Irony of the year: Librarian who claimed The Cat in the Hat was racist was photographed (twice) dressed like the Cat and celebrating the book

Ladies and gentleman, brothers and sisters, comrades: here we apparently have two pictures of Cambridgeport Elementary School teacher Liz Phipps Soeiro, whose actions I described this morning. To wit: sent a copy of The Cat in the Hat by Melania Trump, Phipps went off on her, lecturing the First Lady in a public letter that said her school didn’t need such “clichéd” books, nor books like this one that were imbued with Seuss’s “racist propaganda”.

Well, here she is (I am not 100% sure, but pretty sure, since it was reported by both Fox News and MassLive.com), celebrating that racist book. Twice!

BUSTED!

Here’s a before-and-after photo ferreted out by reader Darren and noted in the comments below:

Before she pulled her little virtue-flaunting stunt, perhaps she should have realized that The Internet Never Forgets.

What a sanctimonious hypocrite! How dare she hug that feline symbol of racism?!

________

Extra credit reading: Washington Post editorial “What the librarian who rejected Melania Trump’s Dr. Seuss books as ‘racist’ got wrong.

76 Comments

  1. Mark R.
    Posted September 29, 2017 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Irony is dead! (I saw that line on a Heather Hastie tw**t re. Trump administration’s use of personal email accounts.)

  2. Sakebomb
    Posted September 29, 2017 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Holy crap that is literally the exact plot of the last South Park episode! Randy protests Columbus day and they find pics of him dressed as Columbus on the Internet.

    • BJ
      Posted September 29, 2017 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      Exactly! It’s insanity. HOW FAR MUST WE GO FOR SATIRE? HOW FAR I ASK?

      At long last, have we no satire?

      • Craw
        Posted September 29, 2017 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        We’ll always have What Happened.

  3. Carey Haug
    Posted September 29, 2017 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    I am more surprised by her stupidity than by her hypocrisy and rudeness. How could she not realize these Cat pictures would be all over the Internet?

    • barn owl
      Posted September 29, 2017 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Some people post so many photos of themselves on social media that they cannot possibly remember every single one. It’s a variety of attention deficit disorder, in which one simply can’t get enough attention.

      Looks like the Sour Kangaroo is going to get her comeuppance, but I suppose we should pity her, because a person’s a person, no matter how small-minded …

      • Posted September 29, 2017 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        A normal functioning brain would make the connection between ‘Melania just sent me a Dr. Seuss book’ and ‘not too long ago I dressed up as a Dr. Seuss character.’ But the derangement of these types is so profound , the dissociation just kicks in and takes over.

      • somer
        Posted September 29, 2017 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

        This woman is some mixed up dude.

      • biz
        Posted September 30, 2017 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        “Some people post so many photos of themselves on social media that they cannot possibly remember every single one. It’s a variety of attention deficit disorder, in which one simply can’t get enough attention.”

        Wow, that is extremely insightful. I’m going to use it.

  4. Darren Garrison
    Posted September 29, 2017 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    I already posted this on the other thread, but here is a before and after comparison–the first one where she is in costume, embracing Seuss items, and smiling, the second one where she is holding the letter from Melania Trump and a copy of The Cat in the Hat and scowling. There is no doubt that both photos are the same person.

    https://imgur.com/a/zbjW4

    • Posted September 29, 2017 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      Ah, I haven’t yet read all the posts on the first thread. Thanks for finding the photos. In fact, I’ll add this above the fold.

      She clearly has a problem not with the book, but with Trump!

  5. Posted September 29, 2017 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Just wait till her party for Enid Blyton’s Three Golliwogs comes to light.

  6. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted September 29, 2017 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been listening to this but I’d hestitate before tearing into anyone because

    1. this particular thing ^^^^^ is probably a Massachusetts-library-wide thing – they celebrate Seuss’ birthday.

    2. I allow people to see the wrong of their ways – and that means s time delay between moronic things and the changes in those moronic things.

    … I never heard the case about the black face origins of the cat though, that was rich.

    • Posted September 29, 2017 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      I seriously doubt that she had to dress up like the Cat in the Hat; she could have refused on the grounds she thought the book was racist. And did she have to smile so brightly?

      Sorry, but this is Schadenfreude of the highest degree, and I refuse to sympathize with her.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted September 29, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        She’s got issues for sure, and my gut reaction is yours. Still I hold out …

        … I was going to say this is a good example of free speech – a big kerfuffle but I am coming away from it with valuable … valuable… things.

        • Craw
          Posted September 29, 2017 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

          Free speech? She’s keeping books out of libraries and playing Decider!

