October 21, 2009

"Will the BBC save Jack from falling down the hill, find Little Boy Blue's sheep and keep unhygienic Goosey Goosey Gander out of my lady's chamber?"

I think all those nursery rhymes seem too gruesome (or filthy) for children. Kudos to the BBC for protecting us from the despair that is Humpty Dumpty.


Unknown said...

In Victorian times, this was called Bowdlerization. The only difference is that it's now used for political brainwashing.

WV "peconan" He's on opposite Peletterman.

Balfegor said...

I think all those nursery rhymes seem too gruesome (or filthy) for children.

On the contrary, more gruesomeness is required. Children should be brought up on a diet of Hilaire Belloc and morbid prayers. It is just the sort of thing young children like.

Drew W said...

Remember that October is National Fire Safety Month. No better time to do away with that combustive tragedy just waiting to happen, Jack Be Nimble.

ricpic said...

Most kids get a frisson out of the scariness. I know I did.

KCFleming said...

A real fix is needed for Peek-a-boo where-are-you? Scary, and someone might get poked in the eye.

And for God's sake, clean up Rock-a-bye baby. What kind of parent sings about a cradle in a tree?

Jason (the commenter) said...

ricpic: Most kids get a frisson out of the scariness. I know I did.

You're right. Kids wont even notice the revised versions, too boring.

BJM said...

The BBC is as out of touch with Brit tastes as is PBS.

The top 10 movies in the UK this week and the most anticipated new release? "9"

Tibore said...

From the Daily Express article linked on that page:
"A spokeswoman said: "We play nursery rhymes with their original lyrics all the time and the small change to Humpty Dumpty was done for no other reason than being creative and entertaining.""

Ok. In that vein: I plan to rewrite Cinderella so the Step-mother and -sisters aren't so mean, and that'll let good ole Cindy won't have to marry that stupid prince, and can be enabled by her own damn family! That'll be entertaining, won't it?

Synova said...

I was in an educational supply store ages and ages ago and some young teacher type came in and was talking to a friend about the horrible stories for kids and how they'd changed the endings to be much better.

The Three Pigs, Henny Penny, and The Ant and The Grasshopper... how mean!

We can't have the lazy good-for-nothing pigs get *eaten* because they preferred to play than make solid houses to keep out the "wolf", while the industrious Pig enjoys the warmth and safety he *obviously* does not deserve. No, the industrious pig should have to let the slothful pigs live off of his labor.

And Henny Penny... dammit... the old cluck should share her food! She should take the food from the mouths of her children and share it because we want children to learn about charity and how good it is to share.

Same with that selfish prig of an Ant.

Penny said...

Changing fairy tales seems easier than mass medicating neurotic parents and their precious cargo.

Synova said...

And Humpty Dumpty?

Well... some broken things stay broken.

This is a *wonderfully* appropriate lesson for children.

miller said...

I love the prissy "we change them all the time."

Are they next going to remove the pigs from "The Three Little Pigs" as to avoid stepping on certain toes?

Penny said...

Only in America, miller, where pigs are great "roll" models.

Carolina pulled pork piled high on kaiser with a huge spoonful of slaw.

Synova said...

We do change them, yes we do.

Little Red Riding Hood was apparently a morality story for young women facing the choice of the drudgery of pinning bonnets in bad light until they went blind or else going into prostitution.

The allusions to those particular professions aren't going to make sense anymore but the warning not to be led astray is still relevant enough.

Synova said...

Actually... Little Red Riding Hood may have been about how horrible *both* options were, so the hearer was supposed to pick the third option and be satisfied with her constrained life of privilege but little to no freedom and arranged marriage to some old dude.

Balfegor said...

Little Red Riding Hood was apparently a morality story for young women facing the choice of the drudgery of pinning bonnets in bad light until they went blind or else going into prostitution.

So the path of pins is pinning bonnets, I guess, so the path of needles must be prostitution? Wait, how does that work?

I prefer to interpret it purely literally. A young girl in a red cap on her way to see her grandmother is taunted by a magic wolf, who offers her the path of pins or the path of needles. Either way, she ends up consuming the blood and the flesh of her grandmother whom the wolf has already killed and dismembered.

Honestly, though, I can't think of Red Riding Hood anymore without thinking of that sequence from the middle of Jin Roh.

Unknown said...

"all the King’s horses “made Humpty happy again”.

The new version shows children that we can act as carelessly as we wish, and the government will fix all our problems.

Synova said...

So where is MY pony? Huh?

Someone promised me a pony!

