Sunday, August 24, 2008

Jacqueline Wilson Willingly Censored

Swear words used in context? My god, what next? What is the world coming to? Who will protect the purity of our children? Etc, etc.

In related news, Wilson has announced her next book will be entitled The Big Book of Denial for Parents: Places You've Probably Stuck Your Head Besides "The Sand"

Here's what I think: twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat, twat.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

This made me think of the librarians whiting out the little boy's penis from The Night Kitchen. I wonder how many little girls were traumatized when they found out boys were not flat and white down there.

Tommy Donbavand said...

Sorry to be pedantic - but it's Jacqueline Wilson, not Woodson. She's one of the biggest-selling authors here in the UK, and was our children's laureate (appointed by the Queen to promote children's literature) for two years.

Editorial Anonymous said...

Oops, thanks. The perils of blogging while pissed off.

Editorial Anonymous said...

(seriously, I know the difference between the two Jacquelines. Why is she putting up with this?)

Susan said...

Maybe she's just leaving the outrage for the rest of us...it might be a good plan, who knows?

As if preteens never heard a swear word before.

I think it was absolutely the Wondermummy's right to not like the swear words in the book, or to offer her feedback to the publisher...But for them to edit the book over it is what I found amazing.

UNLESS they're just trying to make 'collectors items' out of that first edition.
Eh? Eh? Race you to the bookstore shelves!!

Vodka Mom said...

that seriously cracked me up.

Anonymous said...

Oh, dear.

A major Publishing House is replacing the word because THREE parents complained? What the hell year is this?

It's not even that offensive of a word. I can come up with far more creative, objectional curse words, as can most kidlit authors. We work in publishing, there is much to bitch about.

Mommy C said...

I reviewed "The Little Black Book for Girlz" not that long ago. It is an extremely valuable book for teen girls, by teen girls, on their own sexuality. If Annick had taken an approach like this, that book would have never seen the light of day. Does it make a difference that it is teens using the language with teens, instead of an adult? I don't know. I was full swing in my Mordecai Richler obsession in my teen years, and I certainly didn't go around using the word "whoremaster".

I wonder if the parents that complained allow their children to listen to and watch a bunch of mock strippers (i.e. The Pussycat Dolls). Maybe they should complain that an image of promescuity is being marketed to teenyboppers, and that the whole pop culture world is hell bent on objectifying women. But, I guess it's ok to let things ride, when it's fluff. Now the books, that's what the thinking people are into, so, that's another story. This all reminds me of a really great book, Ferenheit- oh, what was that title? I can't remember, I think the local library banned it.

David Macinnis Gill said...

A bunch of twattle innit?

Jackson Pearce said...

It's a parenting truth that hiding things from your kids prevents them from ever discovering it exists in the first place.
EVER.

ChrisEldin said...

This combined with the morality clause mentioned on Nathan's blog are very discouraging. If a big name author can't make a stand, who can?

On a separate note, John Elder Robison is reworking Look Me in the Eye so that younger children can read his book. That he's removing a few fu*ks is probably a good thing so parents of Aspergians can give their children access to John's insights. But he's not pulling the other one off the shelves. THere's a mommy version, and a junior version.

Kim Kasch said...

What about cutting out an entire book:

http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/publishing/has_random_house_let_the_terrorists_win_90974.asp

Kim Kasch said...

The Jewel of Medina - by Sherry Jones

Anonymous said...

The problem isn't the parents. Every parent (person) has the right to be outraged at whatever pisses them off. the outrage is that the publisher and the author are bowing down to this and changing the book. She put it in there for a reason, I think she should stand by it. If someone as successful as she doesn't stand up for her words, how can the debut author stick by their book and expect support from their publisher? Random House said they don't want to offend anyone, but hey, I'm offended by censorship. I'd love to sign my name, but I've got something out on submission at RH.

christine tripp said...

As if preteens never heard a swear word before

AND, as if every pre schooler hasn't heard a choice word or two while watching daddy or mommy unclog the toilet the kid just flushed a super hero figure down! Ridiculous, remember "A Christmas Story" where the mom was trying to find out who Ralphy learned THAT WORD from?
I agree, it's the publisher I can believe. This book, as all books, must have gone through round table discussions at the publishers, rounds of editing, marketing and sales people reviewing it, blah blah, and they put it out, language and all, only to say, oops, sorry, your right, we didn't notice that, we will remove it right away, bad author!
If I were the author, I'd want to pull the whole book from them and shop it to someone with a back bone.

emmadarwin said...

