This Tuesday, the Associated Press Stylebook account tweeted that people should not use the term “mistress” to define someone in “a long-term sexual relationship with, and is financially supported by, a man who is married to someone else.” Word banned.
The AP Stylebook has guided the media industry on language use since 1953, decades after releasing similar guides and rules for professional writing — like the 1909 first internal edition. The AP is arguably the most influential news agency in the world. It has 248 news bureaus in 99 countries, and its work forms the basis for most articles read inside the United States.
But for years now, the AP has demonstrated partisan leftism in redefining terms to serve political ends. Given its immense influence over journalists, and thus the American people, the AP is in an eerie position to change the way people think about not only language, but what language refers to. So, instead of using the term mistress to define someone who is engaging in adultery, they plead with people to use the terms “companion,” “friend,” or “lover” instead.
The definition of “mistress” according to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language is “[a] woman who has a continuing sexual relationship with a man who is married to someone else.” The AP’s suggested replacements have different definitions and connotations. A “companion” does not indicate there is cheating involved or even sex, a “friend” is a term to define two individuals who do not have a sexual relationship, and “lover” lacks information about other relationship commitments the sexual activity may be damaging as well as the financial interests involved in a mistress relationship.
In September, the AP claimed “riot” should no longer be used. Not only did the agency claim riot was “used in the past to stigmatize broad swaths of people protesting against lynching, police brutality or for racial justice,” but it said people should identify the Black Lives Matter and Antifa rioting and looting as a “revolt” and “uprising,” since this indicates “broader political dimension.” Call me crazy, but rioting and looting is criminal, as well as morally wrong, and should not be romanticized. Stealing, attacking bystanders, and damaging other people’s property are morally wrong and rightfully criminal, and that’s what rioting means.
According to the AP in November, people should not “use derogatory terms, such as insane, crazy/crazed, nuts or deranged, unless they are part of a quotation that is essential to the story.” Furthermore, people should “avoid using mental health terms to describe unrelated issues.”
Over the summer, the AP stylebook determined people should now capitalize the word “black” when used to identify a person’s race, since it is “conveying an essential and shared sense of history, identity and community among people who identify as Black, including those in the African diaspora and within Africa.” White people, however, the AP said, shouldn’t be equally treated.
“After a review,” the AP found that “white people generally do not share the same history and culture, or the experience of being discriminated against because of skin color,” and therefore there is less of an argument to capitalize the word. The AP claimed, “capitalizing the term white, as is done by white supremacists, risks subtly conveying legitimacy to such beliefs.”
It’s unclear who was informing the AP judgment calls here, but it seems pretty provincial and ignorant to declare that all people of a somewhat similar skin cue on the entire continent of Africa share the same racial identity and culture. That is just factually untrue, to the point of being offensive.
Rwandans, for example, have significant cultural differences than Somalis, even though to ignorant people they may look somewhat similar, just as some people of German ancestry might look a lot like others of Russian ancestry but have widely different cultural histories. To anyone with any knowledge of world history or major world cultures, the AP’s language use and explanation for it is clearly ignorant and motivated only by political prejudice.
The 2017 AP edition claimed the term “pro-life” should not be used, but “anti-abortion” should be. “Use anti-abortion instead of pro-life and pro-abortion rights instead of pro-abortion or pro-choice,” it claimed, treating the two political sides differently for what, again, can only be partisan reasons.
Also in 2017, the AP redefined the term “they” to be used as a singular pronoun for people who are “non-gender conforming.” Gone are the days of strictly, and properly, using “they” to identify someone in the third person. The AP stands by language-mangling gender theory.
People should not be shocked at these rehashed redefinitions. They should be appalled. America’s institutions have been corrupted by woke millennials who have been trained at the most expensive institutions money can buy. Now, we are all coping with their ideological overhaul of truth.
In Ray Bradbury’s dystopia, “Fahrenheit 451,” firemen search for books and burn them. In today’s society, the AP searches for words that do not fit the leftist narrative and twists them up. The irony is that the AP is burning its own reputation in the process.
