September 29th, 2017

Social justice warrior looks a gift Dr. Seuss in the mouth

It began with a seemingly-innocuous gift:

To celebrate “National Read a Book Day,” the first lady [Melania Trump] had sent out a collection of 10 Dr. Seuss books to one school in each state across the nation. The titles included: “The Cat in the Hat”; “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”; “Wacky Wednesday”; “Green Eggs and Ham”; and “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

She followed in the footsteps of her predecessor, Michelle Obama, who often read Dr. Seuss books to children. Former first ladies Hillary Clinton and Barbara Bush also read to children at Dr. Seuss-themed educational events.

So far so good, right? One would think that this would be a relatively non-controversial, non-political act—with bipartisan agreement, as it were, since Dr. Seuss seems to have been given the Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton seals of approval—but if one thought that, one would think wrong.

Enter snippy, condescending social justice warrior Liz Phipps Soeiro:

Liz Phipps Soeiro, a librarian at a public school in Cambridge, wrote a letter to the first lady, which was then published on The Horn Book blog, notifying Mrs. Trump that her school would “not be keeping the titles” for their collection, explaining that her school didn’t have a “NEED” for the books, due to her school and library’s “award-winning” status.

“I work in a district that has plenty of resources, which contributes directly to ‘excellence,’” Soeiro wrote. “My students have access to a school library with over nine thousand volumes and a librarian with a graduate degree in library science.”

Might that highly-degreed librarian be none other than Ms. Soeiro herself? What a terrible insult from Melania Trump! And that’s not all; oh no, Soeiro was just getting warmed up:

Soeiro went on to slam the White House and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for not gifting the books to “underfunded and underprivileged communities,” which she suggested “continue to be marginalized” by DeVos’ policies.

But Soeiro seemed to be the most offended by the books themselves.

In what way do these Dr. Seuss books offend? Ms. Soeiro explains:

Dr. Seuss’s illustrations are steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes,” said Phipps Soeiro in her letter to the first lady, calling Seuss “a bit of a cliché, a tired and worn ambassador for children’s literature.” “Open one of his books (‘If I Ran a Zoo or And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street,’ for example), and you’ll see the racist mockery in his art.”

I’ve read many a Dr. Seuss book in my day, and loved them (although I’m not familiar with those two; my favorites were and are Horton Hatches the Egg and Happy Birthday To You, as well as Hop on Pop and Green Eggs and Ham). My son loved them, too.

For the most part, his illustrations are wonderful flights of fancy. Most of the characters in Seuss’ drawings don’t really have much resemblance to persons living or dead, or to persons of any race—they are creatures, creatures the likes of which have never been seen in a natural history museum. His characters—non-human and human—are uniformly goofy-looking, too. So if his illustrations in general are steeped in anything, it’s in fantasy and mildly humorous silliness.

I read at least five articles about this incident, but couldn’t find an image of the racist illustrations that so offended this librarian in her campaign against the Four Olds. But I finally located this post from a few months ago that discussed Seuss’ racist drawings in some detail, the bulk of which seem to have been anti-Japanese cartoons from WWII (which do not appear in his children’s books), plus a few black characters and some Asian characters in a few of his children’s books that appear in extremely minor roles and are described as being subservient to the white child who is the main character (bringing him things, for example) and are said to have been drawn in a stereotypically racist way. Since none of these illustrations are shown, I can’t judge them for myself, and I don’t own those particular books and never even read them to my child.

Here’s what turned up when I Googled, under “images,” “black characters in if i ran the zoo.” In other words, what you get is a lot of creatures, and a protagonist who’s a cartoon version of a human child. No doubt there are some black characters in the book, too, but good luck in finding them online. (As a side note, the superior librarian Ms. Soeiro refers to the title of this book as If I Ran a Zoo, but it’s actually If I Ran the Zoo.).

I think the goal of SJWs such as Soeiro is—in addition to criticizing everything Trump or any other GOP member (or spouse or family of such members) might do—to take all the joy and whimsy out of children’s lives and replace it with strictly PC didacticism. That eventually would probably have to involve doing away with anything that was written before, oh, say 1995.

Unless, of course, that something was sanctioned by President Obama (from a presidential proclamation made in 2016):

The moment we persuade a child to pick up a book for the first time we change their lives forever for the better, and on Read Across America Day, we recommit to getting literary works into our young peoples’ hands early and often.

