The Rise of the Woke Whangdoodles: English Company Rewrites Dahl Classics to Remove Offensive Words

Where are the Oompa Loompas when you need them. Willy Wonka’s helpers asked “who do you blame when your kid is a brat? Pampered and spoiled like a Siamese cat?” The same question could be asked about publishers after Puffin Books hired sensitivity readers to “update” portions of Roald Dahl’s classic books. The changes include dropping references to Augustus Gloop being “fat.”  Yet, unlike the Oompa Loompas, who found sanctuary “from hornswogglers and snozzwangers and those terrible wicked whangdoodles,” there is no safe place from woke whangdoodles today.

While European publishers have refused to rewrite Dahl’s classics, Puffin Books believes that it is perfectly acceptable to change books after an author has died. Puffin simply could not abide references to things like the weight of Gloop. So they changed “fat” to “enormous.” (It is not clear what Puffin Books will do with Walter Tevis’ character “Minnesota Fats” in The Hustler. “Minnesota Enormous” just doesn’t quite have that same authentic gritty quality in a pool hall drama).



French publishing house Gallimard told The Telegraph that it will not rewrite such works and the revisions “only concern Britain.”

Yet, many believe that it is perfectly acceptable to rewrite the work of great authors. We previously discussed how publishers rewrote portions of Twain classics like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn because people found the original writing to be offensive.

With writers and editors supporting blacklisting, it is little surprise to see support for simply changing the work of others to fit your own values. It is the reign of literary Lilliputians swarming over great works to conform them to their own vision and preferences. Rather than cancel writers, they are simply forcing them (including those long deceased) to speak in a different voice or use different words. These authors become ventriloquist puppets for others speaking through their works.

The silence of many writers and academics is deafening. People who claim to support free expression are just looking at their shoes rather than risk being targeted as reactionary or insufficiently sensitive to contemporary mores. After all, Dahl is not objecting, why should we? Of course, he died in 1990, but most writers and editors today either support such violations of creative expression or they are entirely intimidated by the flash mobs that target critics.

So Puffin Books will change these works to the thrill of activists. These woke apparatchiks will take a masterpiece that they could never have written themselves and change passages to fit their own values. It is an attack on the independence and free expression of artists and writers alike, but there is not even a single Oompa Loompa still around to object:

Oompa Loompa doompadee doo
I’ve got another puzzle for you
Oompa Loompa doompa dah dee
If you are wise you’ll listen to me

… Why don’t you try simply reading a book?
Or could you just not bear to look?

169 thoughts on “The Rise of the Woke Whangdoodles: English Company Rewrites Dahl Classics to Remove Offensive Words”

  1. Rewriting a published author’s works yet claiming it is their book is a misquote. Censorship. It changes the meaning of the work.

    If this were done generation after generation, the end result would be like an experiment with the Telephone Game, where the final work has no relation to the original.

    Readers so psychologically fragile that they cannot tolerate harsh words in text surely cannot bear to listen to a radio station. Rap music would be met with wailing, gnashing of teeth, and mass cancellations, surely. No?

    No person in antiquity would stand up to today’s social mores. None of us will likely pass muster in 200 years. If this trend continues, we will continually erase our achievements every generation, lobotomizing the collective learning of human history. There will be no books in any library older than 15 years. We won’t learn from our past because there will be no past.

  2. From The Free Press, TGIF Dignity for Oompa Loompas edition, author Nellie Bowles:

    “Roald Dahl meets 2023: The long-dead British children’s books author—Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG, and, who could forget, The Witches—has not escaped our moment, and now his books are getting a modern makeover to remove offensive bits. I forget, were those books racist? Sexist? Not exactly, no, but lots of people might be offended, for example, by the fact that Dahl describes witches as bald. And so now there is a new line in the book right after his description of a witch’s hairless head: “There are plenty of other reasons why women might wear wigs and there is certainly nothing wrong with that.” (I’m dead serious.)

    Augustus Gloop in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was described as “fat.” That’s gone (now he’s just “enormous”). And did anyone ask the Oompa-Loompas whether they self-identified as “small men?” Now they are “small people,” which of course gives these characters, who are called Oompa. Loompas. All their dignity back. In one story, a character Dahl described as “ugly and beastly” is now just “beastly,” a concession, I guess, to sensitive ugly people. But what about the beastly?!

    Now the next lines from James and the Giant Peach are so offensive, I want you to be very careful who sees your screen. These were traditionally sung by the Centipede: “Aunt Sponge was terrifically fat / And tremendously flabby at that.” And: “Aunt Spiker was thin as a wire / And dry as a bone, only drier.”

    Those are gone now, replaced with new and worse rhymes coughed up by the very nice censors at Inclusive Minds.

    Now, Dahl was also famously an antisemite, which he occasionally cloaked as simple anti-Zionism. Actually, that didn’t need a modern progressive update at all. Now excuse me while I go track down my original copy of The Twits before a sensitivity reader with red pens shows up at my door.”

  3. With the news that some 23 Baltimore schools and 58 Chicago schools have reading proficiency scores of zero, the woke rewriting of classics probably won’t matter. The kids can’t read and most likely wouldn’t read if they could.

  4. I grew up in libraries and words and books to me are like friends except better because they don’t ask you to help them move furniture. And to me this is the most outrageous thing the wokies have done yet. In the beginning were the words. Words not only describe reality, they shape it. When they changed “sex change operation” to “gender affirming surgery,” all of a sudden it seemed not so bad. The bad guys are constantly usurping words because they know their power. As God created the world through the Word, so the baddies want to recreate the world by stealing and perverting words. You can’t change someone’s written words, period. Ban the book if “fat” is just so offensive and own it. Isn’t defrauding a corpse a crime? I’m not even a fan of Roald Dahl’s work, never have been, but that doesn’t change the principle. Who’s next on the chopping block, Shakespeare? Mozart? Rembrandt? I mean if it is not ok to say fat, maybe it’s not ok to paint fat. Books are an art form like every other art form. Are we going to add a few pounds to the Mona Lisa? Turn Puccini’s Mimì into a body positive pro-vaxxer?

    1. Who’s next on the chopping block”? The Bible. That’s the prize. Their goal ultimately is to eliminate it.

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