Dr. Seuss Gets Cancelled

Joey Provencio, Comic Illustrator

In the era of ever-growing political unrest and “correctness”, it’s become inevitable that many works will be examined to determine if they are fit to remain in our society. The works in question belong to beloved children’s author Theodor Giesel, writing under the pen name “Dr Seuss”. Some of his notable works include Green Eggs and Ham, and The Cat in the Hat. As of recent, six of his books have been recalled and put out of production due to them containing content deemed racist and stereotypical. These books are titled 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.

So what is cancel culture? In its most condensed form, it can be considered an extreme form of boycotting. People (most commonly those with Twitter accounts) find out about something that a celebrity or noteworthy person has done that’s considered “politically incorrect”, and people “cancel” them, or shun them and bring a mistake to light. Cancel culture is a rising problem, as some of these situations touch on events that happened long ago, without regard for the offender’s potential of growing past the situation. Users will also make extreme attempts at cancelling someone, even when it is completely unnecessary. For example, Giesel’s And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street contains a depiction of a Chinese man that researchers claim is racist. This is something that people would find and attempt to make a spectacle of. 

Philip Nel, a researcher on racism in children’s literature, said that the situation “should be viewed as a ‘product recall’ and not, as many claim, an example of cancel culture.” He also says that it’s a moral decision, choosing to put works with outdated ideals out of production. This decision has left people wondering, since it was made entirely without pressure from the public. Samuel Carnick, a director at the Heartland Institute, says “The problem is that everybody in Dr. Seuss’ illustrations looks ridiculous. Everyone looks grotesque. It’s not just an individual, or particular ethnic group … And so, it seems to me, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with what Dr. Seuss did there.”

The printed books will continue to exist, and aren’t being banned. You could say they’re victims of outdated culture, and it’s being addressed now. Giesel’s other works will also continue to exist, and his status as a beloved children’s author will continue to stand.