First Willy Wonka, Now James Bond: The Language Police Are Going After Ian Fleming's Classic Novels - Report
There are many, many, many things to despise about the “woke” far left. But most of those faults pale in comparison to one big thing the far left just loves to do: mutilate the English language.
Now that mutilation can take on many different forms, from the utterly nonsensical “pronoun” hysteria, to claiming that your literal spoken words aren’t what you said, all the way to whatever in the world “misgendering” is.
Within this odoriferous assault on the English language, however, has emerged an alarming new trend. Namely, leftists are now no longer content with just butchering contemporary language — they want to apply those same doctrines to the most iconic writings of yesteryear.
Case in point, according to U.K. outlet The Telegraph, Ian Fleming’s iconic James Bond novels have been re-written to better fit with modern non-sensibilities.
Ian Fleming Publications Ltd. actually commissioned a review of the class spy thrillers by “sensitivity readers,” which is about as dystopian of a phrase as there is.
So what has been changed? Terms such as the n-word were removed from Fleming’s classics, which were published between 1951 and 1966, and replaced with the phrase “black person” or “black man.”
On top of the edits, each new Bond novel will also carry the following disclaimer: “This book was written at a time when terms and attitudes which might be considered offensive by modern readers were commonplace. A number of updates have been made in this edition, while keeping as close as possible to the original text and the period in which it is set.”
Interestingly, these edits largely focus on the depiction of black people.
In Fleming’s 1954 “Live and Let Die” novel, Bond describes the black men working in gold and diamond trades as “pretty law-abiding chaps I should have thought, except when they’ve drunk too much.” That bit of monologue now will read, “pretty law-abiding chaps I should have thought.”
Also in “Live and Let Die,” Bond visits a Harlem nightclub and is described as such; “Bond could hear the audience panting and grunting like pigs at at the trough. He felt his own hands gripping the tablecloth. His mouth was dry.” That descriptive bit of noir-esque prose has been replaced with the much more generic, “Bond could sense the electric tension in the room.”
Even a reference to an accent (“straight Harlem-Deep South with a lot of New York thrown in”) has been removed.
Hilariously, while those so-called “sensitivity readers” appeared to largely focus on Fleming’s admittedly outdated (but not by 1950’s standards) language regarding black people, they didn’t seem nearly as interested in giving the same respect to women or other minorities.
So what hasn’t changed? References to the “sweet tang of rape” still exist. Complaints about “blithering women” doing a “man’s work” still exist. Homosexuality being described as a “stubborn disability” is still in the books. Bond’s unflattering descriptions of Oddjob, Goldfinger’s noted Korean assassin, is also left untouched. So too are derogatory terms for east Asian folks.
To be clear, I am not at all advocating for any of those aforementioned phrases or words to be removed from future publications of James Bond novels. It just paints a stark juxtaposition when you glance at how much effort was put into making sure James Bond novels wouldn’t offend black people in 2023, versus the apparent lack of care or effort put into others who may be offended by potentially salacious verbiage.
Of course, Fleming is hardly the only author to become the subject of modernized re-writes and edits.
Roald Dahl, the beloved children’s author of books like “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “James and the Giant Peach,” recently had his works put under a microscope for using such hideously offensive terms like “fat.”
Fortunately, for fans of Dahl’s original works, the public backlash to these posthumous (Dahl passed away in 1990) forced the hand of Penguin Random House to publish “classic” versions of Dahl’s books.
Perhaps cognizant of the backlash that those Dahl edits received, Ian Fleming Publications appeared to try to get ahead of it when it spoke to The Telegraph.
“We encourage people to read the books for themselves when the new paperbacks are published in April.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.