British prime minister Boris Johnson has posted a picture of himself posing with a copy of a Dr Seuss story for World Book Day, amid an ongoing culture war battle over whether the late children’s author should be “cancelled”.
“Over the long days of lockdown, reading has provided great relief to so many,” the Prime Minister wrote in a post shared on Facebook-owned Instagram, showing him masked up and reading a copy of The Cat in the Hat to an unmasked girl in school uniform.
“On World Book Day and with schools returning in England on Monday, there has never been a better time to pick up a good book and get reading!” he added, tagging the post with the hashtags #WorldBookDay, #reading, and #CatInTheHat.
While a seemingly innocuous message, the post comes at a time when Dr Seuss, until recently one of America’s most beloved children’s authors, finds himself at the centre of a posthumous woke firestorm, with U.S. President Joe Biden dropping him from Read Across America Day and his own company announcing it will cease publication of six of his works for their allegedly “racist and insensitive imagery”.
Dr Seuss Enterprises that the six books by the author whose legacy they are supposed to preserve “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong”, and vowed that “Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr Seuss Enterprises’ catalogue represents and supports all communities and families.”
The demonisation of Dr Seuss — real name Theodor Seuss Geisel — is a relatively new development, however, with incumbent vice president Kamala Harris having wished the late writer and illustrator a happy birthday as recently as 2017.
Former president Barack Obama and wife Michelle Obama also hosted a special Dr Seuss-themed event at the White House in 2009 in partnership with the National Education Association, declaring that his “beloved” books “still inspire children throughout the world to read”.
Then-President Obama is also said to have told interns that “pretty much all the stuff you need to know is in Dr Seuss” in 2015, saying in reference to once of his stories: “We’re all the same, so why would we treat somebody differently just because they don’t have a star on their belly?”
The general public appear to have retained this positive view of the author despite his “cancellation”, with his books occupying 42 of 50 places on the “movers and shakers” list on Amazon.com as of March 3rd — ironically something of a boost for Dr Seuss Enterprises.
Breitbart London has asked the British government to clarify whether the Prime Minister’s choice of a Dr Seuss story for his World Book Day was intended to convey a message with respect to the ongoing controversy.
Dr. Seuss is now racist. https://t.co/hO7CKOrMEU
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) March 2, 2021