professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Oh the ads that appear in my Facebook timeline. Some days I am convinced that FB believes me to be exactly the opposite of who I am. But, if it did not underestimate me, I would never have seen this: An app that removes all the swears from a book so it is "clean," boggles my mind. As if words are the culprit. As if words make something "dirty." As if words have some sort of mystical power when they are 4 letters long (and sometimes longer, I know).

Here is the description from the app: "Clean Reader prevents swear words in books from being displayed on your screen. You decide how clean your books should appear and Clean Reader does the rest." Because it is free, I plan to download it and see what it does exactly. I do have to purchase the book I am "cleaning" through the app, however, if you were wondering where the money is made.

I do not need to see it in action, though, to know this is censorship, pure and simple. Changing text, altering the words of the author, is wrong, wrong, wrong. An article join the Washington Post recalls the publication of a "clean" edition of Huck Finn several years ago ( that sought to remove all instances of the N-word. The thought was that it wold be more palatable to public schools without such language. But how far do we go? When we open this can, worms are going to go everywhere.

Read the WaPo article as it details why someone created this app. Parents did it for their 4th grader who needed more challenging books. Parents found more rigorous texts to have problematic words. Presto: Clean Reader. Sigh.

I hope there are some lawsuits here, challenges from the writing community whose works are being sanitized without their consent. Sanitized for your protection? No, sanitized because someone finds the problem lies with words and not with the ideas and concepts these words are addressing within the text.
Tags: censorship, speakloudly
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