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Cindy Brown


Cindy Brown

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Yep, she says it all there.

Especially, replacing words with other words? Really? Black out or asterisk is one thing, but that's another.

"Frankly my dear, I don't give a snap!"*


(*my creative license, I have no idea what CW would do with that.)
Dear Clean Reader,

You have the freedom of religion and speech--you can say what you want. I support your freedom to believe what you want and say what you want.

Unfortunately for you, this is a two-way street. I can believe what I want, and I can say what I want.

You have the freedom to not listen. I have the freedom to not listen to you, too.

I don't feel you have the freedom or right to change my words because you don't like what I have to say. I have the freedom to speak--and write--the words I want in my novels. That is my art. That is my story. While I'd love everyone to read and enjoy my stories, I understand not everyone is my audience.

If you don't like the use of the words fuck or bitch, or if you dislike the thought of a witch working with a bitch, my novels aren't for you--and I'm okay with that.

I want you, Reader, to be happy with what you read.

At the same time, I want my book to remain my book. Please don't take away my freedom of speech because you don't like what I'm saying. Don't change my words because you don't like what I have to say. Go ahead and skip scenes--go ahead and ignore what I have to say. But don't change my words. Those were written for a reason. And in my books, I say fuck and bitch and shit and damned and an assortment of other naughty words that may be difficult for you to swallow.

I don't mind if you don't like what I'm saying, but please don't take away my right to say it.

The words in my novels are, and will always be, mine. They are not yours to change as you please, simply because you are not comfortable with what I have to say.

I do not support your application, and I am intend never to do business with you and yours.

Fuck off.


RJ Blain.

Some of you might be asking just what that little tirade was about.  Over the past few days, the internet has exploded regarding an app called Clean Reader. Clean Reader, developed by a fundamental Christian who was tired of reading profane language, scrubs novels for naughty words and replaces the terrible, frightening, profane, scary words!!! with harmless ones.

At a glance, I can see why many people would like this feature; profanity in books is difficult to avoid, and many adults don't want their children getting a hold of stories with bad words in them. I grew up with a very colorful language. Amazingly enough, I didn't turn into a monster. To this day, I still have a rather extensive vocabulary of naughty, naughty words.

Chuck Wendig wrote a spectacular piece on Clean Reader, and I agree with it from top to bottom. However, I'd like to go on to make some observations about this app from my perspective.

My first thought: Fuck you, Clean Reader. Bitch is not another word for witch. This is another shining example of why computers can't do your editorial work for you. Bitch has several different meanings and connotations. One is a curse word. One is not. Get over it. Welcome to the English language.

I'm the author of the Witch & Wolf novels. Bitch is a term for female dog. Guess what? Female Fenerec, the wolves in my world, are frequently called bitches. It is a compliment. Calling someone the son of a bitch is also complimentary. It's a nod of respect to the mother, who is a bitch.

They're proud to be bitches--in all ways.

In Winter Wolf and Inquisitor, the main characters at one point or another are referred to as bitches. They're also partnered with witches.

If you exchange bitch for witch, the entire story changes. Two witches are going out for a party instead of a bitch and a witch. A son of a witch is a much different thing than a son of a bitch in my world.

You're not just cleaning up the language of novels when you use this app. You are changing the meaning of the story. You're altering the plot, the characters--and the imagery the author wrote for your enjoyment--or not, if you dislike profanity.

I understand adults wanting to purify the world for their children. It's an instinct to want to nurture and protect the young.

My novels aren't the only stories that will suffer catastrophically from the existence of this application. Take George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. Sure, I may not like the writing or the series--but Martin uses traditional and crude language to convey things. Entire characters are hinged on the use of this language. If you take away the bitches and make them witches, the entire story changes. The entire tone of the novel is destroyed.

I may not like Martin's works, but I respect his art--I respect the words he chose. I don't like them. He had the freedom to say and write those words.

I chose not to read that series of his. That's my choice as a reader.

When I initially found out about Clean Reader through a member's only discussion over at SFWA, I was on the fence about the app. I could see some uses for it in very certain contexts. There are some novels where the fuck bomb gets dropped so frequently that it makes my eyes cross and my cheeks twitch. It's annoying--and I don't really feel so many fucks doesn't help express anything about the characters.

