R.L. Stine’s books are the latest victims of wokeness
Leftists may not be having children, but they know that children, who are blank slates, will believe and absorb anything they’re told, no matter how ludicrous. That’s why the BLM and LGBTQ++ juggernauts are targeting American schools, helped by the fact that almost all teachers graduated from hard-left education programs. That’s also why publishers are incrementally starting to dumb down children’s books, leaving more room for indoctrination. The latest author to get the treatment is R.L. Stine, who was horrified to learn what his publisher is doing.
In mid-February, it emerged that the woke brigade had come for Roald Dahl’s famously vivid, acerbic, macabre books. After pushback, the publisher made a limited concession: It would continue to edit (i.e., dumb down) Dahl’s sharp, inviting prose but would publish a “Classic Collection” containing Dahl’s original words.
Of course, the “Classic Collection” will not appear in children’s libraries or classrooms. The woke guardians of those institutions will make sure of that. And soon, children will be bored by and stop reading this dreary propaganda.
Image: R.L. Stine by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 3.0.
The publishing world isn’t stopping with Dahl. R.L. Stine, the author of the enormously popular kids’ “horror” Goosebumps series, has also gotten the woke touch:
It was revealed on Friday that more than 100 edits have been made to several books within the children’s horror series, many of which referenced weight, ethnicity and other sensitive topics. Unlike recent reports of books being edited for language, Stine allegedly took part in the edits himself.
One example included a description of a character in 1996’s “Attack of the Jack-O’-Lanterns” who was previously described as “tall and good-looking, with dark brown eyes and a great, warm smile. Lee is African-American, and he sort of struts when he walks and acts real cool, like the rappers on MTV videos.”
The latest version described the character as “tall and good-looking, with brown skin, dark brown eyes and a great, warm smile. He sort of struts when he walks and acts real cool.”
Another example changed the description of an alien from having “at least six chins” to being “at least six feet six.”
Uses of the word “crazy” and “plump” were also swapped out for “silly” and “cheerful,” respectively.
As with Dahl, vivid, dynamic descriptions are being smoothed out to be bland and generic lest they offend anyone. Those of us who are offended by content that bores children to death don’t count.
Another problem is that this boring writing deliberately decreases people’s vocabulary. George Orwell explained that the point behind Big Brother’s Newspeak was to corral people’s thoughts. As a character explained,
By 2050—earlier, probably—all real knowledge of Oldspeak will have disappeared. The whole literature of the past will have been destroyed. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron—they’ll exist only in Newspeak versions, not merely changed into something different, but actually contradictory of what they used to be. Even the literature of The Party will change. Even the slogans will change. How could you have a slogan like Freedom is Slavery when the concept of freedom has been abolished? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact, there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking—not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.
Fans of the series instantly attacked R.L. Stine himself for disgracefully going woke—only to learn that R.L. Stine was a victim, too:
Lindsey, the stories aren’t true. I’ve never changed a word in Goosebumps. Any changes were never shown to me.— R.L. Stine (@RL_Stine) March 6, 2023
Stine reiterated his position in response to another post:
This story is untrue. I have never changed a word in a Goosebumps book.— R.L. Stine (@RL_Stine) March 6, 2023
Scholastic, his publisher, which is responsible for a vast number of children’s books in classrooms and libraries, cheerfully took responsibility for making Stine’s vigorous writing vapid:
“Scholastic takes its responsibility seriously to continue bringing this classic adolescent brand to each new generation,” a rep said.
“Scholastic reviewed the text to keep the language current and avoid imagery that could negatively impact a young person’s view of themselves today, with a particular focus on mental health.”
You got that, right? Good, exciting challenging writing now damages mental health.
As others have said, this stealth censorship is worse than just pulling books. When they’re pulled, we know they’re gone. There’s a gaping hole reminding us of a cultural loss.
However, these stealth edits are like slowly murdering someone by putting little bits of arsenic in his morning cereal. By the time he dies, it’s considered a “natural death,” and he’s forgotten. Or worse, remembered only as being drab and crotchety as death neared—a condition forced upon him by his murderer.