unwelcome at public schools in the nation’s capital. 

What changed? Not Dr. Seuss. Blame our present fixation on judging revered historical figures by their worst sins rather than their best contributions. 

A report asked “Is the Cat in the Hat Racist?” 

The Journal commented that some of Seuss’s early works were indeed racist. Seuss Enterprises admits as such: “These racially stereotypical drawings were hurtful then and are still hurtful today,” it acknowledges in an online essay titled “Dr. Seuss Use of Racist Images.”

The Other Side

Theodor Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) created thousands of cartoons, illustrations, paintings, sculptures, and stories over the course of his 70-year career. While the vast majority of the works he produced are positive and inspiring, Ted Geisel also drew a handful of early images, which are disturbing. 

By contrast, the much-beloved The Sneetches was written in 1961 just as the Civil Rights Movement was well underway. Ted wrote The Sneetches as a parable about equality. By drawing bird-beings, he transcended the boundaries and pitfalls of using humans as characters, and allowed all readers to relate to the characters as best they could. On March 2, 2016, President Obama agreed with Dr. Seuss telling a group of interns: “Pretty much all the stuff you need to know is in Dr. Seuss. It’s like the Star-Belly Sneetches, you know? We’re all the same, so why would we treat somebody differently just because they don’t have a star on their belly?

Three of Dr. Seuss’s most well-known later works, Horton Hears a Who!, The Lorax, and The Sneetches, “teach about the importance of inclusion and acceptance of others and yourself.” 

Throw it All Away? 

Rather than throw it all away as if it never existed, wouldn't it be far better to use the images in a discussion of what's wrong while praising the overwhelming number of books and images in which Dr. Seuss was brilliant?

Dr. Seuss On The Economy

On June 25, 2009, I referenced a Dr. Seuss book in my post called Dr. Seuss On The Economy.

As amazing as this might seem, inquiring minds are reading Thidwick The Big Hearted Moose to see what advice Dr. Seuss might have for President Obama, Treasury Secretary Geithner, and Congress about the economy.

If you have young kids or grandkids, this book is an excellent read and teaches an important lesson about economic freeloaders.

Thidwick the Moose and Economic Freeloaders

The tale begins at Lake Winna-Bango where Thidwick allowed a bug to nest in his antlers. A spider then joined followed by a Zinn-a-zu bird that plucked Thidwick's hair, a woodpecker that drilled holes in his antlers, a fox, bobcat, turtles, and other critters. 

Thidwick wanted to cross a lake in search of moose-moss to eat but the critters took a vote on it and said no.

The load got too heavy for Thidwick who when attacked by hunters finally shed his antlers to get rid of the freeloaders. 

You wanted my horns; now you’re quite welcome to ’em! Keep ’em! They’re yours! As of ME, I shall take myself to the far distant side of the lake! said Thidwick. 

It was the creatures and the horns who ended up on the hunter's wall. 

"His guests are still on them, all stuffed, as they should be," concluded the book.

My Image

I thought of re-posting my image but fearing the Seuss lawyers for again praising their book, I will instead tell you who in 2009 that I had nesting in Thidwick's antlers.

 Economic Critters in Thidwick's Antlers  as I Saw Them in 2009

  1. Fed
  2. Fractional Reserve Lending
  3. Unions
  4. Congress
  5. Barney Frank
  6. Tim Geithner 
  7. Obama
  8. Bank of America
  9. Citigroup
  10. Countrywide Financial 
  11. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
  12. Krugman, Mankiw, Pelosi

Those economic freeloaders and/or freeloader supporters are not stuffed on a wall where they should be, metamorphically speaking. 

Mish

Comments (116)
No. 1-35
Quanta
Quanta

My kids are 4 and 6 , and we've been advised by the older generation of Dr. Seuss classics. We decided against it 5 years ago, and glad to see others coming around to the same conclusion. There is no racism in Winnie the Pooh, FYI - so some classics survive and thrive.

23 Replies

Doug78
Doug78

You decided against them for your kids and that is OK. Banning them for others is not.

