Enid Blyton its latest victim, wokeness seeks to normalise terror attacks on the mind

·3-min read

And now, Noddy and Big Ears are cancelled. So are the Famous Five and the Secret Seven. Their creator Enid Blyton, who made those cups of hot chocolate and the winter blanket warmth of our childhood portkeys to imaginary worlds of adventure, stands cancelled by a woke charity named English Heritage, which has called her work "racist and xenophobic".

(Talking of portkeys, author of the Harry Potter books JK Rowling was cancelled a few months ago as "transphobic".)

In the new tide of the resurgent and militant ultra-Left powered by groups like Black Lives Matter and Antifa, large swathes of our cultural and literary legacy are at risk of being washed away. The "woke" movement exhibits the rejection and violent intolerance once associated with the Maoist-Stalinist version of Communism.

It is so blinded by its own moral certitude and drunk on its power to intimidate that it refuses to distinguish between questioning one's work and legacy and cancelling it. Creators like Enid Blyton or Hergé have problematic elements in their work, but that cannot be the premise to reject them in their entirety. If complete moral perfection is the only criteria, then BLM, Antifa and the far-Left groups should be the first to be cancelled for gratuitous rioting, stealing and vandalism.

Ironically, writers, who aggressively and often with uninformed sanctimony went after what they abhor as right wing or populist nationalism, have themselves been cancelled by the younger mutants.

Rowling, Jeanine Cummins, Julie Burchill and others have suffered. While Rowling to Salman Rushdie, Martin Amis to Gloria Steinem shot off alarmed open letters, they kept quiet when their compatriots reportedly forced a publisher to dump a commissioned book on the Delhi riots.

But the chickens have swiftly come home to roost. Some of them now face censorship, charges of insensitivity, cultural appropriation, misogyny, racism and transphobia, while others have had their book contracts revoked.

"Cancel culture is the new McCarthyism of the 'woke' generation. As with McCarthyism, it ends careers, destroys legacies, breaks up families, and often causes suicides €" with no semblance of due process or opportunity to disprove the often-false or exaggerated accusations," writes Alan Dershowitz in his book 'Cancel Culture'.

The most beautifully nuanced advice against this madness comes from Nobel-winning Japanese writer Kazuo Ishiguro. There ought to be "decency towards people outside of one's own immediate experience", he said recently.

He cautioned that this might make young authors self-censor in the fear of being trolled or cancelled.

"I very much fear for the younger generation of writers," he said. "I think that is a dangerous state of affairs."

After all, if they can crumple and throw in the trash an author who shaped the childhood of generations, they surely already have thousands of young artists locked up in the prison of censorship and terrorism of the mind.

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