          No, this is just what it looks like: a SJW decided to stick it to Melania Trump, so she just assembled a bunch of bullshit to do it with, and got busted. Just as good is Matt’s find about her goodreads recommendations.

      • Posted September 30, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

        Schadenfreude means never having to say you’re sorry.

    • Posted September 29, 2017 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      She didn’t just change her mind, she attacked another woman for promoting a book she promoted herself.

      • Posted September 29, 2017 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        She added, without any apparent qualms, three Dr. Seuss books to her Goodreads list:

        The Cat in the Hat on 7/27/13
        The Cat in the Hat the Movie: Cooking with the Cat on 8/2/13
        My Many Colored Days on 7/4/14

        https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/8060637-liz-phipps-soeiro?shelf=read

        NB: only one of the ten books on her sanctimonious list appears on her Goodreads.

        • mordacious1
          Posted September 29, 2017 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

          “Many Colored Days”

          Aha-The smoking gun.

          • Posted September 29, 2017 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

            Surely what radicalized her. How soon before she realizes H.A. Rey was a nazi?

        • Craw
          Posted September 29, 2017 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

          Very nice! Even that list was cooked up just to fit the needs of her letter.

          • Posted September 30, 2017 at 10:05 am | Permalink

            With all those bios of historical figures she promotes, why did she leave out Paint It, Black: The Al Jolson Story?

        • BJ
          Posted September 29, 2017 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

          “The Cat in the Hat the Movie: Cooking with the Cat on 8/2/13”

          What was the Cat cooking? Fried Chicken??
          HUH?!?

      • jay
        Posted September 30, 2017 at 6:08 am | Permalink

        As long as I’ve known her, my wife (also an atheist) has been pretty much apolitical.

        Pretty much every day now, she discusses new examples of manufactured narrative (racist etc) in the media and celebrity world for virtually everything the Trumps do, even simple benign things.

        I’ve never seen her so politically angry.

        • ThyroidPlanet
          Posted September 30, 2017 at 6:10 am | Permalink

          “Not usually a sign guy but jeez”

    • barn owl
      Posted September 29, 2017 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      She could have chosen any number of other Seussian characters for her costume, when the library was celebrating his birthday. Most 8-year-olds have that figured out.

      • Posted September 29, 2017 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

        I’m curious as exactly when she had that star removed from her belly.

  7. Posted September 29, 2017 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Maybe next time she’s in the library she’ll take notice of that Shhhh! sign behind her head.

  8. yazikus
    Posted September 29, 2017 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Now, this may be ageist, but had she been somewhat older, and not dressed as the things she so hates, I might have been keen to give her a pass as a sanctimonious librarian. This woman, however, was clearly just making a point, loudly and at her students expense.

    • Darren Garrison
      Posted September 29, 2017 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Another thing to conciser is that these books were also handed over to 49 other librarians in 49 other states. I’m guessing that a large percentage of those librarians are also not fans of the Trump administration. But yet, they didn’t make themselves newsworthy.

      • mordacious1
        Posted September 29, 2017 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        These kind of gifts generally have a White House book label inside the cover and I assume that someone might like to have these as a collectible. If I didn’t want them, I might sell them to a bookstore, using the profits to buy more books. Or I could donate the books or profit to a poorer school.

        This woman did everything wrong and her behavior is indefensible.

  9. Posted September 29, 2017 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Someone commented on one of the pictures on FB in 2015 identifying it as Soeiro, so I guess it is: https://www.facebook.com/cps.schools/photos/a.789830294417679.1073741826.171898846210830/790171227716919/?type=3&theater

    That celebration of Seuss was over two years ago, so it’s *possible* that she only became aware of the ‘racism’ in Dr Seuss subsequent to that. If I were her, that’s the line I would press anyway!

    • Posted September 29, 2017 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      But if the racism is THAT undetectable, why is she so exercised about it?

      • Posted September 29, 2017 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        Because since that time her consciousness has been raised? But, looking at her history, this is an implausible defence, since she appears to have been campaigning on these issues for a number of years, so one would expect her to detect Dr. Seuss’s racism, if that is what she now thinks of the books.

        It certainly seems the more likely explanation that she simply wanted to have a pop at Melania.

        • DiscoveredJoys
          Posted October 1, 2017 at 4:09 am | Permalink

          Perhaps this is fake consciousness raising?

      • Lee
        Posted October 1, 2017 at 1:31 am | Permalink

        She might have had an epiphany. Sometimes, as Orwell points out, it’s hard to see what’s right in front of one’s nose (or words to that effect). I can just see her, late at night, relaxed in a chair with her copy of CITH, going “Holy s**t, this is racist! I never realized this before!” You know, like certain ambiguous visual pictures, once you see the image you can’t unsee it…

        Or maybe, like was said earlier, she’s a SJW, handed the chance to publicly hate on Trump on a platter and taking it.

