The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Australian branch of the Aldi supermarket chain recently pulled one of Dahl’s books from its shelves. Much to everyone’s surprise, the book in question, Revolting Rhymes, had a revolting rhyme in it:
The offending word is found in Dahl’s comical take on the Cinderella fairy tale. In it, the prince sees Cinderella in her impoverished rags as he goes house to house trying to find the owner of the shoe left behind at the palace ball.
“The Prince cried, ‘Who’s this dirty slut?” the poem reads. “‘Off with her nut! Off with her nut!'”
Revolting Rhymes, first published in 1982, is a collection of poems which takes six well-known fairy tales and gives them a modern, comical spin.
Aldi pulled the book after receiving a single complaint from a parent who didn’t realize that a book called Revolting Rhymes would have revolting rhymes in it.
That decision has not proved popular with other parents (thank goodness), with some leaving comments on Aldi’s FB page like:
“I am appalled at Aldi withdrawing the Roald Dahl book, Revolting Rhymes,” one customer wrote. “I am a frequent shopper at your Rydalmere store – BUT NO MORE!! You people are absolutely pathetic to cave in to such a petty complaint about one word in this book.”
I myself have never read this book, and in fact I have never even heard of it today. But I can understand the lone parent’s objection to the language of that book.
It is important to protect impressionable children from language that might influence them. For example, I was forced to read the Bible at a young age and my psyche has never recovered from all the rape, murder, and incest.