Friday, February 26, 2010

In Things Dr. Seuss Would Rather You Didn't Remember

Little known fact: During WWII, Dr. Seuss did his patriotic duty cartooning propaganda for the War Dept. and pencilling political cartoons for the tabloid PM. Really. Seuss's trademark whimsy runs headlong into racist, xenophobic demonization of the enemy. It's as unsettling as it is fascinating.

Just check out this drawing imploring citizens to buy savings bonds: A caged Seussian rhino, replete with Hitlerstache and totally swastikafied, is held captive by a smiling bald eagle in Uncle Sam garb.

Or this little number: A cutesy Josef Stalin (maybe a first) holds up a platter of stuffed, Nazi pig, captioned "They're serving roast Adolf at Joe's house tonight!"

And for added irony: A pile of wood labeled "War Work To Be Done" is emblazoned with a sign "No Colored Labor Needed," as two African American men look on, appearing somewhat gobsmacked. Racism is a bad thing, Seuss says here (see also The Sneetches). Except when Othering the enemy (see image above).

Like I said, unsettling, fascinating. More here.

[Cross-posted. And thanks to William for passing this along.]


  1. Hey Jackass,

    Those were made during a time of war. Do you really think you should be nice to people who are trying to kill you?

  2. really? during the war? why oh why didn't i mention that in my post? oh, yeah, i did. right there. first sentence. but thanks for the correction.

  3. Oh, so you're backpedaling now? Right, I should have gotten that. You weren't implying those cartoons were racist at all. Right.

  4. that was in sentence three. are you even reading what i wrote? LOL!

  5. I guess you're not quite getting it, Zippy. So, I'll break it down for you. You are claiming these pictures are racist, correct? However, you do not factor into the equation that they were created in wartime. You claim, that yes indeed, you do acknowledge they were created in wartime, but nonetheless, you imply we should have been more sensitive to the enemy's needs. Perhaps you could explain more fully your position. Or you could just leave another passive aggressive one sentence comeback. Either way, I win. OWNED.

  6. hey deeky,
    your links are dead, can u please repost the no colored labor on

  7. looks like UCSD moved their site around. try here:

  8. Is it racist to call police pigs?