Did Not Age Well
Society has changed since I was a child. Most of the changes are positive, such as making great strides toward reducing racism and sexism. However, there have been setbacks, and two examples are grunge music and the Tide Pod challenge. What were people thinking? What are they still thinking?
These changes surrounded me, and I adapted to what was new. Bell-bottom jeans? I was lucky to have parents who did not buy them for me. However, I took a deep dive into 80s music, which still makes up 90% of my playlist. RUSH RULES!!!!! Alright, truth. I did wear corduroy pants, OP shirts, Jordache Jeans, and a salmon pink shirt. Stylin’
Unfortunately, there is a problem with books and movies. They stand as anchors to how society used to be because writers wrote them at a single point in time. For example, a risqué funny scene that is now considered sexist. Therefore, we look down on “outdated” works.
Nobody can predict what society will find offensive in the future. Plus, writers run a fine line when adding “shock value.” Often, controversial additions were barely acceptable when the work was released. However, we also appreciate that it is difficult to create something popular and, more importantly, make money.
An excellent example of a material that did not age well is the now-banned eleven Looney Tunes (Bugs Bunny) cartoons of the ‘40s and ‘50s. (They are still available on YouTube and on one DVD release, so they are not “banned.”) These cartoons had racial stereotypes that we now consider offensive, and by the ‘70s, the cartoons were no longer on television and were not available to anyone. At that time, consumers couldn’t purchase any television show or movie. Eventually, these cartoons got re-released on videotape and DVD with a strong disclaimer.
Well? What do we do? Ban these works? Edit them? Add a disclaimer? Start a WOKE campaign to “remove these dregs from society?” These solutions have been implemented and continue to be implemented.
A good example of a recently edited book (by the publisher) is the works by celebrated children’s author Roald Dahl’s books. (James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The Witches, Fantastic Mr Fox, The BFG, The Twits, George’s Marvellous Medicine, and Danny, the Champion of the World.) The publisher’s goal was to remove “offensive descriptions.” However, there was an unexpected pushback from parents and bookstores. This has created quite a controversy on both sides of the issue, and several bookstores are refusing to carry the altered versions:
Well, what is an author supposed to do? Not write offensive works? Not take risks? Only write in the “safe past?” Umm? Do your best to be a good author… That is the best advice I have.
What about a concerned/conservative parent or a sensitive adult who dislikes filth in our society? My opinion is that the world has changed and is not going back. Trying to rewind the clock makes the problem worse. Preparing our children to stop reading or viewing when they encounter offensive material.
What about something public, such as the statue of a brutal historical figure? Umm… Fortunately, this blog is about books; I do not have to address that topic.
I try to write respectively, and this limits what areas I can explore. Of course, my morals also define my entertainment choices. Life is full of compromises, and we (my blog readers) can only do our best.
You’re the best -Bill
March 15, 2023
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