W is for Watered-Down

Even as a child I was appalled when I watched a movie in which the language was watered-down. I don’t know that they still do it to the same extent, but I remember hearing “darn” dubbed over the word “damn,” and “heck” over “hell.” I’ve never been able to understand it. One would have to be completely isolated from society not to hear these words used between people in normal conversation. What’s the big deal about hearing them in natural conversations on the screen?

And now they’re apparently talking about removing swear words from ebooks in school libraries by installing a “Clean Reader” app. The app blanks out profanities in a way that imitates the “beep” in a talk show brawl a la Jerry Springer. As though we can’t fill in the blanks ourselves.

What purpose do these things serve? Is a cleaned-up book going to protect our children from the world? Seriously? Have the people who came up with this idea ever been out in public?

Next thing you know they’ll be banning lawn darts! Oh, wait…


5 thoughts on “W is for Watered-Down

  1. I understand what you’re saying. On the other hand, I don’t like to use expletives to express an emotion if I can find better words to describe what I’m feeling. I don’t like to read them or hear them either but I don’t find it works to correct those who do.


  2. Oh yeah, I remember a ridiculous edit of Robocop some years ago. Bearing in mind this was on quite late too, something like 11pm, I was appalled to see that the following instances were changed:

    a**hole: airhead (I kid you not)
    f**k: flip (or in one instance “face” as in “shut your face up and drive!”)
    And the two you mentioned above.

    It sounded ridiculous.


  3. The worst part is, we all know what it means. The thought is still there but we live in a society where nothing is more dangerous than certain words being spoken or heard.


  4. Yeah. I get this a lot from my kids, because they read some book that’s a popular children’s classic, like The Indian in the Cupboard, and their teachers send home little notes about profanity. Moo told me she was asked to convert the words to something more polite while reading aloud. How the hell do you make swearing polite? The author chose the words.(I think it’s getting worse, not better, cause my son didn’t have any of this.) In two years, these kids will be reading Shakespeare, Salinger and Orwell. People needa get a grip!


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