The debate over censorship is one of the most monumental aspects of culture wars in the United States today.
Americans have expressed concerns about censorship, its ability to spiral out of control, and the danger of determining that people shouldn’t be allowed to ingest content that others may not approve of.
Though people with less disapproving views of censorship have said it can help stop the spread of so-called misinformation and prevent people from being hurt.
The latest display of censorship, however, this one being a sensitivity audit of books written by Roald Dahl, has triggered backlash, according to Telegram.
A Closer Look at the Audit of Dahl’s Books
The publisher known as Puffin is the one doing the sensitivity audit of books written by Dahl in an effort to make them more digestible to a wide audience. This is not something that Dahl himself even agreed to, seeing as he passed away in 1990.
Nevertheless, Puffin is altering words like “white” and “black,” to avoid any mention of race. The publisher has also taken the liberty of altering certain descriptions of characters or objects that are deemed to be “ugly.”
As usual, Orwell had the measure of our times.#RoaldDahl pic.twitter.com/EwZ111eqaz
— Christopher Paolini (@paolini) February 18, 2023
Because many of Dahl’s books are so well-known and loved by readers, the sensitivity audit has come under fire from much of the general public. Some critics even warn that changing the phrasing or words cheapens the books and removes the author’s creativity.
The timing of this sensitivity audit also comes as Americans have been getting increasingly divided from one another over culture wars and other societal clashes.
Where Does It End?
If Puffin is willing to carry out a sensitivity audit on books written by Roald Dahl, then it begs to question which other authors may find their own work on the chopping block next. This is a prime example of the slippery slope argument that’s often brought up by critics of censorship.
Some authors may also be less inclined to work with Puffin if they fear the publisher could end up hitting their books with sensitivity audits or otherwise butchering them.
Roald Dahl was no angel but this is absurd censorship. Puffin Books and the Dahl estate should be ashamed. https://t.co/sdjMfBr7WW
— Salman Rushdie (@SalmanRushdie) February 18, 2023
With overwhelmingly negative reactions to what’s happening with Dahl’s works of literature, some people believe it’s a shame that Puffin has not agreed to walk back their sensitivity audit.
Readers and fans of various books who only stumble upon them post-sensitivity audit will undoubtedly miss bits and pieces of the author’s message, vision, and work. Hence, for people with concerns about cancel culture, it turns out that even books are not safe.
What do you think about the book publisher’s decision to conduct a sensitivity audit on one of the world’s most loved and read authors? Do you believe other authors will find themselves and their work on the chopping block of similar audits in the future? You can let us know in the comments area.