FLOTUS under Trump


#102

Agreed with all of the above. Our little family library at home has half a dozen or more Dr. Suess books in it. My personal objection to the official Office of the FLOTUS sending Dr. Suess books to grade schools isn’t based on anything racist or objectionable in the content, it’s simply based on the fact that it’s a lazy cop out. For one thing, they’re pre-school/first-grade level books for the most part, not really applicable to a 1-6 or 1-8 grade library. Secondly, the vast majority of kids most likely either already own some of them or have been exposed to them previously.

Finally, as the First Lady, it’s kind of your job in a situation like this to identify and select books that challenge young readers, books that tell compelling stories that make young minds think about how they perceive the world and the people around them. There are thousands of books like this suitable for kids grades one through eight and beyond. Literally a few hours of thought and consultation with anyone versed in Children’s Literature would have resulted in a nice list to choose from.

Instead this feels like something that was shunted off on some young interns.

Intern 1: "What do kids like to read?"
Intern 2: "I don’t know, my mom always liked to read Dr. Suess with us when we were little."
Intern 1 : "Oh great idea! I’ll hop on Amazon and order up a bunch of those!"
Intern 2 : “Cool, that was easy. And done in time for our 11’o’clock with the Russians.”


#103

It’s also lazy because it makes no effort to tie into her self-proclaimed FLOTUS project of reducing bullying. I mean, C’mon. There’s a ton of books on said subject suitable for mass distribution.


#104

Yes! Great point!

I don’t really dislike Melania, certainly not the way I dislike (loathe/hate/abhor) her husband. But as a FLOTUS thus far she’s been practically a non-entity. No real consistency or presence on her supposed personal cause (bullying…oh the irony) or individual public persona. Of course, it’s probably very difficult to do so under the shadow of the train wreck that is Trump…but still…you’d think that would want to make her and her people want to try extra hard to soften the Trump image just a bit.


#105

I get it. If you’re in to children’s literature, especially modern books with a more diverse cast of characters, of course there are better choices than Dr. Seuss. Despite the accusations of racism and some of his problematic work in advertising, he’s still widely seen as a “safe” choice for kids’ books.

I think my main problem here is that as a gift from FLOTUS to a library, it’s a bit petty to refuse the gift, then pop off about it publicly. Just take the damn books and display them on a shelf somewhere. At the very least, it’s another “award” you can stack next to the others you’re so proud of. Or, you could use them to engage with some of those older kids (or even adults) and discuss why you think Dr. Seuss isn’t a hot choice for modern readers.

Melania has certainly been no great shakes as a First Lady, but refusing a gift of books seems to be more about this librarian promoting her own agenda than anything else.


#106

Agreed. I think they were trying to insert themselves into the national zeitgeist; mission successful, I suppose. But yeah, it was petty and there are bigger fish to fry.


#107

I was thinking that as I read the post about the librarian’s letter to the FLOTUS. I totally agree with your assessment.


#108

She’s fucking trophy wife #3.
Anyone expecting any kind of grand impact from her was nuts.


#109

I have written pretty much the same earlier in the thread. Unlike probably every other first lady Melania has not spent most of her adult life being a politician’s wife learning how to play the game. I am not a fan of hers and I can’t stand her husband but I am not going to blame her for probably being extremely uncomfortable and unprepared for the position she is in.


#110

This situation called for a private letter to the First Lady saying basically “Thank you for the books. Should you wish to repeat your generous support of libraries and reading for next year’s Read a Book Day, I or one of a number of colleagues I can recommend would be happy to consult with you concerning your next choice of books.”


#111

To which she’d respond, “But that’s the book I read to Donnie every night!”


#112

Come on, we don’t need books of Hitler’s speeches in every classroom.


#113
Spit take gif no one wants to see repeating forever


#114

And in a historical context Seuss comes off pretty damned good considering he was virulently anti-fascist/Nazi.

If anything the First Lady sending the work of someone who openly said “America First = fascism/Nazism” is kind of bold since her husband used that slogan in his campaign, though I doubt that was what she intended.


#115

image

He also made cartoons specifically criticizing racial prejudice.


#116

I just heard about this too, and it seems like there are some cartoons for everyone. Just to play devil’s advocate, here’s a few of his cartoons that the “Seuss has racist imagery in some of his cartoons/books” camp is holding onto.

It seems more like he made a transition with the times to become less racist, than against racism. I imagine all of that context is really hard to explain to children who are otherwise age appropriate for his books.





#117

It’s worth noting that Seuss’s anti asian stuff is much more anti Japanese stuff.

He was a major advocate against the Axis powers (and rightfully so, they were totally evil and fucked up).

This isn’t to say that painting Japanese americans as traitors was anything other than terrible… but I think it’s perhaps less racist, and more xenophobic?

All this stuff is kind of moot though… Painting Dr. Seuss as being some kind of racist and thus discounting his work, is nuts.


#118

Yea, several of those examples were obvious wartime drawings. The “Sambo-esque” stuff is kinda unsettling but I am old enough to remember the restaurant chain and what they had.


#119

Also, to be clear, most of the really objectionable stuff has been edited out of the books still in publication. I would need to check my copy at home to be sure, but I think those pages above from If I Ran The Zoo (the captured animals) have either been removed or the drawings have been edited to be more generic Seuss-people rather hang the racial caricatures. I believe the edits may even have been done by Geisel himself before he died.


#120

So Fox News has found (on social media, where else) a picture of this librarian dressed up as the Cat in the Hat in her classroom, from 2015.

So I guess she discovered sometime between then and now that Dr. Suess was inappropriate?

And I apologize for using a Fox News link. :)


#121

Idiots like this librarian just distract from the awful and damaging REAL issues happening right now.

But kudos to Fox News for covering the real news instead of that fake stuff about Russia, overspending, tax scams, etc!