Differences between 1963 and 1991 editions of Richard Scarry kids' book

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55 Responses to “Differences between 1963 and 1991 editions of Richard Scarry kids' book”

  1. cstatman says:

    Scarry ain’t the only one. Cleary’s Mouse and the Motorcycle has been “updated”

    FOOEY!

    My son WILL read vintage adventure tales. Not the dumbed down, politically correct tripe available now.

    Read the classic tales, Verne, Wells, Kipling, in the original forms, these guys were writing for KIDS. I have to work to read them as an adult. We are becoming a world of idiots.

    Do not accept the least common denominator. Do not accept the politically correct.

  2. Teresa Nielsen Hayden/Moderator says:

    Tim (5), knock it off. You’re pushing it for the sake of pushing it.

    NE2d (7), name me even one person who gets “…indignant whenever someone suggests that maybe a high school library doesn’t need a copy of American Psycho.” Who would go to bat for that book? It sucks.

    Agoodsandwich (16), please don’t drag in that “political correctness” shibboleth. It’s hackneyed. It was never all that brilliant to start with. And when you get right down to it, it’s an ad hominem argument.

    NE2d (19), same goes for that stuff about “Contemporary liberalism” being elitist and authoritarian. Overall, it’s nothing of the sort. Some liberals fit that description. A lot of conservatives do, too.

    Jack (22), that is not the logic being presented.

    NE2d (24):

    This is a flamewar? You obviously don’t read Fark.

    Thank you, but Fark is not our standard of comparison.

    This may not be a flamewar, but it has been a festival of cheap shots, and Alicke is justified in feeling ticked. She volunteered some useful and pertinent information, and got no thanks and damned little civility for it.

  3. ReMaines says:

    I work for a company that publishes children’s books, and we republish and repurpose a lot of older material. Most of these books are purged of anything potentially offensive to anyone anywhere (no images of weapons of any kind, thank you) because we want to sell them and that’s what the buyers (chain store buyers who choose what the stores will stock, as opposed to customers like you, so there’s no confusion) have said they want. Since customers don’t actively seek books with violence, or gender or ethnic stereotypes or pictures of guns, but some do complain about those things, the buyers order accordingly and we meet their expressed need.

    Not to say there aren’t some wonderfully imaginative and subversive kids’ books being published today–there are. We’re talking here about old books.

  4. Andrew Denny says:

    It reminds me of the modern bible language that translates the traditional evil-sounding “Get thee hence Satan” into “Go away, Satan”, and makes it sound like a dog’s being scolded.

    Outdated language paradoxically often sounds more powerful for being less relevant.

  5. NE2d says:

    Teresa Nielsen Hayden/Moderator,

    When the ALA or whoever does their “Celebrate a Banned Book” thing, AP is always on the list of books “banned or challenged.” That’s what I was referring to.

    I do think that this is about elitism and political correctness (both of which trouble me greatly) and should be vigorously debated.

    My Fark comment was meant to be lighthearted–maybe it didn’t come across that way.

  6. NE2d says:

    There are still substantive counter-arguments you could make. We’re nowhere near the point of having to agree to disagree.

    Yes, but I’m very busy. ;)

    Incidentally, I’m working on something that might be of interest to BBers and that I think hasn’t gotten nearly the attention it should: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that the strip search of a 13 year old girl, which required her to expose her breasts and genitals, did not violate the Fourth Amendment. The kicker? The search was for Ibuprofen. Here is the Opinion. (pdf)

  7. Matthew Miller says:

    As I understand it (heard on NPR, maybe? [citation needed]…) Richard Scarry chose to make these changes himself, not due to pressure from the publisher or editor.

    Many of the changes are simply updates — milkman and cowboy are replaced by taxi driver and scientist. Some of the gender balance changes seem good (father is now helping in the kitchen) while others (need women? add ribbons!) are kind of silly. And some things are just altered for no apparent reason.

    We have both versions, which is particularly cool because it’ll be interesting to talk with my daughters about the differences when they get a few years older.

