How we censor our children’s view of society from a few decades ago

I’ve been sneaking to the local bookstores to read children’s books here and there and keep going back to the old Curious George series with the original artwork by Margret Rey. It amazes me how it has been so adapted to the current society we now live in. It’s as if there were completely different artists and visions for the original and for the new version we see in the animated series. There’s a lot of “politically correct” adjustments made. It seems when the producers made the animated series, they had researched that the original would not be acceptable to our current standards. Funny how we have changed so much as a culture and society that when we look back at an old kid’s book we would “cringe” at the image of society represented in the original.

Some examples:

  • The man with the yellow hat (I think his name is Ted) was a safari loving person
  • They first met when he smuggled George from the jungle-when he was shoulder carrying the a rifle
  • He smoked cigars
  • So did George
  • Bill was originally a Caucasian boy
  • George was originally taken from his home so he could be put in a zoo where he would be happy
  • George sniffed Ether out of his curiosity
  • George was put in prison one time, and he escaped

Now I am not saying any of these by themselves are wrong, that is up to the individual reader when they read the original book in its context.All I point out here is that the original creators of the series had their version of what was appropriate, and the current sponsors and producers of the series have remade it to their vision of what society should be (no guns or cigars, PETA approved, very politically appropriate too if I may add).

It’s like revising Hansel and Gretel so that the witch was taken to a nursing home because in the end she was really just a grumpy and lonely lady-not a witch who ate kids. Or how the ants helped the grasshopper survive the winter and the grasshopper learned his lesson. Are we so protective of our kids we cannot let them see some of these facts of life under their original guise so that lessons may be learned as the child grows old enough to ask the question themselves?

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2 comments

  1. Seeking Joyful Simplicity

    My daughter loves the Curious George series – we have a big book with most of the originals. My husband and I chuckle at many of the stereotypes, and I too think about the messages there. But I wonder what future generations will think of our choices for stories and “entertainment” – especially much of the stuff on television.

    • I love it and watch the cartoon often with my son. There is too much junk in our tv nowadays that our home has been relying more on the internet-so we can decide what we want to know about and not just what happens to be programmed for that day. I worry about that future, when the values we teach our children today will be looked at so differently by the future generations who decided that progress was the only important thing.

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