The latest editions of Roald Dahl's childrens' books are edited to remove mean-spirited words like "fat", to update cultural references today's youngsters might not understand, and to trim sexist asides. It's not going over well with anyone, by the looks of it.
"Roald Dahl was no angel but this is absurd censorship," Rushdie wrote on Twitter. "Puffin Books and the Dahl estate should be ashamed.''
The changes to Dahl's books mark the latest skirmish in a debate over cultural sensitivity as campaigners seek to protect young people from cultural, ethnic and gender stereotypes in literature and other media. Critics complain revisions to suit 21st century sensibilities risks undermining the genius of great artists and preventing readers from confronting the world as it is.
Check out how weasel-worded that second paragraph there is, from the AP.
But in fact no-one asked for this: not the left, not the right, not anyone. It's the fake "wokeness" of fiduciary duty and shareholder value. It is a blind mat of corporate slime experimenting with environmental adaptations so that it may eat more.
Why did they do it? Because Roald Dahl is a grimly overexploited franchise whose faint suggestion of a 'universe' is belied by fading book sales and poor box-office performance. It's fun, wild, ingenious lit for kids, but has become, through generations of mawkishness and institutionalization, the sort of thing that angry old people buy leatherbound box sets of for one another. So it gets (a) ineptly retargeted toward an audience with life ahead of it and (b) hysterically clutched and smothered by the audience that possesses it.
Dahl's work is in this respect is now truly dead; but you should never underestimate our ability to sell corpses.