Changes to Roald Dahl's Books

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Changes to Roald Dahl's Books

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 22, 11:33 pm

Let me start off by saying I hate Dahl, as a person. He was vicious, racist, misogynistic, antisemitic, and overall a wretch of a human being. But, I strongly believe everyone should be allowed the complete, unadulterated story (or books as the case may be), and to make up their own minds.

I'm also very anti-censorship. Apparently, Puffin Books which is an imprint of the British publishers Penguin Books, has decided to rewrite parts of Dahl's books. An organization called "Inclusive Minds" which notes that they are: "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." has made "hundreds" of changes across Dahl's children's books.
Per CNN --
Journalists working on the piece found 59 changes in "The Witches" alone, with hundreds more discovered in Dahl's other popular books, such as "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Matilda."
What are some of these changes?

Removing words someone might deem offensive such as "fat" and "men" and apparently in The Witches, Dahl writes that witches are bald beneath their wigs and therefore Puffin added: "There are plenty of other reasons why women might wear wigs and there is certainly nothing wrong with that."

Salman Rushdie, whom I admire very much, thought the censorship absurd, and I wholeheartedly agree

Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America, said "If we start down the path of trying to correct for perceived slights instead of allowing readers to receive and react to books as written, we risk distorting the work of great authors and clouding the essential lens that literature offers on society." Again, I wholeheartedly agree. I think censorship is very dangerous. It's easy for us to say "Ah come on now, if you don't like it, just don't buy it!" but, that leads to more and more censorship, and where does it stop? It does not. I quite like what Phillip Pullman, who does not support such censorship, said Dahl's books should just "fade away".

What do people here think?

helmikuu 22, 11:57 pm

I agree with Rushdie, Nossel and Pullman.
Censorship is like trying to alter history.

helmikuu 23, 12:04 am

Hear! Hear!

helmikuu 23, 12:39 am

Many, many so-called "children's classics" have aged in ways that make them today more the province of the adult than a child. And in fact this has been noticed and revisions offered since forever--recall the cases of the original Grimm and Perrault's tales etc. When Charles and Mary Lamb retold Shakespeare for kids, did anyone complain about the omissions of his bawdy?

Censorship is like trying to alter history.

Speaking of children's literature, books that are meant to be distributed to children (which always involves pedagogical concerns) it's more appropriate to see it as an attempt to preserve history--the history of enjoyment of reading, specifically.

helmikuu 23, 12:39 am

It is one of the most incomprehensible cowardly moves Penguin made to kowtow to that fascist organization, Inclusive Minds.

The far Right and far Left’s disdain for readers’ intelligence is astonishing. To be presented with words and ideas that may make one uncomfortable is the only way to grow as a person.

helmikuu 23, 12:45 am

To be presented with words and ideas that may make one uncomfortable is the only way to grow as a person.

Too bad that some are served way more discomfort than others, and in a world that embodies injustice for women, people who aren't "white" etc.

helmikuu 23, 12:53 am

>5 PartTimeBookAddict:

Pretty much. Was disgusted to see this sort of defacement.

helmikuu 23, 1:06 am

>7 adriano77: Oh, FFS - these are so ridiculous I don’t know whether to cry or laugh.

helmikuu 23, 1:24 am

>7 adriano77:, >8 kermaier:

Seriously, why are those proposed changes "disgusting" or "ridiculous"?

None of that looks disgusting to me, and the first two examples I welcome heartily. Dahl was hideously misogynist and this clearly bled over into his children's fiction. Why should we continue to serve kids his sexist ideas of women as cashiers and secretaries, or invite them to pull women's hair and "see what happens"?

We are living in times of increasing misogynistic attacks on women and women's rights, with hundreds of thousands, probably millions of boys and young men getting casually exposed on social media to all sort of masculinist garbage. In Britain schools don't know how to deal with pre-pubescent fans of Andrew Tate and similar trash. Incidents of pupils--all male that I have seen--assaulting and even murdering teachers are on the increase.

I'm not suggesting that editing Dahl is any kind of cure, any more than tossing the statues of slaveowners, which is a kind of "editing" of one's environment, automatically gets rid of racism. But it's part of reckoning with how we are living and how we wish to continue to live.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 23, 4:02 am

When the Politically Correct Fairy Tales series appeared, it was meant to be a joke. Clearly some British readers today don’t realise that.
Anyway, my daughter, aged under ten, loves Dahl’s original stories. We’re very pleased that she’ll be able to enjoy the FS series of his children’s books as they had been published for three generations. She has the intelligence to differentiate between history and literature set in their contexts, fiction and real life. It appears some adults don’t.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 23, 4:54 am

>2 wcarter: I also agree with Rushdie, Nossel and Pullman.
I found what Pullman said interesting

“Let him go out of print”. “Read all of these wonderful authors who are writing today, who don’t get as much of a look-in because of the massive commercial gravity of people like Roald Dahl.”

He said Dahl’s work, if left alone, would not disappear overnight or be substantially changed in the public’s consciousness, because of the vast numbers of existing editions sitting on shelves 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?”

Asked about the controversy over the rewrites, he said: “Dahl can look after himself. I hadn’t read his books for very many years and I don’t want to again.”

He added: “The point is: these words, these phrases and language uses do change over time. For a young author now coming in, who hasn’t got the clout and the commercial power of someone like Roald Dahl, it’s quite hard to resist the nudging towards saying this or not saying that, which is a pity, I think.”


Of course, the problem can then become library censorship as widely reported in the US recently, but which probably happens everywhere to some degree.

helmikuu 23, 6:39 am

I despise the organisation "Inclusive Minds", I tell my kids at Christmas that "Inclusive Minds" will come and take away their Christmas presents from underneath the tree if they don't get top grades in their winter tests.

helmikuu 23, 7:30 am

By and large these edits are done for the simple expediency of making money. The more people you can make a product palatable to, the greater your profit. The idea that you are rescuing a work by altering it is absurd. Shall we go and alter paintings and sculptures to make them conform to modern sentiments as well?

I'm pretty much a raging liberal in social contexts, but I can't get behind editing works in this manner. I agree with Pullman on this - read (and write) new works that better hew to the sentiments of the time, rather than retconning existing works. If a classic is problematic, let it remain so and explain it if you feel the context is necessary. Don't alter it just because it will make you more money.

With regards to things like the Grimm fairytales and so forth, that's in a different boat. Those are folktales, and folktales were meant to be passed on orally and reframed by each generation to suit their time. I have no issue with that, it's completely different beast than a novel, which tells a very specific story of time, place, and people. Leave the classics alone, but give them context. I understand the desire behind this, but cannot approve the method.

helmikuu 23, 7:56 am

>13 Shadekeep: I completely agree with you, probably as left leaning as you, and things like this are just so utterly absurd one can't help but laugh. For children's books, are we as a people that scared to talk with our children? When reading these books, can't you just talk to and explain to your child certain passages that you find offensive? Wouldn't this be more educational than to censor, change or erase something?

As an American we live in a society full of violence that we witness every day and certain times experience first hand. Mass killings once a week, wars abroad, ever worsening wealth disparity, politicians on both sides of the isle who are bought, don't care and won't change anything because it is not in the best interest of their overlord companies to do so... and this is what we're worried about? One can't help but laugh.

helmikuu 23, 8:17 am

I haven't read anything of Dahl - books didn't figure much in my childhood, I've had no children to supply with reading matter, and I haven't felt any compulsion to catch up with children's literature - but the sample alterations above, and the mere idea of them, are grotesque to me, and any comparison with the Lambs' retellings of Shakespeare entirely hollow. The Lambs had no desire to replace Shakespeare's texts, and would have been horrified by any notion to the contrary. Even the Bowdlers had no such perverse ambition.

helmikuu 23, 8:20 am

>9 LolaWalser: What Pullman said.

helmikuu 23, 9:12 am

>4 LolaWalser: I’m always glad to see your posts—which are among the most thoughtful and best-expressed on this forum—even when I don’t agree with you.

I’m generally against censorship, but…

You’re right about the distinction of literature for children “which always involves pedagogical concerns”, as you say. I well remember a quite corpulent classmate of mine being taunted as “Augustus Gloop” after we’d read “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” in the fourth grade (we were about 9 years old) in the early 1970s. Kids are already nasty enough without handing them more ammunition.

Adults—at least some—can think for themselves and ought to see the original if they wish.

And I don’t recall anyone complaining when Dickens toned down the antisemitic depiction of Fagin in later editions of Oliver Twist.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 23, 9:39 am

I find this grotesque and disturbing as well. If you don't like the words in Dahl's works then don't read Dahl. It's as simple as that. Nobody is forcing you to do it.

And apart from that, you can never predict what will be deemed offensive in the future. If we go down this path, then maybe all of literature will have to be rewritten one day. Even what yo consider to be morally flawless in the present. Nowadays, people are so blinded by their presumed morale virtue that they don't even weigh in on this possibility.

helmikuu 23, 9:16 am

>17 Son.of.York:

I don’t recall anyone complaining when Dickens toned down the antisemitic depiction of Fagin in later editions of Oliver Twist.

I think there is a difference between an author choosing to make changes in later editions, and someone else (be it publisher, literary executor, or whoever) making changes when the author is no longer around to object.

helmikuu 23, 9:26 am

>1 astropi: The things changed don't even make any sense! this is just awful

helmikuu 23, 9:32 am

>19 lilithcat: Exactly. Dahl himself was fine with the revised Oompa Loompas in the movie, and that change was an improvement. The participation of the artist makes all the difference as to the integrity and validity of the edit.

helmikuu 23, 10:03 am

Censorship may have good intentions, but the mark of wrongful behavior is to take a good thing to an absolute extreme. I heard on the radio that one of the changes was changing the word "fat" to "enormous." Sure, I'm sure my mom, who openly acknowledges her own extra weight, would rather be called "enormous" than "fat." They couldn't even say "large" or "heavy-set?"

helmikuu 23, 11:40 am

>13 Shadekeep: “Shall we go and alter paintings and sculptures to make them conform to modern sentiments as well?”
It’s already happening. I refer you to the stunt over Waterhouse’s Nymphs, or the debate around “problematic” Eric Gill.

helmikuu 23, 12:28 pm

>23 cwl: Ugh. The stuff surrounding Waterhouse is absurd. I guess next we'll need to get rid of all the old natura morta works because they glorify death or some such.

