Am I a silly old thing for wanting Enid edited?
I am the last person in the world who wants to include people. My ideal surprise birthday party would just be me, some sausage rolls and a magician.
Then I’d get annoyed if the magician started to eat my sausage rolls or tried to get me to participate by picking a card.
But according to my friends the worst trait I have is my woolly liberalism. I am pc and proud; unless there are other people around that I don’t want to upset. I might be pc but I’m still a liberal.
Inclusiveness is a little bit like recycling. In theory, everyone is in favour of saving the planet and organising our rubbish, but when you actually have to get a new bin in the kitchen it becomes a bit of a pain and something that other people should have to worry about.
I’d like to think that I would do anything for anyone, unless I actually have to do something, then I’d probably be busy.
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Political correctness hasn’t removed racism completely. It hasn’t removed sexism. It hasn’t done all the things it is supposed to do, but it has gone a long way to getting there.
These days we don’t necessarily judge people by the colour of their skin or their sexuality. We judge them by their friends, the clothes they wear or whether or not they like Bear Grylls. (That might just be me; he’s not even a real bear remember.)
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A lot of this is down to political correctness because slowly through each generation attitudes and questionable phrases are removed until eventually the inclusiveness pc is trying to create becomes the norm.
But don’t worry, there are still plenty of reasons to dislike people. My friends can certainly find ways of upsetting me. (Just because someone has four bags of crisps before lunch they’re suddenly obsessed with crisps are they?)
Often pc language is clumsy and sometimes it can be a pain, but if you go deeper into it you can see exactly what it’s trying to do. The one thing that appears to upset a lot of people is when books are edited for today’s society.
Books should not necessarily be part of social change when they are studied academically. However, a lot of classic children’s books are being edited to incorporate new pc terms and that is important.
The Famous Five remains one of my favourite series of books but it needs to be edited if they are to be read today. There are racist terms in these books, not necessarily due to any underlying opinions from Ms Blyton, they are more a product of their time.
It’s the same reason most women want to punch Julian whenever he tells Anne she’s a silly little thing for messing up the dinner. These words don’t need to be there and editing them out does not affect the story, however, you tell a Blyton purist this and they will hunt you down and drown you in lashings of ginger beer.
There is an argument that suggests if we are going to edit Blyton then where will it stop? Why not edit Shakespeare as well? Aside from the bizarre comparison between Blyton and Shakespeare, it is probably because of the audience.
If an eight-year-old can pick up a Shakespeare play and read it all the way through, understand the story and the underlying themes that the bard definitely put in there and haven’t been made up by English lecturers to make my life difficult, then they wouldn’t be interested in the adventures of four kids and a dog.
If they are that intelligent, able to pick up the subtle nuances of a text and still want to hear a Famous Five book, be prepared to answer some serious questions about Georgina. For some people editing a book and re-writing text is akin to re-writing history, but I can only assume these people don’t know what history is.
Most history, apart from my CV, is based on fact. Removing a few words that are now found offensive does not remove the theme of the book. What it does do is allow that book to be read in schools.
No one is trying to tell anyone how to think. That isn’t possible. What people are trying to do is to change attitudes and ideas and this always starts with language.
Removing a few words from a few books means those words might, slowly go. They are lost in their time and inappropriate for this age – a bit like Bonnie Langford.
The pc brigade isn’t going anywhere, so if you can’t bear them just take a minute to see what they are trying to do. It really is important.