Thursday, February 19, 2009

An Open Letter to the Self Appointed Library Censor

Today was a long, long day at work and everybody is either sick or getting sick or getting over being sick or commenting on how they just can't quite get over this sickness. Me, I am no exception: my throat is sore again and I'm still coughing. I finished all my Patrick O'Brian books, including The Golden Ocean and so after work I headed to the library with visions of tea and literature dancing around in my head. For once I even had my list of various recommendations with me and I ended up with a big fat stack of books to take home. I plopped them on the kitchen counter and put the kettle on to boil and decided to start with a cigarette and Jonathan Carroll: The Wooden Sea.

Well. Some charming soul who also frequents the Pack Library decided that Jonathan Carroll was just too disgustingly fucking profane for his or her ugly ass and took it upon themselves to neatly black out each and every single goddamn fucking swear word with a black ballpoint. Not only that, but they wrote their own suggested alternatives above the black rectangles: poor slobs as opposed to poor fucks and rectal exam as opposed to asshole exam. I am furious. I want to read this book but the vandalism is jarring and throws me off and, as if it could be worse, Carroll, who I have never read before, would appear to be smart and inventive and playful and thus the word, the actual word, the chosen word of the author, is not always immediately apparent and I have to peer through the thicket of black ink to decipher which word he meant to use. Which fine meaningful word full of punch, which Anglo-Saxon epithet, which word that ought to be familiar to anyone over the age of eight in this goddamn culture anyway in which one would hope and believe that for Christ's sake we are over being terrified by the power of, oooh, a word. It's not like he said Voldemort or anything, sheesh.

I'm so outraged that I had to turn on the computer and share this. I suppose I should take the book back over to the library tomorrow and turn it in and tell the librarian and then I guess that, in this era of budget cuts, the library will almost certainly have to live without this particular book, which would be a crying fucking shame. So fuck you, self appointed censor. Fuck you, crazy malignant busybody asshole from hell. Fuck you and the self righteous horse you rode in on, you shithead weevil, inelegant reptile, worthless nattering cretin that you are. Who the FUCK do you think you are to appoint yourself the moralist of the public library? You're insane and ridiculous, is who you are, and I would pity you if I wasn't so filled with scorn.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did this person black out EVERY curse word in the book?? HOLY CRAP!

Anonymous said...

...and the man himself linked to your entry from his twitter. A sad way to get the attention of the author, but you got it...

metalsunflower said...

That's one of the best diatribes I've read in some time! Thanks!
Rachel
(turned up via Shakesville)

Kathryn said...

A suggestion: when you take the back to the library, let them know about the censoring. They might be able to charge the previous user for damage to library property. And that way, they don't mistakenly think you did it.

mygothlaundry said...

Fortunately for my blood pressure, the censor gave up about half way through. After, get this, a couple of marginal comments about how nobody should use those words and editorializing on some adjectives - and I quote, "No canary is piss colored." That would be funny if it wasn't so extremely fucked up. However, I'm about halfway through the book and liking it and thank the gods I don't have to keep on trying to read under the ballpoint.And yeah, I am going to take it back to the library and tell the librarian and hope that some kind of librarian Scooby Doo posse follows the clues and finds this asshole and bars him or her from the library for life. Or does forcible re-educating. Why is brainwashing never used for good, anyway? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Mind you, it seems profoundly unlikely that the censor is reading your blog...

-egg

Maevele said...

"NO CANARY IS PISS COLORED" may win for the day.

and yes, that was a fine swear, you well played.

linked here from shakesville. May i quote/you?

Gratuitous said...

Censoring certain words seems so half-measure. Get the offensive book banned, a la Palin, or burn the thing, a la Bradbury, and finish the job. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to find a vanilla children's book and replace certain gentle adjectives with clever but foul expletives. The I'll have my 8yr old edit it.