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Hejji
June 5, 2011 9:18 PM   Subscribe

Like a lot of people, I grew up with Theodor Geisel, alias Dr. Seuss, as a huge part of my childhood. Books like Cat in the Hat and Oh, The Places You'll Go helped me learn how to read, and the Chuck Jones version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas! is still a holiday tradition at my house. But until this week, I had no idea that two years before his book was published, Dr. Seuss created a sadly short-lived newspaper comic strip called Hejji -- and it turns out that it's one of his most interesting works.

Extensive (and yet incomplete) collection of Hejji comics can be seen here (thumbnailed, can be clicked to be viewed large).
posted by hippybear (80 comments total) 63 users marked this as a favorite

 
Holy shit, thanks hippybear!
posted by Blasdelb at 9:22 PM on June 5, 2011


Oooh, awesome! I was always curious about this ever since I saw one strip in the "Smithsonian Book Of Comic-Strip Comics" when I was a kid. I think I'm going to have to get the Yoe book these are excerpted from.
posted by egypturnash at 9:34 PM on June 5, 2011


This is great, I learned about it from the highly recommended Smithsonian Book of Newspaper Comics.
posted by marxchivist at 9:35 PM on June 5, 2011


Thank you.
posted by parki at 9:36 PM on June 5, 2011


Awesome. I, too, had seen some panels before. I had no idea they were from 1935!
posted by 2N2222 at 9:37 PM on June 5, 2011


Perhaps also of interest: Dr. Seuss Goes to War.
posted by munchingzombie at 9:47 PM on June 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I grew up with Dr. S., his first book, about a transgressive Cat, coming out in 1957 when I was five, but his animated work (Gerald McBoingBoing) predated my birth, and was played in our living room by my father on our 16mm projector. Thanks, local library! I never tired of the series. (Won an Academy Award in 1950.)
posted by kozad at 9:52 PM on June 5, 2011


Dr. Seuss is one of my heros, and it's a delight to discover something from him I'd never seen. Thanks so much, hippybear!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:59 PM on June 5, 2011


'Alias' makes him seem a little sinister. The chap in the first comic has the droopy eyes one normally associates with habitués of opium dens. I wonder if that is intentional.
posted by oxford blue at 10:06 PM on June 5, 2011


I've read that he pronounced the name "soyss". Everyone else seems to say "sooss".
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:23 PM on June 5, 2011


Truly, one of my inspirations. from the Lorax to the sure-to-make-you-cry (and I am convinced a rally for gay adoption) "Horton Hatches an Egg: I even named my business after a line from "Horton Hears a Who"!
posted by Blogwardo at 10:30 PM on June 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


kozad: “I grew up with Dr. S., his first book, about a transgressive Cat, coming out in 1957 when I was five...”

Ahem. Dr Seuss' first book was not The Cat In The Hat. It was And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street! which was published twenty years before, in 1937. In fact, The Cat In The Hat was Dr Seuss' fourteenth book.
posted by koeselitz at 10:36 PM on June 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Is it racist children's authors week?
posted by hal_c_on at 10:37 PM on June 5, 2011


Is it racist children's authors week?

Oh dear. Dr. Seuss was a racist? Cite(s) please!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:50 PM on June 5, 2011


A link would be easier, but it gets screwed up by my foreign google.

Just google:

dr seuss wwii

Click on images.

Yes...he REALLY did all of those.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:55 PM on June 5, 2011


flapjax at midnite: “Oh dear. Dr. Seuss was a racist? Cite(s) please!”

There's already one in this thread; check munchingzombies link to "Dr Seuss Goes To War."
posted by koeselitz at 11:00 PM on June 5, 2011


From that description, he's notably just anti-Japanese; he seems to be anti-racism when it comes to Jews and black people. Not that that really enters his other books, but...
posted by koeselitz at 11:03 PM on June 5, 2011


Ah, WWII era "Japs", eh?

