Every other Thursday here at the Broke & The Bookish is A Cocktail Conversation time. One of the TB&TB members will pose a question to 2-3 of the other members of TB&TB crew about books, life, music, etc and then they'll answer and we can converse about it. So grab a cocktail & cozy up for some conversation. It's 5 o'clock somewhere, friends.
I've seen a lot of talk about the Clean Reader App (if you aren't familiar check this article out). What are your opinions about it?
My basic understanding of the Clean Reader app is that it removes profanity from ebooks. From what I can tell, it doesn't change or replace them, it just blocks them out. I have...a lot of complicated feelings on this.
My first instinct is to shake my head and say, "To each his own," and probably wander away muttering about how some people are such weenies. But I also have a lot of half-formed "This is bad, but I can't really articulate why" thoughts. The first of these was summed up rather eloquently by one of my good friends: "If you can't handle profanity, you can't handle real life." Like, seriously with the pearl clutching. Reading the word "fuck" or "pussy" or "shit" or "cock" or whatever isn't going to kill you, and it's not going to turn your children into delinquents, either. So many people seem to look for things to be offended by. To those people, I give a hearty double middle-finger and say "Get a life."
But a more important argument against the Clean Reader is summed up quite nicely in this article. Here's a great quote (emphasis mine):
Profanity is a circus of language. It’s a drunken trapeze act. It’s clowns on fire. And let’s be clear up front: profanity is not separate from language. It is not lazy language. It is language. Just another part of it. Vulgarity has merit. It is expressive. It is emotive. It is metaphor.
In any book I've ever read, profanity is there for a reason. It's not superfluous language that you can just remove from books at will. You wouldn't rename a character because you didn't like their name, or decide they were white when you're told they're black, would you? The same goes for profanity. The author's intention is exactly what is written—no more and no less. To disrespect that in the name of "clean reading" is unconscionable.
If you hate profanity so much, feel free to read books that don't contain profanity. But don't punish authors who use profanity (for perfectly good and legitimate reasons, I might add) by mangling or censoring their writing.
Julia says:So I knew the basics behind the app but I wanted to learn more so I read some articles. And after finding a list of words and their replacements here in an article, I just don't understand. I get that they want to protect themselves or their children from being offended but that is how you learn and grow—you come across things that make you feel uncomfortable and explore why. I mean this is self censoring so I can't really say the app shouldn't exist, no one is trying to force it on the book world. I just don't agree with changing the original words, and potentially the original meaning, just for comfort. I mean seriously vagina and bottom are two completely different things. So if anything this is teaching bad anatomy.
What do you guys think of the Clean Reader app? Do you have similar thoughts to Julia and Bridget or do you feel differently?