All the way back in that simple, innocent world we lived in on Feb. 19, I wrote: “They started with Roald Dahl, perhaps because no one will be too concerned about the works of an author of children’s books. But make no mistake: the bowdlerizers are by no means finished.” It took less than a week for this prediction to be proven true: it has been revealed that Ian Fleming Publications Ltd, which holds the rights to the novels that gave rise to the never-ending James Bond movie series, has given the master spy a woke makeover in new editions that are set to be published this April. Once again, make no mistake: Woke Bond won’t be the end of this madness, either. The censors are just getting started.
The UK’s Telegraph reported Saturday that the bowdlerizers have shredded, pureed, and reformulated the James Bond novels in order to shield the dwindling number of millennial snowflakes who actually read books from “racial references” that don’t suit contemporary Maoist sensibilities.
It’s certainly understandable that some of the Left-fascists who control the culture and almost everything else these days would think this had to be done. Ian Fleming, the creator of the James Bond character and author of the novels, was an Englishman who died in 1964. He couldn’t possibly have foreseen how sensitive we have become, or how fragile, how vulnerable to “microaggressions,” how mired in “systemic racism” we are. He was part of a generation that lived through two world wars and was made of sterner stuff. A few quips, a few jibes, a few chuckles – so what? Sticks and stones and all that, old man! But those days are gone. Long gone.
It seems that Ian Fleming Publications Ltd, seeing the writing on the wall in terms of how restricted the freedom of expression has become these days, actually brought this on themselves by commissioning a coterie of what are known as “sensitivity readers” to give the Bond books a once-over and deep-six the offensive archaisms. “Sensitivity readers” are actually genuine human beings who make a living by weeping over imaginary slights done to imaginary people by the words of works of fiction, and who oversee the revisions of those works to remove the slights so as to suit the ever-changing sensibilities of today’s supremely intolerant Left.
The new, toothless, Leftist Bond books will carry a small disclaimer that packs a large wallop: “This book was written at a time when terms and attitudes which might be considered offensive by modern readers were commonplace. A number of updates have been made in this edition, while keeping as close as possible to the original text and the period in which it is set.” They could just as well have said: “You’re not actually holding a James Bond book as written by Ian Fleming. You’re holding an approximation of a James Bond book, as revised by people who had neither the talent, nor the wit, nor the vision of Ian Fleming, but are arrogant enough to think that they can arrogate for themselves the right to prevent you from seeing what they think is offensive.” They would, however, never dare to be that honest.
What’s odd about the bowdlerizers’ work on the Bond books is that it doesn’t seem to have been thorough or consistent. The Telegraph tells us that “the changes to Fleming’s books result in some depictions of black people being reworked or removed.” However, “dated references to other ethnicities remain, such as Bond’s racial terms for east Asian people and the spy’s disparaging views of Oddjob, Goldfinger’s Korean henchman.” Not only that, but “references to the ‘sweet tang of rape’, ‘blithering women’ failing to do a ‘man’s work’, and homosexuality being a ‘stubborn disability’ also remain.” Why the inconsistency, Ian Fleming Publications Ltd? Either you’re going woke or you aren’t. Half-measures aren’t going to satisfy either your Leftist masters or anyone else. Either give us Bond as written, or give us fake woke Bond and let us know in big letters what we’re getting so we can avoid the new editions and hoard the old editions.
Some of the revisions in the new Bond books, as these things go, are just silly. In the original Live and Let Die, Bond refers to some African criminals as “pretty law-abiding chaps I should have thought, except when they’ve drunk too much.” The woke Live and Let Die has him saying, “pretty law-abiding chaps I should have thought.” Why on earth? Can’t have Africans appearing to drink too much, apparently. Then when Bond hits a Harlem nightclub, in the original, he “could hear the audience panting and grunting like pigs at the trough. He felt his own hands gripping the tablecloth. His mouth was dry.” What? People in Harlem likened to pigs? Can’t have that! (Because no white people have ever, ever been likened to pigs, doncha know.) So now, “Bond could sense the electric tension in the room.” Booooorrrring.
But the woke arbiters of acceptable statements couldn’t care less if you’re bored. They just want to assert control over every aspect of your life, including what you read for light entertainment. They want to close off every possible way for you to have a thought that strays from their orthodoxy. That’s why, when the new James Bond books come out, James Bond as Ian Fleming envisioned him will be dead.
Much, much more of this is coming. Save your old books. Get ready to hide them. That’s coming, too.
EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.