But, I respect the living fucks out of the author's right to put those fucks there--and have the book read as it was intended. Black text on a black background, where I could see the words used if I chose--I could live with that. But changing those words to sanitize a novel?

That I can't live with. It's a violation of the author's freedom of speech.

If Clean Reader simply put black text on black background for the naughty words, allowing readers to see those original words, I wouldn't have been so up in arms over this.

The more I thought about it--and the more I read about the concerns of others regarding this app, the more I really disliked the app altogether.

My bitches aren't witches--they're bitches. Some of my bitches are witches, but them being witch witches makes no sense.

Some readers want to stay safely nestled in their comfort zones. I get that. There are books I simply can't read because they take me too far from what I can handle. I put down that book and quietly walk away. Sometimes it is the language--like Martin's novels. The language bothers me, so I do not read it. I find his writing crude, and I simply can't tolerate it enough to get into the story or the characters.

Sometimes it is the content that bothers me... so I choose to avoid those books. That's my choice as a reader. I do not buy what I cannot bring myself to read. I also check the samples of books I buy to make sure the content doesn't bother me. Most books have the language and content present within the sample, so it's not like I can't filter what I don't want to read. I also check reviews for that sort of thing.

If it isn't something I can stomach, I exercise my right as a reader and find some other story to consume.

I don't have children, but if I did, if it's a book I'm willing to read, it includes things I'm willing to discuss with my children, no matter what age they are.

If I had a child and they wanted to learn about the birds and the bees, they'd know. And they'd get my moral lessons along with it--and why what they read doesn't define who they are. That's my job as a parent.

If you don't want your child reading those books, don't let them read those books. You can install a door on your bookshelves and use a lock. Keep the key. That's your right.

But don't take away my right to express myself. I chose those words for a reason. I didn't choose them so someone else could come behind me and change them. If you don't like reading profane language--don't read them. Skip them. Skip the sex scenes (which I don't typically write anyway), skip the graphic violence--choose not to read the books.

But don't change my words because you can't handle what I have to say.

For the record, if Clean Reader only changed the color of the background and text to black out the questionable words, I wouldn't have quite as much of a problem with the existence of the app. My words aren't being changed, and are still available for the reader--in their original form.

But don't change my words because you can't handle what I have to say. So long as you have the freedom to say what you want, so do I, and I will never give you permission to change my words without my consent.
Dear Clean Reader, You have the freedom of religion and speech--you can say what you want. I support your freedom to believe what you want and say what you want. Unfortunately for you, this is a tw...
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+Kent Crispin I totally agree that if you buy a book, you can do whatever you want to it.

I have a problem with a third party being in the middle largely unchecked.  How does the reader know what's been changed?  What if the reader thinks, "Oh man, this author's work is really lame," because of bad changes made?

Realistically, opinions are formed based on the end result, and folks generally aren't rational about saying, "I didn't like this book but it might be because of the intermediary app messing with it."  Take a look at how many fragile products on Amazon get 1 star ratings because they arrived broken...that's the shipper's fault but the product gets the 1 star review.

And what if the app's writers decide swearing isn't enough?  What if it starts searching for atheist terminology and changes that to Christian terms?  What if the phrase, "Holy shit!" gets turned into, "Help me Jesus!"  What if the phrase, "Fuck you!" gets turned into, "I'll pray for your soul!"

A third party can be very insidious in so many ways that are completely different to you taking a Sharpie to your own book.
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Cindy Brown

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I'm deliberately not (re)sharing a whole lot of Ted Cruz stuff. Mostly because OMG it's like shooting fish in a barrel. The guy is full of crazy.

But trust me, my bucket of popcorn is right here. I can't make this shit up.
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You'd have to make some arrangements for the 90dB down you'd be getting in both ears.
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Cindy Brown

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+Karen Peck They were tiresome.
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I... Just... ....

/passes the popcorn
Donald Trump responded to Sen. Ted Cruz jumping in the contest for the 2016 Republican nomination by questioning Cruz's eligibility to be president.
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The hard booze has to wait later into the campaign or we'll be completely blotto and unable...