United Airlines announced on Tuesday that it would increase the number of women and people of color who become pilots, setting a goal for 50% of the 5,000 pilots trained in the next decade to fit the demographics.
United Airlines plans to exclude White pilots to keep BLM happy
The airline made the announcement on Twitter, writing, “Our flight deck should reflect the diverse group of people on board our planes every day. That’s why we plan for 50% of the 5,000 pilots we train in the next decade to be women or people of color.”
Twenty minutes after the initial tweet was sent – and after criticism from many on Twitter suggesting hiring people based on race and gender rather than talent would be dangerous – United followed up by saying: “All the highly qualified candidates we accept into the Academy, regardless of race or sex, will have met or exceeded the standards we set for admittance.”
The follow-up didn’t placate everyone, including Dave Brooks, the former managing editor of The Daily Caller, who questioned why United hadn’t achieved this goal already if they had qualified candidates of color.
“So why haven’t you done this before now? If you had qualified women and minorities, why didn’t you hire them? This implies you’ve been discriminatory until now,” Brooks suggested.
Others questioned whether the airline would refuse to hire qualified white men just to meet the self-imposed quota, while some wondered if the diversity policy would apply to flight mechanics – who are mostly men – and flight attendants – who are mostly women.
Our flight deck should reflect the diverse group of people on board our planes every day. That’s why we plan for 50% of the 5,000 pilots we train in the next decade to be women or people of color. Learn more and apply now: https://t.co/VbOFvFOksBpic.twitter.com/r0ScH6MQAJ
Big Corporations pushing the radical Left’s agenda
United provided a link to an application website for those interested in becoming pilots, which doesn’t mention diversity until about halfway down. The company said that already 20% of its pilot group is made up of women and minorities, adding that it is “partnering with diversity-led organizations” in order to achieve an even higher percentage.
“Today, United has one of the most diverse pilot populations of any U.S. carrier with nearly 20% of our pilot group made up of women and people of color. We are working toward raising that number even higher by partnering with diversity-led organizations and continuing to remove gender and racial barriers. And we’re going one step further with plans for 50% of United Aviate Academy students being women and people of color to ensure our students reflect the diversity of the customers and communities we serve,” the website says.
Part of the way United plans to help more underrepresented communities become pilots is through financial aid.
“Together United and JPMorgan Chase are offering $2.4 million in financial aid to the best and brightest talent, opening the door to a lucrative career for people who previously didn’t have the opportunity to pursue one. We’re in the business of breaking down barriers and we want the pilot population — some of the highest paying jobs in the industry — to be open to a much more diverse pool of candidates,” the website says.
In addition to United and JPMorgan Chase, the website says additional loans will be available from Sallie Mae.
Two hundred companies signed off on a letter last week to condemn the new Georgia election bill, which notably requires identification for voter absentee ballots. Among the signees was the founder and CEO of food-delivery service Instacart, Apoorva Mehta.
“We believe every American should have a voice in our democracy and that voting should be safe and accessible to all voters,” the statement said. “There are hundreds of bills threatening to make voting more difficult in dozens of states nationwide. We call on elected leaders in every state capitol and in Congress to work across the aisle and ensure that every eligible American has the freedom to easily cast their ballot and participate fully in our democracy.”
While Instacart joined the group of virtue-signaling executives, the company neglects that it mandates all shoppers who deliver groceries to demonstrate photo and facial identification to participate in the gig economy.
According to the company’s website, “the first thing you’ll need to have on-hand” to become an Instacart shopper is “the details of your driver’s license.” Furthermore, applicants must provide their social security number information to get to the next step of inputting their bank information. Additionally, a shopper must undergo a background check that will take up to 10 business days to be cleared to be a contractor. Even after providing this information, a shopper must center their face on the application and be confirmed to shop on a daily or weekly basis.
Nevertheless, Instacart has seemingly taken issue with a bill that both mandates voter ID for absentee ballots and institutes an 11-day deadline for requesting an absentee before election day. Instacart has placed itself on the side that prefers an “election season,” which Democrats have sought.