    I will probably also eventually let them see the “Han shoots second” version of Star Wars.

    Eventually.

  8. Teresa Nielsen Hayden/Moderator says:

    And what will you have to say, NE2d, if instead of those all-purpose targets, “elitism and political correctness,” the changes turn out to have been made by the author, acting entirely on his own volition?

    How about the rest of you gentlemen? Any comments?

  9. KRG says:

    NE2d (and those who have written to agree with you):
    It’s all fine and dandy to complain about changes for people who are reading Richard Scarry for its sentimental value, but it’s quite different if you actually have children that you want to read to. To be frank, by and large, many many children’s books, especially classics, have pictures or bits of things that I would prefer not to teach to my kids, while I still would like them to read the books. I’m not advocating going around fixing books, but in this case, the changes were minor and do not mess with the narrative (since there isn’t really one).
    It’s great to say that you prefer the book the old way: fine, go read it in the version you prefer, but children of the age that are actually intended to read Richard Scarry (pre-school and kindergarten) are not really available for the kind of “let’s discuss it” that a few have advocated; they react almost entirely to the pictures, and not to some explanation of how things are different now.
    That’s a fine thing for, say, 10 or 12 year olds, who are able to grasp when one discuses abstract topics (although the truth is, even at that age, or any other, telling someone something is far less powerful than showing them pictures, not to mention modeling behavior. We should all be pretty aware of that by now.

  10. Leena says:

    As an outsider to the values issue (I am Finnish), I hate that kind of changes because they make the language much poorer. Old books contain words which are gradually vanishing from the language and those words are a part of the fascination of those books.
    It’s happening here also. Seems like children’s books contain only short sentences with common words.
    What was wrong with the word promptly?

  11. Jack says:

    Coda’s post just wreaks of B.S.; it’s too perfect an example. The child specifically pointed to a Richard Scarry book? And in the second paragraph of that post there’s simply straw man questions an no answers. I don’t buy that at all. And whose “child” is this? A student in a class? A child cared for by a nanny? A niece/nephew in care of an uncle or aunt?

    Yes there are gender issues out there. But please provide some stronger study or argument to defend the logic of these changes. It makes it seem as if Richard Scarry book is responsible for instilling all gender inequalities in childhood when we all know that’s just not the case.

  12. jphilby says:

    Ww. Hy, knw — lt’s trn ths ppl ls n “Hcklbrry Fnn”. Tht’d prvd mtrl fr trm pprs fr *gnrtns* f ftr nglsh lt sphmrs.

    Hy? nyn knw wht hppnd t Ll’ Blck Smb? Hvn’t sn tht ltly. Dd Prkns by t?

  13. the.arctic says:

    One of the versions of this I read when I was a child says “New Revised Edition” right on the cover and was copyrighted in 1980. After checking, it has all the changes seen in the 1991 edition. Interestingly, I also had a 1971 German printing of the 1963 edition that has German, English, and French text. The sections of the book are re-ordered, and the English is “internationalized” so mailman becomes postman, maple syrup is shortened to syrup, “FD” is removed from the fire trucks, etc.

  14. alicke says:

    coincidentally, the company i work for just got a richard scarry license, and i am currently at work and (procrastinating on, obviously) working on some designs featuring his work.

    while it is definitely sad to lose things like “jumping gentleman”, and while i LOVED scarry when i was a kid, some of the antiquated values make me want to throw up a little. lines such as “Grocer Cat bought a new dress for Mommy. She earned it by taking such good care of the house” aren’t exactly the kind of thing i would want to teach my kids to value…

  15. Gloria says:

    Bizarre. Then again, it seems to be a trend to dumb down children’s entertainment these days. Perhaps publishers think “promptly” is just too heavy for young children. Who wants to burden parents with interacting with their kids and teaching them vocabulary?

