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Rolla Peace News

March 30, 2021
Dear Friends:
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In this newsletter is:

2. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) Still More on Dr. Seuss and Racism
          b) From Our Readers: on Banning Books
          c) Disruption of the Current World Order
          d) Violence upon Violence



We vigil for peace in front of the Rolla Post Office, THIS THURSDAY, APRIL 1, FROM NOON TO 1:00 PM (and most subsequent Thursdays until Peace is established). Please join us this Thursday in saying NO WAR AGAINST IRAN or any other country. The temperature is predicted to be in the 40s. If you do not feel comfortable standing with us in front of the Post Office, please consider driving by and showing your support for our message by honking your horn and flashing a peace sign.

Note 1: Since there are so few of us, generally 2 or 3, no need to cancel; but let's maintain social distancing.

Note 2: In case of inclement weather, vigils may be canceled or terminated early.

2. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) Still More on Dr. Seuss and Racism
          b) From Our Readers: on Banning Books
          c) Disruption of the Current World Order
          d) Violence upon Violence

Still More on Dr. Seuss and Racism

Last week I included a link to an image from Dr. Seuss's If I Ran the Zoo with a comment that I found this image, which contains two black Africans with monkey faces, naked except for a grass skirt and a ridiculous-looking top-knot, extremely offensive. This week I offer an alternative image (below). I do not think this new image adds or subtracts one iota from the story-line. (Gerald McGrew imagining what fantastic creatures he would put in his zoo.)

(Which is Dr. Seuss's and which is mine?)

It's interesting to note that most (if not all) of Dr. Seuss's images are caricatures and yes, caricatures can be offensive, and yes, we should be careful about how we use them.

As a lover of earthworms, perhaps I should be offended by this ridiculous looking worm with huge round eyes from The Big Brag. I'm not. (Read the story to find out why.)

(Incidentally, worms don't have eyes, although they can sense light and dark.)

I recommend to Dr. Seuss Enterprises that they redraw any questionable images and then republish the six books that they have discontinued. There is a precedent for this. Dr. Seuss's Hooray for Diffendoofer Day (another of my favorites) was published posthumously with help from two friends.

And, to close, here is a verse on reading Dr. Seuss:
Oh, the world is so full of a number of books;
Read one or two and you might find you're hooked;
And that's why I think that I do nothing wrong,
When I wait for the sunrise, reading Seuss all night long.
From Our Readers: on Banning Books

One reader recommends T.H. White's The Book of Merlyn, writing:
“Are you familiar with the British author T.H. White? His most famous work is The Once and Future King, a retelling of the Arthurian legends recorded by Sir Thomas Mallory. T.H. White's version is charming and highly fanciful, not a children's book, but one I suspect you might well approve.

“White was a writer of pacifist tendencies, and his final section of the novel called The Book of Merlin was excisioned and set aside at the time of publication, when England was under heavy danger of invasion by Nazi Germany. The Book of Merlin was discovered among his posthumous papers some years ago and published separately by the University of Texas, the current owner of all his manuscripts.

“If you have not read this remarkable work, I highly recommend it. I happened to be attending the University of Texas about the time it came out and ran across it in a bookstore. I am rereading the entire novel all these years after, and with every pleasure I enjoyed at the first.”

Another reader recommends Alan Gratz's Ban This Book, writing:
“[We] are reading a book called Ban This Book. ... I think you might like. ... A parent [Trey's mom] pushes the school board to ban a variety of books (all of which are real books and have been banned at some point) in the school library, and the students set up a hidden library of the books in a locker and loan them out. The students' interest in the books grew because they were banned. ... Trey doesn't like it and starts filling out forms to ban ALL the books as a protest and to show that what his mom is doing is ridiculous. The line ‘Once you ban one book, you can ban them all’ stuck with me. And then the kids start getting creative about banning others: stories about lions? Too gory.”
My response: Both books appear extremely worthwhile. I intend to read them. Yes, if you can ban one, you can ban them all. And here are two further thoughts on censorship:

We have totally banned religion from our public schools. Maybe if schools would teach the many and important similarities among religions, we wouldn't be plagued with so much religious hatred and deadly attacks upon houses of worship. But teaching religion in a fair, impartial, non-judgmental manner is VERY DIFFICULT. It's much easier to just ban the subject entirely.

Julian Assange languishes in Belmarsh Prison for exposing various atrocities committed by the US military in the Middle East. Edward Snowden remains in exile in Russia for exposing illegal government surveillance of private citizens. Exposing wrongdoing in high places should NEVER be considered a crime.

I think Snowden said it best: “I have been to the darkest corners of government, and what they fear is light.”

Disruption of the Current World Order

After a week blocking shipping in the Suez Canal the Mega-Freighter, Ever Given, has finally been freed and the backlog of traffic has started to flow through the canal. The disruption has cost world shipping many billions of dollars.

Jeff Masters discusses the weird weather that likely caused the Ever Given to run aground in the canal. He also discusses the connection between climate change and the likelihood of such unusual weather and points out that as the Earth's climate continues to warm, we should expect more such unusual weather events and disruptions of the global supply chain.

There is little resilience in global trade which is extremely vulnerable to disruptions whether the cause is human, natural or both. Without trade, global empires will become impossible to maintain.

Think local!

Violence upon Violence

One would think that after the failed coup of January 6, politicians and media pundits would tone down their rhetoric just a little. It ain't happening. Ron Weiser, a regent of the University of Michigan, called the governor and two other female elected officials “witches,” and in almost the same breath talked about assassination and burning witches at the stake. To my knowledge, he still serves as regent of the University of Michigan.

Ever wonder why we are plagued with so much violence? Ever wonder why our institutions of higher learning are in such disarray. As Robert Koehler has pointed out: “This is America, where we have the freedom to manifest our lethal fantasies.”


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Wage peace,

yushasager (at) yahoo.com