Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/29/2017: A Rude Librarian, Another Incoherent Knee, I Need To Start Listening To My Own Lectures, And Did YOU Know That “Green Eggs And Ham” Was Racist?

Good Morning!

1 In the middle of yesterday’s continuing legal education seminar on technology and legal ethics, I was telling the attendees about the dangers of all things Google. As I was explaining why lawyers should never, never do legal business on a gmail account, I added that they also have an obligation to tell their clients that there is not a sufficient expectation of privacy when they use gmail to communicate with their attorney. Then I literally froze and stared into space.

“I just realized that one of my recent consulting clients, a lawyer, has been sending all of his communications and documents to me using gmail,” I said. I had noticed it, but it still didn’t trigger the response that I have been teaching to others for at least three years.

As a wise man once said, “D’oh!”

2. In the “I can keep it up as long as they can” category: There is now a viral photo of some idiot taking a kneel  during Taps at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

President Trump was incompetent and irresponsible in so many ways to inject himself into this idiocy by the NFL and its athletes, but as has happened so many times for him, he blundered into roses and sapphires. He’s on the right side and cannot fail to benefit politically by standing up for the nation, the flag, the Anthem, and everything patriotic citizens associate with the anthem. This would not be true if the protest itself wasn’t so incoherent and self-contradictory. “We’re not protesting the National Anthem! We’re just refusing to stand during the National Anthem!” “We love our country, we’re just protesting how racist it is!” “We aren’t protesting against the country! We’re just protesting against the President who is the leader of the country!” “We’re not protesting against what Colin Kaepernick was protesting against, we’re just protesting in exactly the same way in exactly the same place at exactly the same time as Colin Kaepernick ( Colin: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”)

“It’s about racism!”

“No, it’s about Trump!” 

“No, it’s to support the team!”

“No, it’s about police brutality!”

“No, it’s because the National Anthem has an arguably racist but we really can’t tell third verse!”

“No, it’s because it’s free speech!”

“No, it’s because even stupid protests are patriotic!”

Certs is a breath mint!

Certs is a candy mint!

Less filling !

More taste!

NFL tickets sales are down 17%; ratings are down almost 10%. Direct TV is allowing subscribers to its NFL package to dump it without a penalty. The Cognitive Dissonance Scale, which progressives appear to be incapable of grasping (not that conservatives are any better at it) is working its magic. Now the Left is perceived—again— as being aligned against the flag, the anthem, police, the justice system, due process, the Great (if deadly) American Game, the President, the military, veterans, and the Unknown Soldier.

Once again, the divisions in the nation have been needlessly exacerbated, and all because the cowardly, incompetent management of the NFL football team in San Francisco was afraid of its cultural outlier community’s radicals, and didn’t immediately react to Kaepernick last year by telling him, “We play football, we don’t do politics on the field. Stop it, or we’ll make you stop it.”

Good job, everybody.

3. Melania Trump sent a package of books to one school in every state for “National Read A Book” Day earlier in September. Included were ten books by Dr. Seuss such as “Oh! the Places You’ll Go!,” “The Cat in the Hat,” and “Green Eggs and Ham.”  Liz Phipps Soeiro, a librarian for a public elementary school  in Cambridge,Mass. seized on the opportunity to make an obnoxious, virtue-signalling, partisan gesture (showing disrespect to the President and his family is a good thing, you know) and  scolded first lady Melania Trump in a long letter that, for its grand finale, declared that Dr. Seuss books are racist. I’m sure I can google to find some scholarly paper explaining this theory; I don’t care to. The books aren’t racist; it you say they are, you are intentionally misrepresenting the material, or need a psychiatric intervention.

