In case you missed it, which is unlikely give the publicity, publishers Puffin have, according to reports, decided to rewrite potentially offensive passages found in Roald Dahl’s children’s books. Didn’t realise there were any? Well apparently there are, according to the woke brigade and, as I’ve just borrowed a set of his books to read/re-read, I’ll be sure to log them.
So it’s going to be interesting to see just what the publishers come up with – apparently this isn’t just about tinkering round the edges, the publishers so-called ‘little edits’ involve hundreds of changes and rewrites. For example: Augustus Gloop from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is described now as ‘enormous’ rather than ‘fat’. Quite why that should make it more acceptable I fail to see. Little Matilda is going to have to cope with Jane Austen rather than Rudyard Kipling. Why not Stephen King?
So there’s been a lot of criticism over unnecessary and indeed pointless changes. Even the PM, Rishi Sunak, has stated that “we shouldn’t gobblefunk around” with Dahl’s (The BFG) words.
I was amused to read a couple of comments from readers in the Metro newspaper; One suggested that Roald Dahl’s TV series should be renamed ‘Tales of the Totally Predictable’, presumably so nobody is shocked, surprised or upset by the ending. Another proposed that a principal character in Thomas the Tank Engine be renamed ‘The Excessive Body Mass Index Controller’.
Personally I’m keen to see what happens to ‘Black Beauty’, ‘The World of Poo’ and ‘No Country for Old Men’. Let’s find plenty of stories to complain about!
So the final word should go to Dahl’s BFG: “Giants is also making rules. Their rules is not suiting the human beans. Everybody is making his own rules to suit himself.”