The Clean Reader app controversy tornado blew through town. It struck me as an odd one but what the hell do I know, I'm not a writer. Here's a couple of very random thoughts to fill my time here on this fine Monday afternoon.
-There are readers who will not abide violence towards children and animals. They will not abide profanity. Flat out. These folks also read a lot. A few years ago I went to Bouchercon in Baltimore and the first time I heard someone remark that they will not read a book that contains violence towards animals I chuckled to myself. By the time I heard it the sixth time I realized that this was a thing. The same with profanity. So it's easy to poke fun an someone who might want this app but I can see a reason for it existing. And people using it.
-There seems to be a group of writers that feel that any alteration to even a single word of their book alters if not damages the book. I understand that folks spend years writing their books and hold them dear but that argument strikes me as precious. I've skimmed enough books, for various reasons, to know that I can skip whole paragraphs and still get what your saying in the book.
-I grew up watching tons of movies that aired on Saturday afternoons on network TV. These movies were sanitized to to make them fit network guidelines. No sex, no nudity, no profanity. Whole scenes cut for time. I loved these movies and still got what was going on in them. I'm pretty sure that Samuel Jackson's consent wasn't obtained when the "motherfuckers" in Jackie Brown were changed to "Maryland farmers".
-Thomas Jefferson (yes, that Thomas Jefferson) took a bible and cut out all of the supernatural elements of it because he didn't believe them. He wanted to get down to the essence of Christ's teachings and get rid of the Supernatural stuff that he didn't believe. For starters this meant that the miracles were cut out, the resurrection was cut out, passages indicating any divinity were cut out. You can buy a copy for your Kindle for a buck if you want. But my point in mentioning it is that Thomas Bowlder may have been marked down in history as infamous but this kind of thing has been done before.
-A lot of "classics" are published in an abridged format, particularly for kids. Did Melville consent to the abridgement changes to that Illustrated Classics edition of Moby Dick? Fuck if I know but my kids sure like the story.
None of this is coherent and doesn't make for a coherent case but those are my thoughts.