The hypocrisy here is only worsened by the fact that the company wishes to make shoppers wait up to 10 days to begin working, while implying in its condemnation of the bill that 11 days is far too short for a contractor to have to request an absentee ballot. Why should there be any window, any background check, or any mandate for its employees to prove ID if Instacart takes issue with a bill to do exactly what it is doing (for something far less consequential)?
In truth, one should need to demonstrate ID to both work at Instacart and vote in an election, but these companies are too beholden to left-wing activists, and thus have lost any shred of credibility to comment on the issues of the day.
Instacart did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Federalist.
At least 64 percent of Americans are “less likely to support” big businesses such as Major League Baseball that take a public stand on political issues like the new Georgia election reforms law, a new poll from The Daily Wire found.
In the interview survey of 1,026 Americans, the number rises to 70 percent when respondents were asked if they agree that “corporations and sports teams should generally stay out of politics.”
These revelations come as multiple corporations including MLB, Coca-Cola, and Delta Air Lines released statements condemning the new law and threatened to boycott the state if changes were not made.
Following the MLB’s decision to relocate the All-Star Game to Colorado in protest of Georgia’s new election law, 79 percent of respondents who already viewed the MLB unfavorably view the organization less favorably. Of these respondents, 43 percent were Republican, 19 percent were Democrat, and 30 percent were independent. Those who say the MLB is unfavorable also contributed to the 44 percent of respondents who said they had a negative overall view of the league after the relocation decision.
“The poll also indicates that voters are wary of hyperbolic characterizations of the legislation with 58 percent — including a majority of non-white Americans and nearly half of MLB fans — saying ‘politicians and some in the media are exaggerating and making the new Georgia law sound worse than it actually is,’” the survey analysis suggested.
While MLB’s unfavorability appears to be climbing following Commissioner Robert Manfred’s decision, forty-two percent of the respondents said they support Georgia’s new law. An even higher number of MLB fans, 54 percent, say they agree with the election reform provisions outlined in the bill.
Using paraphrases from corporate media’s description of the Georgia law, the Daily Wire found that most Americans including minorities, Democrats, and MLB fans support many of the bill’s main provisions. While Seventy-eight percent of Americans appear to support requiring voter ID, 63 percent agree with limits on interactions with voters while they wait in line to vote, 65 percent back rules and restrictions for absentee ballot request forms, and 67 percent believe ballot drop boxes should be regulated and monitored.
The survey also found that 76 percent of respondents believe campaign workers and other organizations “should leave voters alone while they are waiting in line to vote.”
Former Republican White House strategist Andrew Surabian joined SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Saturday this weekend where he offered a message to members of the Republican Party across America, telling them not bend a knee to “corporate interests,” warning that these organizations are “not your friend.”
Surabian’s interview came on the heels of Major League Baseball’s decision to pull out of Atlanta, Georgia, for its All Star-Game in response to a recently passed voting reform law in Georgia.
“We’ve really been seeing a merger between big government and big business,” Surabian told host Matthew Boyle, questioning how businesses have begun to correlate themselves with “woke” policies and the “absolute hypocrisy of the left.”
“If they really wanna go woke, if they really want to claim that they care about these issues, we need to start making these people live by the laws they set for the rest of us,” Surabian continued. “Do you really think the MLB cares about that issue or do they use issues like voter ID and diversity to shield their company from criticism over issues they actually care about like wages or deals that they’ve cut.”
“One good thing to come out of this hostile takeover by the left of corporate America is hopefully it has unchained the Republican Party from corporate interests,” Surabian said, adding:
Republicans, hear me, you do not have to do the bidding at the business roundtable anymore, you do not have to do the bidding of the Chamber of Commerce, or Delta, or Coca-Cola. These companies hate you, they hate your values, they hate what you believe, they are not your friend, and even if they give you a $1,000 check, they’re writing $5 million checks to [Black Lives Matter]. So, the one good thing that could come out of this whole thing is if the Republican Party can finally wake up and understand that we don’t need to be tied into what the corporations want. We should be the party that stands up for the individual, for families, and against the woke left, and against big corporations, and against big government, and against big labor, and against all of these huge multi-national institutions that want to run our lives. We owe nothing to these people.