  16. phasor3000 says:

    I’m surprised that they didn’t replace the pigs with halaal animals to avoid offending Muslims. But at least they deleted that big bad soldier…

  17. KRG says:

    Coda, I think the majority of US citizens think of a woman when they hear the word “nurse”, and a man when they hear “doctor”. You want to know why? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not because of Richard Scarry. It’s because the vast majority of nurses are women (app. 95%) and the vast majority of doctors are men (app. 75%)

    Hmm. Interesting statistic, if it’s true. Since more than 50% of medical students are women. Can you say sticky floor, glass ceiling?

    According to Analysis in Brief (in July, 2005) “In 2004, 50 percent of the entering class of medical students and 45 percent of the graduating class were women.”
    According to the AAMC, “Since 1982-83, the percentage of applicants who were female has ranged from less than a third (32.7%
    in 1982-83) to just over half (50.8% in 2003-04). The applicants for the entering class of 2006-07 were
    50.7 percent male and 49.3 percent female. Despite small decreases in the percentage of female
    applicants since 2003-04, the total number of female applicants has been increasing since 2002-03. This past year, 19,293 women applied—the third largest pool of women applicants after 1996-97 (20,028)and 1995-96 (19,776). ”

    Of course, since you’re citing actual number s of current physicians, your numbers must also include men who have been in the profession for many years, skewing the balance in their favor:
    The fall 2002 Journal for the American Women’s Association (JAMWA) predicts that by 2010, nearly 1 in 3 U.S. physicians will be female. SO you’re only slightly off. OTOH, a lot also depends upon who you encounter as a doctor when you go to your doctor, and family practitioners and pediatricians asre quite often women; The percentage of women is 39% compared to the 2004 average of 48% and has stayed about the same since 1997 (http://www.jobfutures.ca/noc/3112p4.shtml) and 52% of pediatricians (http://www.aap.org/womenpeds/aapdemographics2004.PDF).

    I’m too busy to do all the nurse lookups, but I’m willing to buy that that’s the case, but I strongly doubt that one could say about doctors that one encounters far more male doctors than female: in fact, it seems to me that quite the reverse is likely to be true.

  18. Gloria says:

    Alicke: Conversely, it might be an opportunity to explain to your kids that women can certainly make careers for themselves outside of the house now … while it’s also perfectly laudable for women to stay home and take care of their families — be “home mommies”, say — if they choose to. It might be easy to confuse a child to say “It’s demeaning to say women enjoy clothes!” while one day they see Mommy fussing over herself, without explaining the nuances of each situation.

    Having values come pre-packaged can be handy, but it’s easy to turn outdated books into learning experiences. Still, I can see where it can be too much for very young children.

  19. Kevitivity says:

    Th spch nd thght cntrl f pltcl crrctnss rrs t’s gly hd nc gn.

  20. Cpt. Tim says:

    fck tht ns.

    (cn sy tht n ths nstnc? sncrly fl tht dtng clssc bks n ths wy s ns, tht cn gt fckd.)

  21. Jack says:

    Well, Teresa I beg to differ. We ultimately do not know why the changes were made—some suggest Richard Scarry himself sanctioned them—but it’s quite impossible not to see changes like this being done to coddle/protect children from yet another non-existent problem.

    Kid’s books nowadays truly coddle children. Heck, look at kid’s media. Look at how Star Wars was dumbed down in the prequels to appeal to kids. Look at modern children’s authors and compare them to classic authors like Crockett Johnson, Shel Silverstein and others. There simply is no comparison.

    Kids are smarter than most people think. And stuff like this really pisses me off; if you can’t tell.

    As far as feminist/gender issues go, that’s a straw man argument at best. Heck, even if you look at the changes from the perspective of gender roles even then they fail. Mom and dad both work together to help keep a home? No way! Most children nowadays have parents who are divorced or separated.

    Have Huckle go on a weekend visitation trip with his father and THEN it would be an accurate reworking. As it stands it’s just muddled and hackneyed.

  22. alicke says:

    sure, it would be possible to have that conversation. however, the implication that husbands (or money earners, if you prefer) can grant or withhold things depending on how satisfactory they consider the housework done is not something i want to teach any young child.

