You must log in or register to comment.

drewhead118 t1_j9zhl4g wrote

Roald Dahl threatened publisher with ‘enormous crocodile’ said he'd be a bit disappointed if they changed his words

I've gone and updated this headline for 2023, since some readers might be troubled by the notion of a crocodile attacking a publisher. If anyone out there was distressed by that mental image, please read my headline instead


LeonardSmallsJr t1_ja0qcqn wrote

Ronald Dahl said he’d be a bit disappointed if they changed his words ate a bit of ice cream and sang happy songs.

Disappointment makes people sad and words make them feel dumb. Please enjoy the revised language that says pretty much the same thing but happier.


Mod_Accountability t1_j9zqvk9 wrote

If it were a regular sized crocodile, no problem. But an enormous one? Different story.


SillyBillyLoserHead t1_ja1k24h wrote

Phew, I was worrying about a poor crocodile potentially munching on sneaky snakes!


RupaulHollywood t1_j9zs5cw wrote

Oompa loompa doopety doo / Mess with Dah'ls works and you will be screwed / Oompa loompa doopety dee / We'll have you ground down into croc feed

What do you when works have grown OLD? / Some of the language has grown rather BOLD! / Maybe your safe since the author is DEAD? / That's when the croc chomps off your HEAD! / Pretty sure we warned you.

Oompa loompa doopety doke / Not every kids book needs to be woke. / They can sometimes be nasty too / Like the Oompa Loompa doopety do!


nsnyder t1_j9znjoi wrote

Except he did make changes to the Oompa-Loompas in the second edition. As always, it depends on the changes, some changes he was ok with, and some he didn’t want.


tman37 t1_ja07ush wrote

>he did make changes to the Oompa-Loompas

The key idea here is he made changes, which is his prerogative as the author. He had a problem with someone else changing his words. This leads me to believe that he would be appalled at what the publisher did but might have agreed to make changes if they were presented to him.

The big problem isn't the change (although the reasoning is stupid) it the fact that you don't get to change the author's words and pretend it is still written by the author. Some of the changes completely change the imagery in the book and we can't know if Dahl would been ok with changing those images.


nsnyder t1_ja0d27i wrote

If I had my way, then Dahl's books would be in the public domain by now and anyone could publish any version they wanted. But if we're going to have copyright extend for decades after the author's death then the copyright holders are going to be the ones deciding whether to make edits. Maybe they make good decisions, or maybe they make dumb ones (I think some of the edits here are pretty clumsy and pointless, and it seems likely if Dahl were alive he'd object to at least some of them), but since Dahl is dead the people who he left the rights to are going to have to make these calls much as Dahl did when he was alive. It's totally fine to criticize them, but the idea that books never get changed or that Dahl's books never got changed when he was alive is just not true.


tman37 t1_ja0pqr1 wrote

I think we have to make a distinction between legally entitled to do something and whether they should do something. Based on current copyright laws, the copywriter holders are absolutely entitled to change the work. As the owners of art, they shouldn't change it from what the artist did. If I owned the Mona Lisa, I would be able to draw a mustache on her but it would be disrespectful to Di Vinci and all his fans.


bonglicc420 t1_ja0u1d5 wrote

Unless we find out Mona Lisa had a moustache all along.....


bill4365 t1_ja2pfzy wrote

Was this a da vinci code reference?? If so I approve


Jampine t1_j9zpvfw wrote

Well that's because the publishers pointed out it was racist, so he agreed and changed it.

Nowadays it's busybodies with too much spare time doctoring anything that might cause minor offences, long after his death, and the books have been in print for decades.


As a left wing person, it feels exactly like "wokescolds", people who are too busy trying to score the most progressive points by pointing out flaws of people on the left, and trying to drive them off, meanwhile right wing hate groups are just gathering more power.


CurseofLono88 t1_ja00xsm wrote

I’d honestly prefer it if instead of changing the words they’d just put an editor’s warning at the start of the book like some streaming services do for old outdated child’s shows and movies with harmful depictions


stomach t1_j9zxq60 wrote

the worst part is these MF's have spent absolutely zero time thinking about what their tiny portion of 'perfect', 'moral', perpetually online people are suppose to do to change anything once the dust settles and they've banished 95% of their own party from their ranks. i'd bet good money their voting participation records are well below average, too


cooldods t1_ja1zdv9 wrote

As a "leftist" it sure is weird that you're blaming this on the left.

It's a large corporation that disrespected a dead author because they wanted to increase their profits. How can you get any more capitalist than that?