This is a feature of my “A Nation of Assholes” forecast (Now two years old, and I not only stand by every word, I have never been more right in my life) that I didn’t foresee: previously polite and reasonable professionals suddenly deciding that it was appropriate to discard basic manners and traditions of civilized behavior because a President flagrantly ignores established standards of behavior and rhetoric himself. In literally every previous administration, no exceptions, a school employee whot sent a public letter like this would be disciplined by the school. (As far as I can see, Liz did not identify her school, but we will know soon enough.) Melania Trump doesn’t make policy. Melania Trump is not someone who deserves to be lectured about Betsy DeVos’s policies. Using her as a public punching bag and proxy for her husband is the height of unfairness and cowardice.

The attack on Dr. Seuss as racist, however, is a gift: this is exactly why the public school system is a wreck, and why DeVos has the support she does.

Soeiro’s letter began,

“Thank you for the ten Dr. Seuss titles that you sent my school library in recognition of this year’s National Read a Book Day. (Sent second-day air, no less! That must have been expensive.) I’m proud that you recognized my school as something special.”

If it had ended there (and eliminated the snarky jab about how the books were mailed, a hint of the letter’s true agenda), the letter would have been appropriate, and would have taught students the right way to respond to generosity, even if they don’t really like the gift.

 

79 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Arts & Entertainment, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Race, Sports, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President, Workplace

79 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/29/2017: A Rude Librarian, Another Incoherent Knee, I Need To Start Listening To My Own Lectures, And Did YOU Know That “Green Eggs And Ham” Was Racist?

  1. Opal

    The double irony: The American Library Association & the NEA celebrates Read Across America the first week in March to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday. This is the ALA’s Banned Books Week.
    As you commented, the letter should have just said, “Thank you for the books.” Everything else is political nonsense that will harm libraries.

    • I did not know that! I wonder if the librarian did…

      • Other Bill

        Per the article in The Daily Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4931886/School-librarian-rejects-books-given-Lady.html) the school district sent out a follow up letter essentially apologizing and telling the librarian the letter violated policy. Good for them.

        She described the Dr. Seuss books donated to the school as ‘steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes.’ What? Thing One and Thing Two? The Cat in the Hat? Harmful stereotypes? Green Eggs and Ham? Cultural appropriation? Maybe Dr. Suess owned slaves? Or his forefathers did?

        • Most of Dr. Seuss’s characters weren’t even human. Thrilled to learn that the school apologized.

          • Other Bill

            I probably overstated the apology thing. They simply distanced themselves from the letter and said it was not authorized after obsequiously reciting some BS about free speech and all that.

            And talk about womansplaining and making microaggressions, she scolded the First Lady for not sending the books to a school library in Chicago or Baltimore, you know, one of those Democratically run hell holes full of black people rather than wonderful white Cambridge where all the children are above average.

          • Other Bill

            View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
            Follow
            CPORT | Specialists @Cport_Special

            Hilarious. Hoist by her own petard. Or the internet.

        • Steve-O-in-NJ

          Dr. Seuss DID do WWII propaganda cartoons, and didn’t hesitate to slam the Japanese. He never apologized for it, nor, in my opinion, was he required to. There are a few lines in a few books that would be considered politically incorrect now, such as “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” making reference to “a Chinaman, who eats with sticks” and the rather lesser known “If I Ran the Zoo” in which young Gerald McGrew fantasizes that “I’ll hunt in the mountains of Zomba-Ma-Tant, with helpers who all wear their eyes at a slant,” but that’s about it. They were a product of their times, and frankly not that harmful, but, as I posted earlier, the left wants a monopoly on honor and the power to erase anything they think isn’t honorable. Q.E.D. This librarian was an idiot looking for her 15 minutes of fame (odd, considering most librarians [I represented the Newark Public Library for a while] are quiet, helpful, scholarly types) and it would serve her right if she was sacked for creating a public display that did not reflect well on her institution.