As for separating the artist from the work, normally I can do that just fine. For example, I enjoy Lovecraft in spite of his monstrous xenophobia, and in fact think that flaw is at the root of his genius. (Doesn't make the flaw any more laudable, but does give it context.) But with regards to Gill, I'm afraid his life has tainted his work for me. Knowing that many of his works portray the very daughters he was abusing really fouls it. At least Lovecraft wasn't out actively lynching people, or whatever the equivalent would be for him. But I do maintain that, with regards to Gill or any other artist, people should still be allowed to view it and make their own judgements. If art is suppressed because it makes one person uncomfortable, there will be no art.

helmikuu 23, 12:48 pm

I did grow up with Roald Dahl. George's Marvellous Medicine was one of the two books that made me a reader, so I'm kinda bemused by all this brouhaha.

Dahl was a nasty person. We've all come to agree on that. He was like a proto-Rowling in that regard. You can actually sense an undercurrent of meanness below all the whimsiness. Nowadays I find interesting that anyone could use the words he used to describe someone's grandmother (I don't recall if I'm right, but I think that was where he described grandma's scrunched mouth looking like a dog's butt)

Anyway, I don't support the changes. I'm firmly in the camp where the responsibility of giving the kids context about certain attitudes displayed by Dahl's books relies on the parents' hands.

Regarding Pullman's comments, I don't think we're close to the point of having Dahl's books fade away. Like, at all. The bloke is now a brand, with a quasi-cinematic universe adapted from his works, with some characters becoming memes and known to everyone.

With all this, I'm starting to feel tempted to buy the Folio boxed sets. I hadn't before since I think they are overpriced for a fancy set that has legacy illustrations in black and white, but now who knows.

helmikuu 23, 1:03 pm

>25 dyhtstriyk:
"The bloke is now a brand, with a quasi-cinematic universe adapted from his works...."
You may have hit the nail on the head -- perhaps we're seeing an unfortunate confluence of corporate greed and revisionist zealotry.

helmikuu 23, 1:17 pm

It's not censorship. Nobody is preventing old versions of the books from circulating. The publisher/whoever has the rights, they can do what they want. If Dahl wouldn't approve, he should have arranged a better contract. There is actual censorship in other places, where if you circulate the wrong political text you suffer fines, go to jail, or worse. Calling publisher edits "censorship" is concept creep and doesn't help anyone. Bowdlerization is a much more useful term here (modifying the texts to mollify pearl-clutchers).

That said, these are absurd edits. Children are smarter and more resilient than many people give them credit for. The originals are fine, perhaps teachable moments in some cases. Remember that most of the media kids will consume is YouTube, TikTok, video games, whatever the next social media platform will be, etc.

helmikuu 23, 1:21 pm

>25 dyhtstriyk:, >26 kermaier:

You both nailed it.

It's amazing to me how the left and right used to argue about the evils of business or the evils of government and yet they're both run by people. Now we hear arguments about the actual state of truth! In the end cultures have to die in order to bring in the new but if it's forced there's usually an immense amount of suffering. Let us create victims and we can solve their problems with tax payer money, and while create more victims from this thievery we can solve their problems with more tax payer money, and soon the whole of society will be our victims and we will terminate them to save tax payer money!

helmikuu 23, 1:27 pm

When I was growing up, there were the "adapted for younger readers by" or just "adapted by" books - if something was too mature or old-fashioned or whatever, it could be edited out and an adapted text suitable for children was produced. That's how I read a lot of the world classics - then I revisited them in their complete texts when I was old enough to be able to appreciate the concepts and the background. And then there are the Shakespeare simplified and/or modernized editions and they have their place.

If these are published as "by Dahl, adapted by XXX" or "by Dahl, modernized by XXX" , more power to them - if the copyright holder is on board or it is a public domain book and the fact is clearly shown in the book, no issues at all. But if they are published as "by Dahl", then no, I really dislike the idea. Offensive or not, these are the books the author wrote. Scrubbing them clean and claiming they are still the same book is just wrong.

>7 adriano77: Really? Conrad and Kipling needed to be removed from the text? Okey...

helmikuu 23, 1:37 pm

>29 AnnieMod: As I raised my own children (all voracious readers), I was extremely selective with any book marked "adapted" or "abridged". I almost always simply recommended that they wait and read the full, original text when they're old enough for it -- which they almost always did. As a rare exception, I bought a copy of the Lambs' "Tales from Shakespeare", which none of my children ever wanted to read -- we dipped into the original plays from the time they were 8 or 9 years old. :-)

helmikuu 23, 1:45 pm

>30 kermaier: I grew up in Eastern Europe so in a lot of cases, the choice for translated literature was an abridged/adapted book or no book at all. It was less a function of the regime (it was down by the time I really started reading anyway) and more of the fact that in small countries/languages (Bulgarian is a single country language and there aren't that many of us there), choices are just not there in a lot of cases (not that I did not read a lot of classics in normal editions but there was a publisher who was publishing sanitized/modernized/shortened versions specifically for children and they were popular). :)

But that is kinda part of my point - give people the option to choose between the book as written and the adapted/changed one...

helmikuu 23, 1:51 pm

>27 abysswalker: That is true. You can still get the old versions. For some reason George Lucas' treatment of the Star Wars Original Trilogy comes to mind. The theatrical releases are very hard to come by these days and they seem to have been replaced altogether by the 'new and improved' versions. But in this case, it's the creator himself who decided this. Could we say this is a case of censorship?

helmikuu 23, 1:58 pm

Inclusive Minds aren't readers. Not a single one of them has ever read, nor will ever read a book. They are a political organisation motivated by money and power. That is all. They will go where the grift is. To concede to them is pointless.

Art, books, movies, video games have always been criticised by the dumbest, shallowest and most scared people of society. Art reflects culture. It doesn't create culture. Misogyny, violence and name calling has and will always exist.

If I was as stupid as any of these censors, I could complain that by keeping Hemingway's name in Matilda means that Puffin books clearly want little kids to go kill endangered animals and then blow their own heads off with a shotgun. Why are they promoting self-harm and suicide? Shouldn't there be a massive trigger warning at least? (Pun intended.)

I think one of the greatest benefits of Dahl's work is its meanness. There is a bleak humour to the books that truly reflects the world. That is why so many children love it and why it will continue to be read. It doesn't speak down to them.

And to the people on this board who are scared by books, I have great news for you: Words Cannot Hurt You.

helmikuu 23, 2:57 pm

>33 PartTimeBookAddict:

Wow, you're asking for it around these parts. Many o'triggered will come for you, if you defend yourself, prepare to be flagged.

helmikuu 23, 4:16 pm

>33 PartTimeBookAddict: I for one will not be flagging you. There is much truth here, along with >27 abysswalker: abysswalker's comment that "children are smarter and more resilient than many people give them credit for". My son read Dahl's children's books and then graduated to his stories for grown-ups (in the FS edition, of course), and the bleak humor has somehow not turned him into one who wants to "kill endangered animals", much less blow his head off with a shotgun. Those changes highlighted by >7 adriano77: adriano77 are just silly.

helmikuu 23, 4:37 pm

I have nothing but contempt for the people who made this decision. They are either cowardly, weak or willing to sacrifice their integrity for money. Or a combination of all 3.

Any people who were offended by the original text (if there ever were any, I seriously doubt it) deserve to be offended.

I will never purchase these revised editions, and will look for original versions to give to my young nephews.

helmikuu 23, 4:41 pm

>25 dyhtstriyk: Since I was about 15 or so, I had understood that Dahl was a bit of an anti-Semitic Ogre. Even for his time he was unpalatable etc.

But seeing him compared to JK Rowling makes me doubt it. As I *know* 99% of the accusations toward her are objectively untrue…

helmikuu 23, 10:12 pm

>37 Uppernorwood: Actually, it has been in the news that the anti-semitism was denied by some people who knew him.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 23, 10:20 pm

>38 MythButton: There really is no discussion when it comes to whether Dahl was antisemitic or not.

helmikuu 24, 4:00 am

We live in an age of hysteria, but even so the reaction to this episode has been singular.

Dahl's work, though popular, is of negligible cultural value, and was often re-worked and re-written by the man himself. Hence, the many complaints about this (desecration of Our Shared Culture; trampling The Writer's Intent; The Thin End of the Woke Wedge) seem like a category error.

What is actually happening is that a commercial entity (The Roald Dahl Story Company, now wholly owned by Netflix which paid his estate $500m for the pleasure) is adapting its own IP in a way it thinks will ensure maximum return on investment. It's just market forces. In fact, if anything, it's a pre-emptive strike against "the woke" - who can now "cancel" Dahl's trite imaginings, given they've been proactively "modernised?" And so the brand new editions (alongside, as has been pointed out, the various "originals", which are not being Fahrenheit 451'd) and the streaming series and the fast-food tie-ins can all flow, to the pleasure and delectation of Netflix's shareholders.

All Dahl cared about when he was writing was getting rich: the envy he inspired in his peers when he did so via children's books assuaged his insecurity about his inability to make a go of "grown-up" writing. His estate have simply applied that principle and the IP owners can do as they see fit - that's copyright law! Which, incidentally, was something I thought Rushdie et al cared passionately about and want to protect.

The thought of Dahl watching this windfall in disgust from his afterlife, having missed out himself, is I admit an amusing conceit. However if there is to be a serious debate about actual censorship then it would strike me that a much more pertinent case to consider is what is happening in Florida, Texas etc. where books are being removed from libraries at the state's behest, and the curriculum of schools is being dictated by political views of a party that happens to be in power (as is happening to a lesser extent in the UK).

helmikuu 24, 5:15 am

>40 ian_curtin:

As already confessed, I don't know Dahl's work at all, but it's the principle of the thing that to me seems worth the reaction it's been met with: if it's calmly accepted, is there any room for doubt that such re-editing would over time spread like a cancer through a very substantial swathe of the pre-21st century literature that remains in wide circulation?

Whether that would be more or less deleterious than suppressing the books altogether, I'll not attempt to guess. Or whether the removal of books on political grounds is more or less damaging than the passive trivialising of libraries' content to make them more welcoming - my life has probably been re-directed somewhat because at age 17 I heard a radio programme on Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, which sent me off to the town library where I found and borrowed its volumes one by one. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be there now. Perhaps Brave New World and 1984 still would, though both, along with Hobbes' Leviathan, have appeared lately on a list of books likely to be indicative of far-right radicalisation. Lately I'm often selfishly grateful that my days are nearer their end than their beginning.

helmikuu 24, 8:17 am

Penguin Books have now stated they are printing both original and edited versions.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 24, 12:10 pm

Every now and then I learn a new word. Not long ago, a short time indeed. I learned another, the term used: `sensitivity readers`. Readers calling out what could be viewed as offensive.

