Haley Strack writes at National Review Online about cinematic silliness across the pond.

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) changed the film rating for Mary Poppins, the beloved 1964 children’s movie, from U to PG this week. (Here in the U.S., the film is rated G.) The U rating means that a film contains “no material likely to offend or harm,” which, the board explained, is no longer appropriate given the film’s use of “discriminatory language.” Twice, the film uses the term “Hottentots,” which Europeans once used to refer to the nomadic Khoikhoi of South Africa but eventually became thought of as a slur.

You’ll remember the Banks family’s kooky neighbors, Admiral Bloom and Mr. Binnacle, retired naval officers who fire a cannon from the ship on their roof twice a day. Bloom once mistakes Bert (Dick Van Dyke), friend of Mary (Julie Andrews), and his sooty-faced chimney sweeps for “Hottentots” when he sees them dancing on the roof.

Over Christmas, CBS celebrated Van Dyke’s 98th birthday with a special program, 98 Years of Magic. I watched with my parents, who first showed me Mary Poppins on VHS when I was a girl. Stars performed the movie’s famous songs, including “Step in Time,” “Chim Chim Cheree,” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” It was a great tribute. Van Dyke’s films exuded happiness, and many generations were lucky enough to experience the actor’s characteristic joy. Surely Mary Poppins, one of Walt Disney’s crowning achievements and a great promotion of familial love, still puts a smile on the faces of those who loved it when they were young.

And families are still enjoying it together. Attempts such as the BBFC’s to cloud the movie’s excellence or degrade its innocence assume that the film has a racist slant, which just isn’t true. The word “Hottentot” isn’t used offensively; it’s uttered in the ramblings of a nutty and hilarious old man who shoots fireworks out of a cannon that sits on his roof.