Earlier this week, the company which works to preserve the author's legacy announced that it would be ceasing publication of six of his books due to racist and insensitive portrayals of people of colour.
The shortlist of books, which includes titles such as If I Ran the Zoo and On Beyond Zebra!, are not among Dr Seuss’ best-known stories and the titles have been criticised for racially insensitive images of Black and Asian people.
“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” Dr Seuss Enterprises said.
“Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’s catalog represents and supports all communities and families.”
Inevitably, that fairly bland statement has riled right-wing personalities and news channels, who have attempted to present it as yet another attack on free speech.
Here’s a taste of what was going on at Fox News yesterday:
And here’s Ben Shapiro comparing the decision to end the publication of a handful of titles to “book burning”:
And some commentators used the story as another opportunity to criticise rap music...
Of course, Dr Seuss has not been “cancelled” and you can still buy classic books such as The Cat in the Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Green Eggs and Ham.
In fact, you can still buy old copies of the six “banned” books - there just won’t be any new copies of them going forward.
As Late Show host Stephen Colbert explained last night, the decision to cease publication of these books is not about “cancelling” speech or certain ideas, it’s about trying to make all readers feel comfortable.
“They [Dr Seuss Enterprises] recognise the impact that these images might have on readers, especially kids, and they’re trying to fix it,” Colbert said.
“Because Dr Seuss books should be fun for all people: Black, white, straight, gay, Sneetches (both star-bellied and plain), Loraxes, Bar-ba-loots, all the Whos down in Whoville and the strange, angry creature named Foo Foo the Snoo.”
The late night host even offered up a selection of other childrens’ books that parents can buy instead...