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Noddy Articles

Postby tix » 05 Nov 2017, 09:13

Is it a claim to fame when Noddy enshrines himself as the subject of a major newspaper's editorial? The little man has riled many people up over the generations so those who retain a continuing interest in him can evaluate the following passage that appeared in 1989:

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'Let Noddy Go Back To Sleep'

There is no respite for the liberal mind. Those attempting to hold a politically correct position against the tide are about to come under attack from booksellers. Under the banner "Give Noddy a Break," one of literature's most controversial figures is attempting a comeback.

Noddy stands accused of racism, sexism and homosexuality. There's nothing wrong with the last, though in this day and age you'd think old nid nid nodding Noddy could come out and ring his bell for the cause.

The sexism probably relates to an incorrect feminist analysis of his gayness. Certainly Noddy prefers male company, but he's no misogynist. The truth is he's not very appealing to women.

The racism charge is quite another matter. There's no doubt that the society in which Noddy lives is a breeding ground for Ku Klux Klanners. The discrimination against the Golliwogs and stereotyping of blacks is appalling and no model for kids.

Enid Blyton wrote in the 1940's and 50s, and in some respects was ahead of her time. She advanced the idea of school councils in co-ed boarding schools for example.

Noddy, though, was firmly rooted in his era. The stories are rife with outdated humour and trite homilies. At that time it was widely accepted that blacks were inferior and this offensive notion pervades Noddy.

Time usually deals with such things. Books which have timeless appeal live on. 'The Secret Garden,' published in the early 1900s, still sells thousands of copies a year. Those stories that cease to appeal fade away, like R M Ballantyne's adventure tales.

Sometimes small changes can keep a story alive. Dr Doolittle for example, has just been republished with minor alterations to remove the racist messages. An attempt was also made to rewrite Noddy, but the current advertising campaign is for the unexpurgated versions.

The reason is obvious. Despite the publisher's claims, there is very little demand for Noddy stories. They are quaint, vapid little tales of no literary merit and without any enduring interest whatsoever. The publishers desperately want to see the Noddy book-burners out on the streets. The commercial value of such advertising is best demonstrated by the sales of 'The Satanic Verses,' a book, which in its own right, has limited appeal.

Noddy doesn't deserve a break. He is nothing more than a boring, whingeing little do-gooder who never stands up to the obnoxious Big-Ears. But kids who do have to suffer their parents' trip down memory lane are not likely to be irreparably damaged by the experience.

There are grounds for censoring material for children, but only in extreme cases like the KKK's 'Little Joey Goes to A Hanging.' The children's comic, magazine and bookstands would be considerably depleted if all violent, sexist and racist material was banned.

The way to deal with Noddy is not to ban him from the bookshops. Put him on the shelves and most parents and children will ignore him in favour of his livelier and far more appealing modern counterparts. There is a huge diversity of good children's books now. Amid these riches, the commercial campaign to bring Noddy back from the dead is pathetic.

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Eight years after the above editorial was published which includes "Despite the publisher's claims, there is very little demand for Noddy stories," a counter-balance saw light of day - and it even included an afterthought concerning Noddy's behaviour:

"Sales of the Noddy books appear unaffected by all the controversy. Last year, Trocadero plc (sic) paid 13m pounds for the remaining 43 years of copyright to the works of Enid Blyton, who died in 1968. Her books continue to sell more than 8 million copies a year; Noddy alone has accounted for more than 100 million sales since his first appearance in 1949.
Now his readers can relax in the knowledge that all charges against him are unjustified. Only 6 per cent of all the naughtiness in the Noddy books is committed by golliwogs and all allegations of a sadomasochistic relationship between the Milkman and Noddy is unfounded."

(Independent - 1997)

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Extra Note:

It seems that Noddy and his author have much to answer for -

" ..... Welch then goes on to say that Enid writes down to her readers, and that the books failed to stretch their imagination; “By putting everything within reach of the child mind, they enervate and cripple it”, before dropping an outrageous reference to Christopher Craig, a sixteen year-old boy who killed a police officer in 1952, “of whom at his trial for murder, it was stated that “the only books he knows anything about are the books of Enid Blyton, which he gets other people to read for him.” Then espousing the boorish Victorian propaganda that children had no books before the Victorian era, Welch gushes that “Victorian children’s books often involve long words and quite complex intellectual and moral problems” and quotes ‘the acid comment of a town librarian’ that “Only not-so-bright children like Enid Blyton.”

(Banned Books Week 2016: Enid and Noddy Defeat the Despots)

'Welch' is no doubt the writer of that infamous condemnation of Noddy (Encounter - 1958)
tix
 
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Re: Noddy Articles

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 05 Nov 2017, 10:30

It's interesting to see what has been published, Tix, but I must admit I take no notice of articles like the top one or the comments by Welch. They're so full of exaggeration that when you cut through the hyperbole and hogwash there's nothing of any substance left.
"Heyho for a starry night and a heathery bed!" - Jack, The Secret Island.

"There is no bond like the bond of having read and liked the same books."
- E. Nesbit, The Wonderful Garden.


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Re: Noddy Articles

Postby Moonraker » 05 Nov 2017, 12:06

Well said, Anita. Couldn't agree more. As for Noddy being homosexual, I can't see how a carved piece of wood can have any sexuality. Toyland is a land of celibacy.
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Re: Noddy Articles

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 05 Nov 2017, 12:13

Quite a lot of characters have children somehow though, e.g. Sally Skittle has umpteen children and Mr. and Mrs. Tubby Bear have a son, Master Tubby. Tiptoe the fairy doll and Jolly the sailor doll get married in Tales of Toyland.
"Heyho for a starry night and a heathery bed!" - Jack, The Secret Island.

"There is no bond like the bond of having read and liked the same books."
- E. Nesbit, The Wonderful Garden.


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Re: Noddy Articles

Postby Rob Houghton » 05 Nov 2017, 13:08

good point - but I agree with Nigel on this one. In Toyland, the toys are produced that way, just as they would be in a shop - so a family of dolls would have mother, father, two or three children, but no sex took place to make the children...they were manufactured. Same for the skittle family etc. Sex isn't needed when a family comes ready-made in a box!! :-D

I agree with what you say, Anita, about critics filling their pieces with so much hyperbole and going so far over the top that in the end what they say has absolutely no substance whatsoever. This is how I feel about most criticism of the 1960's - 1980's. Critics jumped on a bandwagon and tried to top each others criticism of Enid with more unfounded criticism. You could liken it to the criticism Jeremy Corbyn suffered in the last election - in the end, it just becomes laughable, and people make up their own minds.
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: Noddy Articles

Postby Moonraker » 06 Nov 2017, 19:18

Anita Bensoussane wrote:Quite a lot of characters have children somehow though, e.g. Sally Skittle has umpteen children and Mr. and Mrs. Tubby Bear have a son, Master Tubby. Tiptoe the fairy doll and Jolly the sailor doll get married in Tales of Toyland.


True. Children born in Toyland, however, were born under different rules.
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