Six Dr. Seuss Books To No Longer Be Printed!

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Re: Six Dr. Seuss Books To No Longer Be Printed!

Post by Dacey » March 5th, 2021, 9:30 am

And now the books can’t be purchased off of eBay because they’ve been deemed “offensive content”....

Sounds like they HAVE been banned then (at least as far as easy access to them goes), and that this IS true censorship (even if it’s not in the state-enforced sense, this sets a VERY dangerous standard for the future).
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Re: Six Dr. Seuss Books To No Longer Be Printed!

Post by droosan » March 5th, 2021, 1:01 pm

I wonder whether that isn't more of a 'preventive measure' against the folks who've been raiding their children's bookshelves, small used bookstores, or even their local public libraries of the titles in question .. and then rushed to put them up for sale on eBay for hundreds -- or even in some cases, thousands -- of dollars..?

:arrow: also: a private company decision not to sell a particular item(s) 'banned'.

Those who can't use eBay will simply turn to Amazon or CraigsList (who may well follow suit on eBay's stance), or to their local classifieds / flea market scene. :|

These six titles were continuously 'in print' for several decades. They're simply not worth what some people are attempting to charge for them (except perhaps if they were 'first editions', in very nice shape).

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Re: Six Dr. Seuss Books To No Longer Be Printed!

Post by James » March 5th, 2021, 2:15 pm

Whenever some religious nutjob tries to have Huck Finn or Of Mice and Men pulled, we rightly don't argue over the semantics of what banned and censorship mean in the technical sense and how this is all OK because it's not actually the government doing the dirty work. We admit there might be issues with those works using out current values but point out the reasons they are culturally relevant. And we continue to let them be read while adding context when necessary. Then we discuss the dangers in banning works from the past. Here, since it is enlightened nutjobs trying to have books pulled, some of those who have long fought the religious nutjobs all of sudden don't want to fight as hard for what they claimed to believe previously. Makes me think maybe they weren't actually against banning books all this time but were just saying the opposite of whatever people they disagreed with said. Otherwise they'd be against banning books even when it's "their side" trying to do it.

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Re: Six Dr. Seuss Books To No Longer Be Printed!

Post by droosan » March 5th, 2021, 2:32 pm

Again: no one is 'banning' anything, AFAICT.

This is a publisher deciding to let some books go 'out of print'. A humdrum, everyday occurence for dozens -- if not hundreds -- of books, every year.

This instance just happened to have a massive press release surrounding it .. which catapulted many Dr. Seuss titles onto multiple best-seller lists.

Once the current hubbub has 'died down' a bit .. I'd not be surprised if these six particular titles (again -- hardly 'rare' books, even now) would be ever-so-slightly revised, and re-released to popular acclaim -- along with more free publicity, and another increase in sales. :roll: :wink: :|

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Re: Six Dr. Seuss Books To No Longer Be Printed!

Post by Dacey » March 5th, 2021, 2:58 pm

While "banned" may be an inappropriate word (and I did try to say as much in my earlier post that it was only "as far as easy access goes'), this is still an effort being made to make this content less easy to acquire. And while that may all be well and good in this case, the fact that they're being banned from eBay is still something I take as a danger sign--even if it is being done for the reasons Droo stated.

This sort of thing opens up a whole can of worms. If this is labelled "inappropriate content," what else might follow? Again, even if this is happening for the right reasons, it still at the end of day making these books--regardless of how "rare" they are or aren't--harder for the average buyer to find (even with other third party sellers out there).And with the current climate, I wouldn't count on eBay changing the policy anytime soon.

Mulberry Street, up until only a week ago, was considered a classic book. Now it's something eBay--a mainstream retailer--isn't allowing you to buy. And it's only a matter of time at the rate we're going that they don't stop at books (Holiday Inn is a classic film, but it also has a blackface sequence. How long before ebay and Amazon also consider that too offensive to sell as well?).

So Droo is right. Rand is right. But I still find this all very concerning.
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Re: Six Dr. Seuss Books To No Longer Be Printed!

Post by droosan » March 5th, 2021, 4:25 pm

It's not my intention to call anyone 'wrong' on this .. I'm simply trying to inject some reason into what seems to be a mostly emotional discussion .. and a lot of that emotion seems to stem from the word 'banned' -- which, IMO, is not the correct term for what's happened.

I do think it was a good call to change the original title of this thread.

I own pristine copies of five of the titles in question, which I'd bought in the 1990s (never bothered to buy The Cat's Quizzer .. and I'm not about to seek it out, now).

Never did I think to myself, "I should put these up on eBay, and make myself some BANK!!" .. but -- apparently -- a lot of other people have .. and the furor has driven prices to an insane level, in a matter of days. :shock: :?

Minus the press release, this really would be a non-event. The books would've eventually become harder to find, sure .. but -- if demand was still there -- the estate likely would've lightly revised & reprinted them.

I still think that is likely to happen; just sooner than it might've, otherwise.

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Re: Six Dr. Seuss Books To No Longer Be Printed!

Post by James » March 5th, 2021, 5:38 pm

Let’s try it this way. If a group of people loudly complained about To Kill a Mockingbird due to racist content and the publisher agreed to pull the novel from circulation, would that really be a “humdrum” event? Would people really be arguing that this was ok because it wasn’t technically banned?

I hope not!

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Re: Six Dr. Seuss Books To No Longer Be Printed!

Post by droosan » March 5th, 2021, 6:45 pm

I'd hope not, either .. FWIW!