          I admit I got triggered by this recent idiotic protest, and I’ve been using my huge arsenal of photos (I have about 17,000) and my not inconsiderable snark skills, combined with Photoshop and Picmonkey to flood social media with homemade patriotic memes showcasing the military and the emergency services, and saying anyone who doesn’t snap to attention and salute at the flag and anthem is a disloyal traitor or an arrogant jerk who conditions loyalty on meeting HIS standards. Predictably that’s gotten a few responses and resulted in a few online knife-fights. That said, I can’t lose because I’ve got the flag and all the real heroes (who save lives and freedoms, not a football) on my side. That also said, it’s pretty tiring to fight online all the time and see how many interesting insults we can cobble together for each other while staying just the right side of the line that might result in doxing (naked racial slurs or threatening violence).

          I AM glad this stupidity is coming back on the NFL’s head. No doubt they thought, like Disney, that they are untouchable or too big to fail, and that kissing the asses of their players and looking “woke” was more important than actually playing football and staying on the good side of their fans, you know, the people who actually buy the tickets, merchandise, etc. I get that with unhappy players or no players there is no NFL. However, with no fans, the reason for the NFL goes away. Either way the owners’ pockets take a major hit. The president should have stayed out of this, it’s not presidential and he’s got more important things to do, like defeating ISIS and rebuilding Puerto Rico (where his skills at development and building hotels, etc. would come in VERY handy). By commenting on this he ripped the bandage off a wound that was close to healing (Krappernick had lost his bully pulpit and the protests were dwindling out), and doing that intentionally is unethical. That said, as you point out, a BIG chunk of fault rests with the powers that be at the San Francisco 49ers, who didn’t pull Krappernick aside early on and nip this protest in the bud. Maybe, as you say, they were afraid that they’d get grief from their famously liberal home city. Maybe they were afraid of a race-based protest from the wider BLM movement. Maybe they decided that this was a publicity gold mine. Unfortunately they failed to win many games (2 all season) and misjudged how the NFL fandom nationwide would react (not well). The rest of NFL management needs to be faulted too, they should have said “that’s nice, Mr. President, but, with respect, you run your organization and we’ll run ours,” right before meeting with the players and saying “we aren’t going to take the bait on this one, it will hurt us in the long run, now get out there and do what we pay you to do – play football.” They are backpedaling, but I think the smackdown will continue from here to the Super Bowl.

          • Steve-O-in-NJ

            P.S. The Old Guard doesn’t tolerate bad behavior. They WILL tell you to stand or to be quiet at the Tomb of the Unknowns. I hope one of them told the bozo in the picture just that.

          • Chris

            You are right about Dr. Seuss. Of course, any liberal who dismisses him as “racist” without bringing up his overt anti-racism, as shown in “The Sneeches” and in political cartoons such as these, are telling less than half the story. He was of his time in some ways, and ahead of it in others. But he was a good man, and overall, a force for good. I wonder if the librarian even believes that he was as bad as she says he is, or if that’s a rationalization designed to help her feel better about her rude rejection of this gift.

            https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-dr-seuss-satirized-america-first-decades-donald-trump-made-policy

  2. Think Liz Phipps Soeiro is a dipshit extraordinaire, get a whiff of the talented Samantha Diaz.

    Milk, it would appear, is racist/neo-Nazi/White Supremacist. The “Get Out” director Jordan Peele brushes broader, equating it as a symbol of “hate.”

    Welp, it is White after all, and it seems that’s all that what passes for intelligent discourse requires these days.

    Hatin’ on America’s Dairyland? Say it ain’t so. But it makes one wonder if HRC avoided campaigning here for that very reason.

    This blows right past the (if memory serves) Monty Python/John Cleese bit about a sports car that’s so exclusive that none will be made.

    “You, along with the rest of the nation, have been so accustomed to hearing the benefits of milk that you probably didn’t even realize the subtle racism hidden in our health facts,”

    I believe John Leo called that “Stealth Racism,” so subtle, it’s not even there!

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/topics/samantha-diaz/

    “Milk, it has been argued of late, is the new symbol of white supremacy in America, owing to its hue and the notion that lactose intolerance in certain ethnicities means that milk-absorbing Caucasian genetics are superior.”

