The euphemism, “a new fold in the story,” became technologically ironic this week, as angry readers claimed that Amazon appears to have replaced their purchased versions of digital Roald Dahl Kindle books with the new, “sanitized for your woke protection,” pseudo-Dahl books about which we have reported at MRCTV.
“Readers who own digital copies of Roald Dahl books on their Kindle devices are expressing their dismay at their collections being automatically updated with the new censored versions that were revised to be more politically correct.”
Which might get more than a few people scrambling to look into their “Kindle agreements” for purchase to see whether Amazon has engaged in fraud by calling these “Roald Dahl” books and claiming they are stories with the same titles he gave them.
“Despite the fact that she purchased the original version of Dahl's 1988 classic Matilda, one reader by the name of Clarissa Aykroyd shared that her Kindle had updated to the newly-released censored version, which switched phrases like ‘mothers and fathers’ to the gender-neutral ‘parents.’"
Look, if we can have lab-grown “meat”, can’t we just have lab-grown offspring? What’s so bad about that? It’s very sanitary – and the act of elitists sanitizing our choices? That’s for OUR good, because, of course, we’re just too stupid to handle our own lives.
Now, there is one complicating factor, which is that this customer re-downloaded the version she originally bought.
Sorry, Clarissa. You can’t get what you thought you bought.
"’I downloaded my ebook of Matilda, which I bought a few years ago, to see if Joseph Conrad was still there. He was. I closed it, deleted it & downloaded/opened it again (mistake). Joseph Conrad was gone. I was not given a choice as to whether I wanted the updated version,’ Aykroyd wrote on Twitter.”
Why all the fuss over Conrad? Rondeau explains:
“In Matilda, Dahl wrote of the protagonist's — a young girl with a proclivity for reading — admiration for the novelist Joseph Conrad, who was known for his 1899 novella Heart of Darkness, which was once highly regarded as a critique of European colonial rule in Africa. In more recent decades, academics have debated over whether the book's depiction of African people was racially ignorant.
‘She went on olden day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling,’ wrote Dahl in his original version.”
So, rather than allowing Dahl’s words to stand as he had intended when he agreed to have his book published – and rather than allowing readers to make up their own minds -- the Willie Wokesters of the Amazon corporation decided to rewrite Dahl’s composition and scrub the Kindle library.
“In the current version of the book, any mention of both Conrad and fellow novelist Kipling were scrubbed.”
As I reported for MRCTV last week, Mr. Dahl explicitly told his contemporaries in the publishing world that he did NOT want unsolicited changes made to his work.
The Guardian and The Insider reported that Dahl was not silent about censorship. According to the Guardian, in 1982, Dahl stated that he would send his well-known "enormous crocodile" (main focus of the eponymous novel) to "gobble up" publishers who changed his words.
“In a newly resurfaced transcript, Dahl said that he had 'warned my publishers that if they later on so much as change a single comma in one of my books, they will never see another word from me,' The Guardian reported.”
And Rondeau writes:
“After the backlash surrounding the new editions, Puffin Books announced they would be releasing uncensored ‘classic texts’ of Dahl's work, though Kindle users weren't given the choice to pick.
Dahl's biographer, Matthew Dennison, accused the publishing company of ‘strong-arming readers into accepting a new orthodoxy in which Dahl himself has played no part.’"
"’I'm almost certain that he would have recognised that alterations to his novels prompted by the political climate were driven by adults rather than children,’ he told the outlet on February 24.”
Folks at Amazon and Puffin need to understand that people aren’t stupid, and they resent being treated as such and being handled in ways that sanitize life “for their own good.”
That was one of the great features of Mr. Dahl’s work. He celebrated the surprising: in plot, characters, setting, and style.
Now, people are reshaping his work. It’s as if they want to pull an inverted kind of “Salvador Dahl-i” on Dahl, taking his slightly bent and wildly colorful work and shoving it into a normalcy bias-based world, flattening it, and sucking the color from it.
We may read mostly black text on white backgrounds, but our minds create the colors Dahl wanted us to see, and it’s a disgrace that contemporary publishers should not only try to change his work, but also, evidently, try to slip the changes into readers' collections without their knowledge.