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Uncancelled Cat & Potato Head

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A past victim of “cancel culture”? The right-wing news, certain pundits and certain politicians decided to make Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head a battlefield in their manufactured culture war. The core claim is that Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head have been cancelled by the left. The narrative soon expanded to include President Biden, asserting that he is somehow involved in this matter. As of this writing, he is not. While Ben Shapiro’s famous catch phrase is “facts don’t care about your feelings”, it seems that some on the right do not care about facts. The Dr. Seuss matter involves two sets of key facts that seem to have been intentionally misrepresented by some on the right. The first set involves the Read Across America Day context. It is true that Learning for Justice, which is a left-wing group, did call for schools to avoid “connecting Read Across America Day with Dr. Seuss.”  Loudoun County Public Schools did decide to “to not connect Read Across America Day exclusively with Dr. Seuss’ birthday.” In the face of backlash, the district released a statement making it clear that they were not banning Dr. Seuss books. Dr. Seuss was simply not the emphasis of Read Across America day in the district. As such, Learning for Justice did not call for Dr. Seuss to be cancelled nor was Dr. Seuss cancelled by this school district. The second set of facts involves the decision of Dr. Seuss’ estate to stop publishing six books because they  contain illustrations that “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.” While the illustrations in question have long been criticized, there does not (as of this writing) seem to have been any  focused effort to force the estate to  stop publishing these works. On the face of it, this seems to be a business decision made either from a change in moral values on the part of the decision makers or a recognition that racist content can hurt their reputation and brand (and hence profits). Unless some evidence is forthcoming,. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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