Are you squeaky clean, dear reader? Sorry for the language.
It's making waves all right.
How about this one reported in The Washington Post that has incurred the rightful wrath and indignation of writers worldwide. A couple believed to be from America's 'bible belt' have created an app that takes 'bad language', swearing and sexually explicit words out of ebooks and replaces them with sanitised alternatives – often with hilarious consequences.
Clean Reader is the brainchild of Jared and Kirsten Maughan in Idaho, US. The idea came to them when they were trying to find books for their fourth grade daughter.
\"In order to challenge her as a reader,\" Mr Maughan said, \"we had to present her with books that were a little bit older.\" They searched for an app to automatically remove profanity from e-books then, after failing to find one, made the move to create their own.
One writer that has responded vehemently (just heard her on the radio) is Joanne Harris.
"No permission is sought, or granted,\" Harris wrote. \"There is no opt-out clause for authors or publishers. This is censorship, not by the State, but by a religious minority, and if you think it sounds trivial, take a moment to think about this...
\"ISIS is currently destroying antiquities and historical sites in the Middle East, including the ancient city of Nimrud, the walls of Nineveh and statues up to 8000 years old. And all in the name of purity, morality and good taste.\"
Other authors have taken to social media to tweet about the app, albeit with a slightly more humorous approach. Check out Jojo Moyes @jojomoyes, Ian Rankin @Beathhigh and Samantha Shannon @say_shannon.
Clean App may come across as a repressive joke but if it spreads it could have serious consequences. Firstly, as Joanne Harris points out, there is the matter of copyright. People can't just come along and decide to change the writers' words, especially when the replacements are so inane. Secondly, it appears to have a phobia about mentioning body parts in case children read these words. There is nothing wrong with children knowing what body parts are called, in fact, it should be compulsory (I feel 1984 coming over me).
Gratuitous swearing and liberal doses of violence and body fluids can become too much for some people, and they are probably right to be upset if the context is purely to shock, titillate or upset. In cases like these the Clean App should really be in the mind of the author before he or she puts pen to paper or fingertips to keyboard.
B....y h..l! Sorry, damnit to Hades!