  23. NE2d says:

    Tell me, alicke, what other books do you not approve of, and would like to see rewritten or expurgated? In the very near future, your values and beliefs will be antiquated. Would you want them, and any book that reflects them, to be erased from history?

    This sort of thing is worse than censorship because it passes by under the radar, ignored by or with the approval of the same people who become indignant whenever someone suggests that maybe a high school library doesn’t need a copy of American Psycho.

  24. alicke says:

    amendment: i’m not saying i wouldn’t read scarry to a child. i certainly would, because i love him overall, and i would use the original ones too. i’m not a fan of censorship, and i hope that if and when i ever have kids i’ll be intelligent and flexible enough to have those exact conversations with them. i am saying, though, that there’s more to it than just “pretty stewardess”.

  25. ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive says:

    The hired help eats in the kitchen. The family dines in the dining room.

    See ya
    Steve

  26. NE2d says:

    Tell me, alicke, what other books do you not approve of, and would like to see rewritten or expurgated? Not long from now, your own beliefs and values will be “antiquated.” Would you want them, and any book that reflects them, to be erased from history?

    This sort of thing is more dangerous than outright censorship, because it passes under the radar, ignored by, or with the approval of, the same people who become indignant if a parent suggests that maybe a middle school library doesn’t need a copy of American Psycho.

  27. alicke says:

    oh yes, ne2d. that’s exactly what i meant. clearly, i am that rare breed of boingboing reader who condones book burning. *eyeroll* if you want to flame me for pointing out a gross 1960′s mindset(on topic, no less!), go right ahead. just know that you’re way off base.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Man, if you aren’t parents you just don’t get it.

    I’m not going to read or buy some jerky antiquated book to my kids that enforces racial and gender role stereotypes. Period. It’s the difference between books for children and books for teenagers. Tom Sawyer is “ok” for a child, but Huck Finn is a book for age 12+. No way does a 10 yr old “get” the allusions to European politics in Huck Finn the same way that a 10 yr old doesn’t get the allusions to the western silver standard monetary policy in the Wizard of Oz.

    For instance, I read a book to my son about the Romans and despite how many times I told him that this happened a long long time ago he sees a TV show with images from the Coliseum and the first thing he says is, “What happened to the gladiators? The Coliseum got RUINED!?”

    Little kids do not understand many concepts and it’s a toss-up what they actually take away from these books and conversations with parents. But when my son first said he refused to set the table because it was “women’s work” or the first time he said something completely racist it was upsetting and time to have a sit down to explain how he misinterpreted things. I’m not exposing him to negative influences until he’s old enough to understand them.

    Do people also know that the Richard Scarry art has been repurposed for new books he never wrote? It’s true.

    There was a time in children’s books where people ridiculed differences between cultures, then everyone in the books were supposed to act the same, and now people talk about differences in cultures again but not ridiculed. Times change and there’s nothing wrong with that.

  29. Teresa Nielsen Hayden/Moderator says:

    NE3d:

    I will say that it troubles me even more, because when done with cooperation like this, the obliteration of the past will be even more thorough.

    Cooperation? You mean that having guessed wrong about who made the alterations and why, you’re now making further guesses about Richard Scarry’s motives for rewriting his own text?

    I have a terrifying vision of the future sometimes, where the past is constantly rewritten to suit the dominant beliefs of the time, and people live in a blurry perpetual present, unattached to and unaware of any sort of human history. As electronic media replaces paper, this will be come easier and easier to do, and there will be no older version to compare the new version to.

    If that’s your worry, then be of good cheer: it’s not going to happen. Electronic media have greatly enabled the preservation and dissemination of older and variant texts. Note, for instance, the availability of side-by-side comparisons of some of Richard Scarry’s work.

    Jack: It’s not sporting to throw out data on the grounds that it’s too relevant.

