Bond stories being edited for racial issues, Telegraph says

Cover to a U.S. paperback edition of Live And Let Die

Some Ian Fleming novels and short stories are being edited and altered to address racial issues, The Telegraph reported.

According to The Telegraph, Ian Fleming Publications “commissioned a review by sensitivity readers of the classic texts under its control.”

Many of the examples cited by The Telegraph concern Live And Let Die, Fleming’s second novel, which has sequences set in New York City.

An excerpt from The Telegraph article:

In the sensitivity reader-approved version of Live and Let Die, Bond’s assessment that would-be African criminals in the gold and diamond trades are “pretty law-abiding chaps I should have thought, except when they’ve drunk too much” becomes – “pretty law-abiding chaps I should have thought.”

Another altered scene features Bond visiting Harlem in New York, where a salacious strip tease at a nightclub makes the male crowd, including 007, increasingly agitated.

The Telegraph said other changes are being made:

The ethnicity of a barman in Thunderball is similarly omitted in new editions. In Quantum of Solace, a butler’s race now also goes unmentioned.

This all comes after The Guardian reported, some of author Roald Dahl’s children’s books have been changed “to remove language deemed offensive by the publisher Puffin.” (Dahl was also a screenwriter on the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live Twice.)

“Puffin has hired sensitivity readers to rewrite chunks of the author’s text to make sure the books “can continue to be enjoyed by all today”, resulting in extensive changes across Dahl’s work,” the Guardian said.

Various forms of entertainment have dealt with related issues for decades. In the 1990s, a cable TV version of a Bugs Bunny cartoon abruptly lopped off the end where Bugs, Elmer Fudd, and various Canadian mounties did a song in blackface.

Today, on TV and streaming services, there are disclaimers/warnings that appear ahead of a film.

5 Responses

  1. Welcome to the world of Woke.

  2. While, I can appreciate the recognition of bigotry and racism in the works of Ian Fleming and Roald Dahl, I am not sure that censorship is the way to go to address these issues.

    The fact is, like it or not, that both Ian Fleming and Roald Dahl were to varying degrees racists.

    There is no question about it in either case.

    However, I think it’s more healthy to keep the original material as it was written so that people can see it with all its warts and understand the times under which these things were written and accepted by a wider audience who themselves were tinged with, at the very least, a willingness to accept this bigotry.

    There is absolutely no question about this. But changing history and in this case, literally, rewriting it, is not a solution in my opinion.

  3. there should be a warning, not re-writing the books because the author’s might offend a minority of people nowadays.

  4. I am torn on this. I personally do not want to see the N word and it is rampant in Live and Let Die. That could be edited easily. A lot of the other edits seem to be rewriting and while I understand the desire, that is further than I would like them to go.

  5. Assume a book burning for all current editions is in order?

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