“There’s been a big shift, and I really do think there’s something good will come out of it if Republicans hopefully finally realize that they don’t need to sing to the tune of corporations anymore,” Surabian said. “Let the Democrats be the party of radical activists and what the big corporations want, a political loser.”
“People hate this [political correctness] stuff,” Surabian added in conclusion. “Every poll shows 60 percent of Americans cannot stand cancel culture, they don’t like political correctness. There’s a big backlash coming. Let these corporations side with the left and let’s make them regret it.”
To listen to Surabian’s full interview with Breitbart News, which also involved a conversation of COVID-19 vaccines and passports, click here.
This is another step on the continuum. It is remarkable how many corporations; and yes, professional sports are corporations first and foremost; are willing to collapse their business model on behalf of wokeism and political ideology. However, that said, this is a predictable step when you think about our earlier discussions of blue regions and red regions and how they would break-down in a soft civil war surrounding politics and freedom.
Major League Baseball (MLB) has announced they will not hold the All Star game in Georgia due to the recently passed law ensuring voting integrity.
If we are to follow the progression of this continuum, we will see further division of our nation based on leftist politics. Eventually you get to a situation where the Red State -vs- Blue State issues (Red Region/Blue Region) will break down into liberty and freedom zones (red), and totalitarian control or communal zones (blue).
Exactly as we have been predicting for over a decade.
Let’s first get things in the correct perspective. The loud voices of the far-left (Media Matters, Act Blue, Share Blue, and all sub-groups therein) do an excellent job pressuring private industry to go along with their cultural wokeisms. They are a minority group, but they are loud and their Big Tech allies control the mechanisms that make the appearance of their voice seem bigger and larger than it is.
This approach has been progressively true since 2007. As a consequence they have an organized activation system to immediately target corporations to put pressure on them to respond to the approved politics of the left.
In the aftermath of the 2020 election, the Georgia legislature went to work reforming their election laws to make voter fraud harder, and election integrity a priority. This triggered the activist network; who then notify their leftist subsidiaries to swarm their corporate contacts. Now we are seeing the results of that activation.
What results is a major hypocritical position from the corporations who concede to the demands of the wokeists. Delta airlines puts out a statement against the Georgia election reform… but you need an ID to board a Delta flight. Apple puts out a statement deriding the Georgia election reform…. but you need an Apple ID to engage with Apple products, and there’s a password on an Apple phone for a reason, DUH!
But yet again, always remember…. In order for the far left to advance their political ideology they have to pretend not to know things. That is the essential underpinning of the hypocrisy they must ignore.
On Wednesday morning, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a memo to employees that the law is “unacceptable and does not match Delta’s values.”
“Let me be crystal clear and unequivocal, this legislation is unacceptable,” Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey said later that day on CNBC. (read more)
♦ WASHINGTON – Apple CEO Tim Cook criticized Georgia’s new voting law in an interview with Axios published on Thursday, joining a growing number of CEOs who have condemned the new measure, which is seen as making it more difficult for Blacks and other minority groups to vote.
“The right to vote is fundamental in a democracy. American history is the story of expanding the right to vote to all citizens, and Black people, in particular, have had to march, struggle and even give their lives for more than a century to defend that right,” Cook told Axios.
The Georgia voting legislation was signed by Gov. Brian Kemp (R) last week. The laws limit the use of ballot drop boxes, create new voter ID requirements and prohibit people other than poll workers from giving food and drink to voters standing in line at polls. (read more)
The U.S. Special Operations Command’s newly-hired “chief of diversity and inclusion” shared anti-Trump memes on Facebook, namely one that likens the former president to Adolf Hitler.