Sechel
Sechel

Dr Seuss wasn't banned. The publisher made a business decision

Doug78
Doug78

Yes but some of your influential influencers want to go further and have all publishers make that same business decision with books the influencers don't like.

Carl_R
Carl_R

As Michelle Obama points out, the story of the Sneetches was a wonderful anti-racism story. I think that the primary images which have been criticized as racist are some images of chinamen with slanted eyes. The overall message of Dr. Suess was one of anti-racism, but a very small number of images didn't live up to that.

In time, I'm sure Winnie the Pooh will be cancelled for some reason or other. Once the book burning starts, there is no telling how far it goes.

Quanta
Quanta

Nobody is book burning, just stop publishing the books under question and move on.

Quanta
Quanta

I can't wait until they stop publishing children's versions of the Bible, Quran, Torah etc... and see how well these outdated male-centered propaganda books hold up without brainwashing young innocent children. Keep the grown-up versions for historical purposes and "freedom of publishing" reasons.

Gsorter
Gsorter

Guessing you live in either Boulder or Ann Arbor??

threeblindmice
threeblindmice

They were banned by the culture even if not banned by the government. The impact is the same.

threeblindmice
threeblindmice

Just one example. The ACLU wants to have a book banned. “Abigail Shrier’s book is a dangerous polemic with a goal of making people not trans,” Chase Strangio, the American Civil Liberties Union’s deputy director for transgender justice, tweeted ....“Stopping the circulation of this book and these ideas is 100% a hill I will die on.”

Carl_R
Carl_R

Don't you find the stereotyping of obesity in Winnie the Pooh offensive?

Eddie_T
Eddie_T

The real Christopher Robin hated Winnie-the-Pooh, because everyone he met as a kid had read the book (or had it read to them as a child) and when he went to school he was mercilessly bullied, because the Pooh books made him look like a total pussy.

When he was nine, he took up boxing to learn how to defend himself.

Doug78
Doug78

Do you object to only Christianism, Judaism and Islamic religions or do you object to the Bahá’í faith, Buddhism, Confucianism, Gnosticism, Hinduism, Rastafarianism, Zoroastrianism, Sikhism, Shinto as well as the traditional African and American Indian religions as well?

Doug78
Doug78

Well said.

Quanta
Quanta

I object to all the above religions for the same reason. These religions replace real life with a fictional narrative, in most cases specifically designed to control people and in case of Abrahamic religions (the 3 I mentioned) specifically designed to suppress women and paint them as inferior humans.
There is no reason to live the life of fiction - live in the real world and take responsibility for your own actions. Don't blame God for anything, and admit that many problems in your life are of your own making or your environment.
The big 3 Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Judaism, Quran) are extremely objectionable in their treatment of women. Some examples out of copious abundance.

Don't know much about Buddhism etc, not qualified to comment.

  1. Eve is the one who cursed humanity.
  2. Eve was made out of Adam's rib to be his "companion"
  3. Virginity is promoted, to ensure women are sexually inexperienced when they are married, making them easier to control
  4. Promotes underage marriage.
  5. No examples of female leadership
  6. God , Jesus, apostles and most major figures are males
  7. Bible approves of soldiers taking young girl slaves to marry during wars etc...

The ancient religions prior to Abrahamic traditions were a lot more democratic, and there were lots of female deities with great powers.

Carl_R
Carl_R

And, how about some of the more modern religions, such as Neo-pagan, New Thought, Scientology, Christian Science, Secular Humanism, Baha'i, or Unitarianism? Should we adopt a religion, and make it our official religion, and teach it in schools (just not one the older ones)?

For amusement only, you can take a quiz called the Belief-O-Matic, and it will tell you how well your personal beliefs align with many of the religions already mentioned in this thread, as well as a few others such as Quakers, Sikh, Taoism, and Jainism.

Quanta
Quanta

Not sure why you're re-directing. Stay focused. All religions are guilty of substituting reality with a version that requires you to blindly accept something and abdicate your own agency.