    Inexplicably these savants ignore low-hanging fruit, I could make a far stronger case that “Chocolate” & ”Coconut” milk are inherently racist.

    What’s next, Rainbow Sherbet is ‘cultural appropriation’ of the LGBTQEIEIO demographic?

    • Now you’ve (or, they’ve) got me boycotting chocolate milk!
      Next thing you know, I’ll have to boycott bold text!
      Back to Bastiat! It’s those RAINBOWS – those multi-colored things in the sky – that are screwing with our culture!
      (I haven’t abandoned that essay. I’m just a slow writer – make that, a busy and slow writer who has too much to write for a living.)

    • Pennagain

      I am lactose intolerant and practically everyone I know, at least those over 65, is also. Google says this:

      Approximately 65 percent of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy. Lactose intolerance in adulthood is most prevalent in people of East Asian descent, affecting more than 90 percent of adults in some of these communities.

  3. SGS

    Would the librarian chide President Barack Obama for this presidential proclamation –

    https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/DCPD-201600112/html/DCPD-201600112.htm

    • You’re forgetting the rules! If Obama did it, it is good because Obama did it. If Trump does the identical thing, it is evil because Trump did it. And describing the Left’s double standard that way, which should be hyperbole, isn’t—as this episode amply demonstrates.

      • Crispin

        Jack – just discovered your site after googling about NFL players, which led to the articles about the Cat-in-the-Hat librarian (so funny that she twittered a pic wearing a racist Seuss hat). Sanity, wisdom and articulateness in the vast internet cesspool of illiterates. I shall follow your musings! Thanks.

    • crella

      There was a thread full of joyous barking seals yesterday full of ‘ That’ll show her!’ meanness ridiculing Melania’s book donations. Scathing sarcasm, so nasty. My original comment was simply ‘How petty’, but today after reading this, I posted the text of President Obama’s praise for Dr. Suess, thank you for sharing that.

  4. Neil Dorr

    Jack,
    I don’t know that I was *the* pointer on this one, but it makes me happy to see the librarian story in print here. Hope you’re well!

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Jack, as a note on Gmail: They no longer have automatic email scanning (I believe when I brought using it up to you once and you listed this as the reason you do not approve of it)

    As of June something.

    https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/06/23/technology/gmail-ads.html

    • Thanks: somehow I missed that. But since there is ample reason to distrust a company that CAN scan your e-mail, and that could change its policy at any time, and that has proven venal and untrustworthy in many respects already, I will keep telling lawyers to stay away. That article raises a lot of red flags, don’t you think?

    • I don’t know of any email that is actually secure unless it’s encrypted.

      • Rich in CT

        It is best to stay away entirely for sensitive materials.

        However, if one controls the server, the email is only vulnerable in transit. This risk in transit is by no means insignificant (it could be snooped a multiple points). However, even emails that arrive safely at the GMail server are at risk of Google snooping on them.

        • luckyesteeyoreman

          Would gmail be OK to use if the sender and receiver used two-factor authentication?

          • Nope. Two factor only verifies that you are you using two methods of identification: it does not mean that no one could peek at the email at any stop along the way. Nor does it stop Google from peeking (like they did before) since it resides on their server.

            Maybe you are thinking of Public/Private key encryption? That would work, as long as the key exchange happened securely (ie “not across the Internet” ideally, or with diverse methods of exchange)

    • Jeff

      The last line of that article is pretty damning, if true:

      “Users may now opt out of receiving personalized ads in Gmail, but they may not opt out of email scanning.”

      So they’re still scanning your e-mail, just not using the data to serve ads (if you opt out). If the only purpose of scanning your e-mail was to serve ads, once you opt out of the ads, why do they continue to extract data from your private correspondence? This is even shadier, if you ask me, since the personalized ads at least served as a reminder that you were being data-mined.

      • Mrs. Q

        Google doesn’t scan emails or books or anything else for any other reason than building AI.