Well, looking through a modern-day lens, yeah, those are really uncool. At the time, however, they were so utterly standard as to be, well, not entirely defensible, but... man, just about every artist of note in the country was doing similar stuff. It was the standard propaganda of the day. I actually don't think it's exactly fair to characterize him as a "racist" based on that.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:06 PM on June 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


FROM Wikipedia:

Geisel supported the Japanese American internment during World War II. His treatment of the Japanese and of Japanese Americans, whom he often failed to differentiate between, has struck many readers as a moral blind spot.[30] On the issue of the Japanese, he is quoted as saying:

But right now, when the Japs are planting their hatchets in our skulls, it seems like a hell of a time for us to smile and warble: "Brothers!" It is a rather flabby battle cry. If we want to win, we’ve got to kill Japs, whether it depresses John Haynes Holmes or not. We can get palsy-walsy afterward with those that are left.
—Theodor Geisel, quoted in Dr. Seuss Goes to War, by Dr. Richard H. Minear

After the war, though, Geisel overcame his feelings of animosity, using his book Horton Hears a Who! (1954) as an allegory for the Hiroshima bombing and the American post-war occupation of Japan, as well as dedicating the book to a Japanese friend.[31]

posted by philip-random at 11:18 PM on June 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


This is great! hippybear, I kees you!
posted by brundlefly at 11:33 PM on June 5, 2011


At the time, however, they were so utterly standard as to be, well, not entirely defensible, but... man, just about every artist of note in the country was doing similar stuff. It was the standard propaganda of the day. I actually don't think it's exactly fair to characterize him as a "racist" based on that.

Are you talking about Seuss or Goebbels?
posted by hal_c_on at 12:21 AM on June 6, 2011


Are you talking about Seuss or Goebbels?

Haha, what? Wow, that Godwin dude was really onto something.
posted by iotic at 12:36 AM on June 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Are you talking about Seuss or Goebbels?

Please tell me that's a really stupid and ill-considered joke. Please.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:40 AM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whats stupid and ill considered is the idea that Dr. Seuss's attitude towards the japanese and japanese americans was "standard propaganda of the day".

Hate is hate. I don't see any difference between a minister of propaganda and dr seuss's racist drawings of japanese to make americans hate japanese and the japanese americans.

Just because the motherfucker talks about green eggs and cats doesn't mean he gets a pass.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:58 AM on June 6, 2011


Yes he gets a pass. At the end his heart weighted less than a feather.
posted by Dr. Curare at 1:05 AM on June 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Don't let's be beastly to the Germans...
posted by Devonian at 1:12 AM on June 6, 2011


I don't see any difference between a minister of propaganda and dr seuss's racist drawings of japanese

Shoulda hung Seuss at Nuremberg right along with the Nazi bigwigs, then, you reckon?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:21 AM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shoulda hung Seuss at Nuremberg right along with the Nazi bigwigs, then, you reckon?

Don't be silly. I think its good enough to shit on his grave.

A shitty human is a shitty human.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:58 AM on June 6, 2011


Well, OK then. Thanks for the link hippybear.

I'll just be beyond the last whoomph bush until this argument passes.
posted by cj_ at 2:04 AM on June 6, 2011


I don't know, I see a more than a little ethnic stereotyping in the pages of Hejji. The Great One sitting on pillows blowing smoke rings (and staging energy-intensive displays of his greatness that would put today's Arab sheiks to shame)... He may have tried for 'generally exotic', but he got Islamic Feudalism down pretty well...
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:51 AM on June 6, 2011


cj_, the very last whoomph bush?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:54 AM on June 6, 2011


Just because the motherfucker talks about green eggs and cats doesn't mean he gets a pass.

If you are presuming to issue or deny passes in this regard, you ought to think some more about it.

1. If you want to judge him by today's standards, you shouldn't talk as if he was unusual in his anti-Japanese attitude. If you compare him to the people of the time, you will see that he maintained the sort of anti-Japanese attitudes common in his country (US) at that time (WWII). Condemn the country and the times and the workings of the universe if you want to complain about this issue, but don't condemn him personally for being of his time and place. (Just as you shouldn't take the credit for being of your time and place. You are a product of your circumstances and would not have been who you are if you had been raised in the pre-war US under similar circumstances. Not being anti-Japanese now is just a baseline condition, not something to pat yourself on the back for.)

