“Stop telling such outlandish tales. Stop turning minnows into whales.”
That's a line from the book "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street", by Ted Geisel, otherwise known as the legendary children's book author, Dr. Seuss.
Unfortunately, you will no longer be able to purchase new copies of "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street" or five other famous Dr. Seuss titles because the people who maintain Dr. Seuss' legacy, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, have decided to discontinue the publishing of them. Why? Because, according to a statement that group provided to the Associated Press: "“[c]easing 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".
So what's the deal, how do these six books violate a "commitment" to "support all communities and families"? Well, it seems that these books contain racist imagery, like this:
Yeah, that's less than great.
I don't think that sort of thing would get published today if a new writer brought a publisher a new book with an Asian made illustrated in such a caricatured fashion. But, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street was published in . . . 1937. We had different social mores in 1937 and And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street is the first book that Dr. Seuss ever published.
That's a big deal - a big part of his legacy - but in 2021 we have the amazing ability to inspect our fruit so carefully and toss out a bushel of bananas if we locate a pin-sized bruise.
It's a very convenient weapon for those who desire the takedown of all things cherished by a corrupt and "systemically" bad society. You did all these great things, but you did this one thing that - while socially acceptable during your time - is no longer acceptable to us now, and for that your ledger is forever stained.
"Stop telling such outlandish tales. Stop turning minnows into whales.”
This is, of course, an unworkable standard that will lead to the unwarranted destruction of basically everything and everyone - especially now since woke orthodoxy changes in minutes, instead of years or days.
To be fair here, a "woke mob" did not insist on this decision to stop publishing the books. No, Dr. Seuss' estate appears to have done this, pre-emptively, in effort to stave off a potential future cancelling down the road. In some respect, I understand this decision, an effort to cut off the gangrenous (and ham!) foot to save the leg, and try to protect the remainder of Seuss' legacy. There has been, in fact, some "rumblings" in recent years that Seuss was "problematic", including one school district who last week discussed its intent to disconnect "Read Across America Day" from Dr. Seuss due to "research in recent years has revealed strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by [him]."
But still, to me, at least, this feels like a gross capitulation and an unnecessary and unwarranted smear on the legacy of a man that gave children a reason to believe that reading was good and worthwhile. And for what? Dr. Seuss Enterprises has only (maybe) postponed another inevitable tussle with the woke mob - we all know well enough by now that there is no pleasing them.
That they decided to announce this decision, today, Ted Geisel's birthday, seems like an unnecessary cruelty.
That Joe Biden, a man who literally eulogized former members of the KKK and said that "poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids", stood in judgement of and removed Dr. Seuss from his Read Across America proclamation is incredulous:
I don't know what else to say other than, Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss. We live in absurdly stupid times, I read your work growing up and will still read your works to my kids as they grow older.
Happy Tuesday and God Bless America.