  30. NE2d says:

    alicke,

    I don’t mean to flame. This is something that I do feel strongly about, though. Editing and expurgating books is done with the same motivation as burning them (to eliminate the expressions of unacceptable beliefs) and the outcome is even worse, because rather than no history (or no book), we a presented with a false history (or an altered book). And I truly believe that someday soon, people will be bothered by our “gross 2000′s mindsets.” I don’t want to provide them with any precedent for simply rewriting the historical record to match their beliefs.

    PS sorry about the double post; I thought the internet ate my first one.

  31. NE2d says:

    And what will you have to say, NE2d, if instead of those all-purpose targets, “elitism and political correctness,” the changes turn out to have been made by the author, acting entirely on his own volition?

    I will say that it troubles me even more, because when done with cooperation like this, the obliteration of the past will be even more thorough. Yes, I know it’s just mailmen and stewardesses, but this is part of a much larger trend: removing cigarettes from old movies, changing dialog in television shows, etc. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time–if it hasn’t happened already–that Pippi Longstocking’s gun and sword are wiped from the record.

    I have a terrifying vision of the future sometimes, where the past is constantly rewritten to suit the dominant beliefs of the time, and people live in a blurry perpetual present, unattached to and unaware of any sort of human history. As electronic media replaces paper, this will be come easier and easier to do, and there will be no older version to compare the new version to.

  32. Monster says:

    Coda, I think the majority of US citizens think of a woman when they hear the word “nurse”, and a man when they hear “doctor”. You want to know why? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not because of Richard Scarry. It’s because the vast majority of nurses are women (app. 95%) and the vast majority of doctors are men (app. 75%).

  33. philipb says:

    I always end up feeling that the children being “protected” are way smarter than the protectors themselves.

  34. alicke says:

    ne2d,

    i fully agree with you. who doesn’t hope that in the future we will only continue to get more and more progressive?

    however, i don’t buy the argument that just because feminism (or civil rights, or human rights, or what have you) is going to advance in the future, acknowledging how much it has advanced since the past is somehow censorship. i don’t ever believe that literature from the past should be erased. but i do believe that it should be taken in context with current ideas.

    if i disagree with something held to be true in the past (and i disagree with a hell of a lot of historical mindsets–and several current, for that matter) i’m going to point it out. i’m not going to censor it just because i don’t like it, but i am going to bring attention to it.

  35. Mark Frauenfelder says:

    Thanks for avoiding a flame war here, Alicke and Ned2D. This is an interesting discussion and both of you have make valuable contributions to it, which I appreciate.

  36. agoodsandwich says:

    I can understand some updates; a taxi driver is probably more relevant than a milk man anymore. But some of these changes seem like wimpy attempts at political correctness.

    The really sad thing is that the editors didn’t seem to make much effort to make the updated drawings match the rest of the book in style or quality.

  37. slawkenbergius says:

    Editing and expurgating books is done with the same motivation as burning them (to eliminate the expressions of unacceptable beliefs) and the outcome is even worse, because rather than no history (or no book), we a presented with a false history (or an altered book).

    Actually, you get two versions of the book co-existing. Read the original post and you’ll not that the 1963 edition is still available. History (rather than rewritten) is in a way enriched, as future historians can compare versions and see how values have changed since the 1960s.

    Personally, I think it’s fine to adapt material for the modern age, even where expurgation is involved. The book isn’t being censored as such – just made saleable.

  38. Coda says:

    So I actually had a four-year-old boy tell me that “only boys can be doctors and only girls can be nurses.” When I took the opportunity to ask him why he thought that, he pointed to his Richard Scarry book. Sure enough, all of the doctors were men, all of the nurses were women. He’d been to female doctors before, but somehow that didn’t register as an obvious contradiction to his discovered rule.

    How many times did his mother or I talk to him about gender roles? And how many times did he read that book? Which was more convincing? Which one framed his thinking about gender roles and work? How much did my women-can-be-doctors-too talk change his mind? And what does he believe now, almost a decade later? How will that affect the way he acts towards women?