  10. paultopping
    Posted September 29, 2017 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    After reading her letter,I get the sense it was this librarian’s way of slamming Trump, not necessarily Melania per se but Donald and his administration. An opportunity presented itself and she took it. It was a petty gesture. While what she said has the ring of truth, it seems unlikely that was her main motivation.

    Much as I detest Trump, I hope I wouldn’t have done the same were I in her place or in a similar situation.

    • Brian salkas
      Posted September 29, 2017 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      She could have said “thanks for the book, but you are a bigot for other reasons”. That would have also worked.

      By the way, I am sure the president had little or nothing to do with giving these books to schools. It is like when my mom buys me a gift to give to my dad on fathers day. I give her a few buck, sign the card and hand the present to my dad, but everyone knows that I didn’t put any effort into the gift. well same with Melania or Trump or whoever it was “from”.

      • Posted September 30, 2017 at 5:55 am | Permalink

        That’s only a valid criticism if previous Presidents bought gifts out of their own pocket.

  11. mordacious1
    Posted September 29, 2017 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Someone tweeted:
    “Horton hears a hypocrite.”

  12. Randy schenck
    Posted September 29, 2017 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    Actually the only thing she should be censoring is her mouth.

    • Heidi
      Posted September 30, 2017 at 1:05 am | Permalink

      Maybe she didn’t have her green eggs and ham for breakfast and got all cranky

  13. phoffman56
    Posted September 29, 2017 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Many non-USians stand back in amazement, trying to fathom how that electorate could ignorantly elect Drumpf.
    Many answer: abysmal education,
    even often among the middle class and ‘higher’. (The others are simply denied the educational resources by soft and hard racists—that is, by those to whom Republicans and other USian politicians refer as “hard-working aimaireecain families, mainly code words for the contrapositive: implying some people out there don’t work enough for their children to merit decent healthcare and education, for example.)
    And how could the better off end up with such pathetic education, where, for example, like Drumpf they think Puerto Rico is in the middle of the ocean?
    Some answer: their teachers.

    Maybe this woman is part of evidence for that.

    • somer
      Posted September 30, 2017 at 5:08 am | Permalink

      but then how come a lot – most of the Trump voters were above average income even if the unequal state of employment and economy was a factor for many trump voters

      • phoffman56
        Posted September 30, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        I said there that possibly poor education “…even..among the middle class and higher..” was a factor in electing a narcissistic dorky circus conman.

        But pure unadulterated selfishness of many wealthier people clearly played a role. They are the ones whom I hope suffer the most from radiation sickness in the remote possibility of thermonuclear disaster due to Drumpf, who has made it less remote. And their children’s children etc. similarly should end up suffering the most from climate change, but undoubtedly won’t. Otherwise, USians are welcome to “stew in their own juice” with their ridiculous politics, other Drumpfian idiocies seeming to mainly just affect USians.

    • Filippo
      Posted September 30, 2017 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      “Some answer: their teachers.”

      Another answer: Amuricun mass pop culture and home life influence on students.

      For starters:

      “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life (Hofstadter)

      “The Age of American Unreason”
      (Jacoby)

    • Jay Baldwin
      Posted September 30, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      I’ve been seriously considering the possibility that much of the problem with regressivism, science-denialism, irrationality, and anti-intellectualism that plagues the Left and the Right stems significantly from grade inflation and standards lowering in education. These people have been told their whole life that they’re smart, and they have the paper credential to prove it. They simply cannot see their own stupidity because our institutions have failed to develop critical thinking skills while, instead, developing an exaggerated degree of self-esteem.

    • DiscoveredJoys
      Posted October 1, 2017 at 4:15 am | Permalink

      Alternatively: http://quillette.com/2017/09/28/trump-voters-irrational/

      Had the election gone the other way it would have been just as easy to say “Many non-USians stand back in amazement, trying to fathom how that electorate could ignorantly elect Clinton.” Depending on what wars had been promoted and which deals with Big Business had been struck. Irrationality is in the eye of the beholder perhaps.

      • phoffman56
        Posted October 1, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

        ‘Had the election gone the other way it would have been just as easy to say “Many non-USians stand back in amazement, trying to fathom how that electorate could ignorantly elect Clinton.”’

        It is just as easy to say “1+1=3”, but that is rather unimpressive, at least literally.

