Memorising books to keep them from the firemen

More news from Airstrip One.

It may literally come to that. Certainly if you have old copies of Roald Dahl’s books or know where to find them you should get them now.

Also make sure they’re printed on paper: forget e-books, which can be changed with a keystroke.

And the old books are being changed:

Language related to weight, mental health, violence, gender and race has been cut and rewritten. Remember the Cloud-Men in James and the Giant Peach? They are now the Cloud-People. The Small Foxes in Fantastic Mr Fox are now female. In Matilda, a mention of Rudyard Kipling has been cut and Jane Austen added.

The Dahl estate owned the rights to the books until 2021, when Netflix bought them outright for a reported $686 million, building on an earlier rights deal. The American streaming service now has overall control over the book publishing, as well as various adaptation projects that are in the works. These are the first new editions since the deal, but the review began before the sale.

Heh. Corporate censorship to boot, as is increasingly the case nowadays. To the feminists of the 1970’s-1980’s Jane Austen was “problematic”, but in the last two decades they’ve learned to love her again. But even those people did not suggest re-writing her works, possibly because old-style Communist societies were still present with all their control, censorship and propaganda and the words of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four still carried some weight of warning:

“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”

Perhaps we are seeing the emergence of new academic discipline, Critical Literature Theory? The drive to not offend or “hurt” oppressed people, self-identifying victim groups – one of the main weapons of Woke ideology – is in full swing. So Augustus Gloop, Charlie’s huge, gluttonous antagonist in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964), is no longer “enormously fat”, just “enormous”. In fact the word or even the concept of “fat” seems to have been excised completely (check the list of changes in the most famous of his books at the link). I realise that woman have played Shakespearean characters for some time now but they always seem to be the skinny ones (has any woman ever attempted Falstaff)? Meanwhile in the new edition of Witches, a supernatural female posing as an ordinary woman may be working as a “top scientist or running a business” instead of as a “cashier in a supermarket or typing letters for a businessman.”

It’s Roald Dahl, but different. Dahl was sort of an asshole and didn’t really try to hide it, but it’s what makes his books so interesting, especially to kids because they get it – they know that there are lots of assholes out there, adult and child. Seeing Gloop, and Veruka Salt get their comeuppance is a lot of fun.

It’s nice to see that some literary giants are speaking up about this censorious crap as well. Renowned author Salman Rushdie, whose novel The Satanic Verses led Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to issue a fatwa in 1989 calling on all Muslims to kill him, denounced the changes to Dahl’s works:

“Roald Dahl was no angel but this is absurd censorship. Puffin Books and the Dahl estate should be ashamed.”

Or how about Joyce Carol Oates, who tackles it with her customary wit:

She went further:

Prose so radically revised by “sensitivity readers” should be noted as collaborations. it is unfair to readers to be deceived into thinking that they are reading the original work. If Dahl is so egregious as to require such wholesale whitewashing (sic) why republish him at all?

“Lord of the Flies” re-written by sensitivity readers: a delightful adventure tale of plucky shipwrecked boys camping out in a challenging environment until a rescue ship comes to their island & returns them to their mommies.

I would expect that J K Rowling and the Peruvian literary icon, Mario Vargas Llosa – both quite Left-wing – will also speak out about this at some stage since they have often attacked such censorship, whether traditional State control or this corporate Woke crap.

How long before they rewrite Nineteen Eighty Four to make Big Brother the hero? The Chinese already did that with the ending of Fight Club.



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