  39. nick says:

    “He goes to the kitchen to eat his breakfast.” What is that supposed to teach a kid?

    It’s teaching him, “You can’t tell me what to do, bitch! You ain’t the po-po!” Or maybe that the kitchen is where you eat breakfast?

    Seriously, though, on the face of it that particular edit does dovetail with a certain school of parenting that (in its extreme form) seems to result in the socially graceless, self-centered kids with the enormous senses of entitlement you and I run into every day. But now I sound like my grandfather.

  40. Jack says:

    “It’s not sporting to throw out data on the grounds that it’s too relevant.”

    Teresa, c’mon. Can you reread the so-called “data” and tell me it’s just not just too perfect? Are there support groups for children “brain washed” by those evil old Richard Scarry books? I know many parents and have been exposed to what they are exposed to and I have never in my life heard of such a perfect example of anything being made. The whole piece of “data” recounts a non-detailed memory of someone who presents more questions than facts. And additionally if anything is proven, it’s that the child asked a question and did not demonstrate outward gender role bias.

    I’m not throwing out the “data” based on anything other than the fact it’s not a strong bit of evidence and smells like utter B.S. It’s reminiscent of practically every non-factual “story” that comes out when an issue is presented. “You know a friend of a friend told me that this happened, so that means it’s all true!”

    Also does it mean anything that despite these books being released as-is in the 1960s, people stood up and spoke out for rights of women, minorities and others? If the “bad” version of this book existed in the 1960s—when people spoke out and did something—what does it say that in the modern age we’re spending time/energy correcting a kids books while real nastiness still exists in the world.

  41. swell says:

    Just saying, I think the loss of the cowboy elephant is the most egregious revision. That elephant is TIIIIIIIIGHT

  42. pr10n says:

    My children have read my “Richard Scarry’s Best Storybook Ever” to the point of rebinding, and when I say “mine” I mean the one I had as a child that I protected/stole from my siblings.

    This version contains the epic “Pierre the Bear” saga, wherein Pierre traps and shoots seals for furs, woos a charming lady bear with his manly guitar playing skillz, and teaches his son all the rudiments of seal killing while hunting for furs his family’s winter wear.

    Recently I saw a new edition of this book in a nephew’s room and I flipped through it for fun. The seal killing Pierre saga is gone! I’m not saying killing seals is a good thing — I’m saying that it was a rocking story that my kids and I found delightful, and I’m sorry it’s gone.

  43. NE2d says:

    who doesn’t hope that in the future we will only continue to get more and more progressive?

    *raises hand* I sure don’t ;) (of course depending on what you mean by “progressive”) Contemporary liberalism has a certain elitist and authoritarian bent that troubles me quite a bit. Many people in the media and academia are convinced that people are ignorant and backward and must be guided. This is like when “terrorists” was changed to “hippies” in E.T., and the guns replaced with walkie-talkies–the rationale is that people aren’t capable of forming the correct views on things, so they have to be helped.

    As for the advancement of beliefs in the future, I am convinced that 50 years from now, people will hold a belief system utterly unknown and perhaps incomprehensible to us today, and they will judge us according to it–probably harshly.

  44. Tommy says:

    “seems to result in the socially graceless, self-centered kids with the enormous senses of entitlement you and I run into every day”

    Well, I don’t actually run into the President all that often, but I know what you mean.

  45. alicke says:

    i don’t really care to continue this, the smartest flamewar evar, much longer.

    all i want to say is, i’m grateful that i am legally allowed to work places my grandmother was not 50 years ago, and i hope that in 50 years, my granddaughter will be making as much money as her male coworkers.

    stepping out….*now*. cheers, all.

  46. Jack says:

    I think reinventing history is a great way to educate nobody. Let the works stand as is. If you’re not happy with the values presented—and in my honest opinion a mountain is being made into a molehill—then don’t buy the book.

    By the logic presented here, any movie of any type in which a woman is portrayed as being a housewife should be expunged.

