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MEOW Ep. 25 - Roald Dahl, Alberto Gullaba, Jr., and a Modest Proposal for Sensitivity Readers

This podcast is a production of The Meow Library.

Last week, Puffin, an imprint of Penguin Books, announced the release of ‘updated’ editions of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s stories, featuring a slew of questionable alterations to the original text, ostensibly attuned to modern sensibilities, but baffling - if not downright insulting - to casual readers and hardcore Dahl fans alike.

More troubling on the censorship front is last year’s preemptive cancellation of Alberto Gullaba Jr.’s University Thugs, a hotly anticipated debut nixed in the cradle over, of all things, the author’s Filipino heritage, deemed insufficiently ‘other’ to handle characters of diverse ethnicities and backgrounds, per a revolving door of ‘sensitivity readers’ brought in to enhance the manuscript’s ‘authenticity.’

These two cases point toward the general tone-deafness and neuroticism of contemporary publishing (historically, and at present, run by a who's-who of society's elite); willing to deny promising minority voices a forum, and Bowdlerize its own questionable past, in a sort of Freudian reaction-formation against the forces that gave them such authority.

In this week’s episode, The Meow Library offers you a glimpse into our proposed solution to this rising tide of literary suppression. By replacing every word ever written - or podcasted - with the ontological nullity of ‘Meow,’ we aim to create a robust, censorship-resistant, and truly inclusive literature, one that will endure the vagaries of fashion and stand testament to what we - human, feline, and everything in between - had in us to express, for all eternity.

University Thugs has been published by the author and is available on Amazon.


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