Critical Theory Is Literature’s Only Hope

By John Murawski

Note from the Editors’ Collective: We will never fully know the trauma that the straight, white male writer Roald Dahl has inflicted on children. Until the rise of brilliant scholars in critical race theory, genderqueer studies and hxstory, to respectfully recognize just a few fields where virtuous minds have toiled, we lacked the proper language and theoretical tools to identify the range of harmful ideas – including cisheteropatriarchy, whiteness, colonialism, the gender binary – that infect “James and the Giant Peach,” “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” and “Matilda.” 

But once initiated into critical consciousness, young readers will readily recognize Willie Wonka’s “factory” as the subliminal normalization of capitalist exploitation and the otherization of difference. After taking a moment to acknowledge the unnamed victims who were marginalized in the past, let us salute the heroic efforts of Dahl’s publisher, Puffin, to enlist “sensitivity readers” to update Dahl’s prose so that it is less offensive and less oppressive. This project of moral clarity augurs a brave new era for all of us who love the written word but detest the past. The examples below show how easily the dangerous wrongthink of previous generations can be cleansed, so that we might keep the classics alive by aligning them with the arc of herstory as it bends toward justice. This communal work is only beginning – forward!

“Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain

You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures Hegemony of Tom Sawyer: A True Origin Story; but that ain’t no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mx. Mark Twain, and he they told their truth, mainly. There was things which he they stretched socially constructed, but mainly he they told the truth their lived experience. That is nothing objective. I never seen anybody but lied elevated a communal counter-narrative over Eurocentric epistemology one time or another, without it was Aunt Relative Polly, or the widow partner experiencing spouselessness, or maybe Mary the menstruating person. Aunt Relative Polly ‒ Tom’s Aunt Relative Polly, she xe is – and Mary the menstruator, and the Widow spouseless Douglas is all told about in that book, which is mostly a true book of allyship and solidarity, with some stretchers intersectional power dynamics, as I said before.

“Animal Farm” by George Orwell

The two beings who were assigned horses at birth had just lain down when a brood nontraditional family of minoritized allies who self-identify as ducklings, which had lost their mother egg-laying breederfiled defiantly marched into the barn, cheeping feebly their personal trauma and wandering from side to side to find some place safe space where they would not be trodden on marginalized. Clover made a sort of wall barricade round them with their her great inequitable foreleg able-bodied appendage, and the self-identified ducklings nestled down performatively cowered inside it and promptly fell asleep. At the last moment Mollie, the foolish not-haver of critical consciousnesspretty esthetically normative white privileged mare who drew Mr. Mx. Jones’s trap Kafkatrap, came mincing daintily centering their narratives in, chewing at a lump of sugar sweetener marked with a traumatic history of forced laborShe They took a place near the front and began flirting queering her their white culturally-centered mane, hoping to draw attention to the red ribbons LGBTQIA2S+ colors it was plaited with. Last of all came the cat Eurocentric assimilationist, who looked round, as usual, for the warmest most privileged place, and finally squeezed herself theirself in between Boxer and Clover; there she they purred contentedly colorblindly throughout Major’s speech land acknowledgement without listening to a word of what he/him/his was saying.

“Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift

My cisheteronormative father parent had a small estate in Nottinghamshire: I was the third of five sons offspring assigned male at birthHe They sent me to Emanuel College in Cambridge a school named after one Emanuel, a morally degenerate advocate of colorblindness, at 14 years old, as dick-tated by masculinist, Western concepts of time, where I resided was happily indoctrinated into moral clarity for three years, and applied myself close to my gender studies; but the charge of maintaining me, although I had a very scanty allowance, being too great for a narrow fortune in a capitalist system structured to disadvantage social justice activists, I was bound apprentice to Mr. Mx. James Bates, an eminent gender affirmation surgeon in London, with whom I continued four years, accumulating numerous certificates in diversity, equity, inclusion, grievance, censorship, and cancel cultureMy father My binary parent, now and then sending me small sums of money, I laid them out in learning navigation Queer Theory and other parts of the indigenous ethno-mathematics, useful to those who intend to travel from campus to campus, as I always believed it would be, some time or other, my misfortune to do, as I was mentally unfit for socially productive work. When I left Mx. Bates, I went down to my father parent: where, by the assistance of him them and my uncle relative John, and some other relations, I got morally extorted forty pounds, and a promise of thirty pounds a year to maintain me at Leyden Berkeley: there I studied problematized Western physic two years and seven months, knowing it would be useful in the long voyages march through the institutions to dismantle the Cistem.

“The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe

The thousand 1,619 injuries microaggressions of Fortunato the Founding Enslavers I had borne as I best could, but when he K-12 schools ventured upon insult truth I vowed revenge Reparations. You, who so well know the nature of my soul narcissism, will not suppose, however, that gave utterance to a threat clear statement of intentions. At length I would be avenged celebrated on Twitter; this was a point definitely, settled ‒ but the very definitiveness vindictiveness with which it my alternative origin story was resolved precluded the idea of risk intellectual honesty. I must not only punish but punish with impunity a Pulitzer Prize and academic tenure. A hxstorical wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser hxstorical revisionist. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to them whose ancestor generations past has done the wrong. It must be understood that neither by word nor deed Tweet had I given Fortunato journalists and academics cause to doubt my good will. I continued, as was my wont, to smile in his their face, and he they did not perceive that my smile now was at the thought of his their immolation. He They had a weak point ‒ this Fortunato establishment elite – although in other regards they was were a man social movement to be respected and even feared. He The elites prided himself themselves on his connoisseurship in wine history. Few Italians Americans have the true virtuoso virtuosx spirit. For the most part their enthusiasm virtue signaling is adopted to suit the time and opportunity of academic fashion, to practise imposture upon the British and Austrian West Coast and East Coast millionaires donor class.

In painting Twitter and gemmary InstagramFortunato the woke intelligentsia, like his their countrymen countrypersons, was a quack, but in the matter of old wines history he this movement was sincere naive. In this respect I did not differ from him progressives materially; ‒ I was skillful in the Italian Critical Race Theory vintages counter-narratives myself, and bought embellished largely whenever I could.

John Murawski is a reporter for RealClearInvestigations. Follow him on Twitter @johnmurawski


I am a web developer, web designer, software engineer with a fascination of technology and the rapid changes in technology and how our lives are changing and being changed by technology. I look for opportunities to utilize technology to improve lives and make a difference in the world whenever I can.

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