Personally, I couldn't care less if these petulant re-writers/art vandals love or hate Kipling, or want Oompa Loompa's to be transgender, or think "black" tractors is somehow a racist descriptor (they actually nixed that adjective from Fantastic Mr. Fox, fearing it might send the "wrong message")...

...but let these do-gooders write their own damned novels, if indeed they can!

As someone who has dedicated a good portion of the past few years to realizing his life-long dream of becoming a failed novelist, I can heartily attest to Thomas Mann's wry observation: "A writer is someone for whom the act of writing is more difficult than it is for other people."

Real writing is hard, in other words. Censoring the dead, meanwhile, is as simple-minded as it is cowardly. Putting words in the mouths of those who can no longer speak, and sullying their reputation with this bilious nonsense, seems to me the height of pretension. A pox on all their houses!

Expand full comment
Feb 21, 2023Liked by Heather Heying

This is one of my favorite articles from NS. Your argument about “A-students” is well articulated.

This information about the censoring of past works is all the poignant as I just read 1984 by Orwell last month. It’s a page right out of the book. This whole story creeps me out. It’s one thing to edit websites or stories published online, but it feels like we are in a new realm when people start editing past works of art. Work that they didn’t create and have no claim over.

Expand full comment

2 things...

You know that Canadian shop teacher with the Giant prosthetic breasts? What if just last year he was disciplined and under threat of losing his job because he wouldn't embrace the board of education's woke agenda and policies? What if what he's really doing is mocking wokeness, under the protection of the woke's rules? Brilliant!!


As an oldster I decided to revisit books from my earlier years. Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn to name a couple. I'm not sure if they are in my local school's library, or if they've been retouched and "improved" , but those who would want to eliminate the N word may be close to illiterate themselves. Twain was using Huck to illustrate how base racist's are. But Twain's irony is probably pearls before the swine.

Expand full comment

I imagine the censored version of Twain's Innocents Abroad being somewhere in the 50-60 page range.

Expand full comment

Exactly! And that, of course, would be an utter travesty. I noticed that Roald Dahl's "editors" saw fit to replace a Kipling reference with a Jane Austen one... but how long until she's deemed inexcusably "of her time," too? A cis, white (dare I even say the word)... *woman* ... and one who frets and obsesses over relationships with (gulp!) straight, white men, no less?

Quick, someone call the Ministry of Truth for an emergency re-write!

At some point one wonders where all this ends... in some grayish gruel of bland, flat, cardboard character cutouts, all marching in reflexive lockstep to the monotone anthems of their own self-righteousness?

Oh, wait...

Expand full comment

Once again you are absolutely spot on, and the line "others of us can’t do math, but know that it’s necessary, and would rather not be lied to with it" was exceptional. Sometimes I wonder if these kind of cleansing threats don't serve to increase people's interest in purchasing the original books to preserve the history. Also find it amusing that apparently even Sam Harris is finally looking into the possibility of lab leak in creating the covidian era. What a crazy ass world we live in.

Expand full comment

Late to the party with this comment, but as a matter of interest, other children's lit was re-written during the late 60s to accommodate civil rights sensibilities. For example, The Nancy Drew books received such "editing" and along with those changes descriptive passages were deleted to dumb-down these stories. Sometime in 2019 I was poking around Half Priced books and discovered that an intrepid publishing house had re-issued the longer, Original Version. Interestingly, they felt the need to include an introduction defending their editorial decision. Regrettably, I did not snap them up at the time.

Expand full comment

I can't get over 'fact checking festival' - our culture is not only deluded, we are terminally boring!!! Lol...weh.

Expand full comment