Don’t gobblefunk around with words: Rishi Sunak attacks ‘airbrushing’ of Roald Dahl classics

Don’t gobblefunk around with words: Rishi Sunak attacks ‘airbrushing’ of Roald Dahl classics
Опубликовано: Monday, 20 February 2023 19:26

British PM’s spokesperson criticizes updates to late author’s work in latest ‘culture wars’ intervention.


LONDON — Publishers introducing contentious changes to works by the classic children’s author Roald Dahl are Twits, the British prime minister has indicated.

Dahl’s estate and publisher faces a pushback after it updated his works to be more suitable for modern audiences.

New edits include the removal of any reference to “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”‘s Oompa-Loompas as “small men” — now “small people” — and the removal of the word “fat” from every book. The changes were initially reported by the Telegraph newspaper.

The Roald Dahl Story Company said any updates to the late author’s work were “small and carefully considered.”

“When publishing new print runs of books written years ago, it’s not unusual to review the language used alongside updating other details, including a book’s cover and page layout,’’ the company said in a statement. “Our guiding principle throughout has been to maintain the storylines, characters, and the irreverence and sharp-edged spirit of the original text.”

But the British PM has joined several public figures in criticizing the changes to books including the “Big Friendly Giant” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. Author Salman Rushdie said the edits were “absurd censorship,” while the actor Brian Cox claimed they were an example of “woke” culture.

Wading into the row over rewrites, Rishi Sunak’s spokesperson criticized the changes.

“When it comes to our rich and varied literary heritage the prime minister agrees with the BFG that we shouldn’t gobblefunk around with words, ” the spokesperson said, using a word Dahl invented for playing around with language.

“It is important that works of literature, works of fiction, are preserved and not airbrushed,” they added.

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