        “So in a sense, we can say that the singularity will ultimately infuse the universe with spirit.” Ray Kurzweil who was (not sure if he’s still there) the director of engineering at Google said this.

        All data collected there is for their transhumanist version of the apocalypse via singularity. They don’t hide it…we just don’t pay attention.

        Tron…is that you?

        • well, there IS that little ‘we link with the NSA’ issue…

        • Jeff

          I suspect there are a few other reasons why Google, as the largest repository of data on the planet, would scan a person’s e-mail. Not least of which is to continue to build data profiles of as many people as they can, profiles that have tremendous value to corporate and government interests. Getting to that singularity ain’t going to be cheap, and there’s a lot of money to be made in selling information about your customers. Especially the kind of private information that can be found in personal communications.

    • Yeah, we will be trusting Google with our civil rights because they say they will act right…

      If you put something sensitive in ANY electronic format, be sure that it is vulnerable on some level. If you use gmail, use it knowing that they have done this before, and will be happy to do so again when they think no one is looking (or they want to target YOU)

  6. #2 Both extreme sides of this kneeling protest fiasco have gone completely off their rockers. What do you think will happen when the KKK hijacks this method of protesting?

    It’s already reaching absurdity levels but I think it’s going to get worse.

  7. #3. I think it’s time for Liz Phipps Soeiro to change her signature block from..

    Liz Phipps Soeiro
    School Librarian
    Cambridge, MA

    …to…

    Liz Phipps Soeiro
    Stupid Political Hack
    Cambridge, MA

    Seriously folks, her letter pretty much proves that she is a very special kind of stupid political hack.

    • She is the proud product of the Mass public education system: if not as a student, then as an employee.

      I bet she makes more than an experienced teacher in Texas, too.

    • Neil Dorr

      Zoltar:

      If you think her letter’s void of content, go look her up online.

      I’m SURE those were the only frames that happened to fit her at the store.
      From her words to her style, she’s nothing more than another unexceptional hipster doing their damndest to seem unique (…and failing).

      Only someone who came from privilege could write something so fatuous.

  8. As I am annoyed as I am by the NFL-Kaepernick-National Anthem kerfuffle and its attendant spill-overs in other matters (baseball, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, my local carwasher guy refused to stand to wash windows), your number 3 is truly awful, and it doesn’t bode well for the future.

    A Cambridge, MA librarian decided to write a letter to Melania Trump why she rejected the FLOTUS’ gift of Dr. Seuss books, with a nice letter on her letterhead, with her name, date, and address stamped on it, and shames the First Lady. The letter’s sneering and sniveling tone, replete with virtuous grandstanding and condescension are a thing of beauty. The opening paragraph signals the jewels yet to come: In a parenthetical, she writes, “(Sent second-day air, no less! That must have been expensive.)” Dripping all over that comment is the idea that the First Lady is wholly clueless in sending stuff – there are cheaper and more effective ways to get the books to those who really need them, and an affluent school library in Cambridge, properly steeped in diversity of economy, society, racial make-up, and ideology should not be considered for such an honor. Why, there is a poorer school library (just over there) that could really use 10 (10!) new books (but not those books, though, because we all know that “Cat in the Hat” is based on white male supremacy and cisgenderism – but Ms. Trump, you probably don’t know that because, well, you aren’t from around here, are you and your husband is mean).

    The Librarian (I haven’t checked but does Marvel Comics have a superhero or villain based on a librarian?) really gets going. She goes on to celebrate her district’s $20,000/year allotment per student. Nice. It also provides privileges to the students that the less fortunate simply don’t get (wiping away a tear). She continues with this:

    “Meanwhile, school libraries around the country are being shuttered. Cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, and Detroit are suffering through expansion, privatization, and school “choice” with no interest in outcomes of children, their families, their teachers, and their schools. Are those kids any less deserving of books simply because of circumstances beyond their control? Why not go out of your way to gift books to underfunded and underprivileged communities that continue to be marginalized and maligned by policies put in place by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos? ”

    Wow. Betsy DeVos is a meanie, too. Good stuff, that.

