For the politically correct Bay Area parent, the "Curious George" children's books are a minefield of cultural horrors through which to tiptoe. Imperialism. Animal abuse. Bad parenting.

Puh-leeeeze, George's defenders say. They're children's books, whose charm has not dimmed -- 25 million books and countless swag sold -- even if ideas about political correctness have evolved since the first George adventure was published in 1941. Sometimes a speechless, mischievous monkey is just that -- a monkey, not a metaphor. Besides, George's tales are no more un-PC than those of that royalist warmonger, Babar.

Both camps are wondering how "Curious George," the animated movie that premieres today, will translate details of the popular series of children's books for the more heightened sensitivities of 2006.


From my vantage, it seems like people who get alarmed about "imperialism" and imaginary animal abuse find themselves with fewer and fewer friends nowadays.

The PC-era is dying a sad, little death. If you know what I mean.

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