I have had a number of thinky thoughts swirling in my head this week, ranging from ideas about gardening as a metaphor for living to notions about gun control, the medical industry, the fact that medicine IS an industry, the right to live, transgender children and so much more.
None of them have tumbled out whole yet though, so maybe I’ll just swirl them around a bit more.
While I do that, lets do a little navel gazing, shall we?
As an author, I like to pay attention to things being said in the world of books, from buzz about new or upcoming releases, new authors making their debut, books that are “banned” or panned or otherwise talked about.
And, as a fairly liberal minded soul seeking genuine equality/equity, but also understanding that we continue to evolve as a society, I am open to reinterpreting old ways to eliminate or preface things that we now see as troubling or problematic.
So, I support Disney prefacing movies with notes about the climate in which they were created, and not letting children just consume a movie that might have problematic content without engaging parents in the conversation.
And I support a publisher’s decision to pull books from publication due to problematic/racist depictions, even if the author is much beloved. As we have seen a lot in recent years, even people who we adore are not perfect.
So, it is with Dr. Seuss. He wasn’t the perfect children’s author we want him to be. He was a man of his times, and those times and his beliefs colored the work he did. The books that his estate has chosen to stop publishing are still available, if you can find them. They never were big hits, so I imagine even before they stopped producing them they were not easy to locate.
We do have to face the dilemma of what to do with problem people when we love their work, but can not abide something about them. How do you separate the love of all things Harry Potter and the anti-trans stance of the author? How do you continue to hold on to the love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer when you discover that the creator is an abusive asshole? How do you hold onto childhood memories with affection when you discover that Dr. Seuss, Laura Ingalls Wilder and others were racist?
I guess that’s something we each have to decide for ourselves.