Yesterday, as our own intrepid critic Amy Nicholson reported, the Cannes screening of The BFG drew more than 2,000 critics and fans, a crowd so dense and wild with lust that it edged Amy herself out of a seat. The film, following the travails of a big friendly giant, was adapted by Steven Spielberg from the novel of the same name by beloved children's author Roald Dahl. At least a dozen ferociously popular and lucrative films have been wrought from Roald Dahl's books, including Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, and Fantastic Mr. Fox. Also, Roald Dahl is a raging, self-professed anti-Semite and a Hitler apologist.
When asked at Cannes about Dahl's Jew-hating, Hitler-empathizing proclivities, the Jewish director of Schindler's List replied that he "wasn't aware of any of Roald Dahl's personal stories." "I was focused on the story [Dahl] wrote," said Spielberg. "I had no idea of anything that was purportedly assigned to him, that he might have said."
A person who does not hate Jews is Judy Blume, a similarly beloved novelist, albeit one who is often dismissed and ghettoized as a YA author for girls, and whose books have often been banned for their frank discussions of puberty and burgeoning sexuality. Blume is, by all accounts, an extremely lovely person who often wears galoshes and lives a gorgeous life in Key West while encouraging empathy and intellectual and personal freedom. Approximately one film has been made based on her books. It is called Tiger Eyes, and it made $27,000 at the box office.
Can you tell Roald Dahl's insidious Jew-hating from Judy Blume's basic kindness and humanity? Test your knowledge below!
- 1. “There is a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity, maybe it’s a kind of lack of generosity towards non-Jews. I mean, there’s always a reason why anti-anything crops up anywhere; even a stinker like Hitler didn’t just pick on them for no reason."
- 2. "I’m phobic about thunderstorms. Writing is incredibly hard for me ... And I love a good cupcake."
- 3. "I'm certainly anti-Israel and I've become anti-Semitic."
- 4. "[Writing] has to happen in the morning, so I get up and I go for my two-mile walk. Then I have my breakfast and I take my shower and then get dressed, which in Key West is a T-shirt and shorts. I go into my office, which is very pretty. I love writing there. And I stay there until noon. And if it's a first draft, I pray for the phone to ring, and I doodle a lot. Some of my best thinking comes when I have a pencil in hand. I doodle all over every printout."
- 5. "I mean, if you and I were in a line moving towards what we knew were gas chambers, I’d rather have a go at taking one of the guards with me; but they [the Jews] were always submissive.”
- 6."When I'm reading, I like to care about the characters. I like to know what's inside their heads. And when I'm writing, the same thing is true. For me, character is everything. I'm interested in people and how they cope and how they relate."
- 7. "Must Israel, like Germany, be brought to her knees before she learns how to behave in this world?"
- 8. "In this age of censorship, I mourn the loss of books that will never be written, I mourn the voices that will be silenced — writers' voices, teachers' voices, students' voices — and all because of fear.”
- 9. [Certain alleged Israeli military activity in Lebanon] "was very much hushed up in the newspapers because they are primarily Jewish-owned ... there aren't any non-Jewish publishers anywhere."
- 10. "I have a grandson who wants Fudge, since we play the Fudge game. I have to be Fudge, so I'm four. He gets to be Peter my big brother: talk about power. And my daughter is our mother. She's mom and she has to always separate us and say, 'Now boys. You really have to get along better.' Elliot loves it, and it drives the rest of the family crazy when he says, 'Let's play the Fudge game.'"
- 11. "The horror and bestiality of the Lebanon War ... makes one wonder in the end what sort of people these Israelis are. It is like the good old Hitler and Himmler times all over again."