Tuesday, November 29, 2005

"Correcting" the Classics

Last Thursday's Times of London weighs in on a ridiculous yet disturbing effort to revise a classic work of literature to avoid giving offense:

Self-censorship, while less abhorrent than imposed censorship, is none- theless deeply alarming. It is an unhealthy society in which people feel constrained about what they can and cannot say. Good taste certainly dictates that caution may occasionally be advisable. Free speech confers responsibility. But to rewrite 400-year-old texts because they may not perfectly reflect contemporary concerns is a dangerous precedent. It is therefore with a sense of unease that we report the tweaking of Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine the Great in order to protect Islamic sensibilities.

The Times has it exactly right: rewriting classic works to conform to current notions of political correctness is an especially insidious form of censorship. This is not a precedent that needs to be set.


Anonymous Ed Merwin, Jr. said...

I agree completely. An attempt to rewrite literature to assuage presumed hurt sensibilities boarders on the ludicris. As the article implies, how many different ways are we expected to "revise" a given text to placate a multitude of hurt sensibilities!

8:59 AM  

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