Carl_R
Carl_R

Each of the religions mentioned above thinks they know the truth, and none can be disproven, even Scientology. You think you know the truth. The primary difference between you, and me, it would seem, is that I'm perfectly willing to let you believe that you know the truth, and to let each of the people in all of the above religions believe that they know the truth, and not try to force you, or them, to accept my version. One of the founding principles of the US, after all, is freedom of religion.

Quanta
Quanta

I don't have a problem with freedom of religion, but I do think it should be OK to discuss the fact that all religions are total hubris in public etc... They already publicly trash science, so why don't we publicly trash religions. What makes religions so special that is different from being a Winnie the Pooh book? OK someone believes in Winnie the Pooh, and that's fine, but it should be OK to discuss in public that Winnie The Pooh is a fictional character. Religions have much more sinister motives than Winnie The Pooh - they want to take over your life, control you, and suppress women.

Carl_R
Carl_R

There are religions, or more accurately, people who are religious, who do not believe in science, and who hold and promote non-scientific views. I think that the vast majority of religious people believe that the two co-exist, and that understanding science gives them a better understanding of religion. I see a great deal of distinction between trashing absurd views, and the people who hold them, from trashing religions and religious people in general on the dubious assertion that because a few people hold non-scientific views, all of them must.

As for your latter assertion, that religions "control you", I'll ask this: Do religions control you, or do they give our life meaning and purpose? Does holding atheistic views liberate you, or simply free you to pursue hedonistic goals with no fear of long term repercussions? If there was a culture with no religion, where everyone was an atheist, be a happier, more productive place, or something else?

Quanta
Quanta

I'm fully aware of highly accomplished scientists, engineers, doctors etc... both today and going back a few centuries who were also religious. So one does not impede the other. I'm not sure what to make of it, other than human brains allow for simultaneously holding conflicting views without causing an operating system crash.

Religions ask people to "believe" in something that does not exist, and even more specifically it is fairly easy to show that these religions were invented during certain time periods for the purpose of controlling populations, and motivating peopel. As to positive effects on society due to religion and motivation it provides, there are certainly many benefits. One of the common benefits is that bad things can be explained away as "God's will", thus painting in a more positive light events that should not be positive. Whether the positives that religions bring outweigh the negatives over large populations remains to be seen.

I'm still of a firm belief that things like morality, ethics, helping others, "doing the right thing" both short term and long term are standalone entities, and religions are an unnecessary broker. Although religions do promote these items, the religion is an extra add on that may not be required.

Religions are 2000+ year relics of non-scientific understanding of the past.

Eddie_T
Eddie_T

My kids are now in the 30 to 40 year age range, and although they grew up reading Dr. Seuss (as did I, btw) they seem to be remarkably tolerant....I don’t think anyone would call any of them racist.

In fact, my son is married to a young lady from Manila, who was born in Hong Kong...so we’re officially an ethnically mixed family now...and I live in hope of having several mixed-raced grandchildren.

My youngest is a Karen, but she was a Karen before it wasn’t cool to be one.....and it seems a bit late at 30 to change her name just to avoid the taint of racism.....but since she lives in NYC, perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad idea, just to be safe.

(#sarc)

The entire Woke narrative is built on some very questionable premises if you ask me....but then I’m a rich, privileged old white man, which makes me part of the problem, not part of the solution.

But you enlightened younger parents might ask yourself the question of exactly where this all ends. It probably won’t be where you think.

Sechel
Sechel

I love Dr. Seuss. But I looked at the drawings in question and put myself in the place of a chinese or African viewing them and had to answer they were. I loved Dr Seuss but I'm capable of introspection. Hopefully others are as well.

Sechel
Sechel

Exactly what are you wailing against and what are you protecting?

Sechel
Sechel

Agree 100% on not banning literary works. And if we're talking Huck Finn yes a discussion is far superior but Dr Seuss is targeted at children learning how to read. They're not ready for such discussions. The books weren't banned, the publisher made a business decision. And as much as I love Dr. Seuss now that I'm aware of the issue probably not the best choice for a young child. Maybe the illustrations can be redone. I'm not sure.

Bottom line it's silly to place Huck Finn on the same plane as Dr. Seuss.