    She leads off her next paragraph with this: “So, my school doesn’t have a NEED for these books.” Capitals in the original for emphasis, signaling her white privilege and how out of touch the FLOTUS is.

    At the end of her screed, which she ends with “warmly” (I would hate to see what her “best regards” would look like), she includes suggested books that the Education Department, via the FLOTUS, should be dispensing to worthier schools (and hopefully not by second-day air mail – too expensive). It is a remarkable collection of books by and for people of color, again celebrating diversity as a core value. Powerful. I can’t type clearly at the moment, as my contacts are cloudy from the tears I have been spilling after realizing the damage my white male (mail?) privilege was wrought on the world. I hang my head in shame.

    Ms. Phipps-Soeiro, your intentions may have been good (which I highly doubt) and noble (again, I highly doubt that), but you are ungrateful and ungracious at the same time. That takes some talent. Your self-righteous moral indignation is offensive to its core. Are those virtues you are teaching to the privileged children in your school?

    If a child wants to read a Dr. Seuss book, are you going to say, “Uh, yeah, that’s good Blaine, but you should read “Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic” written by Ginnie Lo?

    I wonder what thought process you engaged in when you made your thoroughly inappropriate, unethical and unacceptable decision to return books freely given to you. I suspect it started off with something like this:

    “Mr. (Not My President) Trump is a racist and a poopyhead, so everything he does is awful, so by sending Dr. Seuss books to my library, he is signaling once again his white male supremacy and oppressing every other race, religion, creed, gender, and community.”

    Am I off base, Ms. Phipps-Soeiro? Yes? Well, you wrote this:

    http://www.hbook.com/2016/12/blogs/family-reading/squeaky-little-wheels/

    It was published on December 7, 2016, about one month after the presidential election? Oh. I know why. You also wrote this, on May 25, 2016:

    http://www.hbook.com/2016/05/using-books/library/field-notes-loud-in-the-library-creating-social-activists-at-school/

    I read, and reread your letter, which hurt my head. As awful as it is, the comments accompanying it are even more disturbing. They congratulate you for speaking . . . erm . . . writing . . . truth to power, celebrating your utter lack of grace and wisdom. If you did not want those books, you could have donated them to a worthy school, with a note thanking the FLOTUS for her consideration. But no, you had to return them to the FLOTUS. What is she going to do with 10 Dr. Seuss books? Now, nobody will read them. Great job. Ms. Librarian.

    It seems to me, Ms. Phipps-Soeiro, that you are more interested in forming little social justice warriors in your stellar and impressive white-privileged Cambridge, MA, elementary school, than you are in teaching kids the values and love of reading, writing, and resisting (strike that, ‘rithmetic)(your friend Elissa Gershowitz thinks you are wonderful and thinks those tee shirts are just swell – just check this out: http://www.hbook.com/2017/03/blogs/family-reading/on-squeaky-little-wheels-december-2016/, which has an open book celebrating a clenched fist as a sign of defiance).

    You, Ms. Phipps-Soeiro, are a fascist in the truest Orwellian sense. You understand that you can reform society to according to your ideology by controlling language. If you control language, you can control thought. If you control thought, you control behavior. Well done. Well done, indeed.

    jvb

  9. Wayne

    It’s time for these jerks to take a knee in the cojones. I can’t think of much more than that except this freedom to protest malarkey needs to be dealt with with the use of a paddy wagon.

  10. Michael

    Cambridge Public School District and the district has “counseled” her for making the post seem as if it were coming from the district without any authority to do so. The idiot obviously has not really considered Yertle the Turtle, The Lorax, or Marvin K Mooney Will You Pleas go Now (which was adapted by Geisel and Art Buchwald to read “Richard M Nixon” shortly before RMN’s resignation. Theodore Geisel did a lot of work for liberal causes and against racism, anti-demotion, and power in undeserving creatures. This librarian should not only be “counseled” but should be required to read multiple Seuss books to children without her ridiculous commentary.