March 2 is also the birthday of one of America’s revered wordsmiths. Theodor Seuss Geisel — or Dr. Seuss — used his incredible talent to instill in his most impressionable readers universal values we all hold dear. Through a prolific collection of stories, he made children see that reading is fun, and in the process, he emphasized respect for all; pushed us to accept ourselves for who we are; challenged preconceived notions and encouraged trying new things; and by example, taught us that we are limited by nothing but the range of our aspirations and the vibrancy of our imaginations. And for older lovers of literature, he reminded us not to take ourselves too seriously, creating wacky and wild characters and envisioning creative and colorful places.

Somehow I doubt that Ms. Soeiro saw fit to write a chiding letter to President Obama at the time, despite the fact that she takes herself very seriously indeed. Ah, but that proclamation of Obama’s was so 2016, anyway. Now, in the Brave New World of 2017, Dr. Seuss is “a bit of a cliché, a tired and worn ambassador for children’s literature.”

I’m sure Ms. Soeiro could write something far better than Seuss’s outdated and hackneyed output. I look forward to reading her efforts.

[NOTE: By the way, Soeiro is not alone. She is merely reflecting a wave of “Seuss is a racist” sentiment that’s been going on for a while. In her letter to the First Lady, she references the racist nature of the Cat in The Cat in the Hat, based on this sort of thing. There is a sort of racism treasure hunt being undertaken, and it doesn’t matter that Soeiro herself dressed as the Cat and celebrated Seuss (photos here) back in March of 2015.

Ah, but that was two and a half years ago, aeons in the world of the social justice warrior, who can’t be expected to know how the worm is going to turn. That was before Seuss and the Cat were declared racist, after all. The seminal text in the campaign (Was the Cat in the Hat Black?) was only published in August of 2017, so Soeiro couldn’t have known the racist nature of her activity back in March of 2015 when she dressed up as the Cat.

But I do expect Soeiro to denounce herself shortly.]

23 Responses to “Social justice warrior looks a gift Dr. Seuss in the mouth”

  1. j e Says:

    We are also just entering the appropriate season for Pumpkin Spice Derangement Syndrome to begin appearing. Unfortunately, the left’s “long march through the institutions” has been so successful that there no longer remains anything cultural that is truly safe from leftist stupidity and race-mongering.

  2. F Says:

    I’d like to say “Oh My God!” and leave it at that, but that is too close to blasphemy for my taste.

    Dr. Soiero is also too close to blasphemy for my taste.

    Is she for real? I sit here just shaking my head in disbelief.

  3. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    I’ve little doubt that there’s an island in hell where the sanctimonious souls like Soeiro are sent. As I imagine that even Lucifer finds their company intolerable.

    I cannot imagine a more painful existence than being permanently condemned to endure their presence without surcease.

    In the present, exposing children to that vile witch has to qualify as child abuse.

  4. parker Says:

    The SJW types are (for the most part) brainwashed, miserable people. I can’t imagine the toll this constant search for racism, sexism, homophobes, and islamophobes must take. And they do not have the ability to realize their masters are using them as useful fools. If you asked them if they were familiar with the “night of the long knives” they would have no idea what you were talking about.

    Waiting for the Greal Proletarian Cultural Revolution when the various special victim groups begin purging one another.

  5. Esther Says:

    If the standard is that Dr Seuss is unacceptably racist, then virtually all early cartoons are racist.. possibly all popular American culture.

    The real treasure hunt would be turning up old cartoons that didn’t have some blatant racist depictions that offend modern sensibilities.

    We would have to entirely ethnically cleanse our culture if the goal is erasing anything that was ever racist, or made by anyone who ever made anything that might be racist.

    Even Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny and Betty Boop would have to go.

  6. neo-neocon Says:

    Esther:

    Did you read the link I gave for the words “Four Olds”?

  7. huxley Says:

    I missed my window to reply to Bill in the last anthem protest topic.

    But this is my thing with those protests. The SJWs and their unwitting accomplices (as I see Kaepernick) is they will never stop until every tiniest item in anyone’s personal life is up for official SJW review … including Dr. Seuss.

    Is this not madness? Is there no sanctuary anywhere in life, public or private, from the SJW agenda?

    Six years ago when I was visiting Boston at Christmas, my sister tearfully told me I would have to fly back to San Francisco tout suite because I had made some conservative comments while watching the news and my sister’s lesbian partner decided I was endangering her aged mother’s life.

    The lesbian partner was an old member of the SDS, who had been on the FBI watch list in the early seventies. This was her doing. When I stayed in the basement because she had deemed me a risk to her mother’s life, she condescended to lecture me about how silly I was being to stay in the basement. She wanted to scold me like a naughty boy who wouldn’t admit he had been bad then accept some conditional forgiveness.

