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  1. #1
    Pip Madeley Guest

    Default 'Offensive' word to be removed from Jacqueline Wilson book

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008...queline.wilson

    Parents' complaints about inappropriate language in Jacqueline Wilson's latest novel My Sister Jodie have persuaded its publisher to replace the offending word.

    Random House Children's Books received three complaints from parents about the use of the word "twat" in the book, which is aimed at children aged 10 years and over. Wilson, a former Children's Laureate, is an enormously popular author, and the book has already sold 150,000 copies in the UK since publication in March. But the complaints have meant that the publisher will replace the word with "twit" when it comes to reprint the novel.

    Supermarket chain Asda also received a complaint about the novel, which it passed on to Random House, and it is now in the process of withdrawing it from stores until the novel is reprinted. Asda said it had sold over 28,000 copies of My Sister Jodie since it was published, and that the complaint was "the first and only" one it had received.

    The book is about Jodie, who is "bold and brash and bad", and her younger sister Pearl. During the course of the novel, when the two girls are sent to boarding school, Jodie becomes interested in a 19-year-old boy who uses the word "twat" in conversation with her.

    "The word 'twat' was used in context. It was meant to be a nasty word on purpose, because this is a nasty character," said a spokesperson for Random House. "However, Jacqueline doesn't want to offend her readers or her readers' parents, so when the book comes to be reprinted the word will be replaced with twit."

    In a statement, Random House apologised to anyone offended by the language in the novel, saying that although it felt the word was acceptable for children aged 10 and over to read, "especially as it is commonly used in a way that is removed from its original meaning", it would remove it from future printings.

    Random House added: "Jacqueline Wilson aims to reflect the realities of modern life, including dialogue, in her books. Children do hear a wide variety of language in the playground and through this, learn what is and isn't acceptable, and also how language demonstrates mood and feelings. In the context of the character we felt the word was used in a way that accurately portrayed how children like Jodie and her friends would speak to each other, and it also contributed to the reader's understanding of how Jodie felt in the situation."
    I'm pretty shocked it was even included! What was she thinking?!

  2. #2
    WhiteCrow Guest

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    Thing is Jaqueline Wilsons book have a wonderfully earthy content to them, they're kind of edgy and deal with some dark subjects at time. I think to have some reality to them they do need some slightly nasty language

  3. #3
    Pip Madeley Guest

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    I don't think it's right for a child to be aware of that word, particularly when it's nearly always used as offensive language. Can't children be children? For kids who read her books, the innocence of childhood isn't quite as innocent anymore.

  4. #4
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    I'm actually a bit torn on this - on the one hand I hate gratuitous swearing in anything, but... When I was ten the word 'bastard' appeared in The Enemy of the World, and it never bothered me. And second, according to the BBC article on the news, Asda's decision to remove the book "followed a complaint from one shopper in Stanley, County Durham" so arguably it's a huge over-reaction, and a policy dictated by a single person's opinion.

    Put it this way, one of the very few authors Claudia enjoys reading is Jaqueline Wilson, and I certainly don't feel the need now to start censoring her.

  5. #5
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    Do children still speak in hushed but excited tones about the book in the library which has a rude word in it? Or are they hopelessly blasť about it these days?

    "There's a twat in Jacqueline Wilson's book" one excited brat will breathlessly gasp.

    "That's nothing - there's a c**t in Piers Morgan's autobiography" will come the reply.
    Dennis, Francois, Melba and Smasher are competing to see who can wine and dine Lola Whitecastle and win the contract to write her memoirs. Can Dennis learn how to be charming? Can Francois concentrate on anything else when food is on the table? Will Smasher keep his temper under control?

    If only the 28th century didn't keep popping up to get in Dennis's way...

    #dammitbrent



    The eleventh annual Brenty Four serial is another Planet Skaro exclusive. A new episode each day until Christmas in the Brenty Four-um.

  6. #6
    WhiteCrow Guest

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    I found this piece on her from Wikipedia

    Wilson's books are realistic portrayal about modern British children facing problems in their daily lives, ranging from the death of a pet (The Cat Mummy) to divorce (The Suitcase Kid), homelessness (The Bed and Breakfast Star), abuse (Secrets), grief (Vicky Angel) and difficult subjects parents may refrain from talking about, such as homosexuality (Kiss).
    So they're not really "innocent childrens tale", they deal with some quite adult themes at times, hence why I'm not shocked about there being a swear word in it myself.

  7. #7
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    To change this on the basis of THREE complaints and ANOTHER one from an Asda shopper is, well, really an overreaction isn't it? For goodness sake, kids probably hear far worse words than twat in the playground.
    Personally, and speaking as someone who issues books to kids, I wouldn't feel bad about a kid reading this. As Mike has pointed out, Jacqueline Wilson's fiction deals with all manner of difficult subjects, and some realism is a good thing. I don't like censorship, and I don't think this is going to scar the morals of the next generation, and I don't think it's going to take away their innocence either.

    And I don't know if I'm alone in this, but I was so innocent that I didn't know the word twat meant anything other than twit until my late teens...

    Si xx

    I've just got my handcuffs and my truncheon and that's enough.

  8. #8
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    For kids who read her books, the innocence of childhood isn't quite as innocent anymore.
    I'm pretty sure I discovered my first swearwords when I was about eight - by twelve I discovered that it was possible to make the air in front of me turn blue just through language.