Jacqueline Wilson's one of an extremely rare breed: an author with the economic as well as the public clout to do something about this. I hope she does.

As to Random House's morality clause, I fear that no one will stand up and make a fuss, because it'll look as if they're saying it's just fine for an author to indulges their paedophile proclivities. And the basic and essential principle will be lost: that authors are separate entities from their books, that their morals are separate from their books' morals, and that the morality of a book can and must be judged solely from within itself. If an author drinks, is a communist(in the US) or a fascist(in the UK), or worst of all, smokes, who cares, as long as they don't do it in their books.

ae said...

I guess I better take the F-word out of my picture book, huh?

Damn.

Just_Me said...

I was going to post that I don't like cruse words in my children's literature (I don't). But I read the article and must admit I'm amused. Is suppose that word is offensive somewhere but it's just a nonsense sound on this side of the pond.

christine tripp said...

Certainly it's a vulger term, in Canada (old/close ties to the UK) we would get it, though I'm sure this new generation of teens would not. I still can name at least 15 words that I would consider worse, though the similar version of this, c---, would be in my 15. Teens do this though, most go through a fast lived phase of saying the most horrible things, mostly speaking to each other. Thankfully, they also grow out of it fast.
Odd how what offends one, wouldn't bother another. My mum, having Irish parents, wanted to wash my mouth out with soap for saying "bloody" but put up with the odd blurting of "shit" (pronounced "shite")

Will Entrekin said...

Would have been awesome if Wilson had revised it to read "cunt" instead.

christine tripp said...

and here I was, so carefully avoiding that:)

Mommy C said...

Do you think it this would be an issue if the word were "dick", or "prick"?

ChrisEldin said...

Someone needs to write a handbook of curse words.
Should include a rating system of some kind, along with a few examples of the word used in a sentence, and a picture or two for clarification...

Africakid said...

This makes me remember my grandmother --she faithfully mailed us the latest magazines and books (because we couldn't get them in Africa) -- but carefully pasted a small piece of paper over pictures of jacks, spades, and diamonds in instructions for card games. I still loved her dearly, even as I laughed at her foibles!

Maybe each book could be marketed with a little packet of post-it notes for personalized application???

Sarah Laurenson said...

a handbook of curse words

Hah, Chris. That sounds like a great picture book. An alphabet book perhaps? Can we come up with a curse word for every letter of the alphabet?

christine tripp said...

I agree, cool book idea and can I have letter "A"? Just got a rejection in the mail and I have the perfect "word":)

Mommy C said...

Can I claim the "F" for the status of my agent hunting? As in oh F (uddleduddle). This is starting to seem hopeless.

My son had a brief experiment with the F word (probably learned it after I received another rejection). I was quick to quash this rebellion. So, now he makes up his own words. Poof-ee-fa seems to be his favourite. Maybe, us writers can just make up our own terms. Then we'll see who's really popular. We could have a race to see which word makes it into teen culture first. I've got dibs on Poof-ee-fa.

lynnekelly2000 said...

"Maybe, us writers can just make up our own terms. Then we'll see who's really popular. We could have a race to see which word makes it into teen culture first."
---------------------
I personally like using "frock." My sister first heard that word in high school when a friend's mom said, "What's that frock you're wearing?" That turned into, "What the frock are you wearing?"

We still use it now, like when we were walking a half marathon and felt like we had to be reaching the end soon, and I asked her, "Do you see the finish line?"
"Yeah, I see it, but it's way the frock up there."

ae said...

If you see a "F**K" in the read, take it... out.

Anonymous said...

I think it's a case of British English being different from American English. When I was in college, I knew a Brit who tossed off the word "twat" very casually to refer to a friend of ours, appalling the rest of us. To her it meant "twit." To us it meant "cunt." As an editor, I wouldn't feel comfortable with the word "cunt" in a book for ten-year-olds in the U.S., but leave it alone if it means something else in the U.K.

Meg said...

I think as your blog points out regularly, it's all about what will sell. Maybe there's a large segment of the population who realizes their kids have probably heard words like twat before, but doesn't necessarily want to go out and buy books containing them. Count me as one...