If it’s not Gummint fucking us over, it’s Gummint Lite (amazon.com) and its suppliers:
Owners of Roald Dahl ebooks are having their libraries automatically updated with the new censored versions containing hundreds of changes to language related to weight, mental health, violence, gender and race. Readers who bought electronic versions of the writer’s books, such as Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, before the controversial updates have discovered their copies have now been changed.
Puffin Books, the company which publishes Dahl novels, updated the electronic novels, in which Augustus Gloop is no longer described as fat or Mrs Twit as fearfully ugly, on devices such as the Amazon Kindle.
Dahl’s biographer Matthew Dennison last night accused the publisher of “strong-arming readers into accepting a new orthodoxy in which Dahl himself has played no part.”
I think it’s the “automatically” part that gets to me — even though I don’t have Kindle or any ebooks.
Thanks but no thanks. Paper, Dead Tree, whatever you want to call it, are mine, all mine. As for Kindle: turning them into “kindling” would be my suggestion.
Gee, if only there was a writer who predicted the insidious editing of books and the written record. Hhhmmm If someone writes a book like this, I suggest we call it “1984.” Oh, wait.
It’s more than just updating for “sensitivity”. How long before those in power start editing facts to make them fit the current narrative. At that point, the 1984 Ministry of Truth will exist in reality. “History has stopped.
Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”
Dead tree books will contain the truth, because alterations cannot be uploaded. (One wonders if book burning will then become required, as has happend in past history)
Mustafa Mond from Huxley immediately comes to mind
This is why you maintain your own library of ebooks (including Kindle purchases…there are ways to download them, de-DRM them, and convert them for use with the reader of your choice) and sideload them onto your reader. The cloud is only someone else’s computer, but what’s on your computer isn’t subject to this nonsense.
That said, it’d be nicer if Amazon would quit treating 1984 as an instruction manual. (Ironically, a few years back, there was a controversy involving a Kindle edition of 1984 that they memory-holed off of people’s devices, supposedly over some licensing dispute. Said irony was apparently lost on them.)
A friend of mine took his book collection digital and I asked if I could pick through and for $50 I could fill a box with books from his collection. He agreed not understanding why (as a technology geek) would want dead tree versions over digital. I simply said, “Do you think that Amazon is going to leave the content of their books alone forever?” That digital book can be changed with a handful of keystrokes and you’d never know. I carry a dead tree Bible for that very reason as well.
Today it is Dahl. Tomorrow it is CS Lewis, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and JRR Tolkein. There won’t be any limit to this if it is accepted.
Anyone care to start a list of books to acquire before they are no longer published or banned? They stopped publishing certain works of Dr Seuss because some soft skinned ninny found something objectionable in them.
1984 by George Orwell
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Gulag Archipeligo by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Boston’s Gun Bible by ???
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