More boards went up today downtown. More barricades. Pictures tomorrow. It feels a bit like going to work during wartime, expecting the bloody Jerries to come over any time and drop a whizzer on the tobacconists, ruddy blighters. At least there aren’t any sandbags, and Lobby Pizza is still open. The office was quiet. The lights were on, which meant someone was there; I never turn them on. I like the natural light. I think the person who turned them on left after a while, but I didn’t want to turn them off and hear “hey” from ten cubicle rows down.
We’ve finally come to March, which is when the paper emptied out. The big whiteboard with all the stories maps out MARCH, but it’s the last one. The dates on the papers left on people’s desks are getting close. I go to the library, where the rack of papers stop at the most alarmist point in the beginning of the panic, and look at the pictures of the upstanding citizens of Northern Minnesota in 1902. Remember those? Still collecting them, and I will have a surprise soon. It took a while to put the big book of biographies together, since a few entries note “deceased,” added on to indicate that the commendable gentleman had gone to his reward since the photo was taken. They don’t say what took him off - ague, grippe, a persistent catarrh, Sailor’s Gimp, Plow Fever, can’t say.
Spent some time on the phone lining up a new lawn service, and I think I found the right fellow. He knew the job, and its challenges - he’d done the house across the street, and was looking at my place on Google as we spoke.
“Who does your snow removal?” He asked.
“I do. I used to hire some guys, but I looked at the numbers and figured a snowblower would pay for itself in half a season.”
“So you got a big one!”
“Hardly. One-stroke. There are days I am pushing it up the hill trying to get footing on the ice I just revealed by blowing off the snow, and I regret my decision, but like I said, paid for itself.”
“Well, I wouldn’t take the job,” he said.
“Not that. Not when I can do a nice driveway or a sidewalk at the VA. My guy would look at that and go back in the truck and call me up and ask what I was thinking.”
We laughed, and I told him I thought it was a good sign when someone was honest about not taking a job. I had a guy come by to fix some tile the other day, and he looked at it, and said he could, but he shouldn’t. It wouldn’t look right. He was mostly in the grout line. And he could do that, but he wouldn’t feel good about it. Hard to match.
I respected that. Any man will take your money. It’s an honest one who won’t.
The year is 2031. Speaker: “In the past, Chinese people were often depicted in cartoons as wearing shapeless smocks with wide-brimmed hats and two flopping pigtails.”
That’s insulting. Show me an example.
“We eliminated most of the images. A few were saved for historical purposes.”
Can you call them up on your personal information device?
“I might, but I don’t want to.”
“If someone saw me look at the pictures from a hundred years ago, they might draw the wrong assumptions, or feel unsafe if they saw the images themselves.”
But if they’re the sort to be offended, who are you to say that their assumptions are wrong? Isn’t that automatically denigrating their opinion? Nevermind. So how can you prove that the images were offensive?
“If they weren’t offensive, they wouldn’t be inaccessible.”
I’m not a Seuss fan. They have their charms, and I loved the books as a kid, but I’m not going to gush and pretend I adore the stuff. Perhaps there’s a small amount of antipathy that goes back to the “Grinch” TV program. Simply could not figure out what the hell the Whos were singing. Lyrically impenetrable.
Anyway. Seuss. The responses went along the usual lines: "lol at conservatives who hate books and love capitalism getting mad about a private company deciding something." This is the stance of someone who values ferreting out what they perceive to be hypocrisy above all other issues, because it is necessary for the person who believes in nothing to insist that no one else does either. They just lie for gain. Most of the comments came from people who, in a previous decade, would have been passionate about Speech and the Press and constraining unpopular ideas, and now have aligned themselves to worship a new star.
Some might even have straddled the old era and the new. I wonder if they feel additionally virtuous because the old concerns were tired and nebulous, and the new ones are exciting and specific. It was difficult to muster a lot of energy to oppose Tipper Gore's Anti-Fun Music crusade. Mostly people cast snark. This, though - this is different. It's transformative! It's easy to get on the right side of history here; just denounce what the proper people are denouncing. And with a little work you, too might find a statue worth pulling down.
Well, let's go to the Twitters.
If he’s fine with 39, he’s jake with eight. Unless his magic number is 23 books, and that’s the hill where he makes his stand, and bravely defends the 24th books against removal from polite society. All of a sudden the people, who want that 24th book gone are . . . they're nuts! They've gone too far! Listen, I was with you on the first six, but let's be reasonable.
Alas, he would be fed to the woodchopper. He defended book #24, which is tantamount to defending them all, which is a defense of the racist author.
Oh but that wouldn’t happen
||Doesn’t this need to be investigated? Shouldn’t this be cited every time one of the defenders of the books’ withdrawal speaks up about the other 39 books?
Why are they not listening to important scholars who, as one reviewer put it, “brilliantly strips away the mask of innocence from Seuss's Cat in the Hat, layer by layer, to reveal the Cat's complex and sordid racial history”?
Hard to imagine the bright bulbs at Teen Vogue saying “no, really, that’s not necessary,” when one of the writers proposing going through the rest of the Seuss books. Lots of clicks there. A young writer could probably start by recalling a no-doubt traumatic trip with the parents, I know, ugh, to a now-problematic theme park:
In Central Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park features an area known as Seuss Landing, which includes characters and attractions inspired by the world of Dr. Seuss. A play area in that part of the park is themed after "If I Ran the Zoo," one of the books that will no longer be published, and includes animals and interactive contraptions from Seuss's stories. The book has been criticized for its portrayal of Asian people although none of that imagery is featured in the play area. (Emphasis added.
Seuss Landing also features a gift shop called Mulberry Street Store, which gets its name from "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street," another book that will be discontinued. There's also a Mulberry Street sign along the walkway.
Spectrum News reached out to Universal Orlando to see whether Tuesday’s announcement would have any impact on the area.
Universal said it’s evaluating the in-park experiences in that area but visitors will still be able to enjoy Seuss Landing.
Remove the signs, and find the nearest Memory Hole:
||See, in the future there will be kids who never read his racist books so they won’t notice that there aren’t any signs referring to something that was bad.
But. If they’ve never read the book, what’s the harm of the sign, referencing a book that was read for decades? Stupid question, of course - the sign points to Harm. It is a remnant of Harm. Its existence implies complicity with the legacy of Harm.
But doesn’t the entire Seuss park point to Harm? Now that everyone knows these things, why are the rest of the books available? Aren’t there any substitutes that are more inclusive?
Yes, there are!
Why, it's almost as if a taint has brushed the author's entire works.
Mind you, Sneetches is not one of the offensive books. Sneetches is explicitly anti-tribal. Doesn't matter. If you refuse these substitutes, and insist on letting your child read Seuss, you’ve pretty much said all we need to know. It’s one thing to read Sneetches if you don’t know that Antiracist Baby exists, but once you have been made aware of Antiracist Baby, and you still choose the book by the author who drew racist illustrations, you’ve revealed yourself.
But they knew that about you already.
This is the strangest newspaper I've ever seen.
It seems to be crusading as hard as it possibly can crusade.
It's a poem
Wouldn't you love to know what the hell that's about?
Open letters to civic officials:
A BOOSTER CLUB WILL BE ORGANIZED TO FIGHT BACK
After venting his brain on the front page, the editor-publisher turns to all the other things that bedevil him:
What this really needs is a cartoon!
I don’t get any of this newspaper
That'll do; see you around.