TexasTim65
TexasTim65

From what I've read they are only going to stop publishing 6 books out of his entire catalog. I don't think I've read any of the 6 although Mulberry Street rings a bell.

It's not quite canceling Dr Seuss.

My daughter loved reading his books when she was learning to read (as I did when I was a kid) and I read her favorites to her over and over again.

PecuniaNonOlet
PecuniaNonOlet

Next up on the cancel list is Cuomo.

Phaedrus_of_Bangkok
Phaedrus_of_Bangkok

I think that in the future, "Wokism" will come to be regarded as a form of bullying.

nzyank
nzyank

The IP owners are entitled to make this decision. I also don't think the books make sense to use in public schools at this point. Parents are still free to teach what they will to their own kids. Times change.

njbr
njbr

Ohhh, the humanity.....

“And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” (1937)
“McElligot’s Pool" (1947)
“If I Ran the Zoo” (1950)
“Scrambled Eggs Super!”(1953)
“On Beyond Zebra!”(1955)
“The Cat’s Quizzer”(1973)

Literary treasures, all.

Almost like burning books....

There was no racism when America was Great Before, right?

Sechel
Sechel

It used to be even worse:

In 1978, Geisel agreed to a slight rewording, renaming the character who appears near the end of the story a "Chinese man" instead of a "Chinaman". He also agreed to remove the character's pigtail and the yellow coloring from the character's skin.

Defend what you want. There's a place and time for contextual discussion but that time is not teaching a 5 year old to read. The book is close to a 100 years old. There are better books to use to teach reading skills to preschoolers. This is not cancel culture

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

Great economic analysis post !

StopLyingBro
StopLyingBro

If you own one of the 6 books that will no longer be published I would be shocked. (Nothing is being banned - that's a lie. Stop spreading it.)

Also, I'd be interested in understanding why you think you should be allowed to dictate to a private company what they do?
Presumbly your concern with "cancel culture" is one person telling another what they can or can't think or say. Yet, here you are telling a private company what they can or can't think is the best thing for their company. Weird.

killben
killben

If you had used the institution name instead of the name of the person holding the post, your list of economic freeloaders of 2009 literally remains unchanged in 2021.

Dutoit
Dutoit

I think the problem comes also from the copyright laws. In the US I think that copyright can last up to 120 years. In most western countries it is 70 years, 50 in the rest of the world. I think this last duration is the good one. In this case to "cancel" some work would be much more difficult.

Bungalow Bill
Bungalow Bill

Since Dr. Seuss was influenced by Gertrude Stein, will they go as far as cancelling Gertrude, whose "A Wife Has a Cow" is about her lesbian lover's bowel movement written in Seussian fashion?

Bungalow Bill
Bungalow Bill

Get ready the imaginary war on Christmas will return come November. Of course both Democrats and Republicans love the boost to the economy that is Americans getting their credit cards out and going deeper in debt to give presents that will soon find themselves covered in crowded closets. They never consider these truths when it comes to this war on Christmas.

The only war on Christmas is the material greed that both parties promote in hopes of getting stellar economic numbers. Hardly symbolic of Christ's teachings.

My thoughts on this are as a parent, I have the responsibility to keep traditions from Christmas to Dr. Seuss alive in my home for my children--not my government or political party.

Eddie_T
Eddie_T

OT re gold:

The dollar is spiking this morning and gold broke below the 1720 support level at the NY open. This might be the final capitulation into a real bottom for gold. I expect to see the 1700 level get tested though.

njbr
njbr

Speaking of gold, and comedy gold, the golden calf, and fools gold, how many layers of irony can you find in this story via Politico....

...ABOUT THAT TRUMP STATUE — Over the weekend we told you that one of the stars of CPAC — that enormous statue of Trump — was made in Mexico. Well, it turns out there’s more to the story. Artist TOMMY ZEGAN had told Playbook he hand-crafted the 200-pound, chrome-painted fiberglass statue with the help of three men in Rosarito, Mexico, where he lives as an American expat. He said he then shipped it to Florida and transported it to CPAC in a U-Haul.