2. People change. What he was is not necessarily who he became as times changed. Are you also going to give him credit for becoming the guy who created everything that followed? Or are you going to damn him outright and forever for once being a guy who expressed anti-Japanese sentiments during less enlightened times when his country was killing as many Japanese people as it could and he was being exposed to anti-Japanese propaganda?

3. A person is not only one thing. He might not have changed in this regard. He may indeed have quietly maintained a dislike for the Japanese all his post-war life. But that still wouldn't make him only anti-Japanese. He was still the guy who wrote the books people love. And what? Throw away him and his books along with the bathwater and the baby?

What's the point of your derail? That imperfect people (and any good things they did) should be scorned and disregarded?
posted by pracowity at 3:00 AM on June 6, 2011 [20 favorites]


The very last whoomph bush. Beyond the last zinica zanica dream.
posted by cj_ at 3:07 AM on June 6, 2011


The very last whoomph bush. Beyond the last zinica zanica dream

Right on! But... wasn't that the last zinica zanica tree?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:28 AM on June 6, 2011


Something about glass houses and stones... or maybe he whois without something should throw the first something..

Here's how my morning went..

woke up with the same shitty cold I had last nite.

poured coffee, ah... a little better

metafilter... have a few minutes to kill, get the brain working

Dr. Seuss... alright! new stuff!

Racist/Japan/"motherfucker".... ah, well, just another day like the other days, and I still have the shitty cold.
posted by tomswift at 3:28 AM on June 6, 2011


"The caricatures he drew were outrageous by today's standards. But that all changed after he went to Japan and met the people who lived there, the people who really were persons, after all.

When Dr.Suess wrote "A person's a person, no matter how small" in Horton Hears a Who he was referring to the unending American occupation of Japan after WWII, during which the Japanese people were treated like dirt, lost all their human rights, and disrespected as potential warmongers and terrorists in the eyes of the occupying forces.... It also refers to the atrocity of the nuclear bombs that were dropped on the people of Japan at the end of WWII, and the horrendous damage they did.

The dramatic change in his attitude is because he went to Japan and learned about the Japanese people through the friendship of a man named Mitsugi Nakamura, to whom the book is dedicated. He learned he was wrong, and he told the world. Horton Hears a Who is his mea culpa, the ultimate story of why we should never vilify an entire group of people, because after all, they just might be----just like us.

--Dr. Seuss, My hero

It looks like he not only came to see the error of his ways but even went on to fight in his own way against this type of bigotry.

Does that make him a "shitty human"? Just the opposite, in my book.
posted by vacapinta at 3:28 AM on June 6, 2011 [16 favorites]


When I get older, if I have a beard I will insist people refer to me as "White Chin".
posted by ropeladder at 4:24 AM on June 6, 2011


Right on! But... wasn't that the last zinica zanica tree?

You are probably right. I am quoting from memory, as I don't remember what this was from. I had a VHS tape of it which is now gone. I would be deliriously grateful for a link to this on youtube or something.
posted by cj_ at 4:37 AM on June 6, 2011


I am quoting from memory

Hey, not bad then, cause you got everything else right!

I don't remember what this was from.

One of my all time favorites: The Zax.

I would be deliriously grateful for a link to this on youtube or something.

Here you go!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:47 AM on June 6, 2011


Oh, and for extra fun, heres the *Dylan* version. Enjoy!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:49 AM on June 6, 2011


A Poisson's a Poisson no matter how small? Is this the stats thread? Nevermind.

I found this:
HW: On the World War II political cartoons for PM and propaganda films for Frank Capra's Signal Corps: did Geisel come to regret some of the racism displayed in those pieces, especially since race was a theme of American culture and politics (in The Sneetches and even somewhat in Horton Hears a Who) that he took an interest in?

RL: That's a really good question, and I wish I knew for sure what the answer was. The only evidence I have comes from his biographers, who told me that years later—although still recognizing its necessity due to the war—he was regretful about some of his cartoons for PM and some of the propaganda work he did for the Army Signal Corps. I do think the fact he dedicated Horton Hears a Who—a parable about the American postwar occupation of Japan—to “My Great Friend, Mitsugi Nakamura of Kyoto, Japan,” says something of his changing attitudes toward the Japanese (this following a trip he made there in 1953). Though, as Richard Minear has pointed out, Horton Hears a Who still smacks of American chauvinism, and it makes no reference to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
In this article, an interview with the creator of The Political Dr. Seuss.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:53 AM on June 6, 2011


Chocolate Pickle: I've read that he pronounced the name "soyss". Everyone else seems to say "sooss".

