Dr. Seuss’s racism – dogs enjoy riding in shopping cart – and other links and found media for Wednesday, March 3, 2021

There’s a Better Way to Parent: Less Yelling, Less Praise Joe Pinsker / The Atlantic

Journalist Michaeleen Doucleff traveled around the world to ancient cultures to observe how they raise kids. “She takes care to portray her subjects not as curiosities ‘frozen in time,’ but instead as modern-day families who have held on to invaluable child-rearing techniques that likely date back tens of thousands of years.”

She says, “Everywhere I went, I don’t know if I ever heard a parent praise a child. Yet these kids are incredibly self-sufficient, confident, and respectful—everything we want praise to do, these kids already have it, without the praise.” Also, kids in other cultures don’t have a lot of toys, and they don’t have child-only spaces, like children’s museums and indoor play spaces.

There’s a lot of good scientific evidence that children have an innate instinct to cooperate and work together with their families. And child-centered activities can kind of strip away what I call their family “membership card,” the feeling that they’re a part of the family and working together as a team—not a VIP that the parents are serving. Kids want to help us and be part of our lives, and we can take that away with constant child-centered activities.

Kids in those cultures are just part of adults’ lives, doing chores, working, resting, or playing.

New Technique Reveals Centuries of Secrets in Locked Letters William J. Broad / NYTimes

MIT researchers are using a virtual reality technique to read ancient letters without opening them.

In 1587, hours before her beheading, Mary, Queen of Scots, sent a letter to her brother-in-law Henry III, King of France. But she didn’t just sign it and send it off. She folded the paper repeatedly, cut out a piece of the page and left it dangling. She used that strand of paper to sew the letter tight with locking stitches.

Before the advent of mass-produced sealable envelopes in the 1830s, writers such as Mary would fold letters elaborately–a technique called “letterlocking”–to prevent them from being tampered with and read. Historians have vast numbers of these letters, some of potentially great historical value, but can’t read them without damaging them. Now, researchers are unfolding digital representations of the letters in software, and learning their contents.

How some people can end up living at airports for months – even years – at a time [Janet Bednarek / The Conversation] – An Iranian refugee ended up living at the Paris airport for 18 years(!) after he lost the papers that verified his refugee status.

The reckoning with Dr. Seuss’ racist imagery has been years in the making [Char Adams / NBCNews]

Dr. Seuss’s estate will cease publishing six of Dr. Seuss’s books because of racist imagery. 

“Dr. Seuss was shaped by a completely immersive white supremacist culture,” says Ebony Thomas, professor of children’s and young adult literature at the University of Pennsylvania and author of “The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games.” 98% of Seuss’s characters are white, according to a 2019 survey of Seuss’s works. “Portrayal of and references to Black characters relied heavily on anti-Blackness and images of white superiority, the study found.”

In “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” a white man is shown using a whip on a man of color. In “If I Ran the Zoo,” a white boy holds a large gun while standing on the heads of three Asian men. “If I Ran the Zoo” also features two men from Africa who are shirtless, shoeless and wearing grass skirts while holding an exotic animal.

The six books that will no longer be published are  “If I Ran the Zoo,” “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!,” and “The Cat’s Quizzer.” We read a lot of Dr. Seuss when I was a kid, but I’ve only heard of those, and only remember one of them.

Of course I didn’t notice any racism. Back then, that kind of racism was invisible to people like me.

Saying this is an example of “cancel culture” is just name-calling. A lot of storytelling was racist back in the mid-20th Century; everybody knows that. Should we preserve it simply because it was popular?

Join the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic club for its meeting tonight, for a forum of Democratic candidates for the 79th California State Assembly District seat vacated by Dr. Shirley Weber. Meeting’s at 7 pm, pre-meeting at 6:30 pm. Details: Candidates forum–79th Assembly district–Blake–Munguia–Parmely–Weber–Wednesday, March 3

Veronica Lake
Ayer’s Sarsaparilla 1890
1976 Topps Star Trek trading card

This scary dog costume is fantastic. Audio on for horror music and sound effects.

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