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hihellohi's avatar

What is your take on apps like Clean Reader?

Asked by hihellohi (125points) February 28th, 2021

I mean, I’m considering using it. Sometimes people who are religious, who have OCD, or some such reason really want to read a certain book. And as someone religious, I would rather not end up feeling horribly guilty going through a book. So is it so bad for me to use an app like Clean Reader? It’s not like I’m changing every single copy of the book that exists. Personally, I think that once I get the e-book, it’s up to me how I consume it. The author won’t even know I’m reading it. Nor will I leave a bad review if it so happens that the profanity being absent kills the book completely.
But I don’t know, what is your take?

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7 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

So you want to use a Bowdlerization app? Seems like a waste of time.

It means you aren’t open minded enough to evaluate a book on its own merits. And that form of expurgation generally makes a book weak and ineffective.

gorillapaws's avatar

People are welcome to do what they want with the books they buy: alter them, make notes in the margins, disagree with them and even burn them. This is no different. Having said that, it says a lot about the reader that they’re unwilling to read a work as it was written, and that they don’t have the intellectual maturity to understand that you can read a book that uses language that you, yourself don’t care for.

Imagine how bizarre it would be if a religious group objected to the color brown, so they replaced the brown color in all artwork they purchased with purple.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Everyone can be crazy in their own way.

hihellohi's avatar

@zenvelo @gorillapaws @elbanditoroso Thank you for responding. And yes, I do want to use such an app. I’m not necessarily close minded; I am simply more comfortable with reading clean books. And please refrain from attacking religion (not saying you have, just requesting) because the stance my religion takes (according to my research) is that if the book is beneficial to you, it does not become impermissible to read by the mere presence of curse words. But regardless, I do not want to spend my time reading a book that makes me feel bad. By eliminating 20 or so words from a book, I do not think I have rendered it ineffectual. As for intellectual maturity, I am a teenager. Make of that what you will. There is a big demand for clean books out there. And such apps will help with that. Also, I’d like to request that you not attack me as a person, and my intelligence. Please let’s all respect each other, and each other’s differences and varying outlooks. I do not see any reason to get personal.

gorillapaws's avatar

@hihellohi “I’d like to request that you not attack me as a person, and my intelligence.”

Nobody has attacked you or your intelligence. It’s possible to be highly intelligent and yet lack intellectual maturity (teenagers generally haven’t lived long enough have developed much intellectual maturity). They are separate concepts.

_”...I do not want to spend my time reading a book that makes me feel bad.”

This would be an example. Some of the best books ever written made me feel bad or reconsider my positions, opinions and beliefs. Wiesel’s “Night” was one of the best books I’ve ever read, and it still haunts me decades after reading it. Making ourselves uncomfortable is part of how we grow as people.

“By eliminating 20 or so words from a book, I do not think I have rendered it ineffectual.”

That certainly could be true in some cases—it really depends on which words in which books you’re talking about. Removing the word “Nigger” from “Huckleberry Finn” would certainly alter the work for example. So would altering Ellison’s The Invisible Man.

Remember, you requested us to share our opinions on such apps. You’re certainly free to make your own decisions. I believe teenagers generally have the capacity to read challenging material and make their own choices.

Demosthenes's avatar

Do what you want. Not sure why you’re asking. No one is stopping you from using such an app. If you want my opinion, I think it’s absolutely ridiculous, but it doesn’t really matter what I think, does it? If it helps you deal with religious guilt, go for it.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Here’s the thing, @hihellohi .

The author wrote the book with the words he/she chose to get a point across. Maybe the words aren’t to your liking, but the creative person – the author – wanted the book read in a particular way.

By changing / censoring / ignoring the author’s words, you’re changing the meaning of the story. Ultimately you’re insulting or devaluing the author’s creativity by substituting your tastes for the author’s creativity. Intellectually, I see that as problematic.

The second issue is a larger one. We live in an adult, cruel, sometimes unpleasant world. You know that from watching the news every day. In trying to ‘protect’ yourself, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Better that you recognize and personally adapt to the world we live in, because you won’t always have the option to insulate yourself from things.

This is a lesson to learn now. (I don’t know if you’re 14 or 18 years old, but my point is the same.)

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