One of Sweden’s most popular children’s writers, Jan Lööf, was recently told by his publisher that unless he makes his bestselling 1966 book, Grandpa is a Pirate, more politically correct by rewriting it and changing the illustrations, it will be taken off the market.
- Taken to its extremes, the urge to cleanse a culture of elements that do not live up to the politically correct orthodoxy currently in political vogue unsettlingly echoes the Taliban and ISIS credos of destroying everything that does not accord with their Quranic views. The desire “not to offend,” taken to its logical conclusion, is a totalitarian impulse, which threatens to destroy everything that disagrees with its doctrines. Crucially, who gets to decide what is offensive?
- The question arises: How much purging and expiation will be needed to render a country’s culture politically correct?
- “When we have days of carnivals and music the goal is that these days should be experienced as positive by everyone. The Swedish flag is not allowed as part of carnival dress. … Positive and bright feelings must be in focus. … School photos must obviously be free of national symbols.” — Swedish school in Halmstad.
- Rome covered up its classical nude statues for a visit from Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, in January 2016. A decade ago, who would have even imagined such sycophancy?
In 1966, one of Sweden’s most popular children’s writers, Jan Lööf, published Grandpa is a Pirate, an illustrated children’s book, which featured, among other characters, the wicked pirate Omar and the street peddler, Abdullah. The book has been a bestseller ever since, and has been translated into English (as My Grandpa is a Pirate), Spanish, French and other languages. Ten years ago, 100,000 copies of it were even distributed to the Swedish public with McDonald’s Happy Meals, as part of an initiative to support reading among children.