        Perhaps you meant to say ‘it is just as true’. If so, I’ll leave it to others to decide about that.

        However, it might be wise for you to check all the sources of your claimed ‘badness’ of Clinton the candidate. Just possibly some of them might be Facebook BS from an employee of Putin posing as a USian, quite apart from possibly a rumour mongering nitwit Twit(terer)

        She was certainly a far less than perfect candidate. But it would not bother me much if people lost much election-night sleep, people who abhorred Drumpf, but who instead of shutting up until after the election, just couldn’t resist dwelling publicly on her imperfections during the campaign.

        • DiscoveredJoys
          Posted October 2, 2017 at 3:38 am | Permalink

          No, I specifically meant ‘easy’; that is responding to perceived events without much consideration of personal bias and without much knowledge.

          • phoffman56
            Posted October 2, 2017 at 7:36 am | Permalink

            “..without much knowledge..”
            My ‘humble’ opinion is that people living in (other than US) western countries, living with the possibility of very nasty events brought on by a US president, even as bad as extinction of the human species, are sufficiently educated and concerned to on average know quite a bit more of actually true and relevant facts about US presidential politics, know more than did the average Drumpf voter.

      • phoffman56
        Posted October 1, 2017 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

        As discussed in another thread, your URL

        http://quillette.com/2017/09/28/trump-voters-irrational/

        is concerned with rational vs irrational,
        (whatever that means!),
        not with educated vs. uneducated,
        or, more useful, ignorant vs knowledgeable.

        I don’t know why USians like to label people with whom they disagree as irrational or even as mentally deranged. I think it’s mainly a thoughtless ad hominem. Another case in point is calling Kim Jong Un a “deranged dictator”.
        If one of them suffers from an actual brain disease, it would much more likely be Drumpf.

        Another case, of thoughtless ad hominem mouthing off, is calling 9/11 perpetrators and similar as “cowardly”. They were labelable accurately with many derogatory terms, but not that one.

  14. Norbert Francis
    Posted September 29, 2017 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    All of this made me laugh; nice for a Friday after work. But there’s a part of it that isn’t funny. If these kind of people ever got into power we would be looking at a new version of the Commissariat of Enlightenment (Narkompros), department of the infamous People’s Commissariat for Education. Mao outdid Lenin in our time during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. I learned about politics and history during the 1960s, and I remember where the idea of Making the New Man comes from. A lot of the folks who are waiting for the day to be a commissar are now in academia.

  15. Doug
    Posted September 29, 2017 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    When I was a kid, I had a copy of [Trigger Warning!] “Little Black Sambo.” My nieces, who are biracial [black/white], loved the book as well when they were little. I think I’ll send some copies to all these librarians, just to watch their heads explode.

    • Andy Lowry
      Posted September 30, 2017 at 4:30 am | Permalink

      Me too. It was one of the books the we took turns reading aloud in first or second grade; would have been 1961 or 2. It didn’t trouble me at the time, but I remember being befuddled by seeing whites-only drinking fountains at about the same age when family took me to the Stephen Foster home in Kentucky (grew up in Ohio).

  16. Posted September 30, 2017 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    Now, if Melania had sent copied of The Lorax heads would have been exploding everywhere. Such a great cautionary tale –

  17. Posted September 30, 2017 at 2:04 am | Permalink

    Dr. Seuss?

    American are so behind the times.

    In Sweden, there is a children’s book called ‘farfar har fyra fruar’ – Grandpa has four wives.

    It’s all part of the drive for equality of marriage.

  18. Diane G.
    Posted September 30, 2017 at 4:04 am | Permalink

    sub

  19. bbenzon
    Posted September 30, 2017 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Of course this is nuts. But who knows, maybe her anti-Seuss stance is that of a convert. Once she was a Seussian but now that she’s seen the error her ways she’s become a staunch opponent of Seuss and is dedicated to eradicating it from the face of the earth.

    & maybe she just wanted to take her 15 minutes of social media fame.

  20. Jamie
    Posted September 30, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    I feel compelled to note that no data has been produced concerning this women’s motivation, yet here is considerable speculation and conjecture, virtually all of it uncharitable.

    I do wonder what transpired in the intervening two years between these photos. It is possible that she is simply the attention seeking hypocrite some commenters seem to think she is. It is also possible that she was besieged while celebrating Dr. Seuss, shamed and humiliated into changing her view. It is more likely, in my view, that, although misguided, she was simply trying to do what she thought was right.

    But I, like everyone else here, have zero data about that. I am reminded of Sagan’s Cosmos episode on Venus where he says: Observation: we can’t see a thing. Conclusion: Dinosaurs.