Fat - from Charlie, now will be `enormous`
Ugly - from Mathilda, now will be `nasty`

A couple of years ago, I learned about, now how can I translate it - `bodypositivism` .. or something. These bodypositivists (who, with the new term, can be described as enormous), word rather be described as fat. Enormous easily could be translated into something huge, like a building, or a mountain they said. Also, I would rather be ugly than nasty.

These sensitivity readers sold the emperor a new set of clothes and was paid easy money, if you ask me, and you don`t.


At the same time, this painting from 1893 was described as `this picture is a romantification of norwegians that went to America. This is a colonistic painting`, a director supposedly said.

On it goes. This is part of modernization of the museum profile, that want to challenge a standard done by white, male artists.
Naturally, this was not to be accepted among fellow citizens - at all, about a day later the national museum of norway had to give in, blame on a internal misstake and blabla. Yet, trend is there. Don`t mess with the canon.

: The picture depicting the first (known) european discovering America. Leiv Eriksson, around year 1000.

The same day I showed my 82 year old father the picture of something else, and I can`t say what that was, sorry. He gazed not even a second. Father doesn`t feel so much home on planet earth anymore. He prefers the solitude in his cabin in the woods.

Many years ago I learned a quote `the road to hell is built on good intentions` (don`t take it literary, please. If so, not my problem, and don`t make it mine). Will all these changes make the world a better place, who knows, hopefully I`m long gone when sensorship kicks in for real and the world has turned too upside down, as to how I know it.

Fine by me to edit a book here and there for some legit purposes, as long as books that others and I want to read, still also can be published in it`s original text.


Muokkaaja: helmikuu 24, 12:41 pm

Putting aside the propriety of bowdlerisation (I don't approve), there's the issue of chilling effects. As >40 ian_curtin: notes, this editing was pre-emptive. The woke don't even have to bother cancelling anyone any more. How many others choose to self-censor for fear of being cancelled by the woke thought police? It's impossible to say, but I know my workplace has adopted many inefficient or inequitable policies that are abhored by a majority of the relevant decision makers. But nobody dares to stick their head above the parapet and say the emperor has no clothes. I can't blame them: speaking up is a one-way ticket to a Twitter poostorm, followed by inevitable disciplinary action because the leadership can't afford to not be perceived as pro-woke enforcers.

helmikuu 24, 3:10 pm

>42 assemblyman: “Penguin Books have now stated they are printing both original and edited versions.”

It would appear that this solves the problem as long as Penguin makes clear, preferably on the cover, which edition it is. Let the buyer choose.

helmikuu 24, 4:28 pm

>45 jroger1:

It also has the advantage (provided that the difference is clearly and accurately described) of demonstrating - through sales figures - what people actually want to buy. Somehow I suspect the original version (however it is described) will outsell the bowdlerised version considerably.

helmikuu 24, 4:43 pm

I myself suspect the original wouldn't be going through a renewed sales surge if the frenzy over the bowdlerised version didn't gain as much traction as it did or if they never pulled the stunt in the first place. Even if that wasn't their original intent it's sure worked out nicely for the pockets of Penguin execs. If they ever need to top up their quarterlies they now know they only need to announce other bowdlerised and sanitized editions of classics to get people to buy the originals all over again.

helmikuu 24, 5:40 pm

It has been suggested that the whole thing has been a marketing stunt, but apparently the revisions began last year, even before the Netflix deal, and have only recently come to light. If it was just marketing campaign, it is highly cynical on Puffin’s part and no one comes out of it well, and I doubt we would be seeing these new editions if so.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 24, 8:12 pm

>45 jroger1: It should be pretty obvious as the revised versions will be under their children’s imprint (Puffin) while the original texts will be under their Penguin imprint.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 25, 7:08 am

>17 Son.of.York:
You’re right about the distinction of literature for children “which always involves pedagogical concerns”, as you say. I well remember a quite corpulent classmate of mine being taunted as “Augustus Gloop” after we’d read “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” in the fourth grade (we were about 9 years old) in the early 1970s. Kids are already nasty enough without handing them more ammunition.
Speaking as someone who was corpulent as a child, and who hated 'Lord of the Flies' for many years because I so related to Piggy, I have grown up recognising that what mattered was how the books were introduced to us, and that they simply reflected the society and attitudes of the time and of certain people. My experience as a primary teacher, was that reading Dahl prompted some very interesting discussions about those attitudes and how we approach people. I certainly carried them on the classroom library shelves. Personally, I'm not a Dahl fan and never really have been, but, in my experience, his books did far more good than bad. This whole approach seems to me to be utterly unproductive - we might as well go back and rewrite any book older than a few years.

>25 dyhtstriyk:
Dahl was a nasty person. We've all come to agree on that. He was like a proto-Rowling in that regard.
I may have misunderstood, but to me it appears that you're saying is that everybody agrees that JK Rowling is a nasty person. I would dispute that. She's certainly controversial!

>29 AnnieMod:
That pretty much nails it for me - spot on!

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 25, 7:50 am

>49 antinous_in_london: Not according to the BBC. Puffin will continue to print them under a “Classics” series.

helmikuu 25, 8:11 am

Having seen the movie version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with my older children I tried to read the book to my youngest child but quickly found it much darker than the movie and quite off-putting in its depiction, early on, of Charlie’s grandparents. I had to announce that we weren’t going to finish it and never picked up another Roald Dahl book. A little research into the author’s life confirmed that he was a horrible person, although I do not think that we want to confuse a writer’s moral values with his or her literary talent. Revising a writer’s work to remove attitudes not corresponding to contemporary standards sounds like something out of Stalinist Russia. Read him or cancel him, but don't try to posthumously reform him.

helmikuu 25, 8:21 am

>50 Willoyd: JK Rowling has expressed views on a single subject that has somehow gone from something affecting a tiny minority of the population to a litmus test for Basic Human Decency. I note that the NYT recently ran a piece pushing back on her cancellation. I think that the power of the lobby in question may be ebbing.

helmikuu 25, 10:07 am

>53 booksaplenty1949:
It seems that the only way a famous person can avoid becoming controversial is never to make a public statement on an important issue. Ralph Fiennes, the actor, said it well: “The level of hatred that people express about views that differ from their own is disturbing.”

helmikuu 25, 11:22 am

>54 jroger1: Or more accurately...

No man or woman who tries to pursue an ideal in his or her own way is without enemies. - Daisy Bates

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 25, 12:23 pm I remember several episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents based on short stories (for adults) by Roald Dahl. I would watch them again. I would watch them even though Hitchcock’s view of women isn’t exactly positive or progressive either. Bad enough to limit yourself to the work of artists with whom you agree about everything. But far worse to try to edit out the offensive bits. Big Bad Wolf as a vegetarian? No, just no.

helmikuu 25, 1:47 pm

A bit off-topic, but related, is the video game "Hogwarts Legacy".

Ahead of its official Feb. 10 launch date, the Warner Bros. Discovery title has been inundated by calls to boycott the release of what critics are calling “that wizard game.” Supporters of the campaign include many well-known members of the gaming community itself, such as Brianna Wu, cofounder of development studio Giant Spacekat. “It’s really important for decent people to boycott Hogwarts Legacy,” she posted last month. “I have a lot of friends in games media, but I will be cutting ties to anyone who promotes this.”

Responding to the criticism, Avalanche Software, which developed the game, has made concessions such as greater customization options regarding gender and at the final moment added a trans character called Sirona Ryan—to little avail as even Ryan’s name has been picked apart by critics.

Not all trans gamers feel the same way towards activism in the industry, however. Sophia Narwitz, who has 30,000 subscribers to her YouTube gaming channel, labelled the controversy over the Harry Potter game “a silly hill to die on” and called out her own community as doing more harm than good to its cause. “This entire manufactured outrage is hollow,” she wrote on Monday in response to the Harry Potter game’s imminent debut. “It’s keyboard activism at its finest.”

I have no doubt that all this publicity is one of the reasons why Hogwarts Legacy sold as well as it did, over 12 million copies sold and climbing. I have always supported the transgender community. However, the whole "you either do as we say, or you're our enemy" attitude is fascist and asinine. People like Brianna Wu are doing nothing more than dividing the community and hurting the trans community. I can't help but feel that what Puffin did is along the same lines. At the end of the day, as has already been mentioned, sales (of the original works) are certain to greatly increase. However, I certainly won't be purchasing another book from Penguin.

helmikuu 25, 2:20 pm

>57 astropi: “I certainly won't be purchasing another book from Penguin.”

It would be hard to rid ourselves of Penguin entirely, as many Folio books are Penguin reprints.

Anyway, I have to give Penguin credit for listening to the criticism and trying to make amends. Many businesses and individuals wouldn’t have done so, but instead would have doubled down on their error.

helmikuu 25, 3:22 pm

>55 mr.philistine: You left out “non-binary individual,” you hater!

helmikuu 25, 3:36 pm

>17 Son.of.York:

Thank you. It seems this has attracted so much animosity that few are willing to consider the issue calmly, but the reactions are confusing far beyond hurt childhood memories.

Not only is this is by no means the first, only or last instance of interference with texts meant for children's consumption; books for adults are being routinely changed from the original without letting on--for example, in "Englishing" from British to American usage and vv., in removal of racist and antisemitic slurs from mass-produced commercial fiction (just compare the first editions of Agatha Christie with those currently produced--her problem wasn't just that one notorious title).

Personally I would much prefer all such editorial interventions to be noted somewhere, but unfortunately there isn't a way to enforce this. Or we wouldn't have such instances like Haruki Murakami's The wind-up bird chronicle being shortened in English translation, with no note to the reader.

Kids are already nasty enough without handing them more ammunition.

I too see these measures as simply doing "the least decent thing" we can do as adults. We can't prevent them from picking up on a myriad things we'd rather didn't exist, but we can control at least what flows from us to them.

helmikuu 25, 4:08 pm

>19 lilithcat:, >21 Shadekeep:

Nevertheless, Twain and who knows how many other authors have undergone various editing in texts meant for kids, without authorial support.

>40 ian_curtin:


>41 terebinth:

Dear terebinth... no need to panic. At worst, Dahl will be available in "adult" versions too from now on.

>42 assemblyman:

No sooner typed than true! :)

>52 booksaplenty1949:

Read him or cancel him, but don't try to posthumously reform him.

That's a suitable attitude for an adult. For children's consumption, some "reform" may be preferable.

>53 booksaplenty1949:

JK Rowling has expressed views on a single subject that has somehow gone from something affecting a tiny minority of the population to a litmus test for Basic Human Decency.

The size of the group affected by her remarks makes no difference to the ethics of what she has done, but neither is it "tiny", given that her platform reaches millions of people. What she says about the transgender affects transgender people, their families, friends and allies everywhere on the globe.