Pretty much - the correct German pronunciation of "Seuss" (written for an English-speaker) is approximately "zoyss".
posted by syzygy at 5:16 AM on June 6, 2011


Flapjax, thank you so much. That is it exactly. And I had no idea about the Dylan thing, so extra bonus.
posted by cj_ at 5:18 AM on June 6, 2011


I still prefer Krazy Kat.

As to the racism thing, it was the times. To this day, the resident oh-dears come down on Herge for Tintin au Congo, his defenders point to Tintin in Tibet..

Lighten up, Francis.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:27 AM on June 6, 2011


I had no idea about the Dylan thing

It's from a whole series of songs (called Dylan Hears a Who) that a recording engineer/musician pit together and had up on a website for a while until the Seuss estate shut him down. Aside from being one of the best Dylan vocal impersonators I've ever heard, he absolutely nailed the sound and production values of Dylan circa Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:29 AM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


pit together = put together
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:30 AM on June 6, 2011


I had been thinking about doing a FPP on Dr. Seuss' wartime cartoons, but here is "Dr. Seuss Went to War," a good introduction to the topic (but not a replacement for the book mentioned above). Here are the cartoons tagged as dealing with racism, anti-Semitism and America First. Geisel also worked with Frank Capra, helping to produce war propaganda.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:13 AM on June 6, 2011


Hey, wow! Look everyone! Dr Seuss's WWII cartoons, previously on MetaFilter.

(Jeez. Okay. Lesson learned. Never post about Dr Seuss because he had some immature views which he then later grew out of. Ad hominum much, MetaFilter? Thank goodness everyone who's written about this part of his career was born with fully-realized well-rounded worldviews which have never required apologies or personal growth to overcome!)
posted by hippybear at 7:27 AM on June 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ad hominum much, MetaFilter?

No, not Metafilter. On particular member of metafilter. Flag as cranktastic crank of cranky-crank creek, and move on.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:39 AM on June 6, 2011


As to the racism thing, it was the times

I remember being a kid in the mid-late 60s Canadian suburbia collecting World War 2 trading cards, which were basically lurid drawings of various events from the war, including the worst kind of slant-eyed buck-toothed Japanese stereotypes. So yeah, more than twenty years post-Hiroshima (with Vietnam in full roar) that racism was still very alive and institutionalized.

As for people changing over time, I think of my grandfather who once told my mother, a child at the time, that the reason black people weren't allowed in their church was because black people didn't have souls. I never did get to know him that well. Though kind enough to me, he was always rather distant. But I do remember, maybe a year before he died, that we used to do a weekly thing where I, just learning to drive, would give him a lift down to the local mall, drop him off at one end, run a few errands, then pick him up at the other end where, invariably, I would find him sharing a bench with an equally old black guy, talking, laughing. Friends.

Shit happens. People change.
posted by philip-random at 8:43 AM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Flag as cranktastic crank of cranky-crank creek

I am SO tempted to start a MeTa pony request to get this as one of the choices...
posted by hippybear at 8:50 AM on June 6, 2011


Wow, I got all confused and thought I was in a Lovecraft thread.
posted by Zed at 8:55 AM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hell, it wasn't even the "times being racist." I had the fortune/misfortune to visit Pearl Harbor about ten years ago. In their gift shop, one of the big sellers was a deck of playing cards with propaganda from the war in Asia. Pretty fucking hideous stuff, though supposedly they've redesigned the visitors center since then.

In hindsight, we have all kinds of information not available at the time, and, to boot, as mentioned above, Seuss himself realized what an ass he'd been and took steps (Horton) to recitify it.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:02 AM on June 6, 2011


In an amusing bit of synchronicity, I was just thinking about The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T while I was shaving this morning.
posted by nickmark at 9:17 AM on June 6, 2011


Shit happens. People change.