    I haven’t been back for Christmas since, though I had done so for regularly 20 years because I thought family was important, even though it was expensive and uncomfortable and past the flashbulb moments on Christmas Day, no one really cared that I was there.

    An additional irony is I lent my sister and her partner $30,000 to keep that house because they had been financially unwise, which they never paid back.

    Well, the aged mother lived another two years in spite of the horror of my conservative comments.

    My point is there is no pleasing these SJW people. Any disagreement, however minute, is an occasion for high moral dudgeon and self-righteous reprisal.

  8. Gringo Says:

    huxley:
    But this is my thing with those protests. The SJWs and their unwitting accomplices (as I see Kaepernick) is they will never stop until every tiniest item in anyone’s personal life is up for official SJW review … including Dr. Seuss.

    Is this not madness? Is there no sanctuary anywhere in life, public or private, from the SJW agenda?

    Yes, it is madness, a madness which Neo and others have pointed out is reminiscent of China’s Cultural Revolution in the 196os.

    NO, there is not any sanctuary from the SJW. Once the SJW feel they have been successful in their purification campaign de jour, they will follow the next purification campaign de jour. Which is why they need to be loudly mocked until they decide that being quiet is preferable to the negative reactions to their incessant campaigns.

    As Cambridge is a well-funded school district, I imagine the school already had those volumes. There are many, many elementary school libraries that could use those volumes.

  9. Esther Says:

    Omg, Neo, I missed it, thanks for pointing it out, that’s really chilling, and not in a good way.

    The Chinese cultural revolution has freaked me since I learned about it in college. Despite my entire family being murdered In the Holocaust, the cultural revolution is what literally gives me nightmares, maybe because I can imagine that happening here.

  10. blert Says:

    Here’s what the good professor looks like.

    http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/09/dr-seuss-is-racist_librarian_d.html

    Check out her racist outfit. It’s a hoot.

  11. Gringo Says:

    The Trump Administration chose one school in each state. For Massachusetts, it chose a school in Cambridge, where election results were 89.3% Clinton, 6.4% Trump. Why did it choose Cambridge? The Trump Administration had plenty of towns to choose from in Massachusetts that voted for Trump. Even the Massachusetts hometown of my Yellow Dog Democrat sister-in-law voted for Trump. Moreover, it wasn’t the rich towns that voted for Trump, so sending books to a Trump-voting town could not have been seen as pandering to the rich, but helping the not as well off.

    I suspect that the Trump Administration deliberately chose Cambridge, anticipating that Cambridge would give the reaction it did. By reacting in a predictably SJW mode, the Cambridge librarian has inadvertently increased Trump’s support across the nation. How do you get more Trump? This is how you get more Trump.

  12. GRA Says:

    Apparently Ms. Soeiro deleted her inkedin and twitter account after this incident. I also found this link about her community outreach: http://www.slj.com/2017/08/industry-news/liz-the-librarian-liz-phipps-soeiro-2017-hero-of-family-outreach#_

    Caring, yes, but just another run of the mill caring liberal infected with Trump Derangement Syndrome. According to the link, after Trump called for a temporary Muslim ban she “invited a representative from the Council on American Islamic Relations and an attorney from the Muslim Justice League to speak to an audience including some 25 Muslim families about their rights. The lawyer met with individual families afterward” to her Coffee and Conversation meetings.

  13. miklos000rosza Says:

    I’m much more well-versed in the French Revolution of 1789-94 than I am in what seems the much more crude workings of China’s Cultural Revolution — although, since there were so many uneducated peasants and young people in China, perhaps this stupidity and crudeness was what worked best.

    Let’s not forget that it was preceded by the One Hundred Flowers campaign, in which Mao encouraged the intelligentsia to offer wat would allegedly be regarded as productive criticism. No one offering such criticism would be blamed!

    Of course Mao did this just to bring the suckers out of the woodwork, so they identified themselves and could then be then, well, neutralized and/or destroyed.

    I find the modern Hard Left of America to be most similar to young Jacobins like Saint-Just who were closely aligned with Robespierre and his idealized secular Republic of Virtue, which derived from a rather utopian view of Rousseau’s notion of the Perfectability of Mankind. Pol Pot likewise was an enthusiastic adherent of Rousseau. Thus in Cambodia you ended up with children being the only proper judges (and executioners) of vast hordes of irrevocably corrupted adults.

