Unless your attention and hearing are as acute as Horton’s you probably missed it. Katy Tur’s MSNBC LIVE assurance that we are not to worry that Dr. Seuss had been banned or cancelled. Not so says Ms. Tur, because she had read one of Mr. Geisel’s not disappeared books to her son the very night before. Why weren’t we as happy and comfy as Ms. Tur’s child had likely been when soothed by one of the Doctor’s great books.
Our discomfort arose not because we might not be able to read six minor Seuss works to our beautiful grandson and granddaughter. We never read any of those half dozen to their parents and don’t doubt the assertion that the depictions and descriptions of Black, Asian, Mexican, Native American and Jewish people in those books are not what we want to be among our little ones’ formative impressions. But neither is book burning or banning anything we’d want to recommend to our heirs as a good doctrine for them or for America’s future.
As Ross Douthat of the New York Times presciently and pre-emptively scolded, it is cold comfort to someone who wants to read Ulysses that it is banned but she can always pick up a copy of Portrait. Apparently, Katy wasn’t listening to Ross nor are the former front-line defenders of civil liberties at the now inappropriately named American Civil Liberties Union. For decades HL was a member and actually carried the card in the way we still carry the Constitution on/in our iPhone desktop and briefcase. But carry the former card? No, if not nevermore. ACLU lawyers who defended the First Amendment rights of Nazis to march through Skokie have now decided that they may not defend clearly protected speech if on balance it is deemed harmful to “marginalized communities” and/or “the ACLU’s credibility.”
Sad to say that credibility has already been lost here and with many others. Who? Classic liberals whose voices and principles will be heard in these progressive days “no matter how small.”
Nothing is banned. Nothing was canceled by government action. Seuss Enterprises decided not to keep several books in its catalog. Would HL prefer to mandate publication by a private firm?
Please say it ain’t so.
I’ve been an ACLU member for over 40 years, including 10 years on the national staff.
What’s next, banning Huck Finn?
HL a member as well for more than 40 with many close and esteemed colleagues working there including the legendary pro choice advocate Janet Benshoof and Richard Emery who got SCOTUS to overturn the NYC charter as violative of one person one vote. But now its the culture war union as exemplified by its position in the Smith College events. Helen Keller and Felix Frankfurter (founders ) say it ain’t so.