People were left baffled as House minority leader Kevin McCarthy released a five-minute video of himself reading Dr Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham, days after six of the author’s books were pulled from publication.
Captioning the lengthy video on Friday evening, Mr McCarthy wrote: “I still like Dr Seuss, so I decided to read Green Eggs and Ham. RT if you still like him too!”
Mr McCarthy posted the video just a few days after Dr Seuss Enterprises, the company that manages Theodor Seuss Geisel’s estate, made the announcement that six of his books written under the pen name Dr Seuss had been pulled from publication over their use of “hurtful and wrong” imagery.
The decision to pull the books drew criticism from conservative commentators and prominent Republican politicians, as Texas senator Ted Cruz suggested without evidence that it was the fault of President Joe Biden.
The six titles pulled from publication are And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, and The Cat’s Quizzer.
However, as Green Eggs and Ham has not been affected by the decision, people were confused as to why Mr McCarthy had chosen that book for his bizarre reading.
Author Helen Kennedy replied to the House minority leader: “I notice you aren’t reading the ones the Seuss estate thinks are too offensive to keep publishing. Why is that?” and @fyungong asked: “I’m so confused right now! Lol what is happening No one is cancelling Seuss.”
Political scientist Seth Masket wrote: “How nice! You were probably able to purchase it in literally any book store in the country,” and writer Robert VerBruggen added: “If you read a book in protest but don’t pick one of the banned ones, what point are you even making?”
Others thought that Mr McCarthy should be focusing on issues presented by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with The Daily Beast editor at large Molly Jong-Fast replying: “Democrats are passing Covid relief And Republicans are reading Dr Seuss.”
While during CNN Tonight on Friday, host Don Lemon criticised Mr McCarthy, saying: “While Americans are desperate to get vaccinated and desperate for Covid relief, here is what Kevin McCarthy is doing right now.”
Mr Lemon continued: “That really happened. Those are your Republican leaders” and added that Mr McCarthy seemingly had no issues more pressing than stoking “this fake outrage.”
Geisel’s work has recently come under renewed scrutiny over its racist undertones and tropes, with the decision to remove the books from publication taken after discussion “with a panel of experts, including educators”, the publishers announced on Tuesday.
In a statement about its decision to pull the six books from publication on Tuesday, Dr Seuss Enterprises said that “these books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”
The company added: “Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr Seuss Enterprises’s catalog represents and supports all communities and families.”