GreenCarnation404 t1_ja2shbt wrote

Keep spiraling


cooldods t1_ja33egu wrote

I'm not even sure what you're trying to say.

Although if you had much of a point I'm sure you would have made it.


starfox_priebe t1_ja32qda wrote

People have difficulty differentiating liberal from left. Also there are plenty of leftists that would happily condemn Dahl's works for these reasons, but it seems more likely they would just advocate for books not written by a racist, rather than amending the works of a long dead person.


cooldods t1_ja339or wrote

That's arguing semantics.

The decision to rewrite these works was made by a profit driven corporation who didn't give a shit about the author's intentions, only their profits.

It's the very definition of right wing capitalism.


starfox_priebe t1_ja33qwo wrote

I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm explaining to you that people don't differentiate between left and liberal, especially in the US.


cooldods t1_ja34mdf wrote

Thanks for that, I'm not from the US.


Mod_Accountability t1_j9zr5mc wrote

Dahl's bigotry is no secret. I don't know if that showed in his work, what of his has been "doctored"?


knockatize t1_ja0w7dt wrote

Somebody makes alligations like that, the only thing one can do is respond with a crocodile.


Cetun t1_ja04chk wrote

Good thing the publisher wasn't from Florida, they would take that as a sign of approval.


Chariots487 t1_ja0dr47 wrote

There was a live action Lyle, Lyle Crocodile movie last year. Make of that what you will.


tmp04567 t1_ja0iq21 wrote

Well florida do have a few of those. ^^




amboandy t1_ja1a2xl wrote

This was an absolute win by puffin! All publicity is good publicity and they just created demand. Clever game playing the woke and antiwoke parties off. Even if one side is offended more it still creates more sales volume.


sparksofthetempest t1_j9zytyx wrote

Fans of Dahl should check out his early TV show “Way Out” (on YouTube). Although a few are missing, this B/W anthology show is similar to the original TZ and is of course frequently non-PC.


sithelephant t1_ja0bf6e wrote

Dahl had the option, when writing his will, or signing the initial contracts, to put in various conditions as to what could be done with his work.

He chose not to. Amongst other things, this would have reduced those works value.

The recent controversy might be better written as '$30B company gets massive free advertising for their product on which they have a monopoly for 30 years'.

It's nothing to do with the author any more. The only people that benefit meaningfully after the death of the author are the lawyers and the corporate system.


Simpletimes322 t1_ja0oocq wrote


Your argument is baffling...


So i write a book, and just because I dont specifically state that my published work cant be modified... its open season on modifications?

Might be legal... but how can you in good conscience publish Dahl as the author of the novel after editing, after the dude died....


sithelephant t1_ja11gco wrote

Literally all publishing contracts specify who has editorial control and how much control.


Simpletimes322 t1_ja1aptl wrote

Ya some lawyer fakery... The percent of people in favor of this kinda censorship is very low


jamar030303 t1_ja1xszc wrote

The flip side is, "modification" covers literally any kind of change, so if an author were to completely prohibit any changes we wouldn't be able to have parody works like "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies", for instance.


Simpletimes322 t1_ja3hh6t wrote

This is just not true, the parody would just need to be published under a different name...


waheifilmguy t1_ja286v3 wrote

Dahl already changed his books. The Oompa Loompas were originally pygmies from "deepest and darkest Africa." He changed them in 1973, 9 years after Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was first published.


Zalapadopa t1_ja2mejb wrote

They keyword being "He". It's his book to change, no one elses.


waheifilmguy t1_ja3jkvk wrote

Yeah but he is woke for succumbing to pressure from a left wing political group. That’s a giant problem, isn’t it? I was told it was.

Anyway, the point it that he is long since dead. He has trusted his work to his estate. So any changes that come, come from "him" and his people and the changing times we live in.

Recent Broadway productions of Carousel and Porgy and Bess had rewrites to remove domestic violence and racial content. I'm sure the long-deceased authors would have said "bullshit!" as they would have a right to, but that is neither here not there. Do you want to let these shows remain current or do you want them to disappear into the dustbin of history?

I am not answering the question, I am asking it. There are infrequently easy answers when it comes to art. I have a film from 2007 that has explicit racial invective in it. I know I have to take it out, even if it completely makes sense for the charters and the story (neo Nazis...) because I know no one wants to hear people yelling the N word in a movie in '23.

So here we are in riding the crest of the wave in changing times trying to find a balance.