Tuesday, March 09, 2021

No Good Will Come, Not Even Some

At 1:03, Bill Maher can be seen remarking on Friday evening "Mr. Potato Head is no longer Mr. Potato Head. I'm not sure why but he's just "Potato Head."... Also, Silly Putty is now 'On the Spectrum Putty." The joke was prompted by the news

Six Dr. Seuss books — including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo” — will stop being published because of racist and insensitive imagery, the business that preserves and protects the author’s legacy said Tuesday.

“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises told The Associated Press in a statement that coincided with the late author and illustrator’s birthday.

“Ceasing 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,” it said.

The other books affected are “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!,” and “The Cat’s Quizzer.”

The decision to cease publication and sales of the books was made last year after months of discussion, the company, which was founded by Seuss’ family, told AP.

“Dr. Seuss Enterprises listened and took feedback from our audiences including teachers, academics and specialists in the field as part of our review process. We then worked with a panel of experts, including educators, to review our catalog of titles,” it said.

As a private outfit, Dr. Seuss Enterprises is entitled to adopt social justice as its new mission.  However, this evolutionary biologist, in wonderful AA BB CC rhyme scheme, explains

My sense is that now they've gone far too far. The offenses they claim have grown just so bizarre.

They say Dr. Seuss wrote books that did harm. That we shouldn't be fooled by his fanciful charm.

But they must assume that we're dumber than dumb. That we'll just take their word and succumb.

Dangerously, Bret Weinstein harbors such liberal values as free expression, public debate free of coercion, tolerance of opposing views, and others currently out of fashion. Most critics of Seuss, including this "former new leftist" with over 83,000 followers, harbor no such notions:

While Horowitz cites "Biden's book burning," Douthat writes a column entitled "Do Liberals Care if Books Disappear?" He laments that he has "seen little liberal concern over the dominant player in the book business playing censor in culture-war debates" and invokes "liberal," "liberals," or "liberalism" sixteen times in the body of his piece.

The number of times Douthat invokes "capital," "profit," or "private": once, and that only in noting a lack "of private doubt from liberal friends." But critically, as neither the thoughtful Douthat nor the ignorant Horowitz acknowledges, Dr. Seuss Enterprises has nothing to do with government or with President Biden.

Dr. Seuss Enterprises decided to end publication of six books based, it maintains, on the report of a panel it convened. The company chose to seek input from this group and chose to act based on its findings. It is a profit-seeking entity, not government, which both initiated the action and chose to follow the advice of consultants.

"What does this say about the condition of liberalism" asks Douthat about this lamentable decision. Probably nothing good, because the left too often tolerates the disappearance of history, thereby preventing its honest assessment in full context.

While conservatives in their self-interest refuse to question the market, liberals/progressives refuse to defend important values because someone, somewhere will be hurt if they do. Therein they themselves ignore the dangerous primacy of markets. "They must assume we're dumber than dumb, that we'll just take their word and succumb," Weinstein states. We're learning more and more that's probably a safe bet.

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