I like literature. Well, apart from the highly mannered meanderings of the Brontës and suchlike. Happily delve into Melville, Defoe and Johnson, but stuff like “Wuthering heights” and the works of Jane Austen leave me rather cold.
That said, I’m dismayed, even horrified to see castrated versions of old songs / poems being published by people with an agenda. The latest victim is the famous 1823 poem “Twas the night before Christmas” by Clement Moore. Apparently two lines have been excised by an independent Canadian publisher because, horror of horrors, they referred to Santa smoking a PIPE! Argh! Call the thought Police! The offending lines excised are;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
O-kay. But if the anti smokers can remove those lines, what about the next two?
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
The anti obesity lobby will surely be after them shortly. The Animal rights lobby will want the lines about Santa’s fur coat and those poor ickle Reindeer being used to haul a sleigh removed, never mind about WWF and Greensleaze wanting the bits about open fireplaces and chimneys – Oh noes! What about the Carbon Footprint! removed.
Fortunately, there are dissenting voices, but in the meantime perhaps hitting the “Oo you shouldn’t be able to read about that” faction in the wallet by boycotting their output might be an option.