    On the matter of whether Seuss’ books are racist I think, nonsense. But on the matter of Ms. Soeiro’s motivation I think, most likely, she’s human like the rest of us, and it is pointless to speculate on a person’s motivations without data. Piling on the disgust, calling her a “type” of person and bad-mouthing her character without evidence is another ugly form of virtue signaling.

    • biz
      Posted September 30, 2017 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      This woman is clearly the left-wing equivalent of Sarah Palin.

    • Posted September 30, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      In the previous post, I linked to one of her blog posts where she waxed with pride about indoctrinating children and turning them into SJW activists. Our host has just posted a video of her outlining her methodology for doing just that. All of this strays far beyond the mandate of her job description and constitutes an abuse of her position.

      Though she’s deleted her Tweeter account and personal blog, she was a bit of a celebrity in Massachusetts and in the librarian community, and has left a considerable trail on the internet, including interviews, abstracts of her speaking appearances, bios, guest blog posts, etc. Her socio-political stridency is manifest.

      Even were that considerable record not available, she deserves condemnation for: 1) her outrageous postmodernist babble; 2) her rude and unprofessional behavior; 3) her unauthorized censorship of public library materials; 4) her stunning hypocrisy; 5) her incredible stupidity in not anticipating the exposure of her hypocrisy — or; 6) being so deranged as to not recognize her hypocrisy in the first place.

      • Jamie
        Posted October 2, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

        It may be that there is considerable evidence of her bad behavior elsewhere in the public record, but none of that was adduced in this post or referred by the commenters bad-mouthing her before I made my observation. Even if it were, saying she did x that you disapprove does not elucidate her motives for doing x, warrant the ad hominem attacks, or weaken the argument that these attacks are themselves a form of virtue-signaling.

        The most charitable assumption is that everyone bad-mouthing her had knowledge of all the evidence you point to here, assumed that everyone else is also completely familiar with it and therefore judged it redundant to cite any of it when launching their attacks and unnecessary to show how, exactly, it is evidence of motive. What, prey tell, do you think virtue signaling is, then? Or do you simply think that virtue signaling “is OK for me, but not for thee”.

  21. Carolyn
    Posted September 30, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    What a liberal jackass…Oh I’m sorry that’s redundant. Has she now gone on record admitting that she herself is a racist? I think not! The hype pocrisy of the left gets more and more obvious with every stupid move they make! With her absolute dementia problem she should not be the librarian there anymore… You’re fired!

    • Posted September 30, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      You’ve just called nearly everyone on this site–people who consider themselves liberals–jackasses. For that bit of ranting you’ll have to go elsewhere. (Did you read the rules?)

  22. kelskye
    Posted September 30, 2017 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    I get that anything and everything is now a Liberal Teaching Moment™, but it seems suss when Dr Seuss is the ire of it. I still refer to The Sneetches as the definitive ethical book on why racism / sexism / homophobia / etc. is stupid.

  23. Lee
    Posted October 1, 2017 at 1:58 am | Permalink

    Okay, I’ve had some time to think about this a bit more and I find myself cutting Ms. Soeiro a little slack. Well do I remember the fateful day after election night last November when I was so depressed, so utterly defeated emotionally, that I couldn’t get out of bed. I woke up, took a sleeping pill. Woke up again early afternoon and took another sleeping pill. Between forced naps I would weep softly while humming the tune of “America the Beautiful”. I have become a bit more functional since then, but I well understand the emotional trauma people had and are still having. We have a president who shames this country I love every time he opens his mouth, and a large segment of the population who shamed this country by their refusal to do the slightest due diligence to find out what kind of man he was and is. I can forgive someone for lashing out. I get it.

    I also get that this sort of behavior is manna from heaven for people who want to discredit progressive leftism. It is sad all around.

  24. innanoj85
    Posted October 6, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    What happened to the reader deciding what to read, and then discussing, especially at tender ages? Why do we allow Orwellian crimethink to authorize our reactions? The librarian has an opinion, nothing more or less. Racism stems from the heart, not from an officious librarian.

  25. Gena Hollistet
    Posted October 8, 2017 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    What a hypocrite! Everybody knows that it wasn’t the concern she had about the books being racist, in fact it was just about her hate for Trump. This lady should not be able to teach little children because she can’t decipher between her hateful political views and teaching. She is a complete joke and I am so glad they found her embracing Cat In The Hat at a happier time in her life. Nobody said a word about Dr. Suess until this Hypocrite said something now all of the sudden ignorant people like herself are speaking up. All she did was spew more hate in this world where we can’t even read a child’s book without spreading hate. Stop spreading lies for your political agenda.


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