Mon 18 November 2019
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Has Dennis the Menace lost his mojo?
In these over-sensitive times, the Beano's greatest creation, the rascally schoolboy Dennis the Menace - who has just turned 60 - is not as much fun as he used to be writes William Langley

As Dennis the Menace, Britain’s one-boy delinquency advancement programme, enjoyed a landmark birthday last week, it was hard to escape the sense that it is time to get the slipper back out.

Or that on the receiving end of it should be the current custodians of the spiky-haired reprobate, who, in a distinguished 60-year career largely devoted to persecuting Walter the Softie, has brought joy to generations of children. “It’s my party,” cries a smiling Menace from the cover of the latest issue of the Beano, “and you’re all invited.”

Love to be there, Dennis, but how much fun would it really be? Especially now that Gnasher, the fearsome, black-fleeced tripe hound, isn’t allowed to bite anybody; the cake can’t blow up in case it sends the wrong message about explosives to young readers; and Walter is liable to turn up with Matilda, the girlfriend they’ve given him to counter suggestions that he might be gay?

In these over-sensitive times, the honourable art of menacing is, itself, menaced. Most of us might agree that firing catapults at park-keepers, while not necessarily to be encouraged, is better than sniffing Brasso behind the bus shelter. But an airbrushed, bubble-wrapped depiction of childhood is increasingly demanded by TV and much of the publishing business, and Dennis has become a prime victim.

For the full article

The Telegraph

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