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The Woke Bell Tolls for Ernest Hemingway

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Readers have now been warned. Anyone in our enlightened age who is crazy and daring enough to read Ernest Hemingway, an author who is not a person of color, not trans, and not a victim of white patriarchal oppression, will now be waved off by Hemingway’s own publisher. New editions of the work of the man who was once considered one of America’s greatest writers, before such things came to be measured solely by the author’s race, gender, and political proclivities, contain a “trigger warning” alerting fragile wokesters to the fact that if they are actually so foolish as to read the book, they will encounter thoughts that today’s elites have most decidedly not approved.

The UK’s Telegraph revealed Saturday that Penguin Random House, which publishes Hemingway’s novels and stories, has slapped them with “a trigger warning” due to “concerns about his ‘language’ and ‘attitudes.’” Hapless new Hemingway readers are also “alerted to the novelist’s ‘cultural representations.’”

I can imagine what Ernest Hemingway himself would say to all this, but I wouldn’t be able to publish it. The arrogant, self-infatuated, blinkered, miseducated woke dopes at Penguin Random House don’t seem to understand that the whole idea of reading Hemingway, or any other great writer, is to encounter “language,” “attitudes” and “cultural representations” that are not one’s own, and are not the same as the language, attitudes, and cultural representations of contemporary culture.

Back in those dark days before schools turned to teaching the really important stuff, like whether you’re of the opposite sex and how evil you are if you’re white, children were taught that there was a pantheon of great writers throughout history, starting with Homer and going through Dante, Shakespeare, Milton, the Romantic poets, and the like. Hemingway was often included as one of the few Americans on the list. Someone who picked up Shakespeare or Milton was not expecting them to sound like or reflect the attitudes of Ibram X. Kendi and Dr. Fauci; readers were instead expecting to be carried to a very different world that would help them see their own with new eyes.

All that is gone now. The problem with Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, and the rest is that they would all today be considered members of the worst group of people on the planet, white males. As we live in what used to be known as Western civilization, this is not all that surprising. It is also not in the least surprising that this pantheon has now been swept away and replaced with writers whose sole claim to relevance is not their insight, wisdom, or the power of their words, but their race and their gender. Hemingway was another white male, and so his star has dimmed from the days when he was considered one of the greats, and now he has been hedged around even more to keep him from leading anyone into wrongthink.

Penguin Random House added a disclaimer to its new edition of Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. It “states that publishers decided not to censor the book” — hey, thanks! The note on The Sun Also Rises warns readers that this book could be dangerous to your health as a dutiful woke NPC and might actually lead you to have a thought of your own, one that the guardians of acceptable opinion might find double-plus ungood: “This book was published in 1926 and reflects the attitudes of its time.” Yeah, that’s the idea – in part.

The Penguin Random House wokesters also added a please-don’t-hurt-us insistence that they weren’t the ones thinking forbidden thoughts: “The publisher’s decision to present it as it was originally published is not intended as an endorsement of cultural representations or language contained herein.” Whew! Bullet dodged!

The Telegraph adds that “Hemingway’s collection of short stories, Men Without Women, now carries an almost identical warning, differing only by alerting would-be readers to the fact that the book was originally published in 1927.” We can at least be relieved that the whole thing wasn’t wokeified into Men Who Are Women.

Hemingway biographer Richard Bradford remarked acidly: “The publisher’s comments would be hilarious, were they not also alarming.” He added that the warnings “would be understandable had they brought out a new translation of Mein Kampf. They seem to imply that, because it’s a literary classic, they’re willing to take a deep breath and warn readers with delicate sensibilities that something in it might unsettle them.” Yet he warns that if you examine “any novel or poem written at any time, and search for a passage that could create unease for persons who are obsessed with themselves…you’ll find one.”

Indeed. And the woke censors will. The object of the game is to put a fence around any thoughts and ideas that aren’t approved by the elites. The next step will be to ban Hemingway and others altogether. Keep your old books. The time will come when you’ll need to hide them.

Article posted with permission from Robert Spencer


The Washington Standard

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