Has the “cancel culture” trend peaked, or will it continue in 2024?
With Shakespeare increasingly in disfavor among some elite precincts of academia and popular authors like Roald Dahl and Ian Fleming posthumously having their classic fiction bowdlerized and edited to be politically correct, what artists and authors will be next?
Will 2024 deepen disturbing trends undermining artistic freedom and other civil and economic liberties? Or will a new year bring fresh hope for civility, voluntarism, tolerance and respect for other people’s rights?
Such questions continue to linger in the back of my mind as I recall some of my favorite posts in 2023 on the Prometheus Blog.
Although it’s now the start of 2024, it’s not too late to look back again at the past year to savor (and perhaps reread) a few especially timely and relevant favorites from the blog – beyond the three already highlighted last week.
If you weren’t familiar with the books and essays of J. Daniel Sawyer until recently, join the club.
A prolific writer of more than 31 fiction and nonfiction books, including several in the sf and mystery genres, and 24 short stories – not to mention being a huge fan of Robert Heinlein – Sawyer deserves to be much better known by libertarian sci-fi fans and LFS members.
That’s especially because Sawyer has written two books about Heinlein and one of his nine novels is explicitly structured and billed as a “Heinlein juvenile.”
Censorship, suppression of literature and “bowdlerization” of our culture has a long, harmful and shameful history – and is anathema to libertarians, who favor full freedom of expression and artistic liberty.
The Prometheus blog has posted several articles recently about the disturbing recent spate of efforts to suppress or change the original wording and author’s intent of Roald Dahl in his children’s fantasy classics.
Similar suppression sadly has been reported about efforts to shove down the Orwellian memory hole some wording in the original editions of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels.
It’s even extended to the Goosebumps children’s horror-comedy series, many books of which were changed by the publisher without the knowledge or consent of the series’ still-living author R.L. Stine.
This is a troubling time for libertarians, classical liberals and all lovers of liberty and art – which is why it’s important to seek out, read and digest the best insights about the roots of this anti-authoritarian trend and how we might strive to better support both liberty and literature that reflects the intent of its creators.
Perhaps the most illuminating, historically aware and wisest commentary I’ve come across about this disturbing modern recurrence of bowdlerization was written recently by J. Daniel Sawyer as a guest post on the Substack blog of Holly Math Nerd.