  11. Sam

    This is hilarious and disturbing a year ago funny or die did a joke video about moral outrage while reading doctor Seuss. When reality becomes parody…. Below is a link to the video you don’t have to watch all.of it to get the gist!

  12. The books aren’t racist; it you say they are, you are intentionally misrepresenting the material, and need a psychiatric intervention.

    Fix this part for you.

  13. Wait, some idiot thinks Dr. Seuss is racist? The man who wrote this:

    But McBean was quite wrong, I’m quite happy to say.
    That the sneetches all got quite smart on that day,
    The day they decided that sneetches are sneetches
    and no kind of sneetch is the best on the beaches.
    That day the sneetches forgot all about stars
    and whether they had one, or not, upon thars.

    The Sneetches (1961)

    And this:

    And the turtles, of course… all the turtles are free
    As turtles, and maybe, all creatures should be.

    Yertle the Turtle (1958)

    My infant son and I have spent some time with Dr. Seuss. He’s definitely not a racist.

    My Seuss collection includes both of the stories cited as “racist”. The only way someone could find them racist is by the way of thinking whereby a white American cannot draw a man with a turban (who by the way was never given a race).

    They weren’t racist, they were inclusive, at a time, by the way, when Mr. Greisel wasn’t necessarily well off, and being inclusive wasn’t necessarily the best way to pay the bills.

    I will note, though, that I think the First Lady picked the wrong Dr. Seuss books. I would have gone with Yertle the Turtle, The Sneetches, Oh The Places You’ll Go, To Think I saw it on Mulberry Street, McElligot’s Pool, Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can you?, Horton Hears a Who, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Butter Battle Book, and (somewhat begrudgingly) the Lorax.

    The Lorax is, in my opinion, both excellent and terrible. Children should read it, but with an adult helping them to challenge the assumptions contained therein.

    But just because I would have picked different books, doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have been grateful for the books I received.

    Unfortunately, Dr. Seuss never wrote a book on gratitude. I wish he would have done so, and I wish Ms. Liz Phipps Soeiro had read it.

  14. Opal

    Rather than replying to your reply I’ll respond here. We know now that Ms. Liz Phipps Soeiro was aware of Read Across America. Multiple photos of her celebrating are now on Twitter. I spoke to my local public library director about the incident. She is 99.9% sure that Ms. Liz Phipps Soeiro would be aware of Banned Books Week. Phipps Soeiro received an award from School Library Journal in August. She would be aware that it is a big week in library land. A librarian commented, “She’s like a one hit wonder who trashes the hotel room. She’s full of her own importance and wants to be the wokest of the woke librarians.”

    My local librarians are more rock & roll and scholarly, but have no patience for agenda pushers. After the election the director nixed any wearing of safety pins. It’s a safe location for all views.

    There is a Superhero librarian. Batgirl (Barbara Gordon version) was and is kick@ss. As the director of the Gotham Public Library she would have written a nice thank you note to FLOTUS.

  15. JP

    Jack, what do you think of Althouse’s solution to invite the librarian and the authors of the suggested books to the table?

    • Thanks for directing me to Ann’s blog about this. It’s horrifyingly bad, a forced effort to rationalize and excuse a miserable attack on the First Lady and absurd SJW grandstanding. I’d have fun taking down Ann’s post piece by piece, but this foolish librarian doesn’t deserve the time or attention.

      Ann is a contrarian, which helps her avoid conventional wisdom and mob opinions. It also gets her in trouble, like here. She says the first paragraph is “a friendly, nice thanks”—it isn’t. Ann conveniently ignores that gratuitous snark about how the books were sent. Ann emphasizes that the librarian said that they would not accept the gift “respectfully.” Refusing a gift or award is always an insult. It is a gesture of disrespect. You can’t “respectfully” refuse a gift. Ann kmows that, She is bending over backwards to excuse the librarian. (And really, who the hell cares what she looks like???)

