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.

Barack Obama Shares What Books He’s Been Reading

By | Discussion and Recommendations, Political, Reading Habits | No Comments
It’s always interesting to learn what other people are reading, even more so when they happen to have been one of the most powerful people on the planet. If you’ve been wondering what former US President Barack Obama has been reading since he left office then you’re in luck. As Harper’s Bazaar reports, Obama recently took to his official Facebook page to share what he’s been reading.

“I’m often asked what I’m reading, watching, and listening to, so I thought I might share a short list from time to time,” he wrote. There’s so much good writing and art and variety of thought out there these days that this is by no means comprehensive – like many of you, I’ll miss The Americans – but here’s what I’ve been reading lately. It’s admittedly a slightly heavier list than what I’ll be reading over the summer.” Read More

US Authors Campaigning Against ‘Kids in Cages’

By | Authors, Children's Literature, News, Political | No Comments
Wherever you are it’s unlikely that you haven’t heard about the current move by the US administration separating children from their parents who are seeking asylum. Despite many smokescreens and accusations that this policy has been around under previous administrations, that is simply a myth. The policy was introduced on 6th April 2018 and was the brainchild of John Kelly and Stephen Miller and approved by President Trump to serve as a deterrent for undocumented immigration. Read More

In 1938, Tolkien Tried to Get the Hobbit Published in Germany, He Was Asked If He Had Jewish Ancestry, Here Is His Reply

By | Authors, Political | No Comments
In 1938, only a year or so before the start of the Second World War, J.R.R. Tolkien was busy trying to get The Hobbit published overseas. Tolkien’s publisher was working on bringing the novel to Germany where, under Adolf Hitler, anti-Semitism was rife. Before The Hobbit would be published, Tolkien was asked whether he was of Aryan origin, and by extension whether he was Jewish or had Jewish ancestry. Tolkien replied thusly:
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New Book Speaks of the Compulsory Hijab and Women’s Rights in Iran

By | New Releases, Political | No Comments
You may have already heard of Masih Alinejad, the Iranian runs the My Stealthy Freedom Facebook page, and dedicates much of her life to protesting Iran’s compulsory hijab laws. Uncovered her hair is a mass of beautiful corkscrew curls, but the beauty of them isn’t the issue here, her entire head of hair has become a political symbol and now she has a book out too.

Masih says she isn’t anti-hijab, but she doesn’t want to wear one and believes that throughout the world women should have the right to choose. However, Iran hold a compulsory hijab law and they have their own morality police to enforce it, and Masih’s protests have seen her imprisoned, forced to leave Iran and now unable to see her family.
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London Review of Books Dedicates Entire Issue to Grenfell Tragedy

By | Discussion and Recommendations, New Releases, News, Political | No Comments
For the first time in the history of the London Review of Books, the new edition contains just one article; a 60,000 word investigation into the Grenfell Tower tragedy and its political aftermath.

The edition is written by the London Review of Books editor Andrew O’Hagan and is entitled ‘The Tower’, described as “the fullest account yet” of the tragedy. Read More

Stephen King speaks to Colbert about Trump Twitter block scandal

By | News, Political | No Comments
Stephen King and Donald Trump have never been fans of one another but the celebrated author has now doubled down on his disdain for the POTUS.

Following a spat during the release of the movie adaptation of King’s IT where Trump ended up blocking the author on Twitter, King banned Trump from seeing his movies. Due to a recent ruling, federal judge Naomi Reice Buchwald stated that President Donald Trump violates the First Amendment by blocking critics on Twitter, so it seems he will now have to unblock Stephen King.

How does King feel about this, and will he start interacting with the president again after his unblocking? King spoke to Colbert recently and gave his thoughts on the matter.

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