British comedian Ricky Gervais recently weighed in on the debate over revising the language in classic author Roald Dahl’s legendary children’s books to appeal to the contemporary kids audience.
No friend to political correctness or censorship, Gervais trashed the idea in a humorous but raunchy social media post, mocking the “easily offended” and “fragile” people who want to read a version of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” or “James and The Giant Peach” with gender-neutral pronouns.
The comedian and actor tweeted out an especially sarcastic and expletive-laden post mocking the updated language in Dahl’s works on Friday.
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In the post, he provided a black-and-white photo of himself with a serious and ponderous expression on his face. He captioned it, stating, “This is me pondering whether they’ll change any of the words I’ve used in my work after I’m dead, to spare those who are fragile and easily offended.”
He then listed off several of the profane words that have marking his comic career: “Words like ‘fat’ and ‘ugly’. And ‘c—‘ and ‘f—‘. And ‘fat, ugly, greedy, pathetic little stupid f—— c—‘. Stuff like that.”
Though not all of his followers appreciated the joke or his point. One user defended the language change, commenting, “You don’t play to children. Surely you see the difference. Think about reading a book to a child (I have little grandchildren) having to change the words yourself or explain to the child why s/he shouldn’t use hurtful words to people, particularly other children. Hard stuff.”
Though Ricky shot back, “Yeah I know, Lynne. It was a joke.”
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In response to another user replying, “What if those words appear on your grave stone? It won’t matter….” Gervais quipped, “I’m going to insist on it.”
Gervais’ jokes come after days of intense public debate surrounding updating the language in Dahl’s books for modern audiences. Earlier this week, publisher Puffin U.K. announced it had hired “sensitivity readers to make changes to certain portions of the author’s wording in the U.K. editions as part of an effort to ensure the books ‘can continue to be enjoyed by all today,’” Fox News Digital reported.
The outlet added, “Augustus Gloop, the chubby character featured in ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’ is now described as ‘enormous,’ while Mrs. Twit, a character from ‘The Twits,’ is described as just “beastly” instead of ‘ugly and beastly.’”
These are just a few examples of the many word changes Puffin proposed. However, backlash over the changes prompted Puffin U.K. to announce a “Classic Collection” edition of Roald Dahl’s works that keeps the original language intact.
Though this line will be sold alongside the publisher’s updated, modern version.
In a press release, the publisher stated, “The Roald Dahl Classic Collection will sit alongside the newly released Puffin Roald Dahl books for young readers… readers will be free to choose which version of Dahl’s stories they prefer.”
Fox News’ Kyle Morris contributed to this report.
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