We are now being forced to reconstruct-- i.e., to mutilate-- the English language for the sake of of political correctness, lest it offend the delicate sensibilities of thin-skinned—or, should I say, skinless—American youth. So, perhaps we ought to rewrite great literary works, too-- the better not to trigger any post-traumatic stress reactions..
A group of zealous students at Yale recently demanded that the English Department stop teaching so many white male authors. One suspects that these students wanted to show that what now passes for education at one of America’s pre-eminent institutions of higher learning is nothing more than gussied-up brainwashing. Or else, they are demonstrating, yet again, that they have no business being there in the first place.
Anyway, Kieran Corcoran has taken it upon himself to rewrite some of the great passages in world literature, the better to make them less offensive to those who would rather protest than study.
It’s a worthy exercise, one that leaves this blogger wondering why he didn’t think of it himself. Truth be told, I did not think of it myself, so all credit to Corcoran. For the record, he is a British journalist, working for a new website called Heat St.
First, his rewritten, politically appropriate soliloquy from Hamlet:
To be, or not to be black is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of the patriarchy
Or to take arms against a sea of white men
And, by a protest, end them. To die, to tweet
No more – and by a tweet to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That non-white flesh is heir to…
And, his rewritten opening from John Milton’s Paradise Lost:
OF XIR first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that oppressive tree whose white male taste
Brought death into the World, and hetero-
Normativity, till the ungendered one
Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat,
Sing, diverse Muse, that, on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That Shepherd, or perhaps a Shepherdess,
In the beginning how the heavens and earth
Rose out of Chaos: or, if Zion hill*
Delight thee more, or that Safe Space that stood
Fast by the oracle of God, I thence
Invoke xyr aid to my adventrous song,
That with unproblematic flight will soar
Above the Aonian mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.
[*Which belongs to the people of Palestine]
And, a little Wordsworth, from “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud:”
I wandered lonely as a guy
Who knows deep down he is a girl,
When all at once I saw, oh my!
A host, of golden daffodil;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze…
There you have it: English literature that a social justice warrior could love and might even understand, without having to use too many of his little gray cells.