    I read 'So Long And Thanks For All The Fish' when I was eight and I remember it had a profound effect on me, especially one word. So when I was in the playground and my school bag broke scattering pens and pencils all over the floor, my natural reaction was to say 'F***'. Right as a teacher was going past. 'I beg your pardon?' she said. I got away with it because I don't think she quite believed it!
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

  9. #9
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    Huge over reaction on one tiny word. Kids are switched on enough to be able to hear that kind of word and understand the context in which its used. And the kids that read Jacqueline Wilson's books are probably going to be the type of kids who are quite intelligent and can deal with difficult subjects.
    At that age my sister was reading Judy Blume books and no-one made a fuss about those.
    Also and I know this isn't a justification, you can here the word "shit" on tv long before 9pm these days.

  10. #10
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    And I don't know if I'm alone in this, but I was so innocent that I didn't know the word twat meant anything other than twit until my late teens...
    Me neither, Si - I remember getting a real telling off from my Aunt when I used twat instead of twit once.

  11. #11
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    I also remember feeling very worried about lending my uncle my copy of "Life, The Universe and Everything" when I was about 12 because of its 'Award for the most gratuitous use of the word **** in a serious screenplay'. By 'eck we led sheltered lives when I were a kid.

  12. #12
    WhiteCrow Guest

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    It makes you think - I was in town this evening and saw a guy in a Red Dwarf T-shirt saying "Lets go out there and TWAT it!". I guess that should be withdrawn too?

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    Quote Originally Posted by WhiteCrowUK View Post
    It makes you think - I was in town this evening and saw a guy in a Red Dwarf T-shirt saying "Lets go out there and TWAT it!". I guess that should be withdrawn too?
    I have one of those T-shirts.

  14. #14
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    I think it's absolutely disgusting that Jaqueline Wilson's twat should be allowed to infiltrate small school children. Her twat is her business, but when it comes to thrusting it onto minors, well, in my humble opinion I will not buy this book if it means having her twat shoved in my face.

    Si.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Si Hunt View Post
    I think it's absolutely disgusting that Jaqueline Wilson's twat should be allowed to infiltrate small school children. Her twat is her business, but when it comes to thrusting it onto minors, well, in my humble opinion I will not buy this book if it means having her twat shoved in my face.

    Si.
    One Day, I shall come back, Yes, I shall come back,
    Until them, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties, Just go forward in all your beliefs,
    and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk Gently View Post
    I have one of those T-shirts.
    Me too!
    One Day, I shall come back, Yes, I shall come back,
    Until them, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties, Just go forward in all your beliefs,
    and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhiteCrowUK View Post
    It makes you think - I was in town this evening and saw a guy in a Red Dwarf T-shirt saying "Lets go out there and TWAT it!". I guess that should be withdrawn too?
    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk Gently View Post
    I have one of those T-shirts.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord President View Post
    Me too!
    That makes 3 of us - although I'm not sure I'd fit into mine since I got it 12 years ago
    Your people? Your people??? They are MY people now!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillip Culley View Post
    That makes 3 of us - although I'm not sure I'd fit into mine since I got it 12 years ago
    I bought mine about 17 or 18 years ago. Fortunately it was pretty big on me then, now it is a touch snug!
    One Day, I shall come back, Yes, I shall come back,
    Until them, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties, Just go forward in all your beliefs,
    and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine!

  19. #19
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    I was 18 or 19 when I bought mine (or there abouts) so it should still fit me well.

  20. #20
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    Yes, a hat size of 18 or 19...

  21. #21
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    Are you incinerating that I have a big head!?






  22. #22
    Dave Lewis Guest

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    The justification presented by Mr or Ms. Random House doesn't really stand up to scrutinty....

    "The word 'twat' was used in context. It was meant to be a nasty word on purpose, because this is a nasty character"
    Nasty? Calling someone a "twat" is not generally considered to be nasty - although of course some may take it that way. Even so, are there not better ways to demonstrate the traits of a character than by the single use of one expletive? Or is it used as a verb, a la the Red Dwarf t-shirts? That's actually more "appropriate" in the nastiness sense, so maybe that's it. But using it once and once only is hardly realistic, is it?

    Children do hear a wide variety of language in the playground and through this, learn what is and isn't acceptable, and also how language demonstrates mood and feelings. In the context of the character we felt the word was used in a way that accurately portrayed how children like Jodie and her friends would speak to each other, and it also contributed to the reader's understanding of how Jodie felt in the situation.
    The word "twat" is too ambiguous to demonstrate mood and feelings - I'd argue that calling somebody a "scumbag" is probably an angrier or more forceful word that has the added bonus of not being profane. Or go the other way and have the "nasty" person calling someone a "c**t" - that's definitely nasty.

    I haven't read the book nor anything else by Jacqueline Wilson so perhaps it all makes sense in context - or maybe she put it in for a laugh; or maybe it was a misprint and was meant to be "twit" after all.

    One solitary twat isn't a realistic depiction of anything - except perhaps Robert Kilroy-Silk at a Robert Kilroy-Silk fan club meeting.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk Gently View Post
    Are you incinerating that I have a big head!?





    Now that can be taken two ways. Or not...

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pip Madeley View Post
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008...queline.wilson



    I'm pretty shocked it was even included! What was she thinking?!
    She was probably thinking that children do hear a wide variety of language in the playground and through this, learn what is and isn't acceptable, and also how language demonstrates mood and feelings. In the context of the character she probably felt the word was used in a way that accurately portrayed how children like Jodie and her friends would speak to each other, and that it also contributed to the reader's understanding of how Jodie felt in the situation. I'd guess.

  25. #25
    Pip Madeley Guest

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    I don't really care anymore, to be honest.

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