We have been discussing writers, editors, commentators, and academics who have embraced rising calls for censorship and speech controls, including book banning and blacklisting. That movement has now become retroactive. Authors are now being successfully pressured to remove lines from published books that are deemed objectionable by some readers. It appears that even speech that has published can be retroactively “corrected” under the threat of public accusation.
One of the authors who has agreed to curtail her own prior writing is Elin Hilderbrand who agreed to retroactively remove her own lines in the 2021 book, The Golden Girl. According to an article in Publishers Weekly, there was an objection to a line of the character Vivi who responded to the suggestion of her friend Savannah that they hide out for the summer in the attic of Savannah’s parents’ attic. Vivi asks. “Like … like Anne Frank?” The two friends laugh at the absurdity, but Vivi thinks, “Is it really funny, and is Vivi so far off base?”
That led to some readers to declare that the line was “horrifically” antisemitic and demanding an apology for thinking “antisemitism is funny.” Hilderbrand responded with a profuse apology and a promise to remove the line.