Over twenty years ago, James Finn Garner wrote Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales for Our Life and Times. Meant as a satire, it takes well-known stories like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and “rehabilitates” them for modern sensibilities. Obviously, a prince rescuing a woman is a knave, not a knight, and story lines are secondary to ideological diatribes.
In Stalinist Russia, the idea of sanitizing stories was not amusing. People found themselves banished to the Gulag or worse for writing something the wrong way. Of course, the correct way one year could become a criminal offense the next year.
Even now in China, according to a recent story in the Wall Street Journal, anyone writing certain true accounts on social media that the government finds offensive finds himself imprisoned and beaten. Naturally, most published material China meets the socialist government’s rules.
With this in mind, I found myself pondering the December 15, Modern Love column in the New York Times. It is a story of a woman with an auto-immune disease whose boyfriend married her in order to bring her under the umbrella of his medical insurance. Written several years after the fact, she acknowledges that without that medical crisis they likely would not have married. She now recognizes her marriage as a gift.