But I will also try again: AFAIK, that's not what happened here. :|

.. unless I missed the part of this week's news stories in which groups of people loudly complained to the Seuss estate, prompting their decision.

-----------------------------------------

Children's books get 'discontinued' all the time. Dr. Seuss' books being evergreen 'in-print' is the exception, not the rule.

Classic children's books also get 'updated' to reflect current times .. sometimes even after the author has passed; there's nothing 'sinister' about that .. IMO. :|

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Re: Six Dr. Seuss Books To No Longer Be Printed!

Post by James » March 5th, 2021, 7:35 pm

I’m at a volleyball game right now. During a timeout I found 6 articles from 2020 discussing what should be done about racist Dr Seuss books. After all that publicity the past year, the publisher caved. The publishers didn’t do this for their personal peace of mind or out of the goodness of their hearts. They caved to pressure.

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Re: Six Dr. Seuss Books To No Longer Be Printed!

Post by droosan » March 5th, 2021, 7:54 pm

Okay. I don't require any proof; I'll just exit the thread here, then. :|

As I'd said, I'm not trying to call anyone's take on this 'wrong' .. nor it is my intention to change any minds on the subject.

Still .. minus the sensationalized press release, earlier this week .. most of the public 'outrage' over this wouldn't have happened.

For whatever that's worth.

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Re: Six Dr. Seuss Books To No Longer Be Printed!

Post by Dacey » March 5th, 2021, 8:57 pm

As I said, Droo’s not wrong (he’s been making some very good points). And I have no reason to assume this wasn’t done with the best of intentions (especially since the publishers probably had nothing to do with the eBay thing).

My issue is mainly with what standard it could accidentally set for others down the road. But that doesn’t mean there was anything nefarious in nature behind this decision in itself by any stretch.

So no need for Droo to leave. :) He’s probably been making more sense than I have here!
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Re: Six Dr. Seuss Books To No Longer Be Printed!

Post by James » March 5th, 2021, 9:58 pm

I think we can all agree that the Seuss Family Trust should next look at censoring/banning the live action Cat in the Hat and animated Lorax movies!

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Re: Six Dr. Seuss Books To No Longer Be Printed!

Post by ShyViolet » March 5th, 2021, 10:42 pm

Lol, I didn’t see Lorax, but I totally agree on the Mike Meyers version! :)
You can’t just have your characters announce how they feel! That makes me feel angry!

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Re: Six Dr. Seuss Books To No Longer Be Printed!

Post by Dacey » March 5th, 2021, 10:51 pm

I actually liked Lorax. Not as good as Horton, but it worked for what it was.

And we are supposedly getting an animated Cat in the Hat movie down the road which will hopefully have fewer plumber butt farts (also, if you want to talk about inappropriate Asian stereotypes in children’s entertainment, well...).
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Re: Six Dr. Seuss Books To No Longer Be Printed!

Post by Randall » March 6th, 2021, 1:49 am

I find all of this discussion fascinating, and have many thoughts, some of which are conflicting. And I don't think I disagree with anyone here, as all make valid points.

(Sorry if I repeat myself...)

For the record, I would have personally kept the books in print with small modifications for kids, while allowing original versions to still also be available for collectors - which is basically what Droo and I think may happen eventually. Really, the changes "needed" would be tiny. And while I agree that a couple of the books have mildly objectionable content, I do not agree in all cases. I think they have gone overboard in an overzealous attempt at appeasement. Still, I do not find it particularly upsetting. It is not banning, and not censorship. And yes - using the right word is vitally important; it does not minimize the importance of the event or excuse it, but it is necessary to describe it accurately and understand what is happening (and avoid contributing to misinformation, the bane of our modern existence).

I hadn't been aware of any public "outcry" prior to this week, but realize now that it happened. Obviously, Seuss Enterprises had been feeling some heat. Keeping this in perspective, though, it is a business trying to protect its brand, thinking it better to sacrifice six books before the whole catalogue gets impugned by association. They are trying to put out a small fire before it consumes their (publishing) house. They can see which way the wind is blowing; they do not judge the wind, but they must decide to stand against it and risk being blown over, or to mitigate its effect. And, seeing as it is the entity in charge of protecting and furthering the Seuss legacy, I understand - even if I think they went farther than necessary, and took a step I would not have chosen. And I regret that there was much of an outcry to start with, as I love some of those books and have a few of them here in the house. They are wonderful, regardless of any issues that modern readers may see.

I agree that important works should remain available for discussion, but I also sympathise with the desire to conform somewhat with evolving societal norms. Many, many other antiquated works in books and film have fallen by the wayside over the years, due to changing public tastes.

"Bowing to pressure" is not in itself a bad thing. People lobby for change in all kinds of ways, and are often cheered for it. And we should give Seuss Enterprises credit for at least trying to engage people on this topic, regardless if we agree with the outcome.

HOWEVER...

Having said that, I entirely disagree with eBay's decision. eBay is not a retailer, it is a platform. I couldn't believe it, until I found the WSJ article about it. And I am annoyed that actual retailers have pulled the books from their shelves, too. They didn't mind selling them until the grandstanding Seuss press release this past week. While they are under no obligation to sell anything, of course, eBay and the retailers are contributing to more than just ceasing publication, they are joining a movement to eliminate even printed copies from distribution. These books are not hate literature, after all, they are simply antiquated. There are far more harmful things on the shelves than If I Ran the Zoo.

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