Home By Marquel Being Romeo. How Funny

Being Romeo. How Funny

[embedyt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjxHdNxvySU[/embedyt]Marquel TPVs NYTimes Sanitary hygiene Section correspondent was shaving his moustache when he read To Lure Young Readers, Nonfiction Writers Sanitize and Simplify.  Inspired by the booming market for young adult novels, a growing number of biographers and historians are retrofitting their works to make them palatable for younger readers. Laura Hildebrand, author of Unbroken, a story of world war II POWs, has decided to capitalize on the young adult market by “sanitizing” her story of a GI who was shot down, floated in the Pacific amid sharks for three weeks, then jailed and tortured for three years, by taking out the scenes of an injured duck that was tortured.

“I think any 12 year old reading that would be uncomfortable.” She said.

Marquel considered that. Shot down. Sharks nibbling his toes. Japan waterboarding him for three years. Seeing his buddies die. A 12 year old would get off on that, but not a duck dying. Are we too inured to human suffering? Has PETA succeeded? Are these authors nuts?
Marquel visited several publishers in town and the Authors Guild, where he found several authors and editors working on “sanitizing” classics. First he found an editor who was rewriting To Kill A Mockingbird.
“What are you taking out of that classic?” I said, daggers visible in my eyes.
“Nothing. All the elements remain. It’s a good book and a solid book.” Said the editor. “Tom doesn’t just get shot at the end. He escapes from prison, is hired by a motor company in Detroit, and becomes the CEO. The only other change is that he’s not accused of raping the girl, just kissing her.”
“What does the publisher say?” I asked.
“This is one of our biggest sellers world wide and they say this will actually outsell the original.” She said, holding a large erasor in her hand.
I continued down the aisle and found an author furiously  scribbling lines through a set of proofs.
“What are you working on?” I asked.
The Odyssey.”
“Any problems?” I asked.
“Well we don’t like that Cyclops was blinded. Instead we’re giving him conjunctivitis. Also Odysseus doesn’t kill the suitors in the end, he finds them all suitable mates, and for having done that, he is considered most worthy.”
“Sort of takes the excitement out of the saga, doesn’t it?” I ask.
“Not really,” she answered, “we get a good health lesson about eye hygiene, and a statement against bullying. Seems a good trade-off.” She said, nodding with satisfaction.
I went on down the aisle. It seemed everybody was busy rewriting old books. No body seemed pregnant with a new novel. “Not as much money there,” explained an elderly editor.
Then I found a writer working on The Life of Lincoln. “What are you doing with that?” I asked. “Except for the end, he led a pretty non violent personal life.”
“Yes that’s right. The civil war was our bloodiest in US history, so we’re concentrating on freeing the slaves instead of on the war itself.”
“But even slavery was filled with torture and broken families. What can you do with that?” I asked .
“Well there are no whippings.  All the slave owners use time out which the readers will fully understand. And the broken families all find the missing family member makes it back somehow.”
“That’s a much more progressive slavery,” I said, “the sort you might find in Williamsburg.”
“Exactly.” She said with a broad smile.
“But what about Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth? It doesn’t get much more gory.” I said.
“We don’t say anything about shooting or death. Booth ends up bothering Lincoln during the entire second act by miming the story of the three little pigs for a good half an hour. Lincoln gets a migraine, which forces him to resign and lives in a small cabin in Illinois the rest of his life, reading books with no mention of mimes. It’s a happy story.” She said, obviously waiting for me to join her smile. I disappointed her.
I saw somebody in the back with a huge portfolio. “What are you working on?” I asked.
“The complete works of Shakespeare. I’m sanitizing them all. Hamlet was a bitch. Instead of dying, they all get sent to Paris. Some got the French disease which was more fearful than death. But we’ve made it just cold sores.  Took me over six months to make it work.” She said.
“What are you up to?” I asked.
Romeo and Juliet. It’s a breeze compared to Hamlet.” Said she.
“Changes?” I asked.
“Not much. Obviously there’s no death or suicide. She gives a big party for all the families, they see their common humanity, and the young couple move to New York where their families buy them a brownstone in Brooklyn. Park Slope.” She said.
“But America had barely been colonized by Europeans at that time.” I said.
She tapped a book next to her, saying, “obviously we’re going to have to change this book too. Just a few dates.”
I looked at the book. It was World History for High School Students. If it were just so easy, I thought.  Then I thought we’re in deep deep trouble.
BY MARQUEL: Being Romeo. How Funny


  1. Didn’t you write something like this a few years back when the NYC DOE was doing the same purge? Keep writing. Bravo

  2. Yeah. I think I remember that. you came up with a list of words. As if children are imbecile beings. Some are because we won’t have these adults making these decisions, of course.

  3. To Kill a Mockingbird: I don’t see how this is going to work, forget about editing the contents, kiss, rape, what’s the difference: the title is so horrifying, who would open the book?


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