"Racist? What're you talking about? Most of my friends don't have souls."
posted by FatherDagon at 1:55 PM on June 6, 2011


So basically he gets a pass from everybody here because he dedicated one book to one Japanese academic, and some people CLAIM his attitudes changed (although there is absolutely no proof of this)?

Metafilter: Its not racist if you dedicate a book.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:57 PM on June 6, 2011


Luckily, hal enjoys a life of purity, making sure that nothing he touches has ever been involved with someone who has made a mistake.
posted by FatherDagon at 2:10 PM on June 6, 2011


Some people live in the past and never let others grow beyond their mistakes, defining even the dead by their youthful errors.

Other people are mature adults.
posted by hippybear at 2:41 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Some people live in the past and never let others grow beyond their mistakes, defining even the dead by their youthful errors.

Other people are mature adults.


So you're saying I'm immature because I'm not involved in the same hero worship you are? That makes very little sense.

I make mistakes. I once got called out for mispronouncing the name of the whale from Free Willy...in college. In a 450 person lecture hall. I was told by an astute and confident woman that my pronunciation was akin to an ethnic slur referring to people of a Jewish background. I apologized meekly and sat the fuck down.

A few days later I was still feeling it. I talked to the professor, and he agreed to forward an email apology I wanted to write to all members of the class. I really had no idea, and I was hugely embarrassed. Big time.

THAT was a mistake. Thats one of the most embarrassing moments of my life, even though I meant no malice. I still cringe when I think of that moment. My saving grace was that I apologized to the entire class even though it was an ignorant mistake on my part.

So do I think people can make accidental mistakes? Yeah, of course they can. Just like I did. Can people do something purposely and later change their minds. OF COURSE! I think THAT becomes important. THAT is learning. I can appreciate people who learn from their youthful indiscretions, apologize, make up for it...and learn.

I see NO INSTANCE of Geisel EVER apologizing for his "mistakes". Hell, you guys are calling it a mistake...but he never did. Why should people accept his fan's apologies when he never apologized? That doesn't make sense.

Do formerly racist people deserve to be forgiven and be judged on their future actions? Hell yeah!

But when someone doesn't apologize for something they did in the past...its hard for me to accept that they think it was a mistake. I see no reason to assert that he died thinking exactly what he drew during the great war.

We can all assert our own OPINIONS on if Geisel changed his mind or not based on a few small lines in one children's book. I don't really hold other's opinions as factual evidence. Some people even claim that "Horton" backed up his racist views. I feel thats a stretch...just as its a stretch to ASSUME that he changed his mind because he dedicated a book to a Japanese academic and wrote a few lines.

What really bothers me about this is that there are adult Dr. Seuss fans (in this thread and in the world) who have never even heard about this stuff. The ONLY reason I heard of it is because as a history major I took a class that talked about the homeland during the great war.

This stuff is buried, and I don't think it should be. It should also be brought to light that he NEVER apologized to the millions of people who suffered because of his work.

Not cool, Seuss.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:49 PM on June 6, 2011


hal_c_on writes: I see no reason to assert that he died thinking exactly what he drew during the great war.

Well, at least we agree on that one point.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:14 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


japs, japes, amirite?
posted by Eideteker at 4:50 PM on June 6, 2011


Well, at least we agree on that one point.
You caught a typo.

What I meant was:

I see no reason to NOT assert that he died thinking exactly what he drew during the great war.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:37 PM on June 6, 2011


This stuff is buried, and I don't think it should be.

Buried? Just because it's new to you doesn't mean it's buried. It just means you haven't stumbled on it yet. (Dr Seuss Goes To War was quite well publicized.) I discover things every day I never knew, but it's absurd to say that they're buried.

For the curious, his political cartoons from the period in chronological order can be found here. Those before Pearl Harbor are overwhelmingly centered on Hitler and, interestingly, the hated America Firsters.

Anyway, he was a pussycat compared to some of the other artists.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:46 PM on June 6, 2011


Buried? Just because it's new to you doesn't mean it's buried. It just means you haven't stumbled on it yet. (Dr Seuss Goes To War was quite well publicized.) I discover things every day I never knew, but it's absurd to say that they're buried.