USSOCOM welcomes our new Chief of Diversity & Inclusion, Mr. Richard Torres-Estrada. We look forward to his contribution in enhancing the capabilities and effectiveness of #SOF through diversity of talent, helping us recruit the best of the best. #QuietProfessionalspic.twitter.com/Z6aJnz91mx
Upon the Defense Department’s announcement of the hiring of Richard Torres-Estrada, several volatile posts were dug up. A comparison photo of Hitler and Trump Photoshopped next to each other, holding Bibles in the air, has caught the most eyes. Torres-Estrada posted it on June 2, 2020.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson discussed Torres-Estrada’s post in a segment on Friday. “The point is, they’re the same,” Carlson said, saying clearly what the diversity director was trying to communicate. “So, this is the guy who now oversees hiring for the SEALs.”
“The Pentagon is now the Yale faculty lounge, but with cruise missiles. That should concern you,” Carlson said, harping on the extent to which the military has gone fully woke.
Torres-Estrada posted one photo of Trump on July 8, 2020, surrounded by quotes smearing him, and a “missing” sign of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on Feb. 19, 2021.
“Looks like the new diversity officer loves celebrating diversity with those who agree with him. Here is what he thinks of the rest of us — Mr. Torres-Estrada was not placed in US Special Operations command by mistake,” tweeted Joe Kent, a retired U.S. Army Special Forces chief warrant officer three.
Looks like the new diversity officer loves celebrating diversity with those who agree with him.
South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott (R) this week defended his remarks that “woke supremacy” is as bad as white supremacy.
“My comments were a sound-bite-length reaction to yet another media figure accusing me of being a token for Republicans,” Scott wrote in a Washington Post op-ed published Tuesday, saying he was responding an opinion piece the newspaper published last week calling the senator a “fool” for his comments.
On March 8, Scott made his initial “woke supremacy” comments when firing back at MSNBC host Joy Reid for accusing the GOP of using him as a “patina of diversity”.
In his Tuesday piece, Scott explained that he was not “comparing the long history of racial hate to the very short history of wokeism” and that he is “painfully aware that four centuries of racism, bigotry and killings does not compare to the nascent woke movement.”
“I spoke out,” he wrote, “because I am gravely concerned for our future if we ignore either type of supremacy,” saying both “are rooted in racism or discrimination.”
Being the first Black senator from South Carolina, Scott has served in the upper congressional chamber since 2013. He is joined by only two other Black senators.
The senator then illustrated the racist comments he has endured for being a Black Republican and argued that woke supremacists believe diversity doesn’t matter if it isn’t paired with progressive thinking, to which Scott said, “my ideology does not match that which they prescribe based on my complexion.”
“It is the ‘tolerant’ left’s intolerance for dissent,” Scott added. “It is a progressive conception of diversity that does not include diversity of thought. It is discrimination falsely marketed as inclusion.”
“I am proud to be both a Black man and a Republican,” he also stated. “Because of those aspects of my identity, many critics have ignored things I have actually done,” he continued, going on to list his accomplishments in Congress such as securing funding for historically Black colleges and fighting for school choice, among other things.
“Critics discount these accomplishments for the Black community because it conflicts with the caricature they’ve created of what it means to be Black and to be a Republican,” Scott wrote.
Toward the end of his Washington Post op-ed, the senator painted a picture of an increasingly divided and segregated America, blaming “woke culture”.
Closing out his piece, Scott brought up the late civil-rights icon and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), whom the senator described as “my friend,” and when Lewis asked him to co-chair the march on Selma back in 2015 to mark the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.
“When I think of my vision for America,” Scott wrote, “I think about standing shoulder to shoulder on that bridge with John and Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, walking forward together.”
Scott then concluded that the United States can let “woke culture” continue to divide the the country, “or we can choose to create equality of opportunity and access to the American Dream for everyone.”
It’s now been nearly three weeks since Dr. Seuss erupted into the news.Yes, the eruption is a bit strange, as the famed children’s book author died three decades ago.And yet the story is important because in it we see two things: First, the zealotry of left-wing cancel culture, which made the choice to pick this fight, and second, the power of center-right backlash in response.Yes, when confronted with the abnormal, it’s necessary for normal people to fight back.
