No, Dr. Seuss isn’t being “cancelled”

Michael Nabert
3 min readMar 3, 2021

The cancel culture straw man has well and truly jumped the shark

If you personally make a decision about what you want to do with a piece of your own property, is that “cancel culture gone mad?” That’s what the perpetual fury generation machine of the right is claiming right now in response to recent news that six different Dr. Seuss books will no longer be published. So let’s take a thirty second look at how this isn’t “cancel culture gone mad” by any stretch of the imagination whatsoever.

The people who have made the decision that six out of the more than 60 books written by Theodore Geisel will no longer be published going forward are the owners of those books, who are choosing to make what they personally believe is an ethical choice with their own property after profiting on that intellectual property for nearly eight decades. No one and nothing is “getting cancelled.” The people who own a property are making an independent decision about what they want to do with their own property. If this is “cancel culture run amok,” then if you freely and individually of your own volition decide that it’s time to retire your car and take it off the road, it means that some nebulous “they” on the left are cancelling you. Or for another analogy, we can look back at Jon Stewart’s decision to leave the Daily Show back in 2015. Was that “cancel culture?” Did Fox “News” talking heads force him to do it, or is it just possible that as an adult he is capable of making his own decisions about when it’s time to retire the version of that intellectual property that included him sitting behind that desk?

The straw man of hand wringing about cancel culture has gone completely off the rails. At this point, the people yelling every day about cancel culture (while also desperately trying to cancel as much culture that they personally dislike as possible) have finally reached the place where they feel that letting people make their own decisions about their own property is way out of line and totally unacceptable. Why? Because they believe that only they personally should be able to decide what gets cancelled and what doesn’t, what falsehoods are allowed to be spread and what truths must be suppressed, and what, ultimately, everyone around them is allowed to think. Right wingers have been the main practitioners of cancel culture throughout American history. It’s the biggest gaslighting effort in all of human history to date. The point is to manufacture outrage, because when people are outraged they don’t think very clearly at all, but they can easily be directed to lash out at targets selected by the people misinforming them.

What much of the right wing media calls cancel culture is an effort at creating an accountability culture, and anger about it is based on failing to understand how the premise of tolerance works altogether.

Michael Nabert

Researching a road map from our imperilled world into one with a livable future with as much good humour as I can muster along the way.