Cutting Down a Classic

We live now in the age of political correctness and that consumes all our time.

But this article isn’t about the time we measure with our clocks and watches, but about time as a historic period and its social context. It is about the times before our contemporary one, the age which was completely different of our own, which had different morals and different accepted truths and personal conducts.

There are many cases in which books and movies have been judged following only today’s standards. Pippi Longstocking (the book and the series and movies) is one of these cases.

A while ago the Swedish Television has decided to re-air the show, but to also twitch it for a more modern viewer. The intention was to make Pippi a real role model. But wasn’t she already? Apparently not – people believe that she is too racist for our times and that she would offend and psychologically scar the children (speaking of which, check out the Everything is Samuel L. Jackson’s Fault clip on the internet).

Thus, this December, the Swedish Television will present a fresh edition of Pippi Longstocking, a fresh edition in which all the offensive scenes will be cut down: her dad is not a negro king, but just a king, she doesn’t play Chinese at all, and others.

The reason for this is that we are living in a multicultural society, with children coming from different countries and of different races. And if, for example, Pippi uses some word or does some thing then she will definitely be inconsiderate with her little viewers. They don’t know any better, so they might do the same (if they aren’t emotionally damaged).

Of course, the social media became inflamed by this announcement, but to no result.

This makes me wonder if Pippi Longstocking (among other books and films) shouldn’t be regarded as a historical document rather than an entertainment one. This makes me wonder if other classics such as Gone with the Wind won’t get the same treatment. Even more, I believe (and I am ironic, of course) that Mark Twain should be ashamed for all his racist remarks.

As said, our political correctness makes us do silly things (to use a euphemism). When Pippi first appeared (the books between 1945 and 1948 and the films starting from 1969), this kind of language was socially acceptable. Wouldn’t changing it mean that we are lying to ourselves?

In my opinion, this is exactly what happens whenever we are trying to embellish something, when we are politically correct, especially when we are talking about historical facts. And this is a tragedy.

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