    I’ve been around some of these people here in Portland, who saw it as trendy and admirable to see themselves as “anarchists” in te 90s, despising Bill Clinton and Al Gore as Republicans in drag. Then they found a nostalgic jouissance in the anti-war movement directed at GW Bush — nostalgia for a time they’d never known but which has been idealized, and all manner of useful idiots became comrades, even if only until Obama was elected and politics ended for many insofar as politics had been defined as oppositional and there was now nothing, absolutely nothing, to oppose or even think about or examine anymore.

    The Occupy Movement arose to give the hardcore an urban camping trip, a playpen in which to play.

    Since the 2016 election — Resist! Antifa is the action faction the others can vicariously dig. Antifa has not fully blossomed, one imagines, though no doubt many of its number are inwardly kicking and screaming with the desire to compete in history with Red Army Faction and Baader-Meinhof, even if this will prove hard to swallow at ABC, MSNBC and CNN.

    Any kind of military action undertaken by Trump which can be portrayed in a negative or ambiguous light will offer the excuse.

  14. neo-neocon Says:

    miklos:

    See this.

  15. Yancey Ward Says:

    It is a mental illness- there is really no other explanation for why such people seem intent in beclowning themselves in this way.

  16. miklos000rosza Says:

    neo —

    I hadn’t seen that piece of yours. Good to know that you’re well aware of Robespierre. He is depicted wonderfully in the DANTON, starring Gerard Depardieu in the eponymous role. One of his best performances, based on the Georg Buchner play DANTON’S DEATH. Danton was perhaps actually the most responsible for the September Massacres of 1792, which he saw as a ploy to unite the Parisians in fear of the Austrian army, unite them in an atrocity so tat they would not dare surrender in expectation of any sort of mercy. The ploy worked, and the Austrians were driven off. But the massacres left Danton with very emotions about what he was doing — although he had been the one who established the Revolutionary Tribunal… which in its bloodlust in search of “purity” was soon out of hand.

    The French Revolution repays close study, as every revolution since seems to follow its course.

  17. Matt_SE Says:

    People like this librarian are saturated in Critical Theory, the purpose of which IS TO CRITICIZE.

    Critical Theory cannot build anything positive. It can’t build anything at all. It is only a tool to destroy, and like so many other leftist instruments it is self-contradictory. It could be used just as well to destroy or delegitimize progressivism (although it never is).

    Humanity is full of contradictions. If you’re determined to criticize, you will always find some reason to be unhappy. That was the motive for Critical Theory’s creators.

  18. Gringo Says:

    Iowahawkmade a trenchant Twitter about the situation:

    If Dr Seuss is a “cliche,” I’m not sure what you call an Orwellian nutjob librarian from Cambridge.

    Those of us who know Cambridge knod our heads.

  19. Cornhead Says:

    One of the weirdest things about this woman is that her school only goes to 5th grade and she asserts some of these kids have gender identity issues.

    And you can bet big money she is a true believer on global warming.

    The Left is insane.

  20. Ymar Sakar Says:

    SJWs will be SJWhores. Leftists will still be zombies, and evil evil. What else is new.

  21. Lizzy Says:

    As another Iowahawk tweet noted, the path from Robert E. Lee to Dr. Suess was surprisingly fast.

    Maybe we should thank this librarian for so clearly demonstrating that you cannot ever win with SJW’ers, and that they will always have another target queued up. We started the week with them telling is the flag and anthem were racist and ended it with Dr. Seuss being racist.

  22. Gringo Says:

    A further irony about Liz the Librarian is that she runs s library that has plenty of Dr. Seuss books available. This is not surprising, considering that there are photos online of her plugging Dr. Seuss books. Why hasn’t Liz the Librarian rid her library of those racist Dr. Seuss books?

    Go to Cambridgeport School Library and Technology Center. Click on “Search the Catalog” and type in “Seuss” for author: 31 examples.

  23. Pi Guy Says:

    I’m surprised that no one has countered the Seuss is racist trope with his book titled The Sneetches.

    One of the stories chronicles how society had determined that the Star-bellied Sneetches were superior to the Plain-bellied Sneetches simply by virtue of their appearance. Briefly, resolution is to accept that Sneetches – and all others, if the moral is to be presumed – should not be judged on the basis of their appearance. And, by the way, he published the stories in 1953.

    I believe our Master of Library Science has not plumbed the full depths of her research when suggesting that the good Dr. Seuss was wholly racist because The Cat in the Hat was super cool. Or something.

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