Dr Seuss, J. K Rowling, Fascism and the Arts

By February 5, 2017Authors, News, Political

I can remember when I was a child first learning about fascism through history with stories of World War II and the Nazi empire, learning about all the things that fascists tried to control. Many of the things on the list I could understand, disdain for human rights, rampant nationalism, obsession with national security but I never really understood why fascists hated the arts so much.

As I have grown, I have learned to understand why fascism hates the arts, and in fact all it cannot control. Authors, artists, poets, they tend to be intellectual people, critical thinkers, much harder to mass control, and creative people hold their own influence, in their writings, paintings and works.

Recently we’ve heard much about the rise of the alt-right, and again the arts has risen up in response with many authors including, Neil Gaiman, J. K Rowling and many more speaking up about the current political and social climate. Most noteably possibly are the responses by J. K Rowling in recent days as a response to the travel ban affecting some Muslim majority countries. In the unlikely event that you missed it, here’s a couple of them.

J.K Rowling has been hailed both a hero and a demon in response to the spat but says the response has mostly been positive. As she right points out in another tweet

History has shown that artists tend to be a liberal bunch, from John Steinbeck to George Orwell to Dr. Seuss, many authors through history have fought social injustice and inequality through their writing.

Dr. Seuss books are banned in some dictatorship countries for promoting far left ideals, and during World War II the author and illustrator created a series of political cartoons. You can see one of those images above.

As you can see from the book cover, the cartoon is from World War II, and as you can see from the mother’s sweater it’s a response to America’s refusal to let Jewish refugees into the USA.

The efforts of Seuss during this time were brought together in a 1999 book, Dr. Seuss Goes to War: The World War II Editorial Cartoons of Theodor Seuss Geisel, another political book that has seen increased sales in recent weeks, along with 1984, The Handmaid’s Tale and other dystopian novels that have found themselves back in the bestsellers’ list.

Seuss himself came under the same kind of criticism that Rowling has come under today, but he didn’t let it stop him.

While the For Reading Addicts team do not compare ourselves in artistic merit to the likes of Rowling or Seuss, we are proud to be part of the same artistic collective, and we too will continue to ride out the criticism of current times and post from our hearts with conviction.

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