As for the notion of "Basic Human Decency" that excludes minorities one presumably doesn't care for... it's, shall I say, lacking.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 25, 4:12 pm

>39 astropi: And there have been articles saying otherwise. In fact, sometimes people apologize because it's all people want to hear. I'm not saying he wasn't an antisemitic, but I'm not saying he was. If Roald Dahl's family and friends are gonna contradict themselves, it's possible that they're going to generate buzz by saying anything. If this is "the most recent" news, then it might change in five or ten years. I've seen it happen a lot, even as a kid, so I'm just not surprised anymore.

helmikuu 25, 4:31 pm

>60 LolaWalser:
You are correct that editing, aka censorship, is nothing new. Many early English translations of French novels, especially Verne and Dumas, were heavily censored, often with long passages rewritten “to conform to Victorian sensibilities.” Early translations of “20,000 Leagues,” for example, excised a fourth of Verne’s text, and these abridged and altered editions are still widely reproduced and read. Sometimes there is a footnote to that effect and sometimes you have to learn about it by reading the Wikipedia entry or some other source.

Fortunately for us, most newer translations of these novels are complete in conformity with the original French texts, and many of them, interestingly, have been published by Penguin.

I do not approve of any such censorship and refuse to read such texts. I always make sure that my version is unabridged, and we owe the same courtesy to our children. If theirs is altered, they ought to know it and be offered the original, perhaps with some parental or teacher guidance.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 25, 4:48 pm

>62 MythButton: I have never seen "Roald Dahl's family and friends" contradict themselves. Everyone admits, Dahl was antisemitic - it's not up for debate. No matter how much you nor anyone would want to believe otherwise, he was a nasty human with a hatred for Jews.

Dahl later acknowledged his antisemitism in an article in the Independent in 1990. He said: “It’s the same old thing: we all know about Jews and the rest of it. There aren’t any non-Jewish publishers anywhere, they control the media – jolly clever thing to do – that’s why the president of the United States has to sell all this stuff to Israel.”

Here is a Jewish reporter who spoke with Dahl -

The dark side of author Roald Dahl was his profound dislike of Jews...It was that same quintessential English antisemitism - sneering and pompous - with which he greeted me when I called him about a newspaper interview in which he had confessed: "I've become antisemitic" (which translated as: 'I've always disliked Jews and I've now got enough money and fame not to care what anybody thinks'). He exploded with outrage: "Why are you being so persistent? It is not a trait of your Jewish race to be rude but you are certainly being rude… I am an old hand at dealing with you buggers." "Would those be Jewish buggers, Mr Dahl?" Click... the phone went dead.

I'm going to be honest, I'm a bit disturbed by your trying to defend him. If you like his work, nothing wrong with that. Many people do, and his books have been also translated to Hebrew. However, it does not change the fact that Dahl was a piece of poop of a human being with hatred in his heart.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 25, 6:29 pm

>61 LolaWalser: It’s not a question of liking or not liking. It’s a philosophical question about cultural appropriation. I have no issues with transgender men; that’s analogous to Moses Finkelstein changing his name to M I Finley. Letting down the side, maybe, but understandable in a bigoted world. But taking on the identity of an oppressed group is another matter. Rachel Dolezal and Grey Owl have been crossed off the list, hard. Why is this different?

helmikuu 25, 6:31 pm

Looks like the publisher had better watch out for crocodiles:

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 25, 7:27 pm

>64 astropi: First of all, you know I never said I didn't want to believe otherwise. I said I hear people contradict themselves, so I wasn't going to take sides. You deliberately misinterpreted my statement because you're a side-picker. And if you hate Dahl so much, why are you making statements like "I've never heard the family contradict themselves?"

You should have given me that first link from the last statement you made at the start of this.

"I'm not saying he wasn't an antisemitic, but I'm not saying he was."

That is what I said and you read it. How would you like if if there were accusations made about you? For all I know they're true. This one time, you convinced me about Roald Dahl, but on other areas of accusation I will continue to be neutral until I see proof.

helmikuu 25, 7:52 pm

Is it safe to say I don’t care about his life? He’s dead now. What I care about are his books that are still alive and kicking, of which I’ve read none.

helmikuu 25, 11:35 pm

>59 booksaplenty1949: I would have added anthropomorphic humanoids, aliens and the subterranean folk but far be it from me to perform 'posthumous reformations' in your words >52 booksaplenty1949:

helmikuu 26, 4:03 am

Well now…

Yes, this clearly smells like a marketing campaign. Optimistically, it’s just that. But, no one clutch their pearls and think of the children here. Pessimistically, we’ve gone through the looking glass.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 26, 4:58 am

>65 booksaplenty1949: Can we not do this, please? What does any of this have to do with Dahl, or Folio Society discussion? Transgender people, including trans women, are people just like you or I or anyone else - they may even read and collect FS books and this forum may include trans readers among its number. They should be able to read and participate in this forum without feeling like their being is under scrutiny by other posters, or that they are unwelcome here.

I think you could also do with developing your insight into transgender matters before assuming you're qualified to speak on what motivates transgender people. Being a transgender man has nothing whatsoever to do with escaping oppression as a woman, any more than people can choose their sexuality to escape prejudice. Trans men are not women, they are men. A trans man's social transition is about knowing that he is a man, in the core of his being. As for your comments on 'cultural appropriation' which I assume are directed towards trans women, given the distinction you draw with trans men, I can tell you that as a cis woman, I've never felt 'culturally appropriated' by the existence of trans women, nor have I ever felt that trans women are somehow appropriating any oppression I experience as another woman. Certainly, as a group, trans women are a more vulnerable demographic than any category I can say I belong to, and they're welcome to share my 'culture', whatever that is.

Incidentally, threads like this, and posts such as >65 booksaplenty1949: and similar preceeding posts in this thread going largely unchallenged (apart from by the tireless LolaWalser, doing God's work), are the reason I no longer participate in this forum much at all. They seem to be getting ever more prevelant, and just make the forum a less pleasant place to spend time, especially when one just wants to discuss Folio books.

helmikuu 26, 6:00 am

>71 agitationalporcelain: I agree…if you say anything inclusive, people ask you not to talk politics, but then there’s a lot of cheap mockery of real issues. Incidentally the mockery of others has always struck me as odd on a board for those who enjoy literature.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 26, 6:35 am

>72 RRCBS: Yes. I've noticed and felt this too. There's a tendency towards "What you say is politics. But what I say is common sense, the way things are, the facts of the matter." I think a lot of it comes down to people who are not used to having to, or have never learnt to, interrogate their own suppositions. They go through life feeling terribly confident that things are just how they experience them - there are no other experiences out there, no other ways of understanding the world. Then perhaps, when they see someone else giving thought to something that perhaps they'd not considered before, it shakes those foundations a bit. It's a shame, when there's so much out there just to learn about.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 26, 7:24 am

This thread proves itself and grows to the preposterous. We are now arguing about reality. If a person experiences their existence, how can they assume it's wrong to feel a certain way unless they appropriate another's existence? Asking for a friend?

Roald Dahl was a talented writer, and those that find offense with his work will not suddenly want to read these books. This is a way to get schools to buy these things and make a buttload of cash using tax payer money. This has zero to do with inclusivity. It's a grift, just like almost any other in this foggy, political and illiterate world.

helmikuu 26, 7:22 am

>74 CobbsGhost: I don't think I'm arguing about reality, more commenting on the ways in which people engage with the world around them. Which reality are you arguing about?

helmikuu 26, 7:26 am

( >74 CobbsGhost: Thanks for demonstrating my point about what you say and what I say, by the way. And so emphatically. I was a bit worried that no one would oblige.)

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 26, 7:30 am

>71 agitationalporcelain: Trans women are more vulnerable than women? The vulnerability is exactly what they are appropriating. While beating up in a highly masculine way on anyone who dares question that their experience might be different from that of someone who has lived her whole life as a girl and woman. But you are right; this is not the place to discuss these issues. I am old enough to remember a time when “gender expression” was deemed simply a matter of culture, and if you gave your boys dolls to play with and your girls trucks, all these phoney distinctions would go away. Now apparently “gender expression” is so intrinsic it cancels DNA. I am hoping to see this go away too, but not through LibraryThing talk posts, I agree.

helmikuu 26, 7:32 am

>77 booksaplenty1949: I'm glad you agree that this is not the place for these statements, despite continuing to make them here yourself, in the same post. What you say, what I say, etc.

helmikuu 26, 7:51 am

>78 agitationalporcelain: Well, it crossed my mind that I might be suspended from LibraryThing, and that made me nervous.

helmikuu 26, 7:58 am

>79 booksaplenty1949: As long as the net result is fewer meanspirited and exclusionary posts on this forum, I'll take it.

helmikuu 26, 8:06 am

>75 agitationalporcelain:
Because not bending to your moral perception is bad, and you not bending is doing God's work? I get it, but my question and comment stands. It's not mean, I'm not mean, I'm just not buying the grift.

helmikuu 26, 8:12 am

Which of Dahl’s stories should I read first?

helmikuu 26, 8:18 am

By the way, was the Dahl set just released by FS (can't be bothered to check)? I notice it's front and center on their website. Might as well capitalize...

helmikuu 26, 8:29 am

>81 CobbsGhost: OK, I'll take your question in good faith, and answer in kind. You asked how someone can assume it's wrong to feel a certain way without appropriating another's existence.

First of all, I would ask you to consider whose existence is being appropriated here, in your framework? Which existence? There is no one single experience of "woman", any more than there is one single experience of 'human' or 'person'. Women are not a vague homogenous blob - some (cis) women (I would say a minority, according to polls in the UK) are hostile to both the idea and reality of trans people, others like myself include trans women in our understanding of 'woman'. So is my existence being appropriated? I reallly don't think it is. But I'm a woman. Am I wrong not to feel appropriated? And if you flip it on its head, and start from a point of considering that trans women are women, just like tall women are women, and short women are women, then trans women are already women, and there's nothing left to be appropriated.

Second, in terms of 'assuming it's wrong' to feel a certain way (and just for clarity, I would say that 'feel' here might be more accurately expressed as 'be perceived, by oneself or others', but I'm sticking with the wording of your question) - I would ask you to consider whether you feel that you yourself are a man, or a woman, or both, or neither, and whatever answer you come up with, ask yourself, how do you know that's the 'correct' feeling, without reference to the identity or existence of others?

I also never claimed to be doing God's work myself, that's for my disciples to decide.

helmikuu 26, 8:29 am

>83 adriano77: Markets gonna market.

helmikuu 26, 10:18 am

>84 agitationalporcelain: I would ask you to consider whether you feel that you yourself are a man, or a woman, or both, or neither, and whatever answer you come up with, ask yourself, how do you know that's the 'correct' feeling, without reference to the identity or existence of others?

Personally I only feel that I'm a human: from my earliest memories I've been aware that I'm a male human, almost everyone I've ever met will have regarded me as that (a store's Santa Claus deceived by my long hair as a four year old is the only exception I can remember), but I'm not sure any specific feelings attach to it. It's an acknowledgment of my biological form. A very good friend is a trans man who has felt, from a very early age thirty-odd years ago, that the body he was born in was wrong. My understanding of that will never be complete because I've never felt my body to be either wrong or right: I think if I were to wake tomorrow morning in a female body my response would be chiefly interest rather than grief, alienation or horror. I'm sure many trans women are as completely genuine in their gender identities as my friend is in his, and I wish them unthwarted and rewarding lives, but the scope for abusing the claim to be a trans woman is perfectly obvious.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 26, 11:25 am

>86 terebinth: I get the sense that your comment is made in good faith, and I appreciate that, but your phrasing here is interesting:

I'm sure many trans women are as completely genuine in their gender identities as my friend is in his... but the scope for abusing the claim to be a trans woman is perfectly obvious.

(I hope you don't mind my redaction, this is just to clarify the parts of your comment I'm responding to, I don't doubt that you sincerely wish people well.)

Surely there's scope for anyone to abuse a claim to be anyone or anything? (Take Brian MacKinnon or George Santos, for example.) What makes trans women a special case here? Is it right to treat a whole group of people with suspicion, because we can imagine someone may be acting nefariously while claiming membership of that group (to be clear, I'm not trying to say that this is what you're doing, but it's where this line of thought inevitably leads, in my view). Is there a particular need or benefit for a predatory cis man to pretend to be a trans woman to achieve whatever ends he sets out to achieve, when the news shows us with exhausting regularity that it's fairly simple for predatory cis men to achieve whatever harm they set out to do quite successfully, without pretending to be anyone, let alone a trans woman.

I'm also curious about where you say "(you're) sure that many trans women are genuine" - again, I'm not trying to be accusatory here, and I'm sure you've chosen your words without ill intent. But why "many"? Surely most trans women are genuine in who they say they are, just like any other demographic? We don't routinely assume that significant numbers of a particular group are 'bad' in some way, and let that assumption inform our thinking about the rest of that group, unless we're harbouring some rather large prejudices, or at the very least, biases. "Many" suggests that those members of the group who are living genuinely and in good faith may not even be the majority, and I don't think it's reasonable or fair to assume that's the case.

helmikuu 26, 12:03 pm

>83 adriano77: Dahl Set 1 was released in Autumn 2021 and Dahl Set 2 came out in Spring 2022 so if Folio see a bump in sales it's probably more of a happy accident for them than anything else. Not that they will be complaining.

helmikuu 26, 12:22 pm

It really takes, call it guts to ask what I`m about to ask in a community such as this.

But, .. here goes: Is this still about Dahl? My cat is curious, am I even allowed to ask. If it is, I`m sorry for cutting in between.


Also, about the enormous bit from Charlie, and other bits, is changes like this even helping more than it does potential harm. If anything it`s fuel for stand up comedians, and other comedians. I can`t see how this (literary changes) can do overall much good. One might say it does, but does it really, much other than school purposes dictated by teachers. Some probably, others probably not, so it evens out, causing a bigger gap at best between two kinds of minds, so what`s the point. Why not write something new and modern instead of changing what once was.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 26, 12:43 pm

>84 agitationalporcelain:

So we agree that feeling you don't belong in your body might be a particularly normal experience because we are not set to be a very specific type in a very specific body. It's absolutely normal to not like yourself and many could enhance that to a mania. But you're answering my question and I appreciate that, I don't think it means what you think it means,.

I will add that your points are exactly how I would frame an argument for my side. How can one assume they feel like a woman if they've never been one and why do they assume that they are because they are unhappy? Do they think they'd prefer to be a woman and assume they would fit this type of person? Are they appropriating how a woman would feel or behave? How is anorexia and belemia considered an illness then if you just don't like yourself?

But we can't cross that bridge in a topic about grifting.

helmikuu 26, 12:41 pm

>84 agitationalporcelain:
So we agree that feeling you don't belong in your body might be a particularly normal experience because we are not set to be a very specific type in a very specific body. It's absolutely normal to not like yourself and many could enhance that to a mania.

No, we don't agree on this point at all and I don't believe anything I've written on this topiccould be reasonably construed to mean this. My point was more that in usual circumstances, cis people "know" their gender instinctively without needing to give it much thought, or think about how their feelings and perceptions of their own gender compare to others. Trans people can/do instinctively know their own gender in the same way, the difference is just that some people's known, understood gender differs from that which may have been projected onto them from birth. But just because cis people often don't need, or aren't compelled, to interrogate their own sense of gender in this way, it doesn't mean that others' sense or knowledge of their own gender is flawed or untrue. I'm sorry if this didn't come across well. But as you have now returned to accusing trans people of 'grifting' (is being trans a particularly lucrative pursuit? I've certainly never noticed that to be the case), I accept I was wrong to engage with you in good faith, and will draw the line there.

helmikuu 26, 12:45 pm

>87 agitationalporcelain: Is there a particular need or benefit for a predatory cis man to pretend to be a trans woman to achieve whatever ends he sets out to achieve...

That depends on what those ends are, and the circumstances of the individual: there are obvious potential benefits, for example, for the all too well publicised instances of convicted and imprisoned rapists claiming to be trans women. Their claims aren't for me to assess.

I said "many" rather than "most" so as to leave the question open rather than pre-judging it: the meaning of "most" is fixed and non-negotiable. I would be fairly confident that abusers of trans status are relatively few, but the very prominence of transgender issues lately seems to me inevitably to be causing gender confusion in many individuals who wouldn't have felt it before. I read recently of a school where a sixth-grade girl changed her pronouns, wishing to be considered a boy, and within a short while her whole circle of friends did likewise. There's absolutely no evidence, to my reckoning, that any of those children are "bad", but every reason to suspect that some of them at least are mistaken, or that their present impressions of their gender identities won't last. So, no "treat(ing) a whole group of people with suspicion", but my "genuine" was intended to be distinct not just from "fake", who I trust would be a small minority, but also from "tentative, unclear, unstable". I find it hard to guess the numbers of people who may be finding themselves in that category.

helmikuu 26, 12:46 pm

>88 Cat_of_Ulthar:

It's the very first item on the store's main page beneath the banner and, as you confirm, isn't a new release. So, I'm guessing it isn't an accident at all. Not that I really care one way or another but just found it amusing. I mean, there's always the possibility that the set's been sitting in prime position for the last year...

helmikuu 26, 12:46 pm

>91 agitationalporcelain: You seem to be hijacking the thread. The topic was about changes to Dahl’s texts which the writer (due to being dead) was not asked about or which he gave permission for

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 26, 1:32 pm

>91 agitationalporcelain:

I'm accusing the rewriting hacks and Puffin of grifting, not trans people. The growing trans movement is in part due to a grift, but that's another issue.

>91 agitationalporcelain:
I was sidetracked and had to finish something and see this response is still agreeable to my conclusions in >90 CobbsGhost:.

We don't need to continue the conversation, I've thought well and long about the trans mania and have concluded it has become a malicious abuse in the medical and political community that is causing extreme suffering. This is just like many other issues where so-called victims are used and tortured by the government and medical establishment for money and power. The people being used are not the grifters, the people using them are.

Roald Dahl's case here I'd more of the same. Being enormous is actually worse than being fat. Stigmas will stick to the next word, on and on forever. This is a ludicrous idea that only serves to harm minds not help by pretending that a new word describing a bad thing solves the issue.

helmikuu 26, 1:36 pm

>92 terebinth: You make fair points about 'many/most' and I appreciate your reply and your caution against fixed, definitive statements. I suppose my position is more about personal perceptions/assumptions - I like to think that most people mean well as they go about their business each day, for example. I'd be willing to say that most people mean well. Now perhaps I'm wrong, and 51% of people are actually out to cause havoc for everyone else, but I wasn't making a definitive statement about how many people do actually mean well. I was expressing my assumptions about people in general, and how prepared I am to regard people in good faith. I think the question of many/most scales down to individual groups in the same way, and when one group is viewed with less good faith, or with more scepticism, than others, that's going to eventually be harmful to that group in particular, and to society in general (because we all benefit from a society that treats its minority groups fairly).

I'm not familiar with the story about the sixth grader, but I might suggest that at that age, children are exploring their identies, trying on different hats, and sometimes it takes one person in the peer group to make it 'OK', for the others to have the corouge or confidence to do so themselves. I don't doubt for many of the group, it will be a phase, but adolescents/young adults have always explored phases, it's nothing new. It's just that society has progressed to the point where trans identities are now more visible, and young people have the means to describe what they may be feeling, whereas in past decades they may not have had the vocabulary to express this. Young people may also explore different sexualities before deciding they're actually straight - that doesn't mean that other sexualities are more liable to include 'mistaken' people in their number, as adults. Similarly, I have enough faith in trans people's own sense of themselves, that for those whose gender identies persist past the point where they could be considered a phase, they are genuine in who they say they are.

Regardingthe point about prisoners - well yes, but I ask, is this actually happening, in a meaningful, impactful way? There are checks and balances in the prison system - no one automatically gets free run of their choice of prison simply by declaring their gender, possibly disingenuously. For the case that's been in the Scottish news recently - the prisoner was not going to be placed among the rest of the (female) prison populace for the period they were initially going to be housed in a women's prison, given the nature of their charges/conviction. Then, the decision was reviewed and the prisoner was placed in a men's prison. That was the system working as it should - each case assessed and interrogated on its own merits. I would still say there are far more productive avenues open to predatory men who wish to cause harm to women, than by pretending to be trans. No one was placed at risk by a decision to place a male prisoner, who was potentially making a malicious claim to be trans, among the population of a women's prison, because that decision simply didn't happen. If one's concern is the welfare of women in prison then the question should really be about how and why a lot of women prisoners end up incarcerated in the first place, but that's definitely not a discussion to be had on this forum (or at the very least, should have a separate thread ;))

I do also sincerely apologise to other devotees for drawing out this discussion after claiming to just want to talk about books. That claim was sincere but Terebinth's posts deserved consideration and response. But speaking personally, I intend to take any further discussion on this, if there is any, to DMs.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 26, 1:45 pm

>93 adriano77: Sorry, I wasn't clear. By 'happy accident' I meant that Folio couldn't have anticipated all this publicity.* I wouldn't be surprised if they bumped the Dahl books up the page in response but I don't actually know. And I don't know whether the publicity or the position on the website will have the greater effect on sales although I suspect the former because that's likely to bring people looking in the first place.

*Unless they're in on the conspiracy with Penguin ;-)

helmikuu 26, 1:43 pm

>94 DMulvee: I was not the person who raised the topic of trans people, or made exclusionary/mocking comments against them. I just happen to be one of the people who challenged those posts - if you're concerned about the thread going OT, take it up with the posters who introduced the topic long before I responded. And frankly, if there are trans people reading this thread or this forum, it's more important to me that they know that not everyone on this forum supports the comments that were made, than whether you think I ought to have responded or not.

helmikuu 26, 1:48 pm

>97 Cat_of_Ulthar: That's Big Book for you ;)

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 26, 1:50 pm

>99 agitationalporcelain: You have written 13 of the past 29 messages and are off topic. Please stop hijacking this.

helmikuu 26, 1:53 pm

>98 agitationalporcelain:
It isn’t that we support or don’t support the various opinions stated here, it’s just that for the purposes of this forum we don’t care. We are supposed to be discussing books. Solving society’s controversies can best be discussed on Facebook or Twitter.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 26, 1:59 pm

>100 DMulvee: You're welcome to bring this to DM, as per >96 agitationalporcelain: otherwise you may with to consider that you're at least partly responsible for the hijacking of the thread. I'd have liked to have not needed to respond to the thread in the first place, but here we are. I feel the conversation with Terebinth was worthwhile (Terebinth may disagree) but I've already apologised for my part in the derail and offered to continue off-forum if anyone feels compelled to discuss anything I've said further. You're the one who's keeping this going I'm afraid.

And really? You edited your post from 12 to 13 to underline how off topic I am? That 13th post was entirely on topic! Dear me.

helmikuu 26, 2:16 pm

>98 agitationalporcelain:, >100 DMulvee:, >101 jroger1:

Well, threads in this group have long exhibited a propensity to wander far from their origins: I confess to enjoying it as long as discourse stays temperate and respectful, which on this occasion it broadly has. Hard to see how this particular thread could have avoided a degree of entanglement with "society's controversies", since its subject is intrinsically controversial - if that weren't the case a single post mentioning the revision of Dahl's texts would have awakened little or no response of any kind. I struggle to see any difficulty in simply leaving alone any thread in which one has no interest.

helmikuu 26, 2:18 pm

>102 agitationalporcelain: I feel the conversation with Terebinth was worthwhile (Terebinth may disagree)

I don't disagree at all, but others may ;)

helmikuu 26, 2:22 pm

>90 CobbsGhost: Rachel Dolezal clearly “felt” she was Black. She “identified” as Black. How was that received by “cis” Black people? Not well. Despite the fact that I think we would all agree that “race” is not a scientific category, unlike biological gender. Personally I think it’s symptomatic of women’s oppression that they are expected to be fine with sharing whatever few privileges they enjoy—-being on the women’s swim team, for example—with anyone who chooses to request them.

helmikuu 26, 2:23 pm

helmikuu 26, 7:05 pm

>105 booksaplenty1949:

To keep this as brief as possible, I won't reference your previous posts, especially as agitationalporcelain wrote excellent responses.

Your militant conviction in the equal relevance of your opinions and what the transgender people themselves say about it is a huge obstacle to even beginning to understand the topic. Please consider that until relatively recently people were equally adamant about homosexuality being a pathology, or that women were incapable of abstract thought etc., regardless of what the gay people or women claimed and demonstrated to the contrary.

I'm by no means an expert on transgenderism, I only consider myself an ally and as such have been interested to read some of the growing literature on the subject BY transgender people. I sincerely, in friendship, invite you to do the same.

In fact, one of Folio Society's own much-published authors, Jan Morris, also wrote one of the first memoirs of transgenderism, Conundrum. It's a classic, and Morris' authority and integrity, either as a trans woman or a person who was not just an acclaimed historian but also an ex-soldier when she began to transition, is surely beyond doubt.

However, no individual speaks for an entire group, especially as generational changes step in. In Morris' day, the hard gender binary was still taken for obvious; today we're increasingly finding it more apt to understand gender as occurring on a spectrum. Books by Kate Bornstein and Julia Serano, for example, show how the notions are developing on the topic today.

The related science is way behind what some may think, and keeping in mind the sorry history of human biology, it's best to abstain from grandiose pronouncements about what is or isn't a scientific "fact".

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 26, 7:42 pm

>107 LolaWalser: Recall, way back in the day, Morris on some BBC show about how great it was to have men stand up when “she” walked into the room, and pull out “her” chair. Yup, I ‘m once, twice, three times a lady. What a travesty. It’s a free country. Choose your name. Choose your wardrobe. But I feel violated by the idea that womanhood can be appropriated in this way.

helmikuu 26, 7:40 pm

I’m blocking this thread now, and I might block certain individuals who refuse to stick with posted topics despite repeated requests.

helmikuu 27, 7:59 am

The editing of the Bond books proves to me that this is purely about money and public perception. They want to keep the property as commercially viable as possible for as long as possible, full stop. The few edits that I've read in those are awful, and frankly they should just leave them as they are. Rehabilitating Bond has been done decently by the movies, so the books can remain how they are, as dated and offensive as they might be. Again, write new stuff if you want it to match the times. Bond is, at its core, sexist and imperialistic, so once you get done recutting the original fabric, you don't have a lot left to stitch back together.

helmikuu 27, 4:56 pm

>110 Shadekeep: Or, as a great philosopher once said, "No! Stop getting Bond wrong!" ;)

helmikuu 27, 6:28 pm

>108 booksaplenty1949:

I appreciate the expanded reply. :)

I only encountered Morris' voice in print and don't know how she may come across viva voce. But even in print it's fairly obvious she had a certain sly, arch sense of humour, and her intelligence is in no doubt. So to me it's a huge stretch to assume from that quip--which sounds more like a conversational icebreaker or sally than anything--that she's seriously suggesting she underwent the transition for such trivialities. Those little things like men pulling out the chair for her were simply gratifying little signs that she was finally seen as she was.

This is not to say that Morris was necessarily likeable, I'm personally not too fond of her somewhat imperialist outlook and manner, nor would her privileged, white upperclass persona necessarily speak to the bulk of trans people. But all that is beside the point, which is that whatever else she was like, she transitioned because she was afflicted with a condition in which her assigned-at-birth gender did not match her internal experience of herself. She tries to explain this state and accompanying sensations in her book, and so do the other authors I mentioned. I can't do better than they do, and you're missing out terribly if you refuse to listen to their experiences.

It's such a pity to waste time being angry, causing grief to self and others about something that is a non-issue. It's not possible to "appropriate" gender because there is no one way to be a woman or a man. There is no one state, physical or mental, that corresponds to "being a woman" or "being a man".

If you'll bear with one more suggestion from me... this John Oliver segment (warning, trademark salty language) has the advantage of being instantly available:

Transgender Rights II: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 28, 7:45 am

>112 LolaWalser: As aforementioned, I have no issues with name, wardrobe, or plastic surgery choices. I understand that, especially with the last, these are not frivolous choices and come from a deep psychological need. But while there is no one way to be a woman, just as there is no one way to be Black or First Nations, that does not mean that no “appropriation” is taking place. Morris was a choirboy in the all-male choir at Christ Church Cathedral, attended Oxford when there was a relative handful of spots available to women, covered the Mt Everest expedition and the Suez crisis as a journalist—assignments I feel confident would never have been offered to a woman—-I could go on, but really, what did he know about a woman’s life? Anyway, I’ve said my bit. I’m certainly not angry, just bemused, especially having lived through previous era when the line was that if boys and girls were raised the same way we would all be the same. Ideas come and go.

helmikuu 28, 1:29 am

We’re living in a brave new world where you can be born as a poor black boy and die as a rich white woman - Michael Jackson.

helmikuu 28, 7:12 am

>71 agitationalporcelain: thank you for your empathic, intelligent and informed response. Comments like yours go some way to restoring my faith in LT and FSD.

helmikuu 28, 11:49 am

>107 LolaWalser: "The related science is way behind what some may think, and keeping in mind the sorry history of human biology, it's best to abstain from grandiose pronouncements about what is or isn't a scientific "fact"."

I quite agree with this comment. I would also suggest, however, that the statement "Trans Women are Women" is also a grandiose pronouncement. I have yet to be convinced that JKR has done anything worse than to disagree with this particular statement.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 28, 1:59 pm

I feel like you answer and affirm my thinking and somehow, we conclude entirely different things. You consider me a waste of time, because I don't agree with you and you find my language, probably as violent. That actually bugs me a bit because conversation is so dismissive these days and even I tried to dismiss your comments because I was too busy at the time. I see so many on this board believe some very dangerous things and find 'other' viewpoints as disturbing and horrible or wasteful. You must see that by saying:

>84 agitationalporcelain:
"There is no one single experience of "woman", any more than there is one single experience of 'human' or 'person'. Women are not a vague homogenous blob - some (cis) women (I would say a minority, according to polls in the UK) are hostile to both the idea and reality of trans people, others like myself include trans women in our understanding of 'woman'. So is my existence being appropriated? I reallly don't think it is. But I'm a woman. Am I wrong not to feel appropriated? And if you flip it on its head, and start from a point of considering that trans women are women, just like tall women are women, and short women are women, then trans women are already women, and there's nothing left to be appropriated."

You must conclude that the same is for men? Why is it wrong for a man to feel as though they relate to a more "feminine" sort of existence? They are assuming a new gender because being this other gender, they obviously believe, has a certain way of feeling or behaving? Why is it that we can agree on everything except that? My only point of this appropriation bit is, trans people must assume that they would have to be a different gender in order to feel or behave the way that they do. There's absolutely no way around that or they would not be seeking to identify as another gender. There's absolutely no reason you cannot be a more feminine man without assuming a new gender. We are not all the same and that is exactly the point. Denying the reality of sex only allows one to play a character, it does not alleviate them of the reality.

I actually feel like the sort of affirmation you partake in, leads to some damaging surgery, and those lead to serious side effects. You should research some of these cases. I do hope that this mania will subside, it is a dangerous game to play with one's body, to only appease a mind temporarily. For some reason, everything that is being affirmed is making someone lots of money, and it is not the people that suffer with being overweight, or trans or addictions, it's always someone that's selling something. You must understand that I believe we are all suffering with one thing or another, and I do not hate people for that. But there are two sides to this. You might find me as a waste of time for not affirming their thoughts, and maybe I find your affirming damaging because it is dismissive of a greater issue.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 28, 5:21 pm

Back to Dahl, in case anyone missed it, the backlash against Puffin was swift and furious, and they have released the following statement --

Puffin announces today the release of The Roald Dahl Classic Collection, to keep the author’s classic texts in print. These seventeen titles will be published under the Penguin logo, as individual titles in paperback, and will be available later this year. The books will include archive material relevant to each of the stories.

The Roald Dahl Classic Collection will sit alongside the newly released Puffin Roald Dahl books for young readers, which are designed for children who may be navigating written content independently for the first time.

Readers will be free to choose which version of Dahl’s stories they prefer.

I'm slightly confused - were the original texts not going to remain in print? If so, that would be truly horrendous. That said, if they were always going to remain in print, why the need for this announcement? Maybe more capitalization or saving face?

Also, per The Times
Apparently readers who bought electronic versions of Dahl's works prior to Puffin Books making their "revisions", are having their eBooks updated automatically, and without their consent. I truly wonder, what sort of highly overpaid nincompoops sit in meetings thinking such bowdlerizing is a good idea and would be met with glee...

helmikuu 28, 5:29 pm

>118 astropi: The e-book thing is not new and is considered a feature (at least by Amazon for Kindle) - if the book is updated, they update yours as well. They don't touch the books you had already downloaded unless you press on the Get Updated book or something like that but if you want to download again, it is the newer version.

Which is good if you end up with an extra story or more extras or with a better edited book (or one with a table of contents or real pages and so on) but not so good in this kind of situations.

If these new editions were indeed replacing the standard Puffin editions bought in the past, that's... bad.

maaliskuu 1, 12:51 am

Yes, they were being replaced, not printed simultaneously. Say of that what you will.

maaliskuu 1, 10:02 am

>117 CobbsGhost: I wonder if anyone born with XY chromosomes in Afghanistan these days experiences “gender dysphoria” and decides to live as a woman. Not bloody likely, I imagine.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 1, 12:35 pm

>121 booksaplenty1949: If you are trans and live in Afghanistan, it is wise to keep pretty quiet about it given the threats of violence or worse. But there were still trans people there at the time of this report and, for all I know, there still are.

Edited for clarity.

maaliskuu 1, 12:56 pm

This is so alarming. Is this because these books are considered "children's books"? I hate to see what's next. Is there no end?

maaliskuu 1, 3:55 pm

>120 cwl: I say that's horrible. How anyone can defend that and try to claim the books are not being censored is beyond me. Keep in mind, I absolutely dislike Dahl -- a nasty nasty person as I previously noted. That said, many people regardless of race, gender, religion, have loved his books and I feel that whitewashing them accomplishes nothing.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 1, 5:03 pm

>122 Cat_of_Ulthar: I am not talking about anti-LGBT prejudice. I’m talking about the exclusion of women from school and all aspects of public life. Is anyone voluntarily taking that on who could otherwise live as a man?

maaliskuu 1, 5:29 pm

>125 booksaplenty1949: This is not the gotcha you think it is. Consider that trans people living under the taliban may resist socially transitioning, not because they fear exclusion from school and all aspects of public life, but because they fear exclusion from life itself. That is, being killed. Oppressive regimes tend not to distinguish too much between oppression of women and oppression of LGBT+ people.

Anyway this Dahl fella, he was a bit rum wasn't he.

maaliskuu 1, 5:51 pm

>126 agitationalporcelain: Agreed. The Taliban are scum of the Earth. The things they do are the real stuff of nightmares. Here is a short video by Human Rights Watch on LGBT+ people in Afghanistan -- warning, it's not easy to watch.

Anyway this Dahl fella, he was a bit rum wasn't he.
Well, if by "rum" you mean strange, then I would say no. Dahl was more like "excrement" -- don't get me wrong, incredibly talented writer. But as a human, excrement.

maaliskuu 1, 5:55 pm

>127 astropi: Sorry, that was a possibly misguided attempt to bring a bit of levity. My position is probably not a million miles away from yours - good stories, otherwise not very nice.

But that's enough about the Taliban.

(Sorry, I'll stop now.)


maaliskuu 4, 4:07 am

maaliskuu 4, 11:37 pm

>9 LolaWalser: You are absolutely benighted. There is no right, as we may be coming to see presently, than the right of free expression, as distasteful as it may be to some others.
Any advocate of censorship should be condemned.
What astounds me is how Puffin got the right to alter Dahl's books.

maaliskuu 5, 3:22 am

>129 agitationalporcelain:

Heh, heh :-)

Thanks for sharing that.

maaliskuu 5, 3:40 am

>129 agitationalporcelain:

Thanks for sharing that.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 5, 12:53 pm

>130 laotzu225:

In case you're wondering, you can't actually insult someone, only their ideas. The richest part of it is, you condemned censorship, only to find yourself insulting one of the leaders of the censorship brigade on LT. Folks under British rule aren't necessarily free to talk on these matters, if they find themselves caught on the wrong side of thinking they can get in trouble.

maaliskuu 5, 12:54 pm

>116 TheEconomist:

I would also suggest, however, that the statement "Trans Women are Women" is also a grandiose pronouncement. I have yet to be convinced that JKR has done anything worse than to disagree with this particular statement.

Trans women are women in the same way and for the same reason you are whatever gender you say you are--you are the only authority on that question.

Rowling's disagreement with the statement that trans women are women isn't just embittering but endangering lives of trans people around the globe because she is a celebrity with a platform reaching millions of people. Moreover, her statements are now tied in with a general conservative attack on civil rights, where the focus on the trans people serves to mobilize forces which are then turned against a whole array of other issues.

maaliskuu 5, 3:02 pm

>134 LolaWalser: Am I the “only authority” on whether I am Black, First Nations, or Métis? And if not, why is this different?

maaliskuu 5, 4:07 pm

>135 booksaplenty1949:

It's different because being "Black, First Nations, or Métis" is a question of cultural tradition.

Now, can you stop treating this subject like a stupid game and appreciate that people are dying because of bigots who won't let them be?

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 5, 4:32 pm

>136 LolaWalser:

The only stupid game I see hereabouts is the one that seems to anticipate malicious bigots being relieved of their malicious bigotry if they can only be cowed into accepting the redefinition of common words in ways that make absolutely no sense to them.

maaliskuu 5, 4:42 pm

>137 terebinth:

The endless would-be "gotchas" proffered here by booksaplenty are indeed a stupid game while malicious bigotry is killing and otherwise ruining the lives of trans people as we post.

What supposed redefinition of a common word doesn't make sense to you?

maaliskuu 5, 5:21 pm

>137 terebinth: >138 LolaWalser:
Gentlemen, you can't call things stupid in here, this is the defending puerile name-calling in children's books thread.


(Sorry. Couldn't resist. Love you both xx)

maaliskuu 5, 6:27 pm

>136 LolaWalser: No. You could adopt the “cultural tradition” of the Black, First Nations, or Métis community all you like but if it were demonstrated that that was an assumed identity on your part you would be in big trouble. On the other hand, someone who was of this background but, say, adopted “out” and raised far from their traditional community would be perfectly entitled to subsequent recognition as a member of it, should they so choose. In any event, playing the “people are dying” card is really not an argument.

maaliskuu 5, 6:38 pm

>129 agitationalporcelain: Lovely. Here it is in it's full glory :)

maaliskuu 5, 6:43 pm

>139 agitationalporcelain:


Very fitting reference.

I'm getting tired of the subject because there is no sense in discussing when the other side doesn't bother to acknowledge proffered information. I've contributed some references to trans people's own words about their experiences, and another to an intelligent ally's dissection of the politics behind this newest witch-hunt.

Anyone who refuses such sources of information has only themselves to blame for continuing to ignore and misunderstand the subject. Which has gone far beyond questions, posed in good or bad faith, about defining words (as if word definitions descended upon us from the heavens, instead of being made and re-made non-stop in effort to improve our descriptions of reality) or why Rachel Dolezal has zero relevance for trans-anything.

For anyone wishing to learn more, there are several LGBTQ+ groups on LT where a polite query would surely lead to far more material than was offered and covered here. There is also a thread dedicated to the subject, headed "Recent trans news", in the Feminist Theory group.

Please avail yourself of these or other trans-friendly sources you can find.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 5, 6:51 pm

>140 booksaplenty1949:

You could adopt the “cultural tradition” of the Black, First Nations, or Métis community all you like but if it were demonstrated that that was an assumed identity on your part you would be in big trouble.

Right--but you can't demonstrate that someone who says they are a woman is not a woman. Why can't you see this?

maaliskuu 5, 7:00 pm

As a trans intellectual on authority, I am the authority on authorities and declare the trans conversation an immovable one. Talking points aren't helpful in convincing anyone but the censorship brigade will become more malicious if you do not concede to their new speak.

Most here agree that Dahl's work being edited for so-called inclusivity is a money game at best and his work should suffer or thrive on its own merit.

On a side note, Folio has the collection on the US home page, how long has that been there?

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 5, 7:29 pm

>138 LolaWalser: ...while malicious bigotry is killing and otherwise ruining the lives of trans people as we post.

It is, and I wish I could see a remedy: I would back any movement that might help spread gentleness, common humanity and mutual acceptance into the most brutish corners of society. But the tedious and nonsensical storm over "what is a woman?" will only inflame such bigots as may be listening to it, while fuelling the hero-worship of such figures as Andrew Tate.

Saying "Trans women are women in the same way and for the same reason you are whatever gender you say you are--you are the only authority on that question" surely compels such pesky questions as >135 booksaplenty1949: keeps raising. Among whom do you incarcerate the rapist who now declares himself a woman? Must penis-owners be welcomed into women's changing rooms? I rarely see my wife bridle as she did this afternoon when I mentioned meeting the term "vagina owner" in connection with the menopause - that it usually affects vagina owners somewhere between the ages of 45 and 55 - "I don't own a vagina, it's a part of me", like liver and heart and brain.

My brain... well, my mind... fizzes and sputters and stalls at the notion that I'm the only authority on the question of my gender: I've just gone along with what was most likely first declared by a midwife and has been observed by others since. I've always detested gender stereotyping, not least because I'm often on the wrong side of it, but take that away and what of gender is left? Very little, as I see it, other than the details of one's body, which the small proportion of transgender people, who have always existed, feel was wrong at their birth in a way I wish to acknowledge but probably can't hope to understand. Maybe there I'm setting a high bar for understanding, it's a habit: I won't think of claiming to understand the attraction of any human stance or activity unless I've felt it myself, and even then its attraction to another won't necessarily at all resemble its attraction to me. But...I do think there's immense scope for human misery and torment to be increased by popularising transgenderism, even if the popularity endures, and more so if it wanes: not least from the -ism part, the movement aspect, the tendency to treat as apostates or enemies those who go some way toward gender reassignment and find themselves regretting it. With no statistics to hand, I both fear and expect that suicide over gender issues is far more prevalent than in, say, Jan Morris' prime, when in general the only people to whom their gender was a live issue were those into whose lives it forced its way as entirely their own response to life, from within.

I ramble, deplorably.

maaliskuu 5, 7:36 pm

>143 LolaWalser: I can demonstrate that someone doesn’t have two X chromosomes, and that’s my definition. Just like the “blood quantum” legal definitions of the other groups mentioned. There is no consideration of “cultural” status.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 5, 8:08 pm

Viesti ryhmäsi ylläpitäjältäThis discussion has diverged too far off topic for too long.
Please bring it back to the discussion of Dahl's books.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 5, 10:37 pm

>145 terebinth:

If you don't mind, I'll answer this later as there are many topics raised (and all of them, believe it or not, HAVE been answered at least a million times on the internet in the last fifteen years or so--nothing new under the sun...)

>146 booksaplenty1949:

Well, your definition based on chromosome status is not only uselessly reductive, it's way out of date, by at least half a century. Chromosomal sex is only one aspect even of sex determination, not to mention gender--this was old hat when I was at the uni 30+ years ago. Any textbook on human genetics ought to be enlightening on the subject.

There are male-presenting individuals with XX chromosomes, and vice versa. Briefly, not just the presence of chromosomes matters, so do their number and expression. Long before this current transgender rights debate, there were people presenting as male or female and living their entire lives as men or women but carrying "opposite sex" chromosomes.

"Quantum of blood" is bollocks, if you'll 'scuse my French. Back when racists in the US instituted this rule ("a drop of blood" as it is known), its application was wholly dependent on memory--who begat whom. Which is still the main way people know to which race and ethnicity they belong, technically at least. Rachel Dolezal, as far as I know, hasn't claimed any Black or PoC ancestors at all. Nobody else seems to have knowledge of any of her ancestors being Black or PoC. This is why her statements (insofar they haven't been warped in a media telephone game and truly state that she believes she is Black) are delusional, or knowingly false.

Ethnic groups depend mainly on memory too. Genetics don't distinguish sufficiently between large groups for anyone to claim with certainty that every given individual belongs OR doesn't belong to a group. What matters is memory. Or, in Canada, regarding status in First Nations:

Eligibility is based on descent in one's family. A person may be eligible for status if at least one parent is, was or was entitled to be registered as 6(1). A person is also eligible if two parents are registered as 6(2). These are references to subsections 6(1) and 6(2) of the Indian Act.

See? No "quantum", "drop of blood" twaddle, no chromosomes, no genes; but familial and tribal memory.

Finally, can race and/or ethnicity be "felt" like gender is? Does one have an intimate knowledge of one's race and ethnicity as one does of one's gender?

Let me answer the first part first: race and ethnicity are not felt as an intimate biological reality. How do we know? We know from many testimonies of people who didn't know/didn't think they were "black" or "white" until they were brought into a racialized context. I have lived this transition from a world in which I not once gave a thought to my race, to a world in which I was constantly reminded of it. Chimananda Ngozi Adichie tells of the same-but-opposite experience in Americanah--hers was of course also far more unpleasant than mine; I discovered I have racial privilege (despite not asking for nor wanting it), while she was being newly subject to racism.

And ethnicity, does it even need explaining? How many babies were born into one ethnicity but raised in another and never knew it? Again, any intimate feeling of belonging doesn't depend on what our genes are telling us, but people around us.

As for gender, this is where it's important to understand that insofar we are "cis", that is individuals whose assigned-at-birth gender matches our experience of ourselves, we are badly poised to understand what the transgender are feeling. For them--if only one listens to the testimonies!--it's a question of constant discomfort-to-pain, a tormenting feeling of wrongness that typically appears very early, as early as gender roles start to be applied in childhood. For Jan Morris it constituted one of the earliest childhood memories, this discomfort and fear of being "found out" as a wrong 'un. Julia Serano describes a similar experience.

But imagine having to fight as a child of three or four for redressing some wrong you can barely conceptualize, let alone put in words. How is that little girl in John Oliver's video supposed to argue with a grown-up who is accusing her of "appropriating" gender?

And again, all of this is so much unnecessary strife. Women, and men, are already constituted by so many diverse people with so many diverse experiences, appetites, mentalities, habits, anatomies, genotypes and phenotypes, that transgenderism genuinely makes no difference theoretically or practically.


>145 terebinth:

terebinth, I responded in the Off Topic group:

Whether you choose to reply or not, thanks for sharing your opinions, and I hope I may have allayed at least some of your fears. All the best!

maaliskuu 5, 9:06 pm

>147 wcarter:

I didn't see your message before I posted. Terebinth, I'll write my response in another group and edit >148 LolaWalser: with a link. No obligations to read or respond if you'd rather not, of course.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 5, 9:17 pm

>149 LolaWalser:

It took you an hour to write that? You could have simply provided any number of links to sponsored propaganda and saved time. The new speak you're using has been beat in the field with the deadest of horses.

The direct defiance of administration is obvious.

My question is still out there, does anyone know how long Dahl's books have been on the front page of Folio's site?

maaliskuu 6, 2:23 am

>148 LolaWalser:

you tell 'em, LW!

maaliskuu 6, 8:27 am

Another good Guardian thinkpiece on the controversy, and one which pretty much aligns with my own take. Also brings up the money aspect, as I have.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 6, 12:29 pm

maaliskuu 6, 12:19 pm

>141 astropi: Thank you, that's a vast improvement. I'm afraid re-hosting and embedding the image was a faff too far for me on a Saturday morning so I took the easy option with a link. Thanks for doing all the hard work :)

maaliskuu 6, 4:05 pm

>154 agitationalporcelain: Not a problem :)

Well, sounds like the censorship is spreading, as many feared it would...

Goosebumps author removes references to weight, mental health and ethnicity

The Goosebumps author, who has sold over 300 million copies of the 62-book series, the second highest-selling series ever after the boy wizard, is re-releasing e-book versions through publisher Scholastic which include over 100 edits across more than a dozen titles, according to The Times.

One character is described as “cheerful” in the new series, as opposed to “plump”, while another character who had “six chins” is now described as “at least six feet six”, the paper reported. Other references to violence or the attractiveness of female characters are also said to have been sanitised...Other edits are said to include a character’s African American heritage no longer being mentioned in one of the titles and a description of a group as “very overweight” supplemented with “huge”...Several mentions of the word “crazy” have reportedly been removed across the series, and a character wondering if a monster intends to keep him as a “slave” has also been altered.

Reissued copies of Ian Fleming’s Bond novels have also been amended to remove a number of references to race, although sexist language and offensive terms for east Asian people remain. Stine and Scholastic did not respond to a request for comment.

maaliskuu 9, 8:17 am

The head honchos of the culture industry say that they’re interested in making sure their titles can be “enjoyed by all today”. If that were true, wouldn’t the most natural thing be to leave books as they are, perhaps with explanatory warnings as introductions, and let them recede from cultural memory, like so many offensive stories already have, making space for new works that deserve to be amplified? Of course, that would be a much riskier financial proposition than pumping out remakes and reprints of evergreen bestsellers.

Also interesting that one sensitivity reader "who was mixed race and non-binary, was paid 0.009 cents per word to check that books’ content fit with the reality of their lived experience." So this aspect of the industry is exploitative as well? Quelle surprise.

maaliskuu 9, 10:14 am

If someone approached a mainstream publisher today with the ms. of a story which, say, cast racialised people in stereotypical negative roles, that publisher would consign it to the shredder. Clearly such an author would be aware that these views were controversial and would be consciously trying to make a point. That is a much different situation than an author reflecting the conventional biases of his or her time. That is the norm; the person who can see past them is one of the few and far between. These biases, like the anti-semitism of The Merchant of Venice, deface the works in question, but remind us that human enlightenment is an ongoing project.

maaliskuu 9, 6:59 pm

>156 Shadekeep: I thought 0.009 cents per word was a typo in your post, so I looked it up. Either the article has a typo or the reader would be paid $9.00 for a 100,000 word book.

maaliskuu 9, 7:47 pm

>158 SDB2012: I think it's probably (and sadly) accurate. Pittances from the gig economy, without even the illusion of "apprenticeship in the trade".

maaliskuu 10, 12:09 am

Are we seriously now having a discussion about how much censors should be paid? No matter what New-speak title they give themselves, that’s what they are. This is one area where it looks like the market may well be overpaying for their value. Between the cultural values supporting this trend and the vandalism being inflicted by the Arts Council cuts and this week’s news of the BBC destruction of the classical music ecosystem in this country, I am feeling particularly depressed this morning.

maaliskuu 10, 10:12 am

>160 cwl: I think we're discussing the absurdity of it.

maaliskuu 10, 10:13 am

A friend once wrote to the company that makes ReaLemon juice complaining about a commercial that depicted (apparently) Japanese people mispronouncing the name, to intended comic effect. He received a reply “explaining” that this commercial had been vetted by some Japanese-American focus group the company had put together and they were fine with it. The idea that one individual, or one unofficial group, can decide what is or isn’t offensive to a community they supposedly “represent” is absurd. Saving money by employing a bi-racial lesbian in a wheelchair to sign off for three or four “groups” is self-parodic.

maaliskuu 10, 10:45 am

maaliskuu 10, 11:13 am

>163 cpg: Well, that is making fun of the middle-aged white man’s pronunciation. I guess he’s always fair game.

maaliskuu 10, 12:16 pm

>164 booksaplenty1949: A key rule of good comedy is punching up, not down.

maaliskuu 10, 12:22 pm

>165 Shadekeep: True. That’s why a man in a skirt is funny, but not a woman in pants.

maaliskuu 10, 1:18 pm

>164 booksaplenty1949:

But then there's the punchline.

maaliskuu 10, 1:55 pm

>167 cpg: By French standards most of us can’t pronounce Chevrolet, so maybe a step up from ReaLemon.

maaliskuu 10, 8:16 pm

This being the Folio Society forum, it's useful to once again point out that FS publishes the original texts (and what many would consider the canonical illustrations). So this really isn't an issue in this specific case. I personally won't be patronising the bowdlerised version of these (or any) books, but not because of confected high dudgeon about sensitivity. I simply object to this process of alteration, made even more foul by being driven by the crass motive of money.

maaliskuu 11, 1:14 pm

>169 Shadekeep: Original texts? Pre-Oompa Loompa change?