In our brave new world, free of religion and intolerance, we don’t have inquisitors to root out heresy. No, we have Inclusion Ambassadors.
According to The Daily Telegraph, new editions of children’s books by the late British author Roald Dahl, who authored classics such as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “James and the Giant Peach,” are being edited by the publisher to remove “offensive” words and concepts.
You see, in progressive modernity we don’t burn books. Too crass, too simplistic.
Instead, our Inclusion Ambassadors comb through old, cherished texts to alter and remove wrongthink before publication. The past won’t just be erased, it will be rewritten.
The changes to Dahl’s works—made with the aid of an organization called Inclusive Minds—reportedly have been approved by the Roald Dahl Story Co. and the publisher, Puffin Books. So get your physical copies now, while you can.
Of note, Netflix bought the Roald Dahl Co. in 2021, although the review of Dahl’s works began in 2020, according to reports.
Inclusive Minds describes itself as “a collective for people who are passionate about inclusion, diversity, equality and accessibility in children’s literature, and are committed to changing the face of children’s books.”
The “About” page for Inclusive Minds’ website says it doesn’t rewrite text but simply provides publishers “with valuable insight from people with the relevant lived experience that they can take into consideration in the wider process of writing and editing.”
Ah. Merely woke spiritual guides.
Apparently, there’s a whole lot in Dahl’s classics to update and conform to the diktats of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Gendered words have been stripped from Dahl’s original text. Words such as “father and “mother” might lead one to think that there is a gender binary. How awful.
Oompa Loompas no longer are called “small men,” they are called “small people.”
“Augustus Gloop, Charlie’s gluttonous antagonist in ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’ which originally was published in 1964, is no longer ‘enormously fat,’ just ‘enormous,’” The Associated Press reported. “In the new edition of ‘Witches,’ a supernatural female posing as an ordinary woman may be working as a ‘top scientist or running a business’ instead of as a ‘cashier in a supermarket or typing letters for a businessman.’”
Gloop’s story, which involves his greed and gluttony leading to self-destruction, now makes no sense. The idea that individual actions can lead to poor outcomes is a hateful concept nowadays. That’s fat-shaming!
The answer to Gloop’s morbid obesity and lack of self-control, to our modern moralists, lies in individual expression and liberation rather than a change in behavior.
The complexities of life soon will be stripped away, the realities of humanity will be hidden, our vices will be celebrated, and we will struggle in the dark, unable to understand or explain our self-loathing and unhappiness.
It’s worth noting that the censorious move by Dahl’s publisher, Puffin, encountered a great deal of resistance from artists and critics across the political spectrum.
With respect to Salman Rushdie, I don’t think these small-souled tyrants feel shame.
Though many—even on the Left—are unhappy with what’s happened to Dahl’s books and other woke absurdities, there has been absolutely no slowdown of institutional efforts to transform Western societies. This is the challenge to those who say we’ve hit “peak wokeness.”
Yes, there has been a significant public backlash to the more ridiculous efforts at censorship, but the Jacobins of the cultural revolution don’t need public approval. They’ve been institutionalized. They are transforming the language and moral framework of our society from places of power, both private and governmental.
Now, we haven’t quite arrived at the dystopia of George Orwell’s classic novel “1984.” Newspeak isn’t being enforced by the government, yet.
However, this censorship and control of information and thought by a vast array or private corporate entities (with occasional aid from government agencies) is in some way more insidious for the long-term future of free thought. It inures us to tyranny over the mind and allows woke fanatics to get their way without the dramatic step of government prohibition.
Micah Meadowcroft, writing in The American Conservative, is correct in saying that what is happening to Dahl’s books is worse than a simple book burning. Puffin’s editors aren’t just eliminating books, they are intentionally corrupting the original meaning of the author’s work.
“The editors at Puffin know what they are doing,” Meadowcroft writes. “They are professionals. These word workers, symbol manipulators, live in worlds of text, and by altering texts they can alter perceived reality.”
Roald Dahl, Dr. Seuss, and others won’t necessarily be banned, they just increasingly won’t be available in their original form. Knowledge of a world that was any different from the stilted, empty one carefully cultivated by the Inclusion Ambassadors of our woke managerial class will be stamped out.
When future generations look to the past or outside themselves for answers, they will find nothing that isn’t force-fed to them.
Anger at Dahl’s publisher isn’t enough to stem this tide. We need to strike at the heart of leftist institutional power, which emanates from higher education and pervades organizations that shape culture.
The moral to be drawn from the situation we increasingly find ourselves in, to paraphrase Orwell, is a simple one: Don’t let it happen. It depends on you. It depends on leaders who understand what time it is.
Courtesy of The Daily Signal (Originally titled: "Welcome to Modern Book Burning").