On Tuesday, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the group that controls the Dr. Seuss legacy, announced it would no longer republish six of the more than 60 children’s books by the late author. They were doing this because the titles And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, and The Cat’s Quizzer had racist imagery in them. Because the Republican Party has zero policies, is bereft of productive ideas, refuses to discuss and is unwilling to engage in public policy that might help our country weather the current global pandemic and economic crisis, they’ve decided to spend most of their time talking about the phantom cancel culture that has led to the mythological end of Dr. Seuss. Of course, Dr. Seuss is not canceled. He has lots of children’s stories that will continue to be published and read in perpetuity, or until the Republican Party decides only billionaires’ children are allowed to read in their hypothetical perfect oligarchical world of haves and have nots.
Dr. Seuss’s work has faced increasing scrutiny over the years, but not because anyone is trying to cancel the cartoonist’s work. It’s received more scrutiny because Dr. Seuss drew some racist shit sometimes, and a lot of that stuff doesn’t fly anymore. More importantly, major organizations that use his work as part of inclusive early childhood educational fare constantly update what they believe is the best work for all kids to experience as they grow up. Having racist caricatures in your children’s story isn’t particularly productive if you are trying to teach children about the joy of reading. Listen, there’s literally one black person in the entirety of the original Star Wars trilogy, and he’s a conman. Star Wars isn’t disappearing, and neither is Seuss, but the universe we live in is a lot larger now than it was when the gatekeepers were only white men.
But right on queue, the conservative internetsphere got to work feeling persecuted and melting like snowflakes, and worked on frothing up their fearful white base.