Ok. Poor word choice. What I should have said was:

Many of Dr. Seuss' fans don't know that he was an unrepentant racist.

Thanks for clarifying my language.

Also indigo, you do realize that those "ministry of homeland security" posters you linked to are 'remixes' right? They were made a few years ago.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:54 PM on June 6, 2011


I see no reason to NOT assert that he died thinking exactly what he drew during the great war.

Never presume to see into men's souls.

Just to nit pick, the Great War usually means World War One. Seuss was in single digits at the time.

But it's worth mentioning that the anti-German sensibility and propaganda in America at that time was pretty frightening as well.

BTW, Seuss did his share of anti-Nazi stuff. Should he have apologized to Germans as well? I mean to say, Dresden and all.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:54 PM on June 6, 2011


you do realize...

Indeed I do! Pretty bad for a nation not at war.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:56 PM on June 6, 2011


I don't think he drew much during World War One, but I may be wrong.

Anyhow, the claim in several places is that "Horton Hears A Who" is actually about the injustice of the continued US occupation of Japan. If this is true, it's a strong indication that Dr Seuss did not die as racist as you seem to think, hal_c_on.

In any case, it really should not be hard to verify whether he changed his views. I guess the question is worth asking: would it matter to you even if he did? I would agree if you feel as though sometimes it's not necessarily a good idea to flatly forgive people without considering the weight of what they've done. Racist is not a light matter to be brushed aside.

However, I also happen to agree with IndigoJones that this isn't something that has been hidden or covered up. Sure, Dr Seuss didn't go around saying "I used to be a racist!" - should he have? Isn't it better that he attempted to move on and actually promote racial equity? I happen to think the fact that no trace of racism exists in his later work is to his credit, rather than being a sign of deceit.

Also, when applied to his work as a whole, I think your argument might verge on ad hominemism. The fact is that racism is not present in any of the work which Dr Seuss consented to have published throughout most of his adult life; whatever his motives, he does not seem to consider racism to be part of his legacy, and if you van find racism in any of his books I will be surprised (although I'd still like to hear about it.) in fact, it's easy to find themes in Dr Seuss' books that seem to be of a distinctly anti-racist character; so I have to say that it's utterly unfair to throw away a fine body of work based on failings, even purported lifetime failings, in the man.
posted by koeselitz at 5:56 PM on June 6, 2011


Also, you have not at all demonstrated that Dr Seuss was an unrepentant racist. Many have made claims to the contrary. I sadly don't have time to do the research right now, but isnt this something worth clearing up before we make such bold proclamations damning him as unrepentant?
posted by koeselitz at 5:58 PM on June 6, 2011


Just to nit pick, the Great War usually means World War One. Seuss was in single digits at the time.

EEK. Yeah, my bad. I can't believe I wrote that. oops.

Anyhow, the claim in several places is that "Horton Hears A Who" is actually about the injustice of the continued US occupation of Japan. If this is true, it's a strong indication that Dr Seuss did not die as racist as you seem to think, hal_c_on.

Well we can talk all day and night about what cat in the hat means. I seem to think its a children's book for children. I don't contest that. People can claim and draw whatever conclusions from whatever works of art that they want...it just doesn't mean that they are right.

Although my argument could be served by aligning myself with the people who claim that "Horton" is a racist story, its just an opinion. I'm only dealing with the facts here. They may be facts that people don't want to hear...but they are facts.

You can't disagree with the facts that:

1. He VERY PUBLICLY published some very racist cartoons depicting Japanese.
2. He never apologized for what most of his fans (on this thread) call "mistakes".

Also, you have not at all demonstrated that Dr Seuss was an unrepentant racist. Many have made claims to the contrary. I sadly don't have time to do the research right now, but isnt this something worth clearing up before we make such bold proclamations damning him as unrepentant?


This is him being racist.


This is him apologizing for his racist artwork...




(crickets chirping)


Sounds to me like he's an unrepentant racist. I feel its clear enough now.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:14 PM on June 6, 2011


You caught a typo.

Uh huh. I know. And it was an even-handed, mature and rational statement before you corrected it. That's why I agreed with it.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:45 PM on June 6, 2011


Uh huh. I know. And it was an even-handed, mature and rational statement before you corrected it. That's why I agreed with it.

