Late Edition

Yes, yes…I know the Dr. Seuss books in question have not been BANNED exactly, but did they have to make a politically correct sideshow out of it instead of just saying the books didn’t sell?

As usual, my sensitive friends will argue that “cancel culture” is a pigment of my imagination, but I will continue to raise warning flags (not confederate flags, mind you) about the creeping censorship I see growing in an ever-sanitized society.

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18 Responses to Late Edition

  1. Chris Peterson says:

    My favorite was always Yertle the Turtle. If he’s not a characterization of the 1%, then I don’t know what is; never happy with what he’s got, even though he’s the top turtle, and forcing all those below him to sacrifice themselves for his gain.

    (Oops, I hope no one reads this and decides that he’s an insult to the privileged and must be taken down.)

    Ah well.

    • Michael Kesti says:

      I see Yertle as a better characterization of the political class but I’m not much concerned about the 1%.

  2. Cathy C says:

    Excellent, Bob!

  3. Michael Anderson says:

    Newsflash — Blondie accuses Dagwood of inappropriate sandwiching.

  4. Hart Liss says:

    If mores change, responding to that change is not censorship. That said, eBay’s banning of resales of previously published books sort of is.
    BTW: Like most abuse of words by conservatives, “cancel culture” is an insensible term. In the old days, we’d just call it shunning. Someone says something offensive, you ignore them, the end.

  5. If they’re going to ban Seuss books, they should add “Hop On Pop” to the list. That book can be dangerous when a 5-year-old takes it literally, as my daughter did.

  6. Steven Frisch says:

    What is really disturbing is that a private foundation controlling an authors estate decided on its own not to publish some of their works anymore, and a toy company that controls a brand named “Mr. Potatohead,” that includes products titled both “Mr.” and “Mrs.,” decides to rename the brand to just “Potatohead” and this get characterized as “cancel.”

    Let’s be clear, the Seuss foundation can decide to re-print those titles any time they want and Mr. & Mrs. Potatohead still exist, they just renamed the brand.

    The ultimate triumph or Orwellian prophecy is faux censorship being confused for real censorship.

    Should I do that awesome list of books banned by American reactionaries, Puritans, and uptight parents again to remind people just who has been censored in American society?

    • rlcrabb says:

      Cancel culture is very real, and I’ve posted plenty of examples of people on the left side of the fence who agree with me. The removal of certain characters and publications is a small part of it.
      It’s when people are removed for daring to question the current trend towards groupthink that will be our undoing. Just ask those who have been excised from the NY Times and others for not being “woke” enough.

      • Steven Frisch says:

        I think you completely missed my point Bob; I am not saying cancel does not exist, I am saying that Republicans are now characterizing everything under the sun as cancel.

        But I really think we need to define what cancel is. It is when someones work is literally censored, not when a bunch of people say they don’t like it. An individual critiquing someones work is not cancel, its an opinion.

        Frankly the Seuss and Potatohead nonsense just gives opposition to censorship a bad name.

        • rlcrabb says:

          “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day, minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”
          -George Orwell 1984

  7. rlcrabb says:

    Saw this reaction to Pepe’s banishment on Facebook today…

    “I’m glad he’s cancelled and my children are safe. Now my son can go back to playing Grand Theft Auto, where he just set a hooker on fire so he wouldn’t have to pay her.”

    • rlcrabb says:

      LA Times won’t allow me in, but I think I get the gist of of it. Some people aren’t as sensitive when it comes to humor. On the other hand…

      • The piece the L.A. Times wouldn’t let you see is a column by Mexican-American writer Gustavo Arellano pointing out that while Mexican kids on both sides of the border saw Speedy Gonzales as a hero, Hollywood execs and pundits viewed him as a stereotype and racist. But after years of trying to kill the cartoon character, he’s making a comeback in two major productions.

        Another example of woke white liberals knowing what’s best for everybody else.

  8. Ken Jones says:

    MARCH 17, 2021 6 AM PT
    He blazed through my childhood like a sombrero-clad comet, terrorizing gringo villains in the name of us downtrodden Mexicans.

    His war cry went straight from our televisions and movie screens into our hearts and minds. My family and so many others cheered on his exploits, imagining ourselves as soldiers in his brigade. Polite society told us we shouldn’t worship this bad hombre because he made Mexicans look bad. So they tried everything possible to dim his star — but we Mexicans always fought loudly against any attempts to cancel our compadre.

    Pancho Villa? Emiliano Zapata? Vicente Fernandez?

    Try Speedy Gonzales.

    The Warner Bros. cartoon mouse debuted in 1953 and immediately became a hit on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. His plots were always simple — Speedy antagonized Sylvester the Cat and other assorted felines, usually in a dispute involving cheese — but effective. The raza rodent quickly picked up awards (four Oscar nominations and one win in just six years) but also critics who saw Speedy for what he is:

    Problematic. A stereotype. No doubt about it.