Pass the goddamn booze.
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Cindy Brown

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Such hero. So brave. Much respect. Wow.
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"An X needs Y like a fish needs an aqualung."
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#TedCruzCampaignSlogans You voted for a Kenyan! You can vote for a Canadian!
This Mr Confused knows that he is not Qualified to run as a president of this greatest nation on earth am sure he did read what the constitution said about the qualifications in running for Oval Office.

#TedCruzCampaignSlogans #teaparty 
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+Howard Suissa We tried to get Rob Ford, too...but he was stoned that week.
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Have them in circles
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Cindy Brown

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Whoa. Judging by what I'm seeing in my stream right now, just commenting on a YT video, over at YT results in a post in your stream? It's marked along the top "XXX commented on a video on YouTube." and doesn't seem to be from sharing it.

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...and, of course, it would be nice if YouTube accounts hadn't been irrevocably associated with exactly one G+ account during the Anschluss. I had one YT account for musical stuff, and another one I shared with +Harena Atria for family-related posts -- but that one got associated with her G+ account, so now I can't get to it (without logging in using her G+ identity). Stoopid.
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Cindy Brown

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This morning, Republican Governor Mike Pence signed the controversial bill into law, despite vocal objections from Salesforce, along with Gen Con, a $50 million annual gaming convention, Fortune 500 member Cummins, Eskenazi Health, Eli Lilly and Co., George Takei, Pat McAfee, Jason Collins, the mayor of Indianapolis, and the State of Indiana's tourism board, among many others.

H/T +Valkyrie 
The CEO of major U.S. corporation is following through on his warning to the State of Indiana to not pass a discriminatory "religious freedom" bill.
Joel Webber's profile photoWilliam Rutiser's profile photoRay Cromwell's profile photoScott Dunn's profile photo
I hope these companies stay around just long enough for their employees to vote in the next election...

...or might it make a bigger difference if they've been gone for awhile, and the economy has had time to, shall we say, react?
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Cindy Brown

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Now that's clever advertising.
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Cindy Brown

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Obamacare is far from perfect; however so far five years in, it's proven a very good first step towards a real health care policy for this country.

Decouple from jobs, single payer -- plenty of goals to work on. But let's stop a moment and see where we have gotten in five years.

Anniversaries are a good time to pause, reflect, and take stock, and when it comes to health care reform, objective observers are going to find it easy on the ACA’s fifth anniversary to appreciate the law’s triumphs. But it’s also a good time to take a moment to acknowledge those who told Americans exactly what to expect from the Affordable Care Act – and who got the story backwards.
On the ACA's fifth anniversary, it's worth acknowledging those who told Americans exactly what to expect from the law - and who got the story backwards.
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<sprays some more trollbegone>
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Cindy Brown

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Just take the shame. Oh, and yes, "FUCK YOU! ‪#‎GamerGate‬-rs"
What does it feel like when an anonymous, digital mob descends? Think about it: If you were the focal point of a maelstrom of harassment, abuse, conspiracy theories and bad-faith “criticism” online, just imagine how that might change your life. That’s the situation that feminist pop-culture critic
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+Kendall Cabrera  I elocuted my argument
Why do gators think that it sounds more intelligent to use words that they don't understand?
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Rail against anything completely inane, which seems to be most things
AKA browneyedgirl65

I can be reached at gmail via the above handle.

I am also the author of the Palindrome Prayer :-) (-:


Instant human: Just add coffee.


The avatar I use, with kind permission, is by Sarah Cloutier, melukilan at deviantart.  You can find the original artwork at her gallery.

I used to write a good deal about being deaf at my Livejournal blog, particularly under the deafhood tag.

