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Celebrities are the masters of supporting woke causes

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08.04.2019

By the Fifties, Laura Ingalls Wilder was already regretting that her books had not been woke enough. Little House on the Prairie, published in 1935, had included the observation that Kansas had “no people, only Indians”. Twenty years later, after complaints, Wilder had it changed to “no settlers, only Indians”.

But the times caught up with her — her books reflected many more prejudices of the era — and last year her name was struck from a children’s book award for being “inconsistent” with their “core values”. A cautionary tale for all writers: if you want to change your book to keep pace with modern morals, you’ll have to live a really long time.

It is an important message in particular for J K Rowling, as she has of late been busy retroactively inserting right-on messages into the Harry Potter universe: Hermione might in fact be black; there were in fact Jewish wizards; Dumbledore was gay and had a passionate relationship with Grindelwald. Fun though it may be to speculate on what Rowling’s next reveal may be (Buckbeak was asexual, the Whomping Willow was into drag), it is fairly easy to work out when it will happen: long after that particular cultural battle has been won.

What a pity she did not think to write........

© Evening Standard