The Book Burning Is Beginning: Roald Dahl’s Past Works Being “Edited”
For those who haven’t heard, a higher power is now apparently going through Roald Dahl’s books (you know, the man who wrote Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) with a fine-toothed comb to try and brush out anything that anyone might deem, da, da, da, daaaaaaa, offensive.
There are several things deeply alarming about this.
First, the pursuit of trying to make anything “unoffensive” is a fool’s errand since this is about as relative a perspective as there is.
Any piece of art that is created, any book published, any movie or television made, any comedy voiced, etc, is 100 percent going to offend or upset or discomfort someone somewhere.
Thus, if this is our new measuring stick for creating something? That it better not offend anyone? Nothing is ever going to be allowed to be said or created anymore out of free will, period.
Instead, it’ll all have to be submitted for the careful weighing and cherry-picking of a narrow group of people who get to use their measuring stick to determine and decide what is ok for culture at large and what isn’t.
The gatekeepers, if you will.
And in these conditions, the gravitational pull for companies wishing to make blockbusters is toward blandness: Delete anything anywhere that might upset anyone, writes Helen Lewis in The Atlantic.
This type of thinking and behavior is also closely tied to the concept of fascism, of which America is currently seeing a bunch of warning signs.
(Quick definition of fascism: an authoritarian political ideology and movement, characterized by a dictatorial leader, centralized autocracy, militarism, forcible suppression of opposition, belief in a natural social hierarchy, and subordination of individual interests for the perceived good of the nation and race).
Can you imagine if we used this relative, impossible measuring standard in the future creation of museums?