Unpurple prose

A self-appointed censor is rewriting a series of mystery books in a Utah library, reports the Salt Lake City Tribune.

Davis County library officials are facing a mystery that only Jessica Fletcher could solve.

It seems a library patron has been busy crossing out the “hells” and “damns” in books based on the the popular ”Murder, She Wrote” TV series and changing them to “hecks” and “darns.”

The only clue is that the censor uses a purple pen.

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  1. THIS is the reason we need John Ashcroft and the PATRIOT act secretly examining library records and rooting out evil-doers.

  2. Several years ago I borrowed a copy of one of the volumes of The Chronicles of Narnia from my church library, and discovered that someone had been blacking out the same words – with the addition of “ass,” which of course means something entirely different in British English than Canadian/American. I was tempted to check the King James Bible and see if they’d done the same . . .

  3. I bought my mom a copy of Anonymous’ Primary Colors back when the whole Bill Clinton thing was going strong. She read a couple of chapters but said she couldn’t finish it because of the profane language. For the record, we aren’t talking about “damn,” “hell,” or “ass.” The words were much stronger and more frequent. I actually went through the book with a black pen and marked out all the offending words. It became a game with me. Which page would have the most black marks? A couple of the pages ended up looking like those classified documents that have almost everything blacked out. I don’t know that my mom ever finished reading the book, but I know how hard it is to “self-censor” something. Hats off to the purple pen wielding, anonymous censor. I’m having a hard time saying that, what with my tongue planted firmly in cheek. 😉

  4. h, I’m with your mom, although I did make it through Primary Colors. I can think of at least two books that I didn’t finish reading because I got so distracted by thinking, “Okay, are we going to get through this page without f–? No, okay, this page? No, okay, this page?” that I just lost track of the story.

  5. jeff wright says:

    Is it fair to say you folks wouldn’t like Ulysses, then?

  6. Well, jeff, it depends. If there’s a STORY going on and the words have a reasonable context, I don’t find them distracting.

    C.S. Lewis said there are two kinds of dirty jokes: the kind you tell because they’re funny, and the kind you tell because they’re an excuse to be vulgar. I find that to be a valid distinction for lots of things.

  7. stolypin says:

    Purple pen, purple prose I suppose.
    Don’t give a damn what he (or she) with books she owns but marking up a library books is just the height of arrogance. Not your book, bring it back the way you got it. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

  8. Oh, sure, you should never deface someone else’s book.

  9. Shh. You’re making the baby Nephi cry.