While I consider myself somewhat updated on news around the world, I have no idea in what measure people outside of Sweden are aware of what's happening in the country. The past weeks there's been some coverage of our election (the general opinion from some nations is that we're a crazy country for electing a different government than the one we've had for the past eight years). However, there's been another news item, and a debate with it, in the past few days. What is happening is this:
Some translation might be on order, I believe. What I've marked so beautifully says:
SVT removes the racism in Pippi Longstocking (my own rough translation)
SVT is our national public TV broadcaster, and it's making a new edition of the Pippi Longstocking movies. This time though, they've removed any content that might be considered rasist or offending to certain ethnics. I don't know how many of you have read the books/seen a movie, but for example: Pippi's father is said to be an 'negro king', but in the new edition he'll be known as a 'king'. Or another example: a scene with Pippi and her friend Tommy playing Chinese and they stretch out the skin around their eyes. This scene is said to be edited differently ro remove certain parts.
Now, this has caused quite the debate. There are people praising SVT for taking this initiative. Others are happy we're removing these negative messages from children's movies. Some people don't care. Other people are against violating the copyrights or against altering the original work, meaning it should remain the way it was. Then there is only one (yet) claiming this is against democracy and that it is the "beginning of the destruction of the nation". So I think it's safe to say this has stirred a wide debate.
The people in charge of this initiative claim nothing they removed will change the actual story/movie. It's simply the racist messages that are removed. Since the negative feedback was shed on social media SVT have issued that Astrid Lindgren (the author of the books which the movies are based on) herself wouldn't have had any problems with these changes. In fact, in an article from 1970, Lindgren was asked if she would've changed anything in the books had she written them today. (In extent, the original movie wouldn't have the racist/offensive scenes then.) Her answer was this: That she would've removed many idiocies, and certainly would not have written Pippi's father as an negro king! She said that she'd write him as a sea captain or a pirate.
It would be interesting to see what you guys think about this. Is this a great initiative or political-correctness going too far? Are we swedes overreacting? Is altering the author's work wrong or should it supporting a greater cause?