When the Clean Reader App Goes Haywire

For those who are pure of heart and chaste of tongue, the Clean Reader app is a godsend. (Sorry that should be ‘is heaven sent;’ can’t have anything blasphemous.)

Clean Reader removes naughty words from ebooks. So if the words ****, ****, **** and **** offend you then Clean Reader is what you need. It replaces all those profanities with a safe alternative: thus ****ing hell becomes ‘well I never’ and **** off becomes ‘away with you.’

Developed by Jared and Kirsten Maughan, Clean Reader came about when they couldn’t find an existing app to filter out bad language from adult books they had chosen for their daughter. The app is allegedly biased towards Christian sentiments, which accounts for phrases such as ‘Jesus Christ’ being replaced with geez.

It also replaces embarrasing body parts with safer references. Buttocks becomes bottom, and according to the Independent newspaper, so does vagina, anus and clitoris (which means every character making love will now become a sodomist thanks to Clean Reader).

Inevitably though, Clean Reader has been hacked and perverted copies are now finding their way onto people’s ereaders. The infected apps, known as Clean Readerz, reverses the initial intention of the developer, replacing inoffensive words with more depraved suggestions. The Wind in the Willows is in danger of being removed from Amazon Kindle, and Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings has had an s removed making it unsuitable for US college libraries.

But every cloud has a silver lining. Clean Reader means that the two Toten Herzen novels can now be made suitable for puritans initially put off by the rock band’s excessive industrial language. An extract from Toten Herzen Malandanti after being filtered by Clean Reader is shown below (words in square brackets [] are replacements chosen by the app):

“You have any fancy ideas?” Dee squatted over Lena’s [bottom]. “I know you can probably raise the dead, but I’m very much alive and I like being alive. It’s so . . . bracing.” In a heartbeat the two of them were at the top of Skiddaw savaged by gusts of an enormous [gale] that blew the crows across the summit. And the cold; Lena shivered un[bottom]rollably, her face twisted by the exposure.

“You see, the problem is you’ve been doing your deals with Susan and Susan isn’t the one who knows where your [flipping] valley is.” Dee [sprang] onto a pile of [bottoms] to come eye[bottom] to frozen eye[bottom] with Lena. “You need to talk to me, you [rotter].” She waited. “Ah? Black cat got your [bottom]? Bit of an embarrassing faux pas, that wasn’t it? Spending all your time drinking with your daft buddy Rob Wallet, waving his metaphorical [bottom] around for you. Little treats for the Raven, and wandering round graveyards like Old Demdike looking for the mouldering [bottoms] of Micky Redwall, and all the time, sweetheart,” Dee shoved the knife and her demented face at Lena, “all this [flipping] time, it was me you needed to ask. I’m the one with the book, I’m the one with the location. I’m the one, you [flipping] old [woman of questionable morals], you should have spoken to.”

A vast improvement I’m sure you’ll agree. Clean Reader is available from all good app stores, but is known to overload and freeze when applied to books by Charles Dickens.

(Note: if anyone is thinking of applying Clean Reader to one of my novels, thank you for respecting the wishes of the author and bastardising his work just to suit your inability to deal with a few choice words. In fact, I’ll go farther and say keep the fuck away from my books. I don’t want your custom.)

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10 thoughts on “When the Clean Reader App Goes Haywire

  1. Years ago my husband edited the film ‘The Blues Brothers’ for our twelve year old. The film ended up substantially shorter than the original, but the upshot of the exercise was that my son eventually told us he went straight to a friend’s house to watch the unedited version!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The funniest thing is that he asked us yesterday if we still had the film so that his two children could watch it! I had to remind him it was recorded on a video and nobody has their old video players anymore…….

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This reminds me of that service available for movies. Not sure what it’s called but it works on a similar principle. It goes something like this: You can rent the movie from this clean service and it will replace offensive words with their own take on the subject. Interesting is what I call it. The only problem I’m wondering is if a viewer wants more of a hard-edged movie to watch what can they do? I wonder what Scarface would sound like…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scarface would probably end up like a silent movie.

      I’ve said it before, but I just don’t know what the big deal is over bad language. People are happy to read books about murder and violence, but one mention of the f-word has them running to the hills. An original work should not be altered by anyone.


      Liked by 1 person

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