The Curmudgeon


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Where They Ban People, They Will in the End Also Ban Books

A supermarket chain in straight-talking Australia has shown the poncy Poms a thing or two by banning a children's book from its shelves because of "comments by a limited number of concerned customers regarding the language used". The book is Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes, in which the author re-works various well-known fairy tales. Among other delights, it presents the case against Goldilocks for breaking and entering, property damage and theft; while Red Riding Hood, if I remember right, disposes of the big bad wolf with a pistol she whips from her knickers. However, the censors are concerned neither with juvenile crime sprees nor with phallic-envious aggression against animals. The rhyme which has exercised the limited patrons of Aldi Australia is the one about Cinderella, in which Prince Charming's idea of fun is to chop people's heads off. "Who's this dirty slut?" he cries on seeing the heroine; "Off with her nut! Off with her nut!" The problem was the word slut, of course. The Prince uses the term in its older sense of a messy or untidy female, and it is arguable that even Roald Dahl did not intend him as a role model, linguistic or otherwise; but such pleas of mitigation count for nothing with the limited patrons of Aldi Australia or their po-faced protectors at Head Office. To be fair, a country that needs G4S to protect it against refugees must have a rather delicate constitution.


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