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February 20, 2023

Our pop culture guru Pat Reeder is always warning people that if there is a book, movie, record, etc. you love, you need a hard copy of it instead of relying on streaming because “if you can’t hold it in your hand, you don’t own it.” If someone else controls it, then they have the ability to take it away or change it. Remember when Netflix took away “Gone With The Wind” and four of Dr. Seuss’ books were removed from the market for being un-PC?

Well, here’s the most horrifying example we’ve seen yet: Penguin Books subsidiary Puffin owns the rights to all of Roald Dahl’s children’s classics, like “Matilda,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “James and the Giant Peach.” Well, apparently, they think the delightfully dark kids’ books need to be “updated” with a thorough verbal fumigation, so they’ve rewritten them with the guidance of some “sensitivity readers.” Apparently, that means people who are offended and triggered by absolutely everything, including the word “trigger.”

As the examples at the link show, this isn’t just a little editing to remove racial slurs. This is a Soviet-style rewrite that goes to ridiculous lengths, even replacing the words “black” and “white” when they have nothing to do with race. The term for this is “bowdlerization.” This is right out of George Orwell’s “1984,” although I shouldn’t say that because reading “1984” can now get you put on a government list of “rightwing extremists,” just like reading “Lord of the Rings.”

…Or Shakespeare…

Even renowned liberal author Joyce Carol Oates sees the danger in allowing censors to gut our literary heritage (although it’s sadly obvious from this story that she lives in such a bubble that she can’t see beyond this issue that's important to her to see how she’s been misled in other ways)

The rewriting of Dahl’s books is an assault on our culture that’s of a piece with the assault and rewriting of history represented by garbage like “The 1619 Project.” I hope that Puffin gets so much blowback that they cancel this horrible idea and it's buried very deep forever. In the meantime, if you want your children to be able to read the classics, I suggest you buy them in dead tree form now, preferably in an edition published in an earlier decade. They might become rare, precious heirlooms someday.

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