Category Archives: Japan

Dr. Seuss is in Leftist cross hairs, but conservatives shouldn’t rush to his support

With the Left now gunning for Dr. Seuss, it’s tempting for conservatives reflexively to support him — but they may want to think twice about doing so.

I’m sure that you’ve already heard that, per the most recent Leftist purge of pre-woke people, ideas, and books, a new study states that Dr. Seuss (aka Theodor Seuss Geisel), probably the most famous children’s book writer in America, has now landed on the naughty list:

“[This study reveals] how racism spans across the entire Seuss collection, while debunking myths about how books like Horton Hears a Who! and The Sneetches can be used to promote tolerance, anti-bias, or anti-racism,” Katie Ishizuka and Ramón Stephens write in their February 2019 report, “The Cat is Out of the Bag: Orientalism, AntiBlackness, and White Supremacy in Dr. Seuss’ s Children’s Books,” as part of St. Catherine University’s Research on Diversity in Youth Literature.

They continue: “Findings from this study promote awareness of the racist narratives and images in Dr. Seuss’ children’s books and implications to the formation and reinforcement of racial biases in children.”

The study continues by explaining that some of the most iconic characters relay the troubling messages of Orientalism (the representation of Asia and Asian people based on colonialist stereotypes), anti-blackness and white supremacy.

“Notably, every character of color is male. Males of color are only presented in subservient, exotified, or dehumanized roles,” the authors write as part of their findings. “This also remains true in their relation to White characters. Most startling is the complete invisibility and absence of women and girls of color across Seuss’ entire children’s book collection.”

I know that conservatives will be tempted to cling more tightly to Dr. Seuss’s books now that he’s persona non grata on the Left, but I’m not sure that’s a good idea. I know he’s dead, but the fact is that, whether you’re coming at him from a leftist or a conservative perspective, he wasn’t that great a care and pouring more money into his estate may end up feeling as wrong for you as it does now for the lefties. Here are a few interesting points about Theodor Geisel the man, and Dr. Seuss the writer:

First, Geisel was a lifelong Democrat.

Second, Geisel was a typical Democrat racist in the years leading up to and during WWII. His early drawings showed blacks as savages and, especially during WWII, Japanese as evil (a view shared by most Americans after Japan’s unprovoked attack on Pearl Harbor, throughout the horrific war years in the Pacific, and upon learning about the torture the Japanese visited on POWs).

Third, Geisel was also an objectifier of women. After all, he wrote vaguely erotic stuff in his early years.

Fourth, to be fair to Geisel, all children’s books before about the 1970s, except for the exquisite The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats’ (whom I always thought was black and just discovered was Jewish and white), unthinkingly focused on white kids. Whites were the vast majority in America and, outside of major urban areas and the less populated South, most people didn’t even have minorities in their frame of reference. This narrow frame of reference, combined with focusing on the most massive part of the mass market, meant that children’s book authors probably excluded minority characters without malice. They just did….

Fifth, still being fair, the most memorable Dr. Seuss books still read today are heavy on non-human characters. Sure, the kids in The Cat In The Hat are white, but who remembers them? It’s the non-human Cat and the non-human Things 1 and 2 that linger in people’s memories. Likewise, books such as Yertle the TurtleGreen Eggs and HamThe Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and Hop on Pop, are about non-human characters.

Sixth, Geisel came to regret his early racism. His most significant allegorical work about racism was Horton Hears a Who, first published in 1955.

Perhaps you remember the plot: Horton hears a voice speak from a small speck of dust. He realizes that there is life on that minute speck and, despite extremely hostile action from a kangaroo and her joey, monkeys, and an evil eagle. No matter the opposition, Horton fights to save that speck and the life upon it, repeatedly saying “A person is a person no matter how small.” Eventually, the smallest of those small persons on Whoville makes enough noise that everyone in Horton’s Jungle of Nool hears and agrees to protect that speck and the life upon it.

The commonly accepted history of Horton Hears a Who is that it represents Geisel’s about face regarding the Japanese in the years after WWII (hyperlinks omitted):

Geisel began work on Horton Hears a Who! in the fall of 1953. The book’s main theme, “a person’s a person no matter how small”, was Geisel’s reaction to his visit to Japan, where the importance of the individual was an exciting new concept. Geisel, who had harbored strong anti-Japan sentiments before and during World War II, changed his views dramatically after the war and used this book as an allegory for the American post-war occupation of the country. He dedicated the book to a Japanese friend.

Seventh, what’s really funny about Horton Hears a Who is that, while you have to work really hard to see it as an allegory for Japan, which had started the war against the U.S., fought it with unabashed fury, abused POWs and civilian internees with unbelievable ferocity, and refused to surrender, it actually works effortlessly as an allegory against abortion.

I mean, it’s so obvious. That speck upon which life exists isn’t just Whoville, it’s a zygote. After all, as Horton says with numbing repetition, “a person’s a person no matter how small.” In a world dedicated to abortion, Horton is the ultimate pro-Life activist.

To that end, Horton stands up against the angry feminist and her brainwashed child (the kangaroo and joey), the Leftist mobs (whether in the streets or the state houses), and the abortionist (that’s the evil eagle determined to destroy life at all costs). Through it all, Horton clings to one principle: Life is life. You cannot parse it away simply because it’s too small to see or its voice is too quiet to hear.

