It Never Existed, Lindström

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Swedes burn books to sanitize the historical record…

The other day came the news that the library in Botkyrka municipality, on the outskirts of Stockholm, had burned older editions of one of the Pippi books, Pippi in the South Seas (1948), because local officials have decided that they “contain racism.”

After this action came to light, the municipality issued a press release acknowledging that the books had indeed been destroyed because they contained “obsolete expressions that can be perceived as racist” – but that they had been replaced on the library shelves by a 2015 edition of the book from which those expressions have been carefully scrubbed.

Problem solved?

Since Lindgren died in 2002, of course, she was not around to grant anybody the right to fiddle with her prose. Her publishers had simply taken it upon themselves to do to her work what a lot of people would love to do to, say, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Like Mark Twain, Lindgren was the very opposite of a racist. But her use of language in Pippi in the South Seas, like that in Huck Finn, violates the Left’s current ideological tests.

The news of the Botkyrka book-burning was first reported on a July 9 broadcast by investigative journalist Janne Josefsson, who appears to be one of the few level-headed practitioners of that profession left in Sweden. “When you burn books for ideological reasons,” Josefsson later told Expressen, “there’s something in me that says, wait a second now, are we really going to let these things disappear? Shouldn’t they be allowed to survive so that that I can explain to my child that this is how you talked in those days?”

To Big Left, history is just another egg to be broken to make the omelette.