Letter to the editor 3, March 11, 2021
Rewriting History or correcting old wrongs
At the end of a stressful day of lockdown with a wife who now qualifies for sainthood, I often relax on my favorite reclining chair in the family room to watch the news and update myself on what’s happening in the world. After hearing the latest news on COVID-19 and all its ramifications, I then hear the devastating news that Mr. Potato Head is now becoming a gender neutral toy and going by the derogatory title of just Potato Head. I also discovered that six Dr. Seuss books, enjoyed by millions of children across the world for many decades, are now categorized as racist in nature and are no longer being published. Personally, of all the books published by Dr. Seuss, the only ones I found to be the least bit dodgy were ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ and ‘There’s a Wocket in my Pocket.’
On hearing this news I ask myself, have the politically correct police run totally amuck? Is this a case of rewriting history or is it just a case of correcting old wrongs?
And how far should we go? I initially thought we went too far when we erased Aunt Jemima, the colorful character known and loved universally for over a century, from our packaging for pancake mix.
Why is it considered correct to criticize and condemn books, toys and loving childhood memories while normalizing movies with high speed chases down busy streets and sex scenes that would make a hooker blush? Our video games are filled with violent images and our prime time television shows are filled with more sexual innuendo than you would hear in a bar at a sex toy convention during happy hour.
Maybe we should consider paying more attention and prioritizing the real problems that are plaguing humanity and start leaving the mundane optics on the mantel.
Let’s start by looking at the fact that one per cent of the world’s population controls 50 per cent of the global wealth and the void between the rich, the middle income, and the poor is constantly expanding. Could it be that the financial inequalities and lack of equal educational opportunities in this world are the cause of most of the crime and racism and not our old friend Dr. Seuss?
I, for one, am tired of being told by self-proclaimed experts and self-anointed politically correct police what I should or should not find offensive, what I should or should not be eating, what art I should consider genius, what books I should read, and what should be of real value in my life.
Maybe the small and narrow-minded view of Mr. Potato Head and Aunt Jemima is somehow related to the fact that our reality is constantly being manipulated and distorted by one-sided news broadcasters pushing personal agendas or websites using algorithms that constantly direct conspiracy theories, dangerous lies and half-truths at those susceptible enough to buy into the delusions. Those same algorithms often direct us to buy things we don’t need and gamble money we don’t have.
Yes there are these and other important issues such as water, air and land pollution, nuclear proliferation, domestic and foreign terrorism, climate change, trade wars, and microscopic viruses infecting the world’s population and devastating the world’s economy.
Maybe, after tackling these problems, we should then turn our attention to the pressing concerns of Mister Potato Head, Dr. Seuss, and Aunt Jemima?
If time allows, we can also look into labeling Donald Duck as an exhibitionist for his reluctance to wear pants, outlawing Elmer Fudd and Porky Pig for making fun of people with speech impediments, condemning Pepé Le Pew for promoting body odor, and stopping all production of the game ‘Pin the Tail on the Donkey’ for encouraging animal cruelty.
Or maybe we should all just loosen up.