    His name comes from a popular 1950s-era anti-Mexican sex joke. The non-Latino voice actor Mel Blanc voiced “the fastest mouse in all of Mexico” with a stereotypical accent and nonsense Spanglish. The typical Speedy plot casts him as a thief and a cad, and his fellow Mexican mice as lazy, drunk and happily living amongst trash. Did I mention the sombrero? It’s as big as his body. Sombreros are big — but not that big.

    Speedy turned into a pariah in the decades after his heyday, placed by Hollywood executives and pundits in the same racist purgatory of Old Hollywood as Stepin Fetchit, “We don’t need no steenkin’ badges,” and Charlie Chan. ABC banned him from its airwaves during the 1980s “because the title character presents a stereotypical image that is not offset by any other Latino television characters,” according to a 1981 Los Angeles Times story. The Cartoon Network did the same in the late 1990s. Recently, New York Times columnist Charles Blow said Speedy cartoons “helped popularize the corrosive stereotype of the drunk and lethargic Mexicans.”

    And yet time and time again, Mexicans — the very group you’d think would hate Speedy the most — rose to defend his honor.

    During the 1990s, college students cast Speedy as a proto-Zapatista who fought against American imperialism before it was cool to do so. In 2002, the League of United Latin American Citizens asked the Cartoon Network to free Speedy from his jail — a spokesperson told Fox News, “How far do you push political correctness before you can’t say anything about anything anymore?”

    In the wake of Blow’s columns, Mexicans famous and not spoke out on social media against those who dared decry their man. “U can’t catch me cancel culture. I’m the fastest mouse in all of Mexico,” tweeted comedian Gabriel Iglesias, who’s voicing Speedy in the upcoming “Space Jam” reboot.

    “We LOVE Speedy because he’s smart and fast,” wrote Eugenio Derbez, another comic who will voice him in his upcoming Speedy feature.

    Meanwhile, just a handful of Latinos were nominated for this year’s Academy Awards — but Iglesias, Derbez, and other Speedy defenders don’t seem to care. I actually get it: In the 100-plus years of Tinseltown, he remains the most popular and successful Mexican character ever created. When we don’t have much, we gotta protect what we have, you know?

    Speedy’s four Academy Award nominations tie him with Anthony Quinn for most ever by an actor of Mexican descent. His sole win, for an eponymous 1955 cartoon, places Speedy behind Quinn’s two Oscars for most earned by a Mexican actor… because no other Mexican man has ever won an Oscar for acting ever.

    Chris Rock put this outrage best in a 2014 Hollywood Reporter essay where he described Los Angeles as a place where “there’s this acceptance that Mexicans are going to take care of white people … that doesn’t exist anywhere else.” Decrying the lack of representation in Hollywood, Rock cracked “You’re in L.A., you’ve got to try not to hire Mexicans.”

    Yes, the Oscar nominations are more ‘diverse.’ But they largely leave out Latinos

    Instead, Hollywood hires Speedy. What other “Mexican” thespian has two big-budget projects slated for next year? Not Edward James Olmos or Salma Hayek.

    I’m no spoilsport or wokoso (a portmanteau of “woke” and a mocoso — a snot-nosed brat) about the cute rascal. I never saw a stereotype when I first saw his cartoons as a boy — I saw my culture at a time when the English-language media didn’t bother with us outside of crime and immigration. He danced our dances and dressed like a jarocho (a native of Veracruz) and sounded like my country cousins, to be honest. He was the only Mexican in Hollywood I knew who never lost — well, him and Cheech and Chong.

    I love Speedy so much, I keep a large painting of him in my home office. His kind smile and brown skin takes me back to my childhood — and reminds me of where we as Mexicans exist today.

    Of course we’re going to love Speedy — it’s not like we have a buffet of iconic animated heroes to choose from besides Dora the Explorer and Bender Bending Rodriguez from “Futurama.”

    This unlikely love affair fascinates Louisiana State University history professor Stephen Andes, who’s working on an academic book about Speedy.

    “It speaks about the robustness of Latino audiences who are taking the little bit that they were given and finding something they connected with, and then making Speedy into a hero,” Andes said. “If Gabriel [Iglesias] feels like it means something to play Speedy, I’m not going to tell him he can’t do that.”

    Andes says that’s why Speedy shouldn’t be tossed into the same dustbin as his contemporaries the Frito Bandito, Jose Jimenez, or Blanc’s own Sy the Little Mexican character on “The Jack Benny Show.”

    He points out that Mexican American animators worked on nearly half of the 47 Speedy Gonzales shorts, at a time where they were a rarity in Hollywood. In Latin America, audiences continue to love Speedy with little compunction because they accept him at face value — a Mexican mouse who makes a mockery out of Yankee pussygatos again and again.

    “That’s not an excuse or a justification for ‘Oh, well if a Mexican American did something problematic, it, it’s all fine,” Andes says. “But that actually nuances his story. It needs to be acknowledged it was a really problematic bit of representation that Mexicans molded into an icon.”

    Just don’t get me started about Speedy’s rat-faced cousin, Slowpoke Rodriguez.

  9. My daughter found one of the banned Suess books in her collection (I apparently bought it many years ago, no doubt ruining her life) and put it online. She sold it for $140!

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