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Jul. 15th, 2017

whocares1970: (Default)
Let me quote:

<< One day, a few years ago, when my girls were small, I read them Mary Poppins, the notably bizarre but durably beloved 1934 fantasy by P. L. Travers. Things were going along just fine, with Mary arriving on the east wind to kick off a series of magical adventures for her charges. Then we got to chapter six - "Bad Tuesday."

This chapter revolves around Mary's remarkable compass, which not only tells way to north, south, east, and west, but also sends Mary and the kids there. Mary barks "North!" and they find themselves at the North Pole conversing with a polar bear. The command of "South!" lands them in a steamy jungle where they eat bananas with a hyacinth macaw. "East!" takes them to China and a panda bear, while "West!" brings them to a beach where they encounter a seaweed-serving dolphin.

It was the dolphin that did it. Maybe the exotic specificity of "hyacinth macaw" should have made me wonder, but it was the dolphin, environmentalism's poster mammal, that jerked my gearshift from doting mother to PC-detector. Was it possible, was it plausible, that P. L. Travers - a British subject born at the end of the reign of Queen Victoria, the high point of the British empire - would choose a polar bear, a hyacinth macaw, a panda bear, and a dolphin to represent the four corners of the earth? Not bloody likely. (Later, I learned that the panda didn't even appear in the West until Ruth Harkness brought a cub named Su Lin out of China in 1936, two years after Mary Poppins was first published.) Another hand, contemporary and clumsy, was at work, as indicated by the note to be found in the 1997 edition's table of contents: "Chapter Six (Revised version)." A quick dip into the local library fished up a suitably old unreconstructed copy of Mary Poppins, which revealed what drove modern-day editors to rewrite the thing.

Turns out, Mary's original spin around the globe took her and the children not to visit animals of different species, but human beings of different races. To the north, in the original chapter six, Mary & Co. rub noses with "an eskimo man...his round brown face surrounded by a bonnet of white fur."This, of course, was not a face of Inuit rights advocates were going to love. His "eskimo wife" goes on to make an offer whose generosity would be lost on PETA: "Let me get you some fur coats. We've just been skinning a couple of Polar Bears." In a southern desert, a black-skinned family offers, gulp, watermelon to the parched travelers - not only ballistically "incorrect," but also botanically improbable. ("My, but dem's very white babies," the mother, her tiny "picaninny" in her arms, tells Mary.) To the east, they encounter a punctilious Chinese Mandarin, whom P. L. Travers has dressed in a kimono - which, of course, is a Japanese costume, not to mention a fashion don't for Asian activists. To the west, they meet Chief Sun-at-Noonday: "'My wigwam awaits you,' he said in a grave, friendly voice. 'We are just frying a reindeer for supper.'" (Diana West, "The Death of the Grown-Up. How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization") >>

Diana then goes on to discuss the significance of this rewrite, but I would like to point out a different issue. After the Donald Trump's victory last November, certain "progressively"-leaning bookstores filled with hastily printed copies of George Orwell's "1984". The obvious significance is that the anti-utopian world is what Orwell depicted is what Trump and his followers are building here. In fact, when my oldest sun was studying "1984" in school circa 2005, it was kinda obvious from the teaching that that world was being built by Dubya and the rest of the Republicans. And yet it is the "progressives" that edit not only our history, but also works of the literary arts to suit their agenda.

Meanwhile, Astrid Lindgren's books are burned in Sweden.

And some books like the beloved Dr. Seuss's "If I Ran the Zoo" are no longer reprinted for being politically "incorrect" (and articles are published describing how bad it is), while the good doctor's "brand" name is used to crank out very different works. (You can still buy the original "If I ran the Zoo" or read it online: https://www.scribd.com/doc/139350028/1950-If-I-Ran-the-Zoo-Dr-Seuss).

What can I say? "1984" is the book, indeed.


whocares1970: (Default)

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