When I was about nine years old I liked to read the Hardy Boys mystery books. The first in the series was published in the late 1920s, and the publisher continued putting out titles until long after I was grown up.
In the late 1950s, as the cultural trend now known as political correctness was just getting started, the publishers ordered a rewrite of the older Hardy Boys books. To be fair, it was only partially for PC reasons. Yes, it’s true that the books’ depictions of negroes in the ’20s and ’30s tended towards the “sho nuff” and “dat sure am good” sort of stereotypes. But there were also rumble seats and roadsters and other dated cultural artifacts that had to be revised in order to make sense to the boomer generation. Needless to say, the new versions were less interesting than the originals. Boys like me held onto their ragged old copies rather than buy the new ones, and fortunately my school library had a lot of the old ones — that was in the days before libraries purged their collections for politically correct reasons.
My favorite books, however, were those by the immortal Dr. Seuss. His early works — before about 1957 — were (and are) timelessly superb. My mother thoughtfully preserved my Dr. Seuss collection, so that when the future Baron came along, I only had to acquire the newer books (some of them — a lot of the later ones are not at all interesting). Reading the old books to him when he was little reminded me of how wonderful they were.
About two-thirds of our combined Dr. Seuss collection here in Schloss Bodissey consists of my old books, most of them worn and tattered and taped together after being well-loved by two generations of kids. Some of the titles from the mid to late ’50s came from the first printing.
Considering what can be found in those old books, it was obvious that Dr. Seuss would someday have to be cancelled. When I saw the list of six titles that were withdrawn from publication a few days ago, I realized that I had four of them on the bookshelf right here in the Eyrie — McElligot’s Pool, If I Ran the Zoo, Scrambled Eggs Super, and On Beyond Zebra. According to various news stories, they are now available on Amazon only as “used” or “collectible”, with prices ranging from about $100 to as much as $2,500. If I wanted to cash out, I could make a fair amount of money on them. But it’s not worth it — I’d rather have the books.
Out of curiosity, I went through those four titles to see what racial heresies they contained to earn the ire of the Woke mob. If I Ran the Zoo was the most obvious — the image at the top of this post is taken from it. Those native bearers are undeniably sambos, and we can’t have that, now, can we?
In addition there was this one:
Yep, they’re definitely slants. Now, maybe if he had dressed them in business suits like real Chinese he could have skated by. Better yet, to make it realistic, he could have had the Chinese businessmen riding on top of the cage while the American boy carried it.
And then there’s the sheikh from the Desert of Zind. I’m not sure if he counts as a racial stereotype, but he kind of looks like an Arab, and he’s riding something that looks vaguely like a camel.
The sheikh clearly needs to be cancelled, too.
I couldn’t remember anything racist from McElligot’s Pool, so I paged through it trying to find the offending image. Sure enough, there was this:
Not only does the fellow at the top live in an igloo (with a stovepipe, no less), but the fish with the little furry parkas are Eskimo fish. Oh, the humanity!
It was much harder to discern why On Beyond Zebra had roused the wrath of the Wokistas. The only possible candidate I could see was the Nazzim of Bazzim: