Toronto Asked To Ban Dangerous Dr. Seuss Book For Promoting Violence

from the human-race-has-been-lost dept

When we discuss book bans, we typically discuss them in terms of being revolted by the myopic viewpoint of those doing the banning. For instance, Tim Cushing recently wrote about one book that was banned, despite being an award-winning novel, for including some fairly mild language dealing with sexuality and masturbation. In that case, some parents went to the police to keep teenagers from passing out the books anyway, as if some kind of school book ban had the force of law. That was, obviously, quite a silly situation.

But we shouldn’t let this taint all book-banning activities. After all, some books are truly dangerous. Take the tome of violence-advocacy recently targeted for banishment by the Toronto library system, for instance, and see if you can’t find it in your heart to admit that some books are too dangerous to be allowed.

Librarians at the Toronto Public Library were asked to remove copies of Dr. Seuss’ 1963 children’s book “Hop on Pop” from the establishment’s collection because it allegedly promotes violence. A document detailing the seven books the library has been asked to remove over the past year was posted online on Monday.

The book “encourages children to use violence against their fathers,” according to the complaint.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But, Tim, it’s a harmless rhyming children’s book. It isn’t promoting violence!” Well, you’re not fooling anyone. It seems pretty clear to me that this book, written by some guy named Dr. Seuss (probably a terrorist), is being actively promoted as a way to quite literally stomp out fathers. Think of the children…..that will never be born because other children are stomping on men’s two-bits at the behest of some 1960’s love-child Dr. of death! This will not stand!

The Materials Review Committee pointed out that the book is “humorous,” “well-loved” and that it has “appeared on many ‘Best of’ children’s book lists.” The MRC also pointed out that the children in the Pulitzer Prize-winning author’s book are actually told not to hop on pop.

Nobody’s buying it, MRC. These are probably the same people that told us there were WMDs in Iraq and that 9/11 wasn’t just a false-flag operation orchestrated by a zombie Hitler that’s kept in an underground bunker beneath the Grand Canyon. You can’t fool us. A tiny fraction of people in Toronto want this book banned, damn it.

Despite the complaint, the library opted to retain the book in the children’s collection.

Does government overreach know no bounds? We say “don’t tread on me,” and they house this book that literally tells children (except it doesn’t) to tread on their fathers? Canadians, write your Congressmen (or whatever it is you call them up there). Something must be done.

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Comments on “Toronto Asked To Ban Dangerous Dr. Seuss Book For Promoting Violence”

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aldestrawk says:

Re: Re: It could be worse

A good friend of mine is a very religious Christian. She is also very gullible. I am not saying one characteristic is a requirement for the other but I do get chain emails forwarded from her that often combine these attributes. Once, when I brought up Dr. Seuss she told me of his dark side, wherein he had published an adult pornography book. Well, I had to look that up! I did confirm that the book in question was titled “The Seven Lady Godivas” and it was intended to be a humorous story for adults but there was no intention of causing titillation. Yes, there is nudity but it is a cartoon nudity and hardly qualifies as sexual or prurient content. If a cartoon were made based purely on the illustrations in the book, it would be rated PG and not even PG-13. When I showed her the actual illustrations, my friend was amused and disabused of her impression that Dr. Seuss had this ugly dark side. Yet, there are folks out there who feel that even this book is obscene, pornographic, and evil because it has the appearance of a children’s book. I wonder if the Toronto library has a copy of this title?

Anonymous Coward says:

I don’t believe anything I read anymore. I wondered who the request came from, and what the other books were, but the original article doesn’t have anything. Doesn’t say where the list was “posted online”. Nothing on Toronto library site.

I’m guessing it’s a made up story for their odd news page.

David says:

Re: Re:

I’m a bit distracted about the defense usually including “has been well-circulated” which seems like popularity being an ultimate defense for appropriateness.

However, it could just be meant to imply that the number of complaints about a book are dwarved by the number of non-complaints from actual readers.

At any rate, pretty much all complaints in this report sound rather absurd to me: the books/films basically appear to match their covers and rating, so people should know what they are dealing with when borrowing.

azuravian (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I think what the library is getting at here is exactly what you stated. If a book has a single complaint (or even multiple), but has been checked out hundreds of times, that is not a very high complaint ratio, so the majority of the public must not have a problem with it.

Although this isn’t necessarily a defense of appropriateness, it does show that the individual who requested the removal has a different barometer for appropriateness than the majority of the library-going public.

Anonymous Coward says:

Nuts exist in the world! Someplace! Ha ha ha!

I know you probably feel like you have to keep up a steady flow of posts, but come on, really? The book was not “recently targeted for banishment by the Toronto library system.” It was the subject of a complaint by a private party — who was, yes, probably either a nut job or a troll — which was duly considered and rejected.


Michael (profile) says:

Re: Nuts exist in the world! Someplace! Ha ha ha!

In case you haven’t noticed, Tim’s (excellent, in my opinion) articles are not exactly hard-nosed news straight to the point. They are typically an interesting intellectual thought wrapped in a fluffy joke.

I am pretty sure that the fact that you can read the title of this article and not KNOW that it is about the impending banishment of a classic children’s book is the actual point and he is not trying to convince people that the book is actually be banned somewhere.

Anonymous Coward says:

read before over reacting

The book could create violence. It could.
Just like video games can create and help plan violence etc… they can.

But those are merely the “straw that breaks the camels back” in a persons mind. ANYTHING could be that straw. Even something “positive”. (eg… Give a kid a book and he gets pissed because his parents never gave him a book)

Unless it’s a book or a game etc… that has brainwashed a person then there is always an underlying issue. If the book, game ALONE has brainwashed a person there is also an underlying issue.(as example…..Looking at books like the bible etc… and social circumstances that reinforce those views)

More striking at the branches while the root is untouched.

Any kids book may trigger violence. Ignoring that fact is intellectually dishonest. Just as dishonest as claiming the book was the cause.

Paul Renault (profile) says:

They're called MPs, Mike. Members of Parliament

..but I came here to point and say “J’accuse!”.

First it’s all those American handguns flooding the border just south of Toronto, and now this particularly ‘mercan
brand of stupity is invading Canada!

But then again, Toronto DOES keep re-electing Rob Ford, so glass houses and all that, I suppose.

mattshow (profile) says:

Man, the media is just absolutely determined to turn this into a real story. This is not a story. One unnamed person in Toronto complained about a book, and the library acted entirely appropriately and chose not to ban the book. That is not news. And yet it’s been covered by TIME, CTV, CBC, Toronto Life and others, including Techdirt now.

C’mon Techdirt. Hold yourself to a higher standard than that.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’m all for the attention actually, people doing stupid stuff like this, ostentatiously ‘for the children’, need to know that their idiocy will be made public, and everyone will get to bask in their ‘brilliance’.

Hopefully such attention will make the next blockhead think twice before trying to inflict their terminal lack of humor/wit/maturity on the world.

There’s also the idea that the ‘threat’ of such attention will likely keep such attempts from working as it makes the ones being ‘asked’ to take down (insert content here) know that if they do so, their action is going to go public, and everyone will get to review and comment on it.

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