I’m not sure you can better exemplify the total lack of Republican interest in anything but the shallowest form of identity politics than this pensée from actual U.S. Representative Greg Steube:
“Oh no, my plastic potato doll doesn’t have an official gender anymore,” I cry between uncontrollable sobs, wondering why the grandkids never want to visit anymore.— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) March 3, 2021
I to am infuriated by the new legislation requiring Hasbro to deny that Potato Head has a penis!
The Dr. Seuss “cancellation” story, which has gotten wider traction, isn’t much more coherent:
While the Biden administration got the #DrSeussIsOverParty started, it’s Seuss’ own publisher who’s really taking things to the next level. Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced that it would cease printing six books that contain vaguely racist imagery: And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, If I Ran the Zoo, Scrambled Eggs Super!, and The Cat’s Quizzer.
It’s true that Dr. Seuss is a more complicated figure than he first appears. Some of his oldest books do contain problematic illustrations of black and Asian characters. He harbored anti-Japanese sentiments during World War II and produced several cartoons that could be seen as defending U.S. internment camps. But like many people, Dr. Seuss changed his views over time, and he also published cartoons that were clearly anti-racist.
Indeed, Dr. Seuss’s most famous books tend to promote liberal and anti-authoritarian messages. The best-known example is probably The Lorax, a save-the-environment parable, but it’s hardly the only one. The Butter Battle Book is a Cold War satire, and the eponymous villain of Yertle the Turtle is meant to echo the rise and fall of Adolph Hitler.
So Dr. Seuss had some books that had racist imagery and many more that didn’t, and…the latter remain in print, so what exactly am I supposed to be upset about here? That some of an author’s lesser-known books are suffering the same fate as the vast majority of books ever published? It’s just mad libs at this point.