James Bond Books Edited To Remove ‘Offensive’ Language

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Sensitivity readers are getting a lot of work lately. Next on the chopping block: James Bond.

Ian Fleming Publications will re-release all the novels in the spy thriller series after commissioning a review by sensitivity experts.

Yes, the books that feature characters like “Pussy Galore” and “Dr. Holly Goodhead” are suddenly under review for offensive language.

Edits include toned down sex scenes and modified racial references, including the scrubbing of the n-word and depictions of black characters.

Ian Fleming’s iconic James Bond series is getting a sensitivity reboot. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Sotheby’s)

While descriptions of black people were removed, however, dated references to other ethnicities remain. The new books still contain slurs for east Asian people and Bond’s disparaging views of Oddjob, Goldfinger’s Korean henchman.

Other questionable expressions that will remain: “sweet tang of rape,” “blithering women,” “man’s work,” and referring to homosexuality as a “stubborn disability.”

The new versions of the classic novels will include a disclaimer that reads: “This book was written at a time when terms and attitudes which might be considered offensive by modern readers were commonplace.”

James Bond is just the latest victim of literary censorship.

Last week, OutKick reported on changes to Roald Dahl’s classic children’s stories. Editors removed any potentially offensive language, including “fat” or “ugly” characters. They also made the Oompa Loompas of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” gender-neutral.

These edits may seem inconsequential to some. But it begs the question: Where does it end? Are we going to keep meticulously editing decades-old texts until they are all the exact same, vanilla, bucket of sunshine and rainbows?

What about movies? Songs? Artwork?

Handing a James Bond book to a “sensitivity reader” is like sending a vegan to a pig roast. The language is offensive because the entire premise is patently offensive.

In the original novels, Bond is racist and misogynistic. He’s a chauvinist and a little rapey. You don’t have to like him, but that’s literally the character.

Watering down and editing language not only compromises the integrity of the original text. But it also changes the meaning and the context.

Ian Fleming wrote the James Bond series in the 1950s and 60s — a time that wasn’t historically great for women and minorities. Taking a red pen to a fictional book doesn’t change that.

We aren’t doing society any favors by simply deleting things that make us uncomfortable.

Of course, if James Bond bothers you that much, you could also just not read it.

Written by Amber Harding

Amber is a Midwestern transplant living in Murfreesboro, TN. She spends most of her time taking pictures of her dog, explaining why real-life situations are exactly like "this one time on South Park," and being disappointed by the Tennessee Volunteers.


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