An important thing recently happened that may portend cracks in the grip the left’s woke hammer has on western culture and civilization. European countries are directly criticizing a British publisher for re-writing some of children’s author Roald Dahl’s work in the name of woke sensitivity.
The western world noticed quite swiftly when Puffin Publishers in England announced they had hired “sensitivity readers” charged with making changes to some of Dahl’s classics, including “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” “James and the Giant Peach,” and “Matilda.” The woke changes focused on eliminating descriptive language that was deemed offensive and gender-based references which for some unknown reason infuriate the left.
Fox News reported, “In James and the Giant Peach, the character of Miss Sponge is no longer described as the fat one, Miss Spider’s head is not ‘black’ anymore, and the Earthworm has given up its ‘lovely pink’ skin for ‘lovely smooth skin’…In ‘Matilda,’ the description of Mrs. Trunchbull’s ‘great horsey face’ has been changed to simply ‘face,’ and ‘eight nutty little idiots’ now reads “eight nutty little boys…Similarly, in “James and the Giant Peach,” the Cloud-Men are now Cloud-People.”
Are there passages, descriptions, and references in some of Dahl’s books that would offend today’s sensibilities? Considering everything offends the left, it’s a given. But the point here is, are we so soft, fragile, and paranoid that the only way to cope is to change the words of a writer to soothe our bruised egos? If we are to survive the world, we should hope not.
This issue isn’t even about sensitivities. As French philosopher Camus noted, “The welfare of the people… has always been the alibi of tyrants.” George Orwell warned us very specifically about the obsession of fascists, socialists, and communists to criminalize speech, vandalize language, control how reality is portrayed, and to erase history. In 1949, after watching fascism almost destroy the human race during World War II, he wrote “1984.” Many couldn’t imagine it as anything but impossible fiction, but it was a warning to the world about the reality of Nazism, Stalinism, and what the worldwide left did (and continues to do) in its mission to enslave humanity. Orwell wrote in his seminal cultural critique as novel.
“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.”
Dahl’s Dutch publisher was not amused with Puffin vandalizing Dahl’s work, telling the Telegraph that removing or changing Dahl’s words would make his stories “lose all their power.” He noted, “Exaggerations are a figure of speech with him: if a person is fat, it represents gluttony and excess. Children understand what such literary hyperbole is. They really don’t think all fat kids are greedy,” confirming they have no intention of following suit and intend to publish the original versions. A renowned French publisher told Reuters, “Change a text today without (the author’s) consent? No,” adding “Contextualizing and updating some published works could necessitate the revision of all texts, and in that case, then ‘why not change fairytales?’”
Even Camilla, Queen Consort of the United Kingdom, appeared to make a condemning reference to the censorship when speaking to her online reading club when she encouraged them to, “Please remain true to your calling, unimpeded by those who may wish to curb the freedom of your expression or impose limits on your imagination.”
It would be understandable to argue that people in the first half of the 20th century, having had no real experience with the cancer of fascism and the political left, would be dangerously naïve about what the cancer of fascism would vomit up. We have no similar excuse; we know exactly what the left has in store for us. Courtesy of cultural critics and chroniclers like Orwell and our own recorded history, there is no excuse for us to allow this madness to continue.
The backlash against the asinine changes is indeed excellent news, but we know the left has patience, and holds onto its political delusions like a drunk with a whiskey bottle thrilled with the potential of one last glistening drop sitting at the bottom…if only they could reach it.
Make no mistake, the assault on Dahl’s work is not about soothing anyone’s feelings or protecting the ‘sensitive’ from having a bad experience by reading a children’s book with words leftist scold decided were bad and evil. This is about training people to accept as normal the vandalizing of art, censorship of the written word, criminalizing speech, and lying about history itself, while encouraging all of us to indulge our worst selves by joining the ranks for cancel culture assassinations.
There are many fronts but here in America where we do have the first amendment for a reason, there should be no question that changing an author’s words when that person died decades ago and cannot defend themselves or defend their work, is an atrocity. We can defend against the woke cancer by standing up for children, fair and objective education, freedom of expression, and law and order.
Orwell wrote about the dystopian future to help us prepare to defeat it. If we are to protect and defend American values and human rights we must start with this overt attack on freedom and civilization. Orwell wanted to be taken seriously. Let’s do him, and us, that favor.