Three Ways Not To Cancel A Book

Three Ways Not To Cancel A Book March 3, 2021

Well, I wasn’t paying attention very well yesterday and didn’t really grasp the shock and horror of Dr. Suess being canceled. Apparently six books that have “racist and insensitive material” are not going to be published anymore by Dr. Seuss Enterprises. I didn’t really click any of the links but scrolling around twitter I can see that two of them are To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street and If I Ran The Zoo, which is sad because I don’t like Dr. Suess very much (I KNOW, can I even admit this today?) except I do like those two ok, and only have one of them.

Of course, millions of people got on Amazon and bought all the Dr. Seuss books without seeing which ones were actually being canceled which led others on twitter to surmise that this was actually a brilliant marketing scheme because everyone got mad and everyone went and bought more books.

So anyway, I’m just going to reiterate the uncontroversial hot take I had when Laura Ingles Wilder was being canceled, which is that it’s really dumb to cancel books. If you don’t like a book, you have so many options before getting around to burying it in the ground so that no one else can ever read it again ever. I’ll just remind you of all those options.


Don’t read the book. If you don’t like a book–and there are so many books out there to hate–don’t read it. I know this novel idea is pretty hard to grasp. If you don’t like something, or are offended by it, you can just not spend time thinking about it. You can choose not to be offended. This is super hard, because taking offense is a moral good now, and one of the only ways that you can be the kind of person you’re supposed to be, but that other option–not taking offense–still huddles out there, beleaguered, like baby in the corner.


If you do feel compelled, perversely, to read the book that you hate, when you are reading it, try to understand what the author is really saying. Is the author really racist? Or is the author actually not racist and is actually illuminating the horror of racism in that old-fashioned way of “showing” rather than “telling,” (coughMainallthelittlehousebookscough).


Pray for the apocalypse. I know it’s really hard how there are a lot of ideas and people out there who offend you and you just can’t deal. Life is so tough. But you should try not to fall in the way of being #literallyHitler on your way to trying to get away from all the other #literalHitlers out there. Shutting other people down, and their ideas, and their books, and who they are, and all the things you dislike immensely about them will transform you into a narrow and fearful person. Pretty soon you will have nothing left to read and then you will be stuck watching lots and lots of youtube and twitch livestreams and eating gross ramen. That would be pretty boring and terrible, NGL.

Alright, well, that’s my advice for the day. I gotta go read something that doesn’t irritate me as much as Dr. Suess (don’t cancel me!) like Bread and Jam for Frances and that very wicked book, The Just So Stories.

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