Just because someone doesn't agree with you doesn't make them immature, dude.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:08 PM on June 6, 2011


hal_c_on, I have to say, as a self-described history major you seem to have a shockingly low-to-non-existent grasp of historical attitudes of past times and how they shaped people's thought and actions. Your holding a WWII-era cartoonist (only one of so very many from the period who used exaggerrated Orientalist facial features and such, for wartime propaganda material) strictly to today's standards of what constitutes racism is the mark of someone who has, in fact, very little philosophical grasp of history and the social forces and realities of the past. Your consistent refusal to attempt to understand this key point (which I brought up first and which pracowity elaborated on very eloquently in his comment upthread) leads me to wonder just what sort of history you learned as a history major. Your relentless, flat-out condemnation of Geisel as a human being ("a shitty human is a shitty human", "motherfucker", etc) makes me think that you must, by extension, hold similar judgmental views on on an immense swathe of people from any and all historical periods that didn't share our exact and very modern-day standards of what constitutes racism.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:10 PM on June 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just because someone doesn't agree with you doesn't make them immature, dude.

I personally believe that a big part of a mature human soul and spirit is to at least entertain the notion that humans are capable of erring and then moving beyond their errors, and attaining greater understanding of their fellow man. Black and white statements like "a shitty human is a shitty human" show no such capacity for understanding this point. And no capacity for forgiveness. You seem locked in a box of hatred: one which perhaps makes you feel superior to historical figures of the past who you've decided are simply irredeemable. This, however, to me, is not the mark of a mature human, but rather of a petty, small minded one. Someone whose heart needs to open. Who needs to grow some love.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:16 PM on June 6, 2011


makes me think that you must, by extension, hold similar judgmental views on on an immense swathe of people from any and all historical periods that didn't share our exact and very modern-day standards of what constitutes racism.

Excellent deduction! Guess how I feel about that slave-owning bastard Thomas Jefferson???

Also, Geisel didn't just live in the 1940's. He lived all the way up to the 1990's. Do you feel he should not have to apologize for THIS just because he lived in the 1940's???

HA!!!

And we're not talking about views on circumcision, pollution, sprawl, globalization. We are talking about the way we view humans who are not European.

Someone whose heart needs to open. Who needs to grow some love.

All this because I pointed out to you that Dr. Seuss is a unrepentant racist!

By the way...what you are doing...thats what is an "Ad hominum" [sic] argument (as incorrectly addressed above). You aren't countering my points...you are just attacking me.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:22 PM on June 6, 2011


By the way...what you are doing...thats what is an "Ad hominum" [sic] argument (as incorrectly addressed above).

I was addressing your point concerning maturity/immaturity.

And, just a word of advice: someone with punctuation, grammar and capitalization skills as bad as yours really shouldn't be calling other people out for spelling mistakes. Also, odd that you did that specifically in your reply to me, since it wasn't my spelling mistake...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:40 PM on June 6, 2011


Dude, if you don't want to address the issue and just want to fight me, please take this to meta.

I have no further need to argue with you as my point has been clearly stated and its obvious you aren't commenting about the issue at hand anymore.

Actually...I'm out. Feel free to write whatever you want. My comments are saved for posterity.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:10 PM on June 6, 2011


More like saved for petulancy.
posted by erskelyne at 9:21 PM on June 6, 2011


Dude, if you don't want to address the issue and just want to fight me, please take this to meta.

Oh, no need for that. Up until my very last comment addressed to you (in reply to your "immaturity" point) I've been doing nothing but addressing and discussing the issue. And there's been nothing in any of my comments to you that is even remotely a "fight".
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:35 PM on June 6, 2011


People can repent in private, hal_c_on. It doesn't make their repentance any less real.
posted by koeselitz at 10:05 PM on June 6, 2011


To the "shitty human" list, then, let's add Isadore "Friz" Freleng, composer Carl Stalling, Mel Blanc (voice of Bugs Bunny) , and everyone else involved in the production of this. And they're just the tip of the iceberg.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:38 PM on June 6, 2011


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