Moreover, as the Seuss Saga plays itself out, we are seeing that while the left can win the first battle, the right can win the war.
Ironically, the man behind Dr. Seuss, Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904-1991), was a lifelong political liberal, even if he wasn’t politically correct, let alone woke.But then, how could he be?In today’s world, even the living have trouble keeping up with wokeness, which requires its devotees to abide by an ever-shifting checklist of approved and disapproved phrases and concepts; for instance, the number of genders keeps expanding; by one measure, we’re now up to 64.
In this Feb. 27, 1986, photo, Theodor Seuss Geisel, known as Dr. Seuss, talks to some children with his book “You’re Only Old Once!” at Barnes and Noble in New York. (AP Photo/Michael J. Pennacchia)
Summing up the impact of all this extremism in testimony before Congress earlier this month, Glenn C. Loury, a prominent Black academic, called wokeism “a formula for tyranny and more racism.”
So if these are the stakes—tyranny and, indeed, more racism—then it only makes sense that people of good will should wish to fight wokeism.And yet it turns out that when Republicans do fight the woken, they are mocked. For instance, The New Yorker, that citadel of smug liberalism,made fun of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for bringing up the issue of Dr. Seuss, while allegedly neglecting to talk about the Covid relief bill that was passed last week.In fact, McCarthy put his vote where his mouth was; he voted against that bill, and was not shy about why: “It showers money on special interests, but spends less than nine percent on actually defeating the virus.”
In the meantime, McCarthy felt perfectly capable of expressing himself on both fiscal and cultural issues.Yet even so, on March 11, the queen of the woken, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), tweeted:
This week in Congress:
Dems: Passed $1.9T COVID package to deliver stimulus checks (w/ dependents!), cut child poverty in half, extend $300 UI, prevent cuts in state + local services, largest-ever investment in Native communities, etc
So we can see: The left is trying to laugh away the Dr. Seuss issue.And thatimmediately inspires the question: Why is the left, which picked the fight in the first place, now so eager to bury it?Could it be that the left senses that attacking Dr. Seuss was overreach?
In response, the right should use this as a teachable moment for the nation: Behold the woke left and its works.
Indeed, the Dr. Seuss issue persists, because it’s interesting, and also because it’s revealing; that is, the cancel-culture aspect of wokeism reveals much about how the hard left sees the world. And that worldview is scary, even to many Democrats.For instance, it scares Sarah Silverman, the comedian who loudly supported Bernie Sanders in both 2016 and 2020.Obviously, Silverman is on the left, and yet in the past few years, she has become vexed by censorious hyper-leftism; recently, on Instagram, she raged against “absolutist-ness,” calling it “such a turnoff to me.”She added, “It’s so f ___ing elitist.You know, for something called ‘progressive,’ it allows for zero progress.”
It’s in this harsh light that we might consider other recent eruptions of wokism (which goes by other names, too, including political correctness, critical race theory, identity politics, intersectionality, and successor ideology), and such eruptions include the fights over the toy Mr. Potato Head, the cartoon character Pepe LePew, and the wrongly accused blue-collar workers atSmith College.
We might also observe that in each of these cases, the left started the fight.That is, it was the woken who found something they didn’t like and sought to crush it.Indeed, it becomes a cruel ritual of purging and scourging, all part of “the religion of identity politics,” in the mordant phrasing of gay conservative Douglas Murray, author of the new book, The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity.
Yet because this process of metaphorical book-burning and witch-hunting is so unseemly to the public, the woken often shrink when exposed in their wokery.Why, precisely?Because widespread exposure makes them look like crazy people, and this revelation can be costly.
Indeed, such was the case, for instance,with journalism professor Melissa Click, who was fired from the University of Missouri for seemingly demanding violence (although all was not lost for Click, as she was soon hired at another university–Gonzaga alumni, please take note).
