Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales for Our Life and Times is a book by James Finn Garner, published in 1994, in which Garner satirizes the trend toward political correctnessand censorship of children’s literature, with an emphasis on humour and parody. The bulk of the book consists of fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood, the Three Little Pigs and Snow White, rewritten so that they supposedly represent what a “politically correct” adult would consider a good and moral tale for children.
The revisions include extensive usage of politically correct buzzwords (and parodies thereof), deliberately stiff moralizing dialogue and narration, inclusion of modern concepts and objects (such as health spas, mineral water, and automobiles), and often feature a plot twist that reverses the roles of the heroes and villains of the story (for example, the woodsman in Little Red Riding Hood is seen by Red Riding Hood not as a heroic saviour but as a “sexist” and “speciesist” interloper, and Snow White’s evil stepmother ends up with a positive portrayal while the prince and the seven dwarves are portrayed as chauvinistic).
Politically Correct Bedtime Stories was Garner’s first published book (or, in the words of his similarly satirical biography blurb from the book, “his first processed tree carcass”). More than 2.5 million copies have been sold in the United States and it has since been translated into 20 languages. Garner wrote two follow-up books: Once upon a More Enlightened Time: More Politically Correct Bedtime Stories and Politically Correct Holiday Stories: For an Enlightened Yuletide Season,the latter book satirizing political correctness during the Christmas holiday season. In 1998, the three books were compiled into an omnibus collection called Politically Correct, the Ultimate Storybook. All editions of the Politically Correct titles are currently out of print.
James Finn Garner
The emperor asked, “Do you have any last request before I banish you from my domain forever?”
The tailor replied, “Only that your majesty allow me the honor of Grafting a new royal wardrobe. For I have brought with me a special fabric that is so rare and fine that it can be seen only by certain people – the type of people you’d want to have in -your realm – people who are politically correct, morally righteous, intellectually astute, culturally tolerant, and who don’t smoke, drink, laugh at sexist jokes, watch too much television, listen to country music, or barbecue.”
After a moment’s thought, the emperor agreed to this request. He was flattered by the fascist and testosterone-heavy idea that the empire and its inhabitants existed only to make him look good. It would be like having a trophy wife and multiplying that feeling by 100,000.
Of course, no such rarefied fabric existed. Years of living outside the bounds of normal society had forced the tailor to develop his own moral code that obliged him to swindle and embarrass the emperor in the name of independent craftspeople everywhere. So, as he diligently labored, he was able to convince the emperor that he was cutting and sewing pieces of fabric that, in the strictest objective sense of reality, didn’t exist.
When the tailor announced that he was finished, the emperor looked at his new robes in the mirror. As he stood there, naked as the day he was born, one could see how years of exploiting the peasantry had turned his body into an ugly mass of puffy white flesh. The emperor, of course, saw this too, but pretended that he could sec the beautiful, politically correct robes. To show off his new splendor, he ordered a parade to be held the next day.
On the following morning, his subjects lined the streets for the big parade. Word had spread about the emperor’s new clothes that only enlightened people with healthy lifestyles could see, and everyone was determined to be more right-minded than his or her neighbor.
The parade began with great hoopla. As the emperor marched his pale, bloated, patriarchal carcass down the street, everyone loudly oohed and ahed at his beautiful new clothes. All except one small boy, who shouted:
“The emperor is naked!”
The parade stopped. The emperor paused. A hush fell over the crowd, until one quick-thinking peasant shouted: “No, he isn’t. The emperor is merely endorsing a clothing-optional lifestyle!”
A cheer went up from the crowd, and the throngs stripped off their clothes and danced in the sun, as Nature had intended. The country was clothing optional from that day forward, and the tailor, deprived of any livelihood, packed up his needle and thread and was never heard from again.
(Any resemblance to the country, its rulers, its policy decisions, its judiciary and its people is clearly a complete figment of your imagination, and you should be ashamed of harbouring such unworthy thoughts)