Saturday, April 13, 2024
HomeLaura PerrinsPuffin’s monstrous censorship of Roald Dahl is an attack on reality itself

Puffin’s monstrous censorship of Roald Dahl is an attack on reality itself


I GUESS you think you know this story. You don’t. The real one’s much more gory. The phoney one, the one you know, was cooked up years and years ago, and made to sound all soft and sappy. Just to keep the wokesters happy. Mind you, they got the first bit right, the bit where, in the dead of night, the sensitivity readers at Puffin Books decided to get the classic tales of Roald Dahl and expunge anything they might find offensive. So out went black, and female and fat; we absolutely cannot have that . . .

What can you say about the monstrous, monstrous attack on the works of Roald Dahl, as exposed over the weekend?

If you have been living in a rather oversized peach, or indeed banished by a witch (who can only be female) to existing in a painting, here is the latest attack on our cultural inheritance: Roald Dahl’s children’s books are being rewritten to remove language deemed offensive by the publisher Puffin.

The Guardian reported: ‘Puffin has hired sensitivity readers to rewrite chunks of the author’s text to make sure the books “can continue to be enjoyed by all today”, resulting in extensive changes across Dahl’s work. Edits have been made to descriptions of characters’ physical appearances. The word “fat” has been cut from every new edition of relevant books, while the word “ugly” has also been culled.

‘Augustus Gloop in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is now described as “enormous”. In The Twits, Mrs Twit is no longer “ugly and beastly” but just “beastly”.

‘Hundreds of changes were made to the original text – and some passages not written by Dahl have been added. [Ed: who do these people think they are?] But the Roald Dahl Story Company [ed: owned by Netflix] said: “It’s not unusual to review the language” during a new print run and any changes were “small and carefully considered”.

‘In The Witches, a paragraph explaining that witches are bald beneath their wigs ends with the new line: “There are plenty of other reasons why women might wear wigs and there is certainly nothing wrong with that.”

‘In previous editions of James and the Giant Peach, the Centipede sings: “Aunt Sponge was terrifically fat / And tremendously flabby at that” and “Aunt Spiker was thin as a wire / And dry as a bone, only drier”.

‘Both verses have been removed, and in their place are the rhymes: “Aunt Sponge was a nasty old brute / And deserved to be squashed by the fruit” and “Aunt Spiker was much of the same / And deserves half of the blame”.’ 

Now let’s be very clear: this is absolutely not about removing offensive language such as racist or anti-Semitic references. What this is about is attacking truth and reality itself. This is about raw power – they have the power to change our language and they intend to change our reality by changing our language.

For instance, in Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox, the children are boys not girls. This has been changed so that the child foxes are girls. Why? Is there something inherently wrong about being male? For the woke ‘sensitivity readers’, the answer to that is yes. Male foxes possess toxic fox masculinity, so they must be transformed into girls.

The most obvious example of the evil of these changes is Miss Trunchbull in Matilda, who according to Dahl was a ‘most formidable female’, but is now a ‘most formidable woman’. Dahl could have chosen woman instead of female, but he didn’t. He chose ‘female’, I assume because of the alliterative effect – ‘formidable female’ describes the Trunchbull better than ‘formidable woman’. The two Fs pack more of a punch and the Trunchbull herself packed a good punch. But as we know, as per the Gospel according to the Woke, the word female is exclusionary and therefore cannot be used, whereas the word woman can include anyone – real females and men who pretend to be female (sometimes referred to as transgender women).

So no, this is not a little squabble over books you read to kids. This is serious – this is an attack on cultural heritage, children’s literature, and reality itself.

Remember that in Orwell’s 1984, Winston was employed to change the historical record – to erase people? This is what the ‘sensitivity readers’ at Puffin are doing – changing the historical and literary record.

They are changing Dahl’s creations to imply that fat people don’t exist – all references to fat have been removed from the book, and there were a lot of fat characters in Dahl’s creations. They are also narrowing the language he used. This is an attempt to change how we think and the language we use as explained in the Appendix to 1984The Principles of Newspeak.

Orwell wrote: ‘Relative to our own, the Newspeak vocabulary was tiny, and new ways of reducing it were constantly being devised. Newspeak, indeed, differed from almost all other languages in that its vocabulary grew smaller instead of larger every year. Each reduction was a gain, since the smaller the area of choice, the smaller the temptation to take thought. Ultimately it was hoped to make articulate speech issue from the larynx without involving the higher brain centres at all.’ 

This is why Puffin has used the delete button.

This is why American universities are issuing speech codes telling you what you cannot say. This is why the pronoun police stalk Twitter, and the actual police will knock on your door for using the wrong pronoun: they don’t want you to think. They want you to accept the new woke reality, where ugly, fat people don’t exist but a woman with a penis does.

A while back I told you to go out and buy the DVD of The Lord of the Rings because I feared a woke wipeout. Now, dear reader, you must do the same for the literary classics, both for adults and children. Go out and buy, either on eBay or from the charity shops, all the kids’ classics – Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton, C S Lewis and J R R Tolkien. We obviously have all the Dahls (two copies each of Fantastic Mr Fox and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as it happens, and the audiobook versions).

Philip Pullman said that if Dahl’s work were left alone, it would neither disappear overnight, nor be substantially changed in the public consciousness, because of the vast numbers of existing books in homes, school libraries and elsewhere. ‘What are you going to do about them? All these words are still there, are you going to round up all the books and cross them out with a big black pen?’

Don’t tempt them! The Year Zero zealots have a long way to go.

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