History is fluid and time is an illusion

‘and lunch-time, doubly so.’ (Thank you, Douglas Adams.) Enjoy this while it lasts, because there is little doubt that some Owellian little prat somewhere in the future will be shocked at the idea of “Two pints, at lunch-time” being mentioned and re-write it. As Orwell predicted: ‘Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book re-written…’

I see the ‘sensitivity readers’ are following George Orwell’s instruction manual to the letter. In a situation worthy of Big Brother, we may be able to press for them to be arrested ‘far right wing extremists’ because… yes, George Orwell has now been put on a list of authors of… far right wing extremist literature, by some government apparatchik in the UK. He’s great company because apparently CS Lewis and Tolkien are ALSO on the list.

However, I suspect Puffin books, who own the Roald Dahl literary estate, will see Roald Dahl is considered ‘not extremist, but desirable (at least this week) thanks to their ‘Sensitivity editing’ (which is newspeak for Orwellian re-write of books and indeed, history). Some examples include getting rid of words like ‘fat’. And in THE WITCHES… well, you can’t say nasty things about wigs. In the new version you can’t go around pulling the hair of every lady you meet. No, no, no we must have a little sermon about the other reasons women might wear wigs. And a woman can’t merely be “working as a cashier in a supermarket, or typing letters for a businessman…” How insensitive! No, no, no! “working as a top scientist or running a business”. In MATILDA Joseph Conrad and Rudyard Kipling get unpersoned and removed… because… well SO insensitive. I mean, someone might read IF and feel inadequate or challenged.

Treasure your old copies, and hide them from the Ministry of Truth. You know, if the mission really is not offend readers (which I do not believe for an instant) print runs of small numbers are cheap and easy these days. Why not put out both the old and bowdlerized version – same cover, just in nice bold print on the cover, label the bowdlerized version as ‘sensitivity edited’ and see which one people buy. If they find one offensive, they won’t buy it. I’m going for 10:1 original: bowdlerized version.

Orwell may be stigmatized ‘Extremist, far right-wing literature. However, his book 1984 is about to be rewritten by Sandra Newman of 1984 from feminist point of view, will I am sure not be on the list. Hollywood studios are already vying for the rights (they’re quick learners, Hollyweird. I mean considering the vast success of the feminist remake of Ghostbusters, of course they would).

I keep hoping that we’re seeing peak woke – because people are getting sick of it… and the next one steps up and says ‘hold my beer’. Maybe someone needs to explain the term pendulum to them.

Talking of time – and IF I am afraid I fail, badly, at the ‘And wait and not be tired by waiting’ – It was a huge aspect of Trad publishing, and I think the thing I hated the most. It was the waiting, waiting, waiting… for things beyond your control which you could do absolutely nothing about. It’s one of the aspects of Indy I find so appealing, is most of the time, I am relying on me, and, when I am not, well, I DO have some control. At the moment, in my little saga with our petty local government officials – I am re-creating the Trad publishing saga, of waiting on well-paid people who lose nothing by keeping me waiting — where all I can do is… wait and hope. It’s played hell with my writing – I reckon cost me and my readers 4 books… for no real gain on anyone’s part – just petty-fogging. It’s not easy, and, certainly in my writing life, I am not going back to that stress.

22 thoughts on “History is fluid and time is an illusion

  1. I fear that the average reader doth not truly appreciate what a massive burden the birth and advancement of indie publishing has lifted from the backs of ever so many authors. Pity it was so late in coming, and I weep for all those mid list favorites of mine left starving in poverty.

  2. George Orwell being victim of the Ministry of Truth is peak 2023 and the year is only two months old.

  3. I found an unexpurgated Kipling poetry book, but didn’t realize that what I’d been reading before had been Bowdlerized. Apparently Elsie Kipling Bainbridge (or the editors) had toned down some of his poems, and omitted others from the collections. Now I see why he was scandalous, besides being honest and making non-English into fully-realized characters. There are some rough spots that took me aback. BUT, I still love his stuff, and it makes him more human even as I wince a bit.

    “You just need to be patient and trust the process,” and “The editor has the manuscript now. Just be patient,” are down there almost with “No worries, we’ll get it right this time,” as phrases of looming disaster. When the process is broken and tilted to favor one side, and writers and readers get left in the dark [need a tee-shirt “Not a Mushroom”], why trust either the process or the system and philosophy behind it?

    1. “You just need to be patient and trust the process,” and “The editor has the manuscript now. Just be patient,” are down there almost with “No worries, we’ll get it right this time,” as phrases of looming disaster.

      Almost as good as, “We’re from the government, we’re here to help!”

      1. This was the Complete Verse edition released on Kindle two or three years ago. Project Gutenberg probably also has the unexpurgated version now in the US as well as in Australia et cetera.

    2. I found (and bought) a copy of his collected poetry in a second hand store once. It was from the early 20’s, IIRC. I’m pretty sure printed before Shicklegruber and his ilk came to power in Germany. There were two swastikas printed on the cover. I wonder if it contained the unexpurgated poems. I’ll have to figure out which box it’s in and check.

  4. Oh, and don’t forget the proof of Relativity – the speed with which time passes varies with which side of the bathroom door you are on.

    1. Albert Einstein is said to have described relativity thusly:

      “If a pretty girl sits on your lap for an hour, it seems like a minute. If you put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, it seems like an hour.”

  5. Orwell was a right wing extremist? Orwell? The guy who fought (as in literally, put his life on the line, not as in put out a few profane tweets) for the Communists in Spain? The guy whose second-best known book, Animal Farm, is practically a piece of Trotskyite propaganda? The guy who was further to the left than most of these people could even see from where they are?

    Oh, but that’s right: despite his biases, he insisted on seeing the truth right in front of his face rather than agreeing that 2+2=5, Comrade Stalin is right to execute all those traitors to the perfect Soviet State, and women with penises are totally a thing. Thus, he’s clearly “right wing.”

    1. Not quite–the contention is that he’s been appropriated by right-wingers.

      That having been said, it kind of seems like the list of authors associated with right-wing extremism is “anyone who had bad things to say about leftists.”

      1. “What are you talking about?” “You’re paranoid!” “The slippery slope is just a fallacy!” “Look, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are making ridiculously exaggerated caricatures of your position, don’t you feel foolish!”

        Meanwhile, the tiniest joke or phrase is now a dog whistle and a hint of burgeoning f@$cism that must be censored and the perpetrator driven out of private and public life.

        Kind of makes you think…

        Nah…you don’t want to be one of THEM, do you?

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