      Ann summarizes the paragraph about how elite the school is by writing, “The school is good because great resources have been invested in education in this place.” Since when does spending money mean a school is good? These children are apparently being taught that Dr. Seuss is a racist. How is that a “good” school?

      Then Ann gives the librarian a pass on a despicable, lazy, left-wing nonsense “Gotcha!”: why don’t you give the award to a poor school, who needs it? It’s a lousy 10 books. It’s symbolic. The librarian is using a gesture of recognition to make a cheap attack on the administration for favoring the rich. You can do this with any gift, and award, and charitable contribution. Why give the MacAuthur genius grant to Lin-Manuel Miranda? He’s rich already: give it to a poor family instead. Why don’t you cut your salary in half and give the rest to an inner city school librarian, Ms. Phipps Soeiro? The idea of awards is aspiration and recognition.

      Meanwhile, Althouse ignores the nakedly political attack on Betsy DeVos. The quotes around “choice” in school choice, and the rest. This isn’t nice at all. This is unfair, and partisan. Ann can’t justify it, so she ignores it. Bad.

      The knock on Geisel, who was a foe of racism and whose books, with a few period phrases that are now frowned upon, is a slur, and the characterization of his books is false no matter how many navel-gazing race-baiters set out to prove otherwise.

      Ann says that the librarian makes good use of “her moment”. This isn’t her moment. She tried to make it her moment by passive-aggressive grandstanding, and Ann is trying to get her off the hook of her own baiting.

      Of course she shouldn’t be asked to “the table.” She shouldn’t be rewarded for partisan, rude, ungrateful, race-baiting, and politicizing a simple gesture of recognition. I’m sure Obama would reward her, but then if Michelle had sent the seam books, she wouldn’t have written the letter.

      • I have a new phrase: “navel gazing race baiter”. Thanks!

      • JP

        I thought you would say something along these lines. While I’ve only been following Ann for a few months now, I thought this post was uncharacteristic of her previous post. It would appear that most of her readers disagree with her.

        • Other Bill

          Nice analysis, Jack. Very bizarre post by Althouse. Struck me as a weird exercise in being provocative. Or maybe tongue in cheek. She seems almost flighty at times in her effort to fill up the page on any given day? She also seems to favor discussion over common sense sometime. No matter how inane the discussion may be.

  16. Pennagain

    p.s. Paul W. Schlecht , I do appreciate your posts; they add to the information and the ideas I get or am privileged to share from Ethics Alarms. I would like to request that you (and others here, except Steve-O, who has made it clear that being asked or complained to just makes him continue) drop the “eieio” bit. Frankly, I’d rather “gay” had continued as the sole encompassing generic in the first place and left it for those who wished to be so defined, actively or ideologically, to choose for themselves. But if wishes were horses . . . * The “Old MacDonald” chorus is meant to — and does — trivialize the trend. I get that. I even get that it trivializes the hubris of the invitation. But it also trivializes its gay roots. That happens a lot here and I cannot fault you or anyone else who holds a negative opinion on one or all of the g, l, b, t or q demographic(s). Just please don’t add it on gratuitously: that’s double trivial.

    *I have five possible endings to that one. Just thought I’d give you something else to think about.

  17. ”drop the ‘eieio’ bit.”

    Done. Occasionally I succumb to temptation and try too hard for a laugh.

    Yet, I wouldn’t try too hard for a laugh if I didn’t feel paranoid.

    And I wouldn’t feel paranoid if you ALL weren’t out to get me…

    • Pennagain

      {cue in soothing music, low light, a light and pleasant scent) There, there, young feller-me-lad. Be calm, be serene, starting with your toes, flex and relax each muscle slooowly until you reach the top of your head; then exhale a deep-toned “ohm” and be safe. No one is following you. No one is watching you. No one is judging you. Feel the absence of stares, the nonexistence of judgment.

      Now, rise from the toilet,

      remove your garments

      and step outside . . . .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s