In this Nov. 9, 2015 frame from video provided by Mark Schierbecker, Melissa Click, right, an assistant professor in the University of Missouri’s communications department, confronts Schierbecker and later calls for “muscle” to remove him from the protest area in Columbia, Missouri, where he was reporting on the protest. (Mark Schierbecker via AP)
When the left is caught overdoing its wokeness, it attempts, AOC-style, to stymie the criticism by mocking the critics.At such moments, the new party line then becomes, “Those silly right-wingers, look what they’re worried about now. Don’t they have anything better to worry about?”And the answer is that rightists do have better things to worry about, and yet sometimes, it’s necessary to drop everything and come to the defense of history and tradition—especially when it’s such revered figures as Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt who need defending.
In the meantime, the rest of us might ask: Don’t woke leftists have anything better to do than attack U.S. history, and by extension, the U.S. itself?And since the answer is that they obviously don’t have anything better to do, patriots must rally in opposition to the next round of statue-toppling and history-erasing.
Culture and History First, Then Politics
As the late Andrew Breitbart always said, “Politics is downstream from culture.”That is, today’s cultural fight is tomorrow’s political fight.
We can add, too, that the past is upstream of the present; that is, past events have flowed down to us today.And that’s one reason why even children’s author Dr. Seuss is important–because all history, including cultural history, teaches us something potentially useful.Sometimes we might look upon an historical event and say, “Yes, we should be inspired by that,” while at other times, we can look and say, “Let’s never make that mistake again.”Either way, and at all times, history is important; as the Roman statesman Cicero observed:
To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?
And yet if we have such knowledge, we can be adults, participating in the shaping of our culture and the making of our politics.More recently, the 19th century English philosopher and journalist William Godwin explained:
Make men wise, and by that very operation you make them free. Civil liberty follows as a consequence of this; no usurped power can stand against the artillery of opinion.
Such should be our goal: To be wise enough to form our own opinions, thereby doubling our resolve to defend our God-given, as well as constitutional, rights.And so that’s why we can take our stand—not so much to defend Dr. Seuss and everything he ever wrote or drew, but rather, to defend our right to read Dr. Seuss and to decide for ourselves.No woke overseers needed.
Breitbart News founder Andrew Breitbart speaking at an event in Beverly Hills, California, on June 12, 2011. Breitbart’s famous dictum was that “Politics is downstream from culture.” (David McNew/Getty Images)
In fact, in the case of Dr. Seuss, Americans have been actively defending their right to read.In the days after Dr. Seuss’ cancellation, his books soared to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list; indeed, as the Associated Press reported on March 11, Dr. Seuss sold 1.2 million books in the first week after the partial cancellation, more than quadruple the total from the week before.
Okay, so what about the specific banned Dr. Seuss books?They’ve been selling, too.As of March 20 on Amazon, one of the forbidden works, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was selling for $200, and some prices have been much higher. The sudden high price is perhaps the result of Amazon’s algorithm reacting to the sudden surge in demand, although one can’t rule out a little opportunistic price-gouging. In any case, such high prices for Dr. Seuss send a clear signal to the crookedly entrepreneurial, and so counterfeiters will soon spring into action. Already, in fact, it’s easy to find dubious PDF versions on the web.We should note, of course, that such sites come with a strong warning of Buyer Beware. And yet at the same time, it seems readily apparent that human curiosity—combined with human greed and the willingness to flout copyright laws—will make sure that the entire Dr. Seuss canon will always be available.
We can observe, incidentally, that much the same thing happened after the HBO Max streaming service pulled the 1939 classic Gone With The Wind; DVD sales soared.And the same sales spike held true for lesser films threatened with cancellation, such as Disney’s Swiss Family Robinson.Indeed, even sales of humble Mr. Potato Head jumped 70,000 percent in the wake of the news that Mr. P. would soon be emasculated.
