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Censorship app harms rather than protects

Megan Mann

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Illustration by Trevor Moore

Book censorship has to be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of, especially now that it’s as easy as downloading an app.

The Clean Reader app is designed to go through unsuspecting works of literature and clean up any curse words or other obscenities.

Already this deserves a facepalm.

But what’s even worse is that the parents who designed the app did so because they wanted their book-loving daughter to be able to read more advanced books without being exposed to all those nasty swear words.

That distance thumping noise is me banging my head against the wall.

While book censorship isn’t a new concept, this situation strikes a cord with me.

When I was a kid, I too found myself in search of more challenging reads that didn’t come with pictures. So I began checking out books from the adult section of my local library.

My mother encouraged my move into the adult world of literature, so there was nothing to protect me from swear words and, gasp, sex scenes.

Guess what, I’m still here. I’m a functioning member of society. And I haven’t been forever tainted or scarred from reading those books at a young age.

Those parents should be excited that their child enjoys reading. They should celebrate the fact that she needs to be reading something more challenging and intellectual.

By censoring books, they’re only harming her.

Instead of being exposed to the material as it was meant to by the author, that girl is going to see dots where the curse words have been blanked out of the book.

If I were that girl, I’d be damn curious as to what the text actually said, and I’d go to my local library in search of a unedited copy to read.

By going so far as to censor what she’s reading, they’re overly sensitizing her.

If she can’t handle reading the f-word in a book, then how is she going to deal with anything in this cold, hard world?

That, and she’s probably already hearing that language at school.

Ultimately, it comes down to this: It’s not the book’s fault that it was written to include things that those parents deem inappropriate.

If they don’t want their daughter exposed to that sort of stuff, then they shouldn’t let her read books that they would want to censor.

Instead of censoring what she reads, how about they wait until she’s older or more mature to introduce her to the content.

Literature is meant to be enjoyed in it’s original state. That means no censorship.

It’s not like Shakespeare’s got a gun to her head, making her read “Hamlet.”

But then again, if she can read Shakespeare and understand it, then she needs to be in college instead of having mommy and daddy worrying over curse words in books.

Megan Mann can be reached at [email protected] or @meganisthemann on Twitter.

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Censorship app harms rather than protects