The opening words of the age-old children’s nursery rhyme ”What shall we do with the drunken sailor?” have been removed from the lyrics in yet another of the Labour government’s stupid EU-compliance nanny state “Let’s re-write history” projects.
The Bonkers Publishing charity says the re-wording of the rhyme from “drunken sailor” to “depressed pirate” simply confuses matters even more, serving to smear and libel sailors by classing them all as rape and pillage buccaneering types instead of a bunch of seafaring alkies.
Barton McCrunt, MP for Twatford-on-the-Wold and Under-Secretary for Goldfish Bowls during Tony Bliar’s reign, was appointed Minister for Nursery Rhymes in Gordon Brown’s 2007 cabinet reshuffle.
At yesterday’s press conference he told the media “It simply wasn’t our original intention to re-write the rhyme in entirety. However, altering a couple of lines such as “Put him in a longboat ‘til he’s sober” didn’t seem to convey the message of the negative effects of underage binge drinking and alcoholism.”
“It was considered to modify this to “Send him to AA meetings til he’s abstemious” and even “Stop his rum ration / Cut his White Lightning quota” but these alterations didn’t seem to relate the point we wish to present to children.”
So, eradicated and gone are the time-tested original lines : “Shave his belly with a rusty razor”, “Stick him in a bag and beat him senseless” and “Put him in the brig with the captain’s daughter” (a euphemism for a lashing from a cat o’ nine tails which was deemed to possess BD/SM connotations).
Now instead the hard-drinking sea shanty has been turned into something gentler, with lyrics such as “Tickle his goolies til he’s giggling, early in the morning,” which have drawn strong criticism from parent concern groups as it is deemed to promote gay behaviour.
Mr. McCrunt countered this by pointing out that seafarers were renown for their perverted “rum, bum and baccy” habits.
The newly added line of “Dose him up on Prozac ‘til he’s smiling” has also drawn harsh condemnation from various concern groups but again these have been dismissed by the nursery rhymes ministry with the argument that 95% of all children are prescribed Prozac by the age of six, so quite understand the inherent connotations for cheering up a grumpy and depressed pirate.
But this asinine literary clash over re-writing is only the latest in a series of disputes over nursery rhymes and fairy tales.
There were complaints in 2006 about pre-school children attending a Smegmadale nursery and being taught “Baa! Baa! Rainbow Sheep” so as not to offend children born with permanent sun tans. This resulted in mass confusion when the same children were confronted with the natural reality that 99% of all sheep are white, 1% black, and an absolute 0% the colours of the rainbow.
Last year, a story based on the Three Little Pigs fairy tale was given a coat of politically correct spin by a government agency’s awards panel as the subject matter could offend Muslims.
A digital children’s book, re-telling the classic story, was rejected by judges who warned that “the use of pigs raised not only cultural issues but sexual ones also”.
This was defined by the actions of the little pig in his house of straw telling the wolf to “Blow me!”
However, a study in 2004 by the EU’s Brussels-based Institute for Wasting Time & Money showed that nursery rhymes exposed children to far more violent incidents than an average evening watching television.
This included Humpty Dumpty’s serious head injury and getting his brains scrambled, Miss Muffett being stalked and sexually molested by a spider, and Little Bo Peep suffering an anxiety attack and contemplating suicide after her flock of sheep went missing. Three Blind Mice was scratched from the syllabus after being considered offensive to disabled / visually-impaired persons.
The traditional classic “Hey Diddle Diddle, the Cat and the Fiddle” rhyme was judged as a wholly hallucinogenic and drug-induced departure from reality and stricken from school bookshelves.
The “Guards changing at Buckingham Palace / Christopher Robin went down on Alice” rhyme was axed due subtle connotations to CR performing cunnilingus on the said Alice.
“Georgie Porgie, Pudding and Pie / Kissed the girls and made them cry” was targeted for elimination due promoting sexual harassment as an acceptable social norm, while “Tom, Tom, the Piper’s son / Fucked a pig and away he ran” was stricken from the approved list for representing acts of bestiality and zoophilia, albeit it being an established children’s and adult karaoke recital favourite.
Conversely the “Old Woman who lived in a shoe and had so many children she didn’t know what to do” rhyme was considered a first-rate educational illustration of the results of teenage pregnancies and a promiscuous sexual lifestyle, and ending up at the bottom end of the social housing scale.