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.

Boris Pasternak, the CIA and a Forbidden Book

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Boris Pasternak (10th February, 1890 – 30 May, 1960) was a Soviet Russian poet, novelist, and literary translator, probably best known for the novel, Doctor Zhivago. The popular novel was written in 1957, and takes place between the Russian Revolution, and the First World War. It went on to win the author the Nobel Prize for Literature, has been immortalised in a famous movie and is one of the best known Russian stories of all time.

However, Doctor Zhivago was released in a mire of controversy due to the way it portrayed Soviet Russia. The book was immediately rejected for publication in the USSR, and the Communist Part of the Soviet Union were enraged, forcing Pasternak to reject the Nobel Prize. This in itself is interesting enough, but in declassified files we’ve learned that the CIA arranged the first ever publication of the book in Russia. Read More

Nicola Sturgeon – First Minister of Scotland – Bookworm

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Who knew or would even think that Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has the time to be a massive Bookworm? Well she is, and she tweets her reads with short reviews.

She is very passionate about the benefits of reading and set up The First Minister’s Reading Challenge to encourage Scottish children to read, with prizes at the end of each year. Read More

Alex Jones Reportedly Working on a Book That Promises to “Open Your Mind”

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Right-wing American radio show host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is reportedly working on a book with The Game’s author, Neil Strauss, in order to distil his knowledge, philosophies, and mission to uncover conspiracies. As CNN reports, Jones has apparently been pitching the book to US publishers with the promise that it will “open your mind in ways you can’t expect … like the moment you first discovered sex or the internet or quantum physics”.

Jones has written a 27-page proposal for the book with author Neil Strauss and its aim will be to inform readers about “the front lines of the war for your mind.” He promises it will be “a classic that will be … around for generations” and that, if you read it, you “will never look at your life or your world the same way again.” It certainly looks like Jones has big plans for his book.

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Fire and Fury Set to Surpass Sales of Trump’s Own Book, The Art of the Deal

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Despite only being on shelves for the past two weeks, Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump Administration is already set to outsell President Trump’s own book, The Art of the Deal. Mother Jones reports that Trump’s co-author and the U.S.’ leading book sales tracking company has revealed that Fire and Fury is set to reach over 1.75 million copies sold within the short time it has been out, meanwhile The Art of the Deal, which turned 30 last year, has sold approximately 1.67 million copies.

Since Trump took office just over a year ago, he has been hotly debated by all sides of the political spectrum. Fire and Fury claims to give a behind-the-scenes look at the Trump administration. The amount of public interest in Trump has seen the book fly off the shelves and even the mega online store Amazon sold out of copies upon the book’s release. Read More

New York Prisons No Longer Allow Inmates to Receive Donated Books, They Must Buy Them

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Three prisons in New York have passed regulations which states that prisoners are no longer allowed to obtain books through the mail from family members or community groups. They can now only purchase a selection of 77 books being sold by six state approved vendors. Activists have criticized the regulations for being too restrictive and expensive for the inmates. Read More

Milo Yiannopoulos’ Editor Didn’t Hold Back

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In 2017, the controversial figure Milo Yiannopoulos was working towards publishing his memoirs. Publishing giants Simon & Schuster spent a while debating over whether they even wanted to be seen as supporting Yiannopoulos and his message. The provocative face of the far-right had written some unashamedly hateful opinions that eventually became too much for Simon & Schuster to protect under the umbrella of ‘free speech’, and the memoirs were cancelled. Yiannopoulos eventually had to self-publish.

January 2018 has seen further evidence of the process the publishing team went through before they decided the memoirs were not your average right-wing non-fiction. Critique and comments made by Yiannopoulos’s editor have been made public thanks to the documents being put forward in the earlier court case. Sarah Mei on Twitter had realised this and read through the manuscript’s comments with glee before posting them online.

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