Yet another author is having their work re-edited to remove insensitive language.
But the push to revise older works is not going over well in some circles.
On Wednesday, “The View” co-host Whoopi Goldberg noted Ian Fleming’s “James Bond” books are being reissued to commemorate the 70th anniversary of “Casino Royale” — the first novel in the series.
However, she pointed out they are being “re-edited to remove any racist content.”
“Y’all gotta stop this,” Goldberg said. “Just put a disclaimer on it that says, ‘Listen, this book was written at this time.’ Or put out the original and what y’all have done because kids should have the right to read how people thought so that they know how to make the change.”
Watch the video below:
A broken clock!
Whoopi denounces efforts to censor/rewrite historical literature because of "offensive" content.
"Y'all got to stop this. Just put a disclaimer… Kids should have the right to read how people thought so that they know how to make the change." pic.twitter.com/jYXrVzbKcw
— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) February 27, 2023
The co-host noted, “They tried to do this to Mark Twain as well because they were so concerned that the N-word was in the book.”
“Well, that’s how they did it. That’s what it was,” she continued. “We don’t want people doing it today, and you don’t see it as much. That’s how people learn.”
Goldberg joked she might be “crazy” for her views about revising older works.
The Independent shared an example of one of the changes to Fleming’s books, “Revised lines include Bond’s assessment in Live and Let Die that African would-be criminals are ‘pretty law-abiding chaps I should have thought, except when they’ve drunk too much,’ which has been changed to ‘pretty law-abiding chaps I should have thought.'”
However, it added, “References to the ‘sweet tang of rape,’ ‘blithering women,’ doing a ‘man’s work,’ and homosexuality being described as a ‘stubborn disability’ have been kept in.”
The push to revise older works is somewhat understandable. It can be offensive or, at the very least, uncomfortable to come upon racial slurs or other insensitive language.
But encountering ugly language and the unpleasant feelings that come with it can be used as a lesson of how not to act and treat others.
And it can show society’s progress in trying to treat everyone equally — or where there are shortcomings.
If publishers are concerned about the language being offensive, then they should have a note — as Goldberg suggested — explaining such phrases were commonplace when the work was written.
Or they should at least consider following the example of Puffin Books with Roald Dahl’s books and releasing two versions — one with the original text and one with the revised text — and let readers decide which one they want.
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