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Just putting it out there

2023-02-21 00:20:02.65092+01 by Dan Lyke 7 comments

Just putting it out there: If my heirs think they can profit by editing any works I leave behind to be less racist, more power to them.

[ related topics: Interactive Drama ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: Just putting it out there made: 2023-02-21 03:04:49.95686+01 by: brainopener

I wish the originals were engraved on golden records and placed in a salt mine for intelligence thousands of years from now. I imagine it would help to have original text to make sense of the era.

#Comment Re: Just putting it out there made: 2023-02-21 03:21:33.600583+01 by: brainopener

Going further...

There's this tension between:

- Text and images (art?) as they are originally produced.

- Those works as they are altered and remixed.

- Link rot as a general concept across knowledge types.

- Realizing how hard it is to get a good view of the past and wanting there to be a good snapshot for the future.

- Profit motive around intellectual property.

- The notion that there is no ethical [content] consumption under capitalism.

So... time to start exporting flutterby .tar.gz dumps to tungsten discs and burying them around the planet.

#Comment Re: Just putting it out there made: 2023-02-21 10:21:31.265304+01 by: spc476 [edit history]

Can't have us thinking double unplus thoughts, Dan? I feel skeevy whenever the concept of rewriting history (or even fiction books) come up, as if a type of censorship.

When I was 10, maybe 11, my Mom and I were going through some family photographs when we came across a picture of her in her middle school swim team (for lack of a better term). There she was, as were all the members, in black face, for a group photo of a water play (this would have been the mid-to-late 50s for context). She explained to me the context of the times, and that black face was something that was never to be done because it was bad. She didn't burn the picture because it was something that historically happened. But she did use it to teach a lesson to a younger generation.

So, would you edit Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to remove the 'N' word? Why or why not?

#Comment Re: Just putting it out there made: 2023-02-22 00:58:00.199032+01 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

So I definitely wouldn't rewrite Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, because the whole point of it using the 'N' word was to point out the racism. And if Dahl argued for social justice as eloquently as Mark Twain, I don't think this'd be an issue.

Dahl's a little trickier, but I think there are two competing ideas here: Dahl's writing as historical artifact, and Dahl's writing as children's literature.

As historical artifact: Great. Keep it. Just as Commager's Documents of American History recontextualizes the Ku Klux Klan: Organization and Principles (1868) (although perhaps not strongly enough), so we can look at some of the uglier side of Dahl's writing and say "that shit's no longer acceptable".

Which leads to the latter point: Dahl's heirs want to continue to profit off of his legacy. That legacy includes some pretty ugly stuff. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory got a rewrite during Dahl's lifetime.

Maybe we should just write off the dude's works as historical awfulness. Deities know there are a whole bunch of modern authors and artists looking for a crack at the market, and by saying "Nope, no longer acceptable to give these ideas to children" we move society forward.

And I'm down with that. But also: If Dahl's heirs want to rework his stuff so that it's a little bit less.... uh... mid-20th-C English... and market it under the "Roald Dahl" brand, who am I to stop them?

#Comment Re: Just putting it out there made: 2023-02-22 01:57:32.305068+01 by: brainopener

If Dahl's heirs want to rework his stuff so that it's a little bit less.... uh... mid-20th-C English... and market it under the "Roald Dahl" brand, who am I to stop them?

That's a great question. I wish copyright wasn't so long and broad to allow the heirs to be able to do such a thing. Instead, I wish thousands of remixes and re-edits could bloom with the originals in Project Gutenberg or similar.

I personally don't have much of a dog in this particular fight. My experience with Roald Dahl is the Gene Wilder "Willy Wonka" and I know about him doing something with "James Bond" from the "Um, Actually" on Dropout.tv.

But I do care about historical integrity and intellectual property run amuck.

Regardless, I don't think it's going to go the "copyleft" way... I do think that the originals will be memory- holed.

#Comment Re: Just putting it out there made: 2023-02-25 16:24:31.80503+01 by: TheSHAD0W

Yeah, well, this is likely just a prelude to Dahl's works being canceled entirely. "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" was all a morality play, and editing it to remove the word "fat" from the description of Augustus Gloop won't be considered enough. And he was a bigot anyway, just like Rowling, so just take 'em all off the shelves.

#Comment Re: Just putting it out there made: 2023-02-27 23:16:14.867632+01 by: Dan Lyke

Related, from this thread: RT Ken White @Popehat@mastodon.social

/3 Also, I’d just like to point out that the Branagh and Whedon versions of “Much Ado About Nothing” cut the Benedick line “If I do not love her, I am a Jew.” One cut it entirely and one turned it to “fool,” which is what most of the stage versions I’ve seen did (I like the play a lot, I’ve probably seen it ten times).

Should we be exercised over that change? Surely Dahl is no more sacred than Shakespeare. Is it just we’re used to many liberties being taken with Shakespeare’s text?

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