    Also the logic presented in the taxi driver/milkman example is nutty. By that logic none of the works of Mark Twain or even Shakespeare hold up well nowadays because they aren’t contemporary enough.

    Political correctness is not the right term for this. What it actually is is a book company afraid of losing sales on a best selling title warping the content of a work they own the rights to—but never created—to sate/appeal to a market of parents that so coddle our children they’re over protecting them.

    It’s pretty despicable. And simply wrong.

  47. alicke says:

    oh, jeeze. i guess i lied.

    “By the logic presented here, any movie of any type in which a woman is portrayed as being a housewife should be expunged.”

    no. i never said this, and i do not agree. my point was made in comment # 6, re: “earning”. you’re putting words in my mouth to make yourself look smart.

    however, i will admit to having learned my lesson. never again will i attempt to bring up feminist issues on boingboing! god forbid! clearly this is the wrong place for my craaaaazy theories!

  48. NE2d says:

    This is a flamewar? You obviously don’t read Fark.

    What it actually is is a book company afraid of losing sales on a best selling title warping the content of a work they own the rights to—but never created

    I think that this is, unfortunately, untrue. This is a beloved children’s book and won’t lose any sales because the truck on the cover has an “A” on it. This is about people who think they know what’s best for us, deciding what is acceptable for print.

    never again will i attempt to bring up feminist issues on boingboing!

    N0! I know that wasn’t aimed at me, but I’m not anti-feminist, though I am strongly (perhaps overly) anti-censorship. (and yes I know this isn’t, strictly speaking, censorship–but you know what I mean) If this sort of thing is tolerated, your daughters and granddaughters will not be able to learn what the attitudes about women were actually like in years past. We must preserve the past–children’s books or whatever–and not alter or deny it, so that our children can learn from it.

  49. NE2d says:

    Teresa Nielsen Hayden

    I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree here. No matter who does it or why or how innocent or beneficial it may seem, I think this is a very bad practice that strikes a destructive blow to the core of literacy itself.

  50. NE2d says:

    Oh, and alicke, I just read this over on Reply

  • NE2d says:

    Oops, I guess hyperlinks aren’t allowed (or I screwed it up) It’s at http://www.volokh.com

  • Teresa Nielsen Hayden/Moderator says:

    Children’s books today coddle children? You can’t have been in the children’s section of a bookstore lately. Lemony Snickett and The Fart Book immediately spring to mind, but it’s 0530 here so I’m sure I’m missing some obvious ones.

    As for nonexistent problems, what Coda said.

  • Teresa Nielsen Hayden/Moderator says:

    NE2d, are you under the impression that this is a new practice? It isn’t — not this year, not this decade, not this century. Literacy has survived just fine, as have the variorum editions.

    There are still substantive counter-arguments you could make. We’re nowhere near the point of having to agree to disagree.

  • NarmGreyrunner says:

    Thing I always find interesting with changes like this is who deciedes when something gets changed, and how it gets changed. At least with a method like this it is at least trackable when and what changes occurred based on different editions. Maybe in the next edition of the book they will be changing the changes, and we’ll be able to compare all three versions together.

    I see this as a lot different than Joseph Stalin not liking you, having you and your entire family killed, then all records of you having lived erased, and having you removed from any known photographs.

    These kind of Richard Scarry changes probably happen around us more than we even realize with the ebb and flow of society. But the important thing is they’re not attempting to erase any record that a previous version ever existed.

  • NarmGreyrunner says:

    Thing I always find interesting with changes like this is who deciedes when something gets changed, and how it gets changed. At least with a method like this it is at least trackable when and what changes occurred based on different editions. Maybe in the next edition of the book they will be changing the changes, and we’ll be able to compare all three versions together.

    I see this as a lot different than Joseph Stalin not liking you, having you and your entire family killed, then all records of you having lived erased, and having you removed from any known photographs.

    These kind of Richard Scarry changes probably happen around us more than we even realize with the ebb and flow of society. But the important thing is they’re not attempting to erase any record that a previous version ever existed.

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