Books by Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, including “On Beyond Zebra!” and “And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street,” are offered for loan at the Chinatown Branch of the Chicago Public Library on March 2, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. The two titles are among six by the famed children’s book author that will no longer be printed due to accusations of racist and insensitive imagery. The other titles include “If I Ran the Zoo,” “McElligot’s Pool,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!” and “The Cat’s Quizzer.” (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
We can add that this snapping up of endangered cultural items speaks to more than just a desire for historic preservation.It also speaks to the desire not to be pushed around, including the simple desire to push back against noxious authority.
Some times, to be sure, this pushing back can seem knee-jerk, even mindless.For instance, there’s that well-known scene from the 1953 Marlon Brando movie, The Wild One, in which a woman asks the Brando character, “What are you rebelling against?”And he answers with a shrug, “Whaddya got?”
That sort of automatic defiance of authority grew stronger, of course, in the following decade.In fact, in 1967, the Beatles captured that contrary spirit in their simple and yet melodic song, “Hello, Goodbye”; sample lyrics: “You say yes, I say no/ You say stop and I say go,” and “I say high, you say low/ You say why and I say I don’t know.”
Most recently, the French Charlie Hebdo magazine produced a cover cartoon on Meghan Markle and Queen Elizabeth that’s guaranteed to offend many, even as it makes others laugh.And yes, that’s the same Charlie Hebdo that suffered an Islamic terrorist attack in 2015, leaving a dozen dead.After such an awful massacre, the mere fact that the magazine is still publishing is a testament to the resilience of human resolve.(Good taste, of course, is a whole ‘nother issue.)
To be sure, not everyone appreciates the orneriness, even perversity, of the human spirit, and yet it’s woven into our nature—and it’s a deep source of our love of liberty, as expressed, for example, in such resonant phrases as Live Free or Die, Don’t Tread on Me, and Molon Labe.
As the playwright Bertolt Brecht argued, “In the contradiction is the hope.”Indeed, if we look at the thumb on our hand, we see the profound value of contraposition–because in the thumb opposite our other four fingers, we see a highly sophisticated tool for grasping things and for solving problems.
The Thin Red Line
Some might say that the woken are winning.After all, those half-dozen Dr. Seuss books are still banned, and libraries are still pulling their copies.
Yet that’s the battle, not the war.That point was made on March 2 by ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, who warned his fellow liberals that such ridiculous PC could bring back You Know Who:
This is how Trump gets reelected, by the way.Cancel Dr. Seuss, cancel Abe Lincoln, melt down Mr. Potato Head’s private parts and throw them at the Muppets.That is his path to victory the next time around.
And it’s not just liberal comedians issuing such warnings to their flocks.On March 10, New York Times columnist Thomas B. Edsall headlined his piece, “Democrats Are Anxious About 2022—and 2024.”Edsall, who is one of those old-line leftists more focused on class than culture, quoted a procession of academics and politicos concerned that the emergent cultural leftism of the elite would turn off the non-woke masses—who are, of course, a majority of the voters.
For instance, Ryan Enos, a professor of government at Harvard, told Edsall that “college-educated whites” are increasingly a liability to the Democrats “because they repel other voters from the coalition.”Enos added, “The views emanating from these [left-wing] cities and institutions are out of step with a large portion of the electorate.”
Speaking of electorates and elections, one is reminded of the 1884 presidential election, when Grover Cleveland won the White House.As one supporter said of Cleveland at the time, “We love him for the enemies he has made.”
So now today: The woke left has gone to battle against Dr. Seuss, as well as against so many other familiar figures and creations.Meanwhile, Republicans have come to the defense of them, in the name of our heritage—and of common sense.
So what now of the Democrats?It would seem that, fearful of AOC-type challenges from within their party—as just happened in Nevada, where far-left insurgents swept away the old political machine—most elected Democrats wish to only whisper their defense of tradition, if they defend it at all.
So that leaves Republicans to make a full-throated defense of our culture and heritage; we might think of the GOP as the Thin Red Line. And if that defense makes the GOP the enemy of the woken, so be it.And if so, then what was once said about Grover Cleveland might now be said about anti-woke Republicans: We love them for the enemies they have made.