Jeff with one 'f' said...

But who will protect the children from the despair that is the BBC?

rcocean said...

Humpty Dumpty was askin' for it.

Want to live life on the edge? Take the consequences.

From Inwood said...

Advocates of the Global Warming Theory, OOPS, Climate Change want to change the story of Chicken Litle.

Some would also change Animal Farm, an adult fable to be sure, since it paints a poor picture of, well you know.

Then there's the fable of "The Little Foxes” about the small minded vicious FOX reporters who smear innocent Lefties to the point where even the NYT can’t save them.

Kathy said...

Do children need gruesome stories? Why, yes, they do!

A Game Called Suicide

Mian said...

Humpty Dumpty fell? I didn't see it on CNN...

kentuckyliz said...

The violence in nursery rhymes helps kids process their anxieties.

Obama bitch-slapped Humpty off that wall, because it was in the interest of fairness that Humpty not be elevated above everyone else.

Humpty needed bringing down.

Jim C. said...

From "Frauds on the Fairies" by Charles Dickens http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/dickens/pva/pva239.html

Imagine a Total abstinence edition of Robinson Crusoe, with the rum left out. Imagine a Peace edition, with the gunpowder left out, and the rum left in. Imagine a Vegetarian edition, with the goat's flesh left out. Imagine a Kentucky edition, to introduce a flogging of that 'tarnal old n----- Friday, twice a week. Imagine an Aborigines Protection Society edition, to deny cannibalism and make Robinson embrace the amiable savages whenever they landed.

Dickens then writes his own updated Cinderella, which ends thus:

Cinderella, being now a queen, applied herself to the government of the country on enlightened, liberal, and free principles. All the people who ate anything she did not eat, or who drank anything she did not drink, were imprisoned for life. All the newspaper offices from which any doctrine proceeded that was not her doctrine, were burnt down. All the public speakers proved to demonstration that if there were any individual on the face of the earth who differed from them in anything, that individual was a designing ruffian and an abandoned monster. She also threw open the right of voting, and of being elected to public offices and of making the laws, to the whole of her sex; who thus came to be always gloriously occupied with public life and whom nobody dared to love. And they all lived happily ever afterwards.

reader_iam said...

What can I say? I'm a crappy mom and an ignorant, stupid, ill-educated, narrowly focused, poorly and insufficiently enlightened person. Please ignore all evidence contrary as demonstrated in my kid. Better to put us out of thought and mind--at a bare minimum, anyway.

reader_iam said...

How anyone can think that the best way to teach to children the concept of ideas and thought--much less cope with children's own innate imaginations and perceptions--first includes the impulse to restrict and circumscribe is utterly beyond me.


wv: flocka

WTF?! OTOH, yeah. Maybe that sorta does explain, if not excuse, that mindset.

Paco Wové said...

That was beautiful, Jim C. Thanks for sharing.

Shanna said...

My grandmother used to read us the Little Red Hen (I still occasionally go into “Not I, said the dog, Not I, said the cat, Not I, said the duck). Do they still read that one? After the duck, dog and cat’s laziness, it ends with the little red hen not giving any bread to her lazy friends and eating it all herself! Take that BBC.

I suppose after being raised on that story it’s no wonder I’m a conservative.

tim maguire said...

I get annoyed every my daughter's nursery rhyme CD plays "Ring Around the Rosie." God forbid the little one unknowingly listen to lyrics inspired by the black death.

Better that it be utter nonsense, meaningless on every level.

From Inwood said...


Among my favorite Belloc lines are

"And always keep a-hold of Nurse
For fear of finding something worse."

Back to the PC subject:

I want to know why the Black Sheep was singled out. Waiting to here from the two Rev Al's on this.

Over a few years begining about 15 years ago, James Finn Garner wrote Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales for Our Life & Times; Once Upon a More Enlightened Time: More Politically Correct Bedtime Stories; & Politically Correct Holiday Stories: For an Enlightened Yuletide Season.

Very Funny. Very Un-PC.

The Emperor's New Clothes should be banned of course since it's too easily understood as a slap on The One.

From Inwood said...


Morbid prayer for Our Dear Leader, Barack Obama, mmmm, mmmm

Now I lay me down to sleep,
The One is dull, his thoughts not deep;
Seatmate, hark this grand vizier,
And wake me when the end is near.

Anonymous said...


Largo said...

A is for Amy who fell down the stairs.

Hector Owen said...


Little Willie

Kids like these, and need them. Deprived of this kind of thing, they'll make their own.