But one of Zegan’s business partners, JOSE MAURICIO MENDOZA, contacted us Tuesday to say that Zegan omitted a major part of the supply chain. While Zegan is based in Mexico, the piece was manufactured at the Shijiazhuang D & Z Sculpture Co. factory in China. “Everything is made in China,” Mendoza told Playbook. “I want to be straight, because if I’m going to sell these statues, they have to be true.” Mendoza dismissed Zegan’s claims that he’s the creative mind behind the sculpture, showing us two Trump bobbleheads that were the inspiration for the statue. “I was the architect of this,” Mendoza said. Zegan’s name was used, Mendoza added, because “no one is going to buy ‘Jose’ stuff, at least not a Donald Trump statue.” As for Zegan, he admitted to Playbook that he left out the true origin of the statue’s journey.

KidHorn
KidHorn

So, teaching critical race theory to elementary school kids is OK, but a few Dr Seuss books are over the line. Makes perfect sense,

Corvinus
Corvinus

At least the torrents will keep them alive.

Captain Ahab
Captain Ahab

Dr. Seuss books are products of another age. That they have stood the test of time and are still popular is testament to their inherent value as literary works. However, times change, reflected in our values and beliefs. New ideas replace old ideas--that said, I think the quality of Dr. Seuss books is such that they will be with us 1,000 years from now. 'Woke' replacements are presently fashionable, yet doomed to the trash pile of poor writing. In the long term, excellence survives. Crap will go where it belongs; in the toilet.

hotwater14
hotwater14

I bet you meant metaphorically rather than metamorphically.

George_Phillies
George_Phillies

The attack on Dr. Seuss should be seen as the Woko Haram -- a term not of my invention -- on the march.

Eddie_T
Eddie_T

Amazon quietly “canceled” a book last week that questions the current ideology around gender...by dropping it from their catalog. One of the disadvantages of an Amazon is that if they won’t sell a book, it basically doesn’t sell much. They have no problem with selling Mein Kampf....or Mao’s Little Red Book....but a fairly straightforward book that just happens to question the current narrative on LBGTQ (using science)...just goes poof when the pressure gets applied.

frozeninthenorth
frozeninthenorth

I understand that while Theodore Seuss "re-drew" a number of images from his books because he too felt these were inappropriate. BTW I suspect that Biden had nothing to do with the cancellation...contrary to what Ted Cancun Cruz wrote!

rp5x5
rp5x5

Watch the movie, "Mother!" and think of Thidwick. It's a revelation. Leftists wanted people to think that movie was about Climate Change.....but.....

amigator
amigator

Unbelievable we have truly lost it.

Sechel
Sechel

Myrtle the Turtle is Trump

Sechel
Sechel

Yertel the Turtle is Trump

Melving
Melving

As a Chinese American I think the fuss about Dr Seuss's books is far beyond reason. My children and I have thoroughly enjoyed his books, and a dated depiction of a Chinese person is well within our abilities to look past. If I had known these books were going out of production, I'd have bought a copy of each. I am well aware of racism. I know how hard it is as a Chinese male to get a date in small town America. But I also know how lucky I am. The privileges of living in America despite its slightly odd state far outweigh any small slights. It reminds me of the educators who tried to stop me from entering kindergarten when I refused to learn to skip for them. Thankfully my mother persisted...

Quanta
Quanta

If we want to get into Creationism at the Big Bang scale, I certainly have no problem with that. However that is not what the Abrahamic religions (for example) are teaching, and their continual adjustment in the face of new evidence is simply an attempt to maintain power and relevance and not the pursuit of "ultimate truth".

As far as religion and science being inconsistent - they most certainly are. Blind faith is the polar opposite of how science process works. Sure there are instances of intuition being proven correct, but by and large this is not how science or applied disciplines work.

The arguments that they are consistent are only relevant insofar that you have a need for large populations to coexist peacefully. Many religions are monotheistic, the fact which in itself is already straight out of any propaganda book, aka "you shall believe and report to me and no one else" - classic dictatorship / censorship etc.. Science is simply a discovery process, and it's consistently asking questions of itself, and identifies things that are wrong with it - e.g. items for further work.


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