The whole censorship/rewriting the past movement is really stuck in my craw.
So with a certain irony and after much deep thought, I have decided to lobby my library to remove all Harry Potter books from their shelves and from all libraries.
Now before you wonder if I have lost my sanity overnight, let’s look at these books. They are about witches, wizards, spells and have a character so scary his name can’t even be spoken; they encourage children to believe brooms can fly; they glorify a game called Quidditch, which is obviously dangerous AND they are racist.
A person who has human, non-wizard blood is called a muggle; whilst supposedly encouraging the love of the differences in our midst, they ridicule and revile muggles, won’t let them join in their secret societies and conduct witch hunts to weed them out.
Now I ask you can we allow these horrors to exist?
Yesterday when the world was young, and so was I, my parents would have encouraged me to read Harry Potter and see the parallels with modern society. But they were not written and so I read books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Laura wrote in the 19th century about her family’s life on the Great Plains, a series known collectively as The Little House Collection. Whilst we might not like the way some things are expressed and may find some descriptions absolutely abhorrent, that is the way people spoke then. If her books were history textbooks, would all the offensive terms and descriptions be deleted?
Come the 21st century and apparently today’s teachers, be they parents, grandparents or paid employees are not capable of leading and encouraging children to think, to get them to look at something and decide if it is right or wrong. The perpetually offended decree that our minds must be spared anything not pre-approved by them. Worse still, they work in arrears destroying, banning and rewriting. They have obviously not heeded the words of Winston Churchill: “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
Somewhere along the way they elected and anointed themselves as the guardians of all things right and proper. We lesser human beings were not even given the opportunity to choose who sits in this intellectually superior group.
Why is the hair on the back of my neck standing on end? Is this scenario familiar in some way?
Not content to decide what we read, our guardians also decide what we shall watch and Mr Bond is out. Poor 007! No longer is he a womanising secret agent (some “secret” everyone knows his name and occupation) saving the world, he must be sanitised, brought into the 21st Century denuded of all personality. Even the museum named in his honour must remove everything offensive on its shelves. Removing everything about 007 which is, or could be, offensive to someone means goodbye museum!
Pity and head shaking for those of us who aren’t offended and just thought Bond, James Bond was an action character. As shameful as it is, I admit I never sat and analysed Bond, I just thought he was entertainment – time for me to be sent for re-education.
Some years ago I read a Time essay written in defence of Mario Puzo’s right to put the Mafia and Italians in the same book. Some felt The Godfather books slandered hard working, Italian-American families. The essay went on to metaphorically “rewrite” books by leaving such things as the potato famine out of Irish literature, Germany out of the Holocaust, even Jewish and Christian people out of the Bible.
George Orwell wrote a novel about a future dystopian society and as the eponymous 1984 came and went, we rather proudly patted ourselves on the back that we dodged that bullet. Seems to me it was just delayed.
Do I want to return literature, movies and thoughts to the old ways? No way.
Do I want all traces of their existence deleted from history? Lady Macbeth said “Things without all remedy, should be without regard: what’s done, is done … What’s done cannot be undone …”
A much lesser scribe than William Shakespeare, I say emphatically NO!!!!