What a difference a week makes – or doesn’t.
Since MRCTV and people worldwide sounded the alarm about Penguin Random House literally rewriting Roald Dahl’s novels – purging them of wit, nuance, and the work Dahl put into the tales and instead fitting them to a progressive, milquetoast, woke mindset – nincompoop navigators at the publishing giant have “reconsidered” their actions.
And their response to the controversy?
They will not admit to having committed an error.
Instead, they are going pretend that they are magnanimously acknowledging the bizarre mindsets of people who actually want to respect Dahl’s work and are not peeved by his creative descriptions. The disingenuous staff members of said publishing corporation are going to be “kind” to us unbalanced “traditionalists” out there – even as they run a parallel track of, yep, publishing reworked versions of Dahl’s novels and, still, fraudulently calling them his work.
Katelynn Richardson writes for Daily Caller that Penguin’s Puffin division offered an announcement to clarify things for us trogs out here:
“Puffin will still keep the new version of the text, which swaps out potentially offensive words like ‘fat’ and adds additional passages to make the stories more palatable to modern readers, but will keep publishing the original text under the name ‘The Roald Dahl Classic Collection,’ according to the announcement. Readers will now ‘be free to choose,’ the company said.”
Those old enough to remember the Reader’s Digest “Condensed Books” line (now called their “Select Editions” line), which offered major publishers and authors added compensation to allow RD to create edited, shorter versions of novels, might see something similar in this Puffin move.
But they aren’t similar.
Those “Condensed Books” were labeled as such and promoted as easy ways to soak in what Reader’s Digest admitted were abridged versions of the originals.
Puffin is going to promote the expurgated and rewritten books as Dahl’s work, when they are NOT his work.
“Among the hundreds of changes previously unveiled by Puffin, the publisher axed adjectives from descriptions, making Oompa-Loompas just ‘small’ instead of ‘no higher than my knee,’ removed gender references, redubbing James and the Giant Peach’s ‘Cloud-Men’ as ‘Cloud-People,’ and inserted new content, clarifying after a paragraph in The Witches explaining that witches wear wigs because they are bald that, ‘There are plenty of other reasons why women might wear wigs and there is certainly nothing wrong with that,’ the Telegraph reported.”
And, of course, the “spokesperson” (can one even use “spoke” or “person” now, given that some truly enlightened people might not consider themselves “persons” and that others cannot speak, and those evil people who DO speak must be using language that’s cis-Anglo-colonial-race-centric-phobe…ic?) made sure to tell us how much the corporation “cares” about Dahl’s work and “new generations” of readers:
“‘We’ve listened to the debate over the past week which has reaffirmed the extraordinary power of Roald Dahl’s books and the very real questions around how stories from another era can be kept relevant for each new generation,’ Francesca Dow, Managing Director of Penguin Random House Children’s said in a statement.”
How she can call herself a “director” is jaw-dropping. After all, that implies hierarchy, and that? Well, that’s just cruel. No one should be in a position of greater or lesser responsibility or power within a business or any other social organization.
Perhaps Dow and the Penguin Puffin team need to visit Orwell’s Ministry of Love to find out how hurtful their words really are.
And while the publishing company continues to founder and roll in its own rhetorical filth, Richardson’s Daily Caller update on the story adds a valuable comment from an organization that actually DOES respect freedom of speech and the original intent of authors.
“Aaron Terr, Director of Public Advocacy at the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), said the company’s decision is ‘a reminder never to stay silent in the face of censorship.’”
In fact, The Guardian and The Insider report that Dahl was not silent about censorship and his work. 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.
It's almost as if the woke publishers selected Dahl specifically because he left such instructions, which speaks, once more, of the insulting postmodernist practice of "Deconstructionism" in colleges and high schools, in which teachers claim long-dead authors meant something other than what they wrote, that they had "hidden" meanings which only the "enlightened" teacher can find.
Authors such as Roald Dahl -- everyone, in fact -- deserves the respect of reading his work the way he wanted it read. Period.