Recently, the UK newspaper The Guardian  published an article about the controversial Clean Reader app that sanitizes ebooks of profanity. You should read the article. It’s quite interesting.

The article says how this is the “brainchild” of a couple of parents in middle America (geographically and possibly demographically speaking) who were concerned about what their kid was reading. Well, good for them. But was it really necessary to spend time and money creating an app to censor and rewrite text when you could just read something else for free?

Strong language and “distasteful” topics are a part of life. If you want to remove yourself from it, as so many uber religious types want to—why not live in a plastic bubble? It’s not the type of life I want to live. My parents raised me to live in the real world and how to cope with the real world while keeping me away from things until they thought I was old enough to understand. They taught me to think for myself and make decisions and live with consequences. They didn’t fill my head with the delusion that the world was full of lollipops and rainbows and everyone was nice, and if they weren’t I could blink my eyes a la I Dream of Jeannie and make it so.

I don’t care for syrupy, sweet stories, so I don’t read them–very often, if at all. Not anymore. I can appreciate reading to escape the humdrum, but even then there needs to be some excitement, and if not totally realistic, at least plausible.

200x300 SOC 1My new release, Summer of Consent – Part 1: June is about an eighteen year old who has a sexual relationship with an older man. I know for a fact that there are people and readers—even erotica readers—who find this scenario unappealing. That’s fine. THEY are not my audience. I’m not going to waste my time and money (because time IS money) trying to please them when there are billions of other things they can read and there are readers who will not be offended. To each, his/her own taste.

Writing stories is a craft. Anyone can write, but not everyone can craft a well-written story. Writers often pick their words with care to correspond with the situation or the character of the writer’s writing style or all of the above. When someone goes about tinkering with the author’s words, they risk ruining the story altogether.

How many Hollywood movies adapted from books can you think of where they sanitized the original book to suit their needs?

I wonder what a scrubbed text in Clean Reader would be like.

Take the title of this post, “Lick My Brown Eye, Clean Reader.” How would Clean Reader make it less offensive?

  • “Look My Brown Eye, Clean Reader.” –Makes no sense.
  • “Like My Brown Eye, Clean Reader.” –THAT would be interesting.
  • “Love My Brown Eye, Clean Reader.” – Kinky!

 

Well, I know what I wrote and what I meant.

Perhaps I should create a “Raunchy Reader” that turns the sweet into the salty.

Barbara Cartland was the queen of sweet romance, and a no-sex-before-marriage type of gal if ever there was one. Princess Diana used to read Babs’s books and her daughter became Diana’s stepmother. Well, we all know what happened to Diana. ’Nuff said.

babs proud princessI just happen to have a copy of Barbara Cartland’s The Proud Princess. There was a time in my life when I read Babs with a passion. I felt so grown up and worldly for being able to read her work.

I was in middle school at the time.

Here’s a passage from The Proud Princess:

“I could not wait any longer to have you to myself.”

He pulled her almost roughly against him, and as his lips came down crushingly on hers, his fingers pulled the pins from her hair.

A great cloud of red-gold tresses fell over her white shoulders and he kissed a handful of it before once again he kissed her lips.

“You are mine!” he said. “Mine, completely and absolutely! Tonight I am going to undress you as I have wanted to do ever since we were married!”

“You are…making me…shy,” Ilona whispered.

 

OK, let’s raunch this up a bit.

 

“I could not wait any longer to have you to myself.”

He pulled her almost roughly against him, and as his lips came down crushingly on hers, his fingers pulled the pins from her hair.

A great cloud of red-gold tresses fell over her white shoulders and he kissed a handful of it before once again he kissed her lips.

“You are mine!” he said. “Mine, completely and absolutely! Tonight I am going to undress you as I have wanted to do ever since we were married!”

“You are…making me…wet,” Ilona whispered.

 

See how one word can change the entire meaning and context of a story?

I would create a Raunchy Reader, but like I said above: time is money. I’m not going to waste either trying to appease a demographic that can’t appreciate the type of stories I want to read and write.

I believe and want people to read what they like to read and to be comfortable with it. There are lots of books without profanity—many of them are still good reads. I don’t want readers who may find my work offensive to read my work. I can’t force people to read my work, and there is no law on Earth that says you have to.

The mature thing to do, for those who are easily offended, would be to find those writers who write what you like in the way you like it. I’m sure they would appreciate the sales and the fans.  Unfortunately, I don’t live in a perfect world…and neither do Clean Readers.

 

©2015 Jayne Marlowe, Moonchild Press

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