Thursday, January 22, 2015

Get On Your Soapbox #27

I grew up reading Enid Blyton books, and used to spend many hours daydreaming about how fun it would be to one of the characters in her stories.

So, you can imagine my disgust when I saw a copy of The Magic Faraway Tree at a bookshop, and the characters' names had been changed.  Instead of Jo, Bessie, Fanny and Dick, they were now Joe, Beth, Frannie and Rick!

After doing a bit of Googling, it appears the main two reasons for the change are that Fanny and Dick have certain 'connotations' for today's children, and the new names make the books more appealing to an American audience.  Apparently Beth is a more modern derivative of Elizabeth than Bessie.

When I was a child I knew the other meaning of Fanny and Dick.  But who cares?  The books were written in the context of the 1940s.  Just enjoy the story.  Yes, their names are FANNY and DICK, how funny, how rude....GET OVER IT!

And why, WHY does everything  have to be changed to cater for Americans?  I don't see any Australianised versions of popular American books out there.  I'm sick of seeing Australians translating our lingo for Americans (bikkie means cookie, arvo is afternoon, Hungry Jack's is Burger King etc.).  I grew up reading Judy Blume and I had no idea what a barrette was, or eventually figure it out (oh, a barrette is a hair clip, bangs are a fringe).  Why can't Americans learn about Australian and British culture for a change?

I'm so glad I still have my older, original copies of  Enid Blyton's books....Fannies, Dicks and all.


Iris Flavia said...

Oh, yes, I know what you mean! When you wiki "Negerkuss" you are linked to "Schokokuss". It´s a chocolate-coated marshmallow treat. Neger we are not allowed to say anyomre, it´s like "nigger". As a Zigeuner (gypsy)-Schnitzel, there were debates about that.
In every new children-book you have to have a black person, a Muslim and all this. We have to be correct, right? Kids have to learn early that Muslims don´t eat pork, too and in some kindergarten pork is off the list in general. So much for the soapbox ;-)
We´re in Perth from Feb 4th (groggy!) and leave on March 10th - would be fun to meet, if the timeframe is right for you, I´d need your cellphone number, though, then we can meet in the city.

Janine Ripper said...

WHAT!? Do they have to mess with everything we grew up with??!! That's like my fave book of all time!