Down the Memory Hole
So something pretty disturbing has happened, and it is of no surprise to me. After all, with the way things have been going, it was inevitable that this would happen.
UK publisher Puffin has decided to make major revisions to author Roald Dahl’s books:
Passages in the books by children’s author Roald Dahl have been extensively rewritten by its publisher to align with a woke agenda.
Hundreds of changes to Dahl’s celebrated children’s books, including the likes of Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and The Witches, have been identified by Ed Cumming, Genevieve Holl-Allen, and Benedict Smith in an article for The Telegraph, some of them changing passages of the works in question virtually beyond recognition.
“The wonderful words of Roald Dahl can transport you to different worlds and introduce you to the most marvellous characters. This book was written many years ago, and so we regularly review the language to ensure that it can continue to be enjoyed by all today,” publisher Puffin Books says of the changes — in other words, it is regularly rewriting those “wonderful works” to suit modish sensibilities, much as ‘Minitrue’ (the Ministry of Truth) continuously rewrote books and other records to suit the narrative of the powers that be in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.
“Words matter,” Puffin stated by way of further explanation.
Absolutely appalling. People are rightly upset, but it gets even worse. For those who purchased digital editions of his books, those were automatically updated to the censored versions, without any warning or notice at all.
Some of the changes include removing descriptions of characters as being fat, such as Augustus Gloop from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, descriptions of characters being ugly, and descriptions of characters being pale. A line from The Witches concerning a witch possibly working as a cashier or secretary was changed to describe the possibility of witches working as a “top scientist” or running a business. Some stupid feminist GIRLBOSS nonsense. They even removed a reference to a character changing her surname upon getting married. Never mind the fact that women all over the world do that regularly – even self-described feminists – that just can’t be included in a children’s book, lest some girl somewhere think she’s less than because a minor character in said book took her husband’s surname after getting married. Like, taking some man’s name is, like, totally denying your agency!
Now, I know piracy hurts authors, especially self-published authors and those that aren’t big household names. However, there is an upside to piracy – the preservation of works in their original forms. Take South Park for example. There’s a couple of episodes that you can’t just watch on Paramount+ or HBO Max or wherever it’s being streamed at, and both involve mockery of the Muslim prophet Muhammed. However, visit any piracy site and you can download those episodes.
Same applies to eBooks – I am sure you can find Roald Dahl’s books, particularly his most well-known books on those sites, in their original forms. Of course, should you choose to do this, you have to make sure your anti-virus is up to date, and don’t visit those sites without an ad-blocker.
I am sure previously published editions will sell like hotcakes on sites like eBay and such. Puffin did kind of cave a bit and said the originals would be sold as “Classic” versions alongside the updated garbage ones.
Now that the canary has flown into the coal mine, other publishers are thinking it’s safe to correct old works so that some danger-haired land whale won’t be oppressed by something that’s older than their grandparents:
An upcoming reprinting of Ian Fleming’s 1950’s James Bond books will contain rewritten passages to remove “racially insensitive” words and stereotypes.
The announcement comes on the heels of outrage over news that Roald Dahl’s books will be edited to be more “inclusive.”
The new prints of the books will also contain the disclaimer, “this book was written at a time when terms and attitudes which might be considered offensive by modern readers were commonplace.”
“A number of updates have been made in this edition, while keeping as close as possible to the original text and the period in which it is set,” the disclaimer adds.
So the butchering of the character in the most recent Bond film, No Time To Die just wasn’t enough. Now they have to butcher the novels the films were based on.
It’s not unheard of for certain books to be “updated” to remove terminology that might confuse readers. Like changing “chambermaid” to something else, which is what they did to one of Dahl’s books. Normally, that would make sense, but in this case they did it because depicting a woman being a janitor or cleaner of sorts is just so offensive to all the dumb girl powered girl bosses of the world. This has happened to some kids books I read way back when I was a kid, and these were books published before I was born. I can’t remember exact details or the titles of the books, just that I know that it happened. I remember reading an updated version of a book I had read a lot and was surprised they updated it – it might have been a Judy Blume book, I dunno.
This, however, is beyond the pale. It’s very disturbing and politically motivated, and how people think it’s okay is just beyond me. I suppose the alternative would be to just stop publishing the books altogether, like one publisher did regarding some of Dr. Seuss’s books. I don’t know which is worse. I’d rather they not publish the books anymore rather than butchering them to appease people that wouldn’t bother reading the butchered versions, let alone the originals.
Oh, and you know how I feel about “book banning”, and The Federalist has an excellent opinion piece on that and how it relates to this creepy censorship:
But perhaps what’s most remarkable about the muted response to the Dahl censorship is that it pretty definitively shows the left really doesn’t care in the slightest about book bans, despite their posturing in the ongoing controversies over the last few years about politicized and inappropriate books finding their way into school libraries.
This battle has been drawn largely along partisan lines, and by now it’s pretty clear the left is being duplicitous. Let me see if I have this straight. A parent who complains about drawings of underage kids performing oral sex in “Gender Queer” — a graphic novel that liberal politicians and the media have gone to the mat to defend, including in school libraries — is a censorious bigot. But when a corporation such as Netflix, prompted by the publishing industry’s well-compensated legions of “sensitivity readers,” decides to posthumously edit one of the most beloved children’s authors of all time because every right-thinking person knows inchoate minds shouldn’t get the idea to describe people as “fat” — well, that’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do to protect kids.
This is the game — to stuff kids’ libraries with leftist revisionist history, dumbed-down critical theory masquerading as “anti-racism,” dubious gender ideology, sexually explicit material, and so on. When parents complain about what they find, they’re the ones the media portray as politically motivated.
It is definitely worth the read. This is why I come down so hard on “Banned Books Week” and the left’s constant whining about people having a problem with books like Gender Queer (which is a truly disgusting book) being in school libraries. Not only are they basically lying about books being banned, they’re scaring kids and parents into allowing blatantly inappropriate material into these school libraries as part of their crusade to indoctrinate kids into leftism. Or rather, communism, because if you listen to these people and the kind of world they want, it’s obviously a top-down communist regime.
I don’t like censorship either, but removing something from a required reading list at a school or removing a book from a school library shelf or even the local library shelf is hardly censorship or banning. As I’ve noted before, you can still purchase the books either new or used. Possession of said book isn’t illegal and won’t get you thrown in prison. People crying about “Banned Books” are dishonest hypocrites. Changing a given work to the extent that was done to Dahl’s books is censorship and it’s wrong. Messing with someone else’s work, especially someone who isn’t here to defend themselves, is wrong.
All we want is to ensure that our schools only have age-appropriate, quality books on school library shelves and as part of the school curriculum. If parents want to get their kids a book as disgusting as Gender Queer then go ahead – we can’t stop them, and they’ll have to deal with the consequences.
Thank goodness for piracy sites and used bookstores. Even eBay banned the sale of the Dr. Seuss books the publishers decided to not print, so I don’t think they’re too trustworthy, but there’s plenty of used bookstores in the world, and other sites that let you sell things, like Mercari and Pango. Just, when it comes to piracy, please support your favorite authors, or else we won’t be able to preserve the digital versions of older works.
Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash