Chuck Wendig made the points better than I could. So, THIS:
(And the “dislike” graphic is NOT for Chuck’s post, it’s for the app he’s talking about.)
As of me posting this, my big comment is awaiting moderation (probably because I referenced a couple of links in it) but this is my comment that I replied with (as well as I’ve replied to a couple of the other commenters in the thread as well, those going through because they have no links on them):
FUCK. YEAH. THIS.
THIS AND A MOTHERFUCKING LOAD OF EPIC FUCKING WIN FOR YOU.
Thank you for this. When I first saw a story about that software, I was like what. The. Actual. Fuck.
If an author wants to write books without swear words? Have at it, cupcake.
Do I swear in my books? My characters do, sometimes, fuck yeah. Because, fuck. Fuckety fuckety FUCKCAKES they sometimes like to swear. And sometimes, they cheese-and-rice don’t swear. And sometimes, they creatively swear by wishing the warts of a thousand toads on the cuntnuggety douchewaffles who piss them right the fark off. (And sometimes they say fark and frak instead of fuck.)
My characters are real. I swear. Not everywhere, or in every situation, no. But anyone who’s worked on a mutherfuckin car from hell KNOWS you HAVE to swear when trying to get a stuck bolt or nut loose. Because FUCKING SWEARING PHYSICS, man. Is too a thing.
Anyone who’s raised a child knows that yes, there ARE periods of your life where you have the most absurdly non-obscene swear words coming out of your mouth, because LITTLE FUCKING PITCHERS, man. And those big DAMN ears of theirs. Cheese-and-rice. Mudder-humping crepe-balls.
And sometimes my characters swear like that.
A snarky, ball-busting character is not going to talk the same as a straight-laced, uptight, reserved character. And if that straight-laced character suddenly drops an F-bomb in the middle of something, you know that’s a serious point for them, that something’s going on.
It’s all about the language. Sometimes, language is eloquent and dainty and all prim and proper. And sometimes it’s like climbing over a desolate landfill of the rustiest, jaggedest, pointiest words there are, with a heaping of salt on top.
I get delighted emails from readers when I come up with creative profanity they haven’t heard before. I take that as a compliment, that they’re actually telling me they love the word I used and plan on using it themselves.
Anyone can call someone a jerk. Or an asshole. But it takes a pen monkey to call someone a douchecanoe filled with smegma-encrusted boil jizz.
I can’t call the software “censorship” even though in a way it is. I hate when people toss “censorship” and “freedom of speech” around like a two-dollar whore without understanding the true definitions.
To me, software like this is nonconsensual defacement. It’s electronic graffiti. It’s like me saying, “HEY, I am a Pagan, and I’m offended and don’t like that nativity scene on your lawn, so imma just gonna come in here and dress them all like ZZ Top. You’re cool with that, right?”
No, it’s NOT really different when you look at the principle of the matter.
We cannot censor the world. We can’t censor the horror of an airplane going down and taking 150 lives in an instant, nearly twenty of them children and babies.
We cannot censor the really shitty things politicians say about each other and classes of people (even when they’re lying out their eye teeth.)
We have to TEACH our children the values we want them to have, NOT teach them to erase and homogenize and “clean things up” to suit their sensibilities. We have to teach them to accept differences without losing sight of their own core values and to be TOLERANT of differences. Like you said, people can close a book. Stop reading. I’m not forcing anyone to read my books. Some people will like some of my books, some won’t. Some people who like some of my books might not like other books I write. It is what it is.
But it’s culturally very dangerous territory to go wiping things out we don’t like. Also, it might be illegal to go changing the text of copyright material, I don’t know. I didn’t give them permission to change the text of my book. Also, are they having to break DRM on some of these books to make the changes? Can they then upload these books and share them, changed? That (I hope) is illegal, isn’t it?
I do know it pisses me the fuck off when I check out a library book and some asshole has gone through and used a pen to scratch out swear words. That’s DEFACEMENT OF PUBLIC PROPERTY, ASSHOLES. IF someone wants to buy a print copy of a book and do that to THEIR copy, knock yourself out, jerk.
Let’s look at what ISIS is doing to irreplaceable antiquities. Destroying them.
Yes, in a way, this is exactly what software like this does. It’s the same as people trying to “rewrite” Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn to make them politically correct. Instead of making them PC, let’s read them, as-is, and understand WHY they’re NOT PC in this day and age, why they were PC way back when, and the changes that evolved between the writing of them and the NOW that took place.
THAT’S where the value lies. (Lays? I don’t fucking know. I always get that one confused.)
So…thank you, again, for speaking up about this. Before you did, I was wondering, hey, maybe I’m just really reacting badly and it’s no big deal, even though honestly? It disturbed me on a very fundamental level. I’m glad I’m not alone on this one.