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Pepe Returns

Sanitizing the past

Return of Kings: The Digitization Of Classic Books May Lead To A Dangerous Form Of Censorship.

Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that they actually do what they say they will do. Suppose they do scan or digitize entire libraries. What then? Will it not be far, far easier for systems of authority to control or manipulate access to historical information? How can we be sure that the University of California will not one day decide to prevent access to all works written before 1950 as being “offensive” or not in tune with political correctness? You may laugh at this, or call me an alarmist, but I am not so sure. When it comes to our precious cultural heritage, we cannot place our faith in the same institutions that have been betraying that same heritage for the past forty years.

What's the most incredible novel written by Agatha Christie?

It's original title: Ten Little Niggers. Oops.

New title: Ten Little Indians. Uh oh.

Newer title: Ten Little Soldiers. What?

Modern title: And Then There Were None.

Christie was very blunt in her writing. For example, her descriptions and opinions of Jews were considered uncouth. So, her words within the novel were modified to fit present-day sensibilities. I know this because I've listened to part of an audiobook and then soon read the book to realize that her writing in the novel was altered.

The insidious part is that I would have been utterly ignorant of this fact if I had only read the book. One can assume that many other books of the past have been distorted without us even being aware of it. Of course, with digital-only books, it would be almost effortless to mold history.

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