These last few weeks should serve as a reminder the left will always come back to eat their own.
You may not think that children’s author Theodor Seuss Geisel was a political man. After the backlash against his books, you could even think he was a man of the far right. After all, he drew racial caricatures that wouldn’t pass muster in today’s environment.
While all of this could have been easily understood by anyone who opened certain Dr. Seuss books in the past few decades, it seemed to only become a cultural flash-point after a Virginia public school district announced it would be de-emphasizing Seuss’ books for “Read Across America Day” — a day that was established around Seuss’ March 2 birthday — because “[r]esearch in recent years has revealed strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by Dr. Seuss.”
Soon, Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced six of his books would no longer be published. Joe Biden’s statement for “Read Across America Day” made no mention of Seuss. You couldn’t even buy the expurgated Seuss books on eBay, which delisted them, as The Wall Street Journal reported.
And there lay the irony, as Fox News host Tucker Carlson pointed out on his Tuesday show. Seuss wasn’t a racist or “red-pilled” before his time. In fact, he was “a preachy liberal,” according to Breitbart.
Carlson began the segment with a Georgia state representative and Black Lives Matter supporter named Ladawn Jones who appeared on the show in 2017. She’d made a point of calling Seuss out, saying that “you can see that there are some very stereotypical drawings of Asian-Americans” in them and “Dr. Seuss was known for some very stereotypical black face drawings prior to the books that most of us are familiar with.”
“Now at the time, what you just heard seemed incomprehensible,” Carlson said. “In fact, as we noted, kind of demented. Say what you will about Dr. Seuss, maybe you think his drawings are primitive, maybe some of his doggerel doesn’t actually rhyme, fair.
“But Dr. Seuss was not a racist. Dr. Seuss was a preachy liberal. He was an evangelist against bigotry. He wrote an entire shelf of books against racism and not in a subtle way. They were clearly explicitly against racism. That was the whole point of writing them — to teach children not to be racist.”
Carlson noted it was a lucky thing that Giesel hadn’t survived until 117 — how old he’d be now — because “he would be wounded and confused” by everything going on.
He also noted that “conservatives will be tempted to chalk up the attacks on Dr. Seuss to the usual cancel culture gone mad. ‘Look how hysterical and stupid the professional left is. They’re even calling Dr. Seuss racist.’
“And you’ve seen people say that on social media today,” Carson said. “But it’s totally missing the point. Canceling Dr. Seuss isn’t stupid. It’s intentional. They’re banning Dr. Seuss not because he was a racist, but precisely because he wasn’t.”
He just wasn’t the right kind of not-racist — or, as one might say, anti-racist.
Carlson pointed to Seuss’s most famous anti-racism story, “The Sneetches.”
For those of you who haven’t read it — and you clearly were deprived children or never had ones of your own if that’s the case — the story revolves around mythical creatures called sneetches, some which have stars on their bellies and some that don’t.
“At various points in the story, stars in the stomach are deemed socially favorable. At others, they’re considered a mark of disgrace. And the sneetches run around frantically trying to keep up with the changing demands of star fashion, until they realize in the uplifting final pages of the story, that none of it matters,” Carlson said.
“Underneath the stars, they’re all the same. They’re all sneetches. Who cares who’s got a star? What matters isn’t the group you come from, what matters is you. Even a 5-year-old gets the point of the story,” Carlson said. “At the deepest level, it doesn’t matter what we look like because underneath it all, we’re all the same. We’re all human beings, we’re in this together.”
You may be beginning to see where this all goes.
“For 60 years, American children have read ‘The Sneetches’ and books like it, and that’s one of the reasons we have the country we have today, in which most Americans, those who don’t work at the universities or for the Joe Biden administration, accept Martin Luther King’s most famous precept, that what matters is the content of our characters, not the color of our skins.
“‘The ‘Sneetches’ affirm[s] this. The story is a plea for colorblindness, and that’s why the forces of wokeness hate it and Dr. Seuss.
“When the people in charge cancel Dr. Seuss, what they’re really trying to eliminate is a very specific kind of mid-century American culture, a culture that championed meritocracy, and colorblindness and the superiority of individual achievement over tribal identity. These were once called liberal values.”
But that’s not liberalism anymore — or, if it is, it’s sneered at by the kind of leftist who would bristle at being called a “liberal.”
“Modern liberals don’t want to be reminded that they once believed any of this. If your kids are allowed to read Dr. Seuss, they will know this was a different country not so long ago, a place where people tried hard not to hate each other,” Carlson said.
“A place where the population was encouraged, begged by its leaders to reject identity politics in favor of universal values and the things that connect us all.
“Dr. Seuss was never a major literary figure, but his memory matters more than ever it has. The battle over Dr. Seuss, what he stood for, the battle over what it means to be racist will have consequences that extend for generations. And if we lose that battle, America is lost.”
No, some of Dr. Seuss’s caricatures don’t fit with modern sensibilities. But, as Carlson noted, that wasn’t why this “preachy liberal” didn’t get modern self-described liberals to pull his fat out of the fire.
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