As an officially published author, Tom Hanks is opening up about his stance on censoring books to appeal to “modern sensitivities”.
Talking with BBC Radio 4, the Saving Private Ryan actor was promoting his debut novel The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece. Speaking as a new author, he shared that he would be “against” any re-releases of older books that have been edited to accustom to what’s currently acceptable diction.
“Well, I’m of the opinion that we’re all grown-ups here,” he said of the matter. “And we understand the time and the place and when these things were written. And it’s not very hard at all to say: that doesn’t quite fly right now, does it?”
“Let’s have faith in our own sensibilities here, instead of having somebody decide what we may or may not be offended by,” he added.
“Let me decide what I am offended by and not offended by. I would be against reading any book from any era that says, ‘abridged due to modern sensitivities.’”
Although Hanks never specified any books in particular that were being edited in such a manner, most recently Roald Dahl’s classic children’s books were rewritten with the intention to be “enjoyed by all today,” per The Guardian.
Dahl wrote many famously successful books, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and Matilda, all of which have had sections either rewritten or omitted entirely from the newest releases which are published by Puffin Books.
Words like “fat” and “ugly” have been replaced with language that is considered less offensive.
Nonetheless, Hanks’ novel is available now. He will also be speaking at the 2023 Harvard Commencement ceremony later this month in which the prestigious school’s president, Lawrence Bacow, is very supportive of.
“In addition to his brilliance as an actor, Tom has demonstrated both an innate empathy and a deep understanding of the human condition,” Bacow said of his decision for the upcoming graduation. “He has contributed to our national culture and expanded our ability to appreciate stories and histories that have been previously unexamined.”