Tim Minchin shared his views on text editing following discussions about changing language in Roald Dahl’s novels.
Musicians composing stage musicals Matildaadapted from Dahl’s 1988 book about an intelligent, abandoned girl with telepathic powers.
Earlier this year, an investigation found that some of the author’s books had been rewritten to remove controversial language.
IN Charlie and the Chocolate Factoryfor example, Augustus Gloop is now described as “big” instead of “fat”.
Minchin, who has worked with Dahl’s properties on several occasions, was asked for his opinion on the conversation about whether the texts should be changed for sensitive reasons in the a new interview with guard.
“There seems to be an unbelievable gradient problem when editing text,” he began. “I mean, my initial reaction, when I heard about it? ‘We will now have to take all rapes out of all history books. Then the world will be a better place.’”
Minchin, 47, went on to claim that the concept of changing language has less to do with ethics than it has to do with financial gain.
“It is an interesting part of modern progressivism, that a great deal of change is taking place because corporations have identified where their bottom line profits are best served,” he explains. .
“Problem one, as I see it? If you do this once, you’ll have to do it with all the text, removing all the words that might upset people.
“Problem two? You’ll have to change it all back in 5 years when the new words you put in are out of vogue. So those are two problems of slippery slopes. You are standing on top of a double slide. And now you’re spraying soap on the damn things.
Following backlash over the revelation that Dahl’s books had been altered, Puffin said it would keep “new” versions of Dahl’s books but also offer the original editions.
It was later announced that a number of Agatha Christie’s books, including the mysteries of Poirot and Miss Marple, would also be rewritten to suit modern sensibilities.