Rantz: Seattle Public Libraries will protect Dr. Seuss books from angry Seattleites
Seattle Public Libraries (SPL) is protecting Dr. Seuss books from being destroyed by Seattleites triggered by the children’s books they’re pretending to find offensive. Though SPL frames their decision to placate stubborn and intolerant activists, it’s still welcome news after a slew of high profile “cancel culture” stories in recent weeks.
After complaints from teachers and academics, Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced it would stop publishing six books, including And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, and Scrambled Eggs Super! The books are accused of having racist and insensitive imagery.
Seattle is hypersensitive to social justice causes. Would they pressure SPL into getting rid of the books? Would they take drastic measures to make sure impressionable young minds only have access to books indoctrinating them into left-wing causes? I found some answers.
Seattle Public Libraries backs free speech
SPL currently has all six books ceasing publication in circulation. Judging by the online database, they’re all in high demand. It turns out, when you try to ban content, you turn more people onto it.
But would SPL take them out of circulation? Would they keep books away from the prying eyes of children wondering what the heck was seen on Mulberry Street? Nope.
Though SPL unnecessarily offers its sympathies with progressives feigning outrage, they will stay in circulation.
The Seattle Public Library acknowledges and understands the legitimate concerns about the messages and imagery in six Dr. Seuss books that will no longer be published, as announced by Dr. Seuss Enterprises last week. However, the Library’s Intellectual Freedom policy is clear on these matters: We do not exclude or remove materials because of the origin, background or views of those contributing to their creation. Print copies of these titles will remain in the collection until regular maintenance for low circulation or poor condition necessitates their removal.
This is an important note for the SPL to get on record. Libraries should not and cannot discriminate on the basis of material that ideologues from any political persuasion find objectionable.
But Seattle is filled with activists. Some are willing to burn businesses down and set up lawless, deadly autonomous zones to ensure we bend to their will. Wouldn’t they just check the books out and burn them, while unironically decrying the fascism of Dr. Seuss? SPL has a plan.
Protecting Dr. Seuss from fringe activists
SPL will reserve one copy of each of the faux-offensive books for protection.
“Library books can go missing or wear out over time for any number of reasons – loss or damage, whether intentional or unintentional, is certainly possible with these titles, and that was one factor in us setting copies aside for future use,” a spokesperson told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.
There’s a number of other reasons behind the move, all related to them soon being irreplaceable. But there is obviously concern that someone could intentionally destroy the books. Still, SPL seems scared to be direct, instead framing their decision in terms of social justice. Perhaps it’s a proactive move to stymie activist ire?
“This will allow patrons to access and study these books as part of a larger and historically important societal conversation around race, diversity and representation,” a spokesperson says of their decision to protect copies of the books.
You don’t actually have to study these books for any conversation about race or diversity, or even representation. You can read them because this is America and we have the right to access art that perennially-offended activists dislike.
Is it irritating SPL can’t just provide a simple statement in support of intellectual freedom? Yes. But this is Seattle and I understand the sensitivities in upsetting mobs that aren’t shy about expressing their views with violence. Though perhaps this issue does need to be more aggressively pro-speech?
It’s a dangerous game to use contemporary standards to censor content created long before society changed views on an issue (or before activists forced them to under threat of violence and contrived boycotts). A few decades from now, society will look at content from 2021 and find it inappropriate. Surely, one can see the errors in that thinking.
Accepting that ideas and representations change over time makes you an adult; crying foul and seeking to ban makes you a threat to expression. Not long ago, it was social conservatives trying to ban content like “Glee” or rap music. That was wrong. That far-left radicals are adopting the very same position, though with considerably more dangerous tactics, seems ironic.
That SPL is proactively stepping up and protecting content is good news. I could envision SPL abandoning the very principles that allow them to exist if it means staving off the angry professional activists. They chose not to placate the mob with meaningful actions (like taking books out of circulation), just with empty words (you can study issues of representation!). Beggars can’t be choosers: I’ll take it.
Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter, Instagram, and Parler and like me on Facebook.
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