Ian Fleming’s James Bond books have been “revised and up to date” to take away outdated racial phrases, however many marvel if this goes too far.
“James Bond will return in Dr. No means No.” That was a joke line from an outdated T.V. cartoon known as The Critic that poked a bit enjoyable at the concept, in P.C. (politically appropriate) occasions, the James Bond franchise would evolve. Being an old-school Bond fan, I personally assume they’ve performed so in a wonderfully applicable means. It’s a must to change with the occasions, and the franchise has performed that.
However, on the subject of altering earlier work to replicate fashionable occasions, effectively, that’s an altogether stickier concern. Not too long ago, the Roald Dahl property got here underneath hearth when it was revealed the books had been closely rewritten to replicate fashionable sensibilities. And now comes the information that Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels are being modified as effectively to take away outdated racial stereotyping and references.
To make sure, the modifications are much less intensive (or outrageous) than what occurred with the Dahl novels. In contrast to these, the Fleming books had been all the time focused towards adults. Given how sexually charged they had been, that’s an space going principally untouched, irrespective of how outdated the references are. In different phrases, Pussy Galore continues to be named Pussy Galore. Good or unhealthy, they’re acknowledged as a necessary a part of the textual content.
As an alternative, the modifications nearly completely relate to race, with essentially the most closely censored e book being Fleming’s Reside and Let Die, which featured numerous black characters and was written in a dated, pretty racist means. A lot of the modifications within the different books contain outdated racial phrases. Nevertheless, and right here’s the place it will get complicated, Bond’s racism in direction of Oddjob in Goldfinger has been left intact. Maybe this displays the property wanting to remain considerably true to the novels, by which Bond is a person of sure prejudices, and by eradicating them from the books, you modify the character. In Reside and Let Die it may be argued that Bond isn’t essentially racist in direction of black characters, so by altering the best way he refers to them, you aren’t actually altering the story.
Right here is the disclaimer one can look forward to finding within the books, as per The Telegraph:
“This e book was written at a time when phrases and attitudes which is perhaps thought of offensive by fashionable readers had been commonplace. A variety of updates have been made on this version, whereas protecting as shut as potential to the unique textual content and the interval by which it’s set.”
Certainly, it’s a sticky state of affairs. To me, this looks like overkill because the books actually are merchandise of their time in good and unhealthy methods (totally the latter relating to Bond’s views on race). Anybody who reads these books is aware of they’re dated (in contrast the early films are virtually woke), and given how they had been all the time focused towards grownup audiences, the change feels pointless. The James Bond books are numerous issues, however timeless classics they aren’t, so what’s the purpose of re-writing them? Certainly, they’re beginning with books, however who is aware of what’s subsequent? Will they begin censoring films too? Ian Fleming had some racist attitudes, to make sure. But when we return and take away these attitudes, aren’t we fooling ourselves a bit? Individuals who learn these books are doubtless subtle sufficient to know that they replicate outdated attitudes. I bear in mind studying these books as a twelve-year-old and noting the stereotypes, which I simply wrote off as Fleming being a relic of a selected period. Nobody ought to actually these anticipate them to be absolutely in tune with the occasions.
What do you consider these modifications? Are they overkill, or ought to the books be up to date to replicate the occasions?