“Dawn take you all, and be stone to you!”For just at that moment the light came over the hill, and there was a mighty twitter in the branches. William never spoke for he stood turned to stone as he stooped; and Bert and Tom were stuck like rocks as they looked at him. And there they stand to this day, all alone, unless the birds perch on them; for trolls, as you probably know, must be underground before dawn, or they go back to the stuff of the mountains they are made of, and never move again. (“The Hobbit,” J.R.R. Tolkien)

But I'll never be convinced to except except for accept, accept I get a really good explanation. (Me)

Most people don't even know what sysadmins do, but trust me, if they all took a lunch break at the same time they wouldn't make it to the deli before you ran out of bullets protecting your canned goods from roving bands of mutants. (Peter Welch, Programming Sucks)

Life has got a habit of not standing hitched. You got to ride it like you find it. You got to change with it. If a day goes by that don't change some of your old notions for new ones, that is just about like trying to milk a dead cow.  (Woody Guthrie)

California scent with a hint of sanity.
(bot generated email text-fu)

Farpotshket (yiddish): Something that is all fouled up, especially as the result of attempts to fix it; repeatedly making something worse while trying to fix it.

"I know CNN has taken some knocks lately, but the fact is I admire their commitment to cover all sides of a story, just in case one of them happens to be accurate." (Barack Obama, April 2013)

"And on the third day, the skies darkened, and a swarm of assholes descended from the clouds; and not a person could withstand them, but they were covered in the filth of the Internet."  (+Yonatan Zunger , 13 Apr 2013) 

"I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it." (John Stuart Mill, 1866)

"Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay." (Robert Frost)

"Few things are stronger than
The mind's need for diverse
I am glad
Not many men or women can remain
Faithful lovers to the unreal." (The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the Great Sufi Master)

"wine; talk; touch; unzip; touch; strip; gasp; finger; gasp; mount; fsck; more; yes; gasp; umount; make clean; sleep" (Unix)

They are facing not a theory but a condition, for that they are first, last and all the time the people of the eye. (George Veditz, 1910)

"Most people are prisoners, thinking only about the future or living in the past. They are not in the present, and the present is where everything begins." (Carlos Santana)

"Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway."  (Andrew S. Tanenbaum)

"I don’t understand people who dislike reading because I think all that free time means they’re up to no good." (frau sally benz on the 'net)

"Solitude is impractical and yet society is fatal." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

"The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." (Plato)

"It always seemed to me a bit pointless to disapprove of homosexuality. It's like disapproving of rain." (Francis Maude)

"If I Said The Sky Was Blue, They Would Say No." (President Obama)

Honi soit qui mal y pense.

“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.” (James D. Miles)

The Oxford philosopher JL Austin once observed in a lecture that in English a double negative implied a positive meaning, whereas no language had been found in which a double positive implied a negative meaning. To which Sidney Morgenbesser responded in a dismissive tone, "Yeah, yeah."

"People who dismiss the unemployed and dependent as 'parasites' fail to understand economics and parasitism. A successful parasite is one that is not recognized by its host, one that can make its host work for it without appearing as a burden. Such is the ruling class in a capitalist society." (Jason Read)

"But that's -- I'm sorry, but that's completely ridiculous! How can I possibly prove it doesn't exist? Do you expect me to get hold of -- of all the pebbles in the world and test them? I mean, you could claim that anything's real if the only basis for believing in it is that nobody's proved it doesn't exist!" (Hermione Granger)

To put it another way: The First Amendment guarantees a right to speech. It does not guarantee a right to respect. (+John Scalzi)

So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing. (T. S. Eliot)

A well educated and organized citizenry being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and use the Internet shall not be infringed. (+David Landry)

The truth is that male religious leaders have had -- and still have -- an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women.  They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter.  Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world.  (Jimmy Carter)

The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley
(Robert Burns)

What I like about April Fool’s Day: One day a year we’re asking whether news stories are true. It should be all 365. (Prentiss Riddle, April 1, 2008 @pzriddle)

He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. (Thomas Jefferson)

Coffee is the best thing to douse the sunrise with.  (Drew Sirtors)

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. (Albert Camus)

I am the light that shines over all things. I am everything. From me all came forth, and to me all return. Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Lift a stone, and you will find me there. (Gospel of Thomas)

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.  (Mark Twain)
Bragging rights
I have been on the Internet since the late 80's. I've survived 2400bps modems, Usenet, IRC, Winsocks & Trumpet, Mosaic, all of it. So believe me when I say it's all been done, it's all been done before.
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