Sadly, it’s certain that Geisel would resent my pro-Life spin. Indeed, true to his life-long Democrat credentials, Geisel was staunchly pro-abortion and aggressively fought against having his name associated with pro-Life projects. In other words, even as Geisel/Seuss was writing, “a person’s a person no matter how small,” he didn’t really mean it. Moreover, his widow has continued that anti-Life legacy, by being a long-time Planned Parenthood funder:

“It has been well known for years around San Diego that the Geisels were pro-abortion and active supporters of the local Planned Parenthood affiliate,” said Operation Rescue spokesperson Cheryl Sullenger, who lived in San Diego for 23 years. “Many years ago, I remember seeing Dr. Seuss at a Planned Parenthood fundraiser that we were protesting. People find it hard to believe that someone who could write such amazing children’s stories could support the brutal killing of innocent children through abortion. His wife, Audrey, has been very active in her support for the abortion group over the years, and our documents prove that.”

It’s ironic, really, that both Dr. and Mrs. Seuss, whose fortune came from children’s books, so enthusiastically supported killing their customer base.

Given the facts, perhaps it’s time for everyone, both leftist and conservative, to stop buying Dr. Seuss books. He was a racist, sexist, baby-hating monster. Why in the world is he even still being published, much less being published as a beloved children’s book author? I find myself in agreement with the Lefties when it comes to suggesting that Theodor Seuss Geisel comes with way too much baggage to be a worthy author of today’s children’s books.

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Save One For Hachioji

Veterans’ Tales by Vassar Bushmills

When my family and I first came to Japan, in Spring,1972, we flew on an American contract airline, via Honolulu and Wake Island, from Travis AFB, California.

We arrived at Yokota AFB in the northeast outskirts of greater Tokyo at night. An Army staff car and driver picked us up and took us the two and a half hour trip to Camp Zama, the old Japanese Army military academy grounds, and dropped us off at a BOQ, where we would stay until we received our household goods and could move into quarters.

Other than that I never had any occasion to travel to Yokota, except in 1974 to try a batch of criminal cases for the Air Force when their legal staff there had placed themselves in a conflict-of-interest situation, where they would rotate prosecutors and defense lawyers, so ended up arguing both sides of the case on different days. It was a big Buddha-weed bust on an AF transport heading back to the States. A civilian lawyer caught them at it, called them out, and those cases had to be retried. Egg on the Air Force’s face.

In all, I traveled back and forth to Yokota three times in normal daylight hours and we went through a small city of half a million, actually a suburb of Tokyo, named Hachioji. The first time, I wasn’t prepared.

Driving through what looked like just more endless city, just like the several miles on the south side of Tokyo, where I lived, my driver, a Japanese man in a suit, turned around, and said, “Captain, we are coming to Hachioji City. Please roll up windows, lock door, and look straight ahead. Make no face.”

Shortly, along the narrow streets that Japanese called “two-lane highways”, people began coming out of the shops and little 3-stooler restaurants they would lunch at, and began pounding on the car, shriek curses (I guess), spitting, making hand gestures, with scowls that could cause an exorcist to squirm.

In a couple of minutes they either quit or we left the city[…]

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Memo to Sports Imperialists: How You Like Your One-Sided Score – With or Without Fries?

The Washington Post reported with some amusement apparently the sports minister of the Republic of South Africa [one Fikile Mbalula] was apparently a bad sport (and I agree:  he was!) over his team’s 64-0 pasting of the US rugby squad.  Here’s a highlight or two for the reading pleasure of my sports imperialist readers:

Here’s one tweet:

POSTCARD From: South Africa To: United States of America MESSAGE: LMAO

And some of the final paragraphs of the article – this guy is serious:

Now, I know exactly what you’re thinking: “This can’t be real.” But then you don’t know Mbalula. The man tells it like it is, whether he’s online or not, especially when it comes to rugby.

Last month it was his own team who became the victim of his words. After the Springboks lost to Japan, 34-32, he warned them they were in danger of being labeled “a bunch of losers” if they couldn’t emerge from the Rugby World Cup victoriously. Thankfully for the players’ reputation, their win over the United States secured them a spot in the quarterfinals, where they’re expected to crush Wales.

The United States, meanwhile, is out of contention having lost three matches in a row. They’ll play one last match against Japan on Sunday.

I can’t wait until Sunday.  After all Japan actually defeated RSA and we lost 64-0 to RSA!

But three observations:

The Rugby World Cup probably has pro players in it and I have no issue with that.  It is designed for each nation to put forth their best teams – pro or amateur.  But the Olympics was not intended or designed to be another world cup or pro tournament (see golf or tennis) and thus the pro athletes dominating the Olympics is offensive.

How you like your other foot?  We were Nigeria today in rugby.  So how does it feel?  Do you feel:  Angry?  Embarrassed?  Humiliated?   That is what other nations feel EVERY FOUR YEARS!  Let’s do something about it – renounce pro athletes at the Olympics.

Third and finally, maybe the gloating of the RSA sports minister, as poor taste as it was, and it was in poor taste, was a reaction to our Olympic broadcasting of the Games – glorify excessively the US teams and especially when they win.  I largely (but not totally) agree with Michael Callahan on this but I would have said it differently and less dramatically (and without a choice word or two)!  Maybe it is payback.  Let’s take payback out of the Olympics.

I can’t wait until next summer – the Games in Rio!  Again, my coverage of the Olympics (Lord willing and if I am still blogging) will not be any rooting of any pro athlete in the Games, US or otherwise, and I’ll honor again those nations who win their first medal.  Be ready!

 

 


Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders