Modern Day Censorship
Agatha Christie, Ian Fleming, Roald Dahl, PG Wodehouse, Enid Blyton… who’s next? Your favorite classic author, maybe.
Modern publishers like @harpercollins, @penguinrandomhouse, and @puffinbooksusa have recently taken to editing classic books (whose authors are no longer with us) in order to coddle modern sensibilities. Anything deemed offensive by today’s “sensitivity readers” gets scrapped. If we continue in this trajectory, the landscape of classic literature could completely change.
There are a few problems with the use of sensitivity readers in editing classics:
1) It’s censorship (as defined by the ACLU: “the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are ‘offensive,’ happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others.”)
2) The authors cannot consent to their works being changed. It removes autonomy from the artist and manipulates their art in an inauthentic way.
3) The people deciding what is and is not offensive are biased individuals with their own political agendas – they do not speak for everyone.
4) When we rewrite the classics, we rewrite history – and consequently miss out on the lessons our past can teach us.
I am a huge advocate of buying used books for many reasons, but one is that we cannot trust modern day publishers to offer undefiled works of our favorite classics anymore. Likewise, supporting censors will only lead to more censorship. It’s time to pull our support and find other ways to build our libraries.
“The first step in liquidating a people is to erase its memory. Destroy its books, its culture, its history. Then have somebody write new books, manufacture a new culture, invent a new history. Before long the nation will begin to forget what it is and what it was. The world around it will forget even faster.” -Milan Kundera
So…as modern culture becomes more fragile in terms of language, our appetites for sexual perversion become more robust – according to publishers anyway. The books get racier and racier. Sexually explicit content is being injected in books for younger audiences. Mainstream publishers are rejecting books that don’t have smut or agenda driven content. All the while, they censor classics that don’t meet their progressive requirements.
If you think that mainstream publishers don’t have an agenda, you’re wrong.
But 99% of the current conversation concerning book banning and censorship is taking place elsewhere – over in the school libraries, where parents are objecting to the sexually explicit books their children are bringing home from school. Which…isn’t actually book banning or censorship. Parents have a right to protect their own children, and the adults in society have a responsibility to make sure that children are provided a safe and productive learning environment.
As I said in my post about the timeline of obscenity laws in the US, the last frontier to conquer in the progressive’s battle to create a completely sexually permissive society is childhood. Don’t concede. Don’t let them gaslight you into thinking that curating children’s libraries is book banning – while they turn around and edit whatever books they find offensive.