Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Bitch gets censored...



Hi folks,

Just an upfront about what you’ll read—I’m smokin’ hot, pissed off beyond belief, and there will be curse words as you read.

A reviewer--whom I won’t name as none of what happened is her fault in the least—just told me some disturbing news. This person, who very graciously gave my novel, THE BITCH, a great review, emailed me to tell me that she was very sorry but that the newspapers who regularly published her book reviews wouldn’t because of the word “bitch” in the title.

Hi folks,  Just an upfront about what you’ll read—I’m smokin’ hot, pissed off beyond belief, and there will be curse words as you read.  A reviewer--whom I won’t name as none of what happened is her fault in the least—just told me some disturbing news. This person, who very graciously gave my novel, THE BITCH, a great review, emailed me to tell me that she was very sorry but that the newspapers who regularly published her book reviews wouldn’t because of the word “bitch” in the title.  If this wasn’t so sad and even dangerous to our freedoms, it would be laughable. But, I can’t see anything humorous in it at all.  First, the title—THE BITCH—isn’t the pejorative term commonly used to denigrate women. It’s not even the term when used to describe a female dog. It simply refers to the term ex-cons use when describing the “three strikes and you’re out, ha-BITCH-ual criminal law” where an ex-felon, upon receiving a third felony conviction can be sentenced for up to life imprisonment for that conviction. That’s it. It has nothing to do with women or dogs. It has everything to do with our judicial system…  It’s a title that perfectly describes the story. It’s about an ex-con with two former convictions who’s been put on the spot by a former cellmate to do him a favor—a favor he owes because the guy saved his life back in the joint—and one that, if he’s caught doing it, will result in receiving life in prison, courtesy of “the bitch.” That’s it.  Turns out this word is on newspapers’ hit list of words they won’t print or publish. Except… that doesn’t seem to be entirely true. Daily, I get a list of articles from Google for the words “the bitch” hoping to discover perhaps an article or review of my novel I hadn’t seen. So far, haven’t been sent any for the novel—but, every single day I get a list of ten or more newspaper and other articles about rappers and rap songs and actors/actresses who use the words in songs and other material, often calling each other by this term in catfights on Hollywood Boulevard. My take is that it’s only writers who are using the word in an entirely different context and a totally different meaning that get censored. Guess I shoulda been a rapper or an actress who calls another rapper or actress this—that seems to be okay…  I’d like to send these newspaper geniuses and the rest of the nanny state personnel a copy of George Carlin’s famous bit on words and also a copy of George Orwell’s “1984.” Although, I don’t think it would matter to any of them. I don’t think they have the sense God gave a gnat to get in out of the rain. They certainly don’t think much of freedom of thought or freedom of speech. That’s patently obvious, at least to me. If newspapers ever think about why nobody reads ‘em any more, I might have a clue for them…  I wonder if I wrote a book on female dogs and their care and training, how I’d title that? Sure don’t want the censors after me about my little tome on my cuddly book on Lassie and Timmy…  I wonder what other words are on their censorship lists. Do you suppose “bastard” might be on there? After all, that’s the companion word to “bitch” isn’t it? One’s male, the other’s usually applied to a female. How on earth did the book, BASTARD OUT OF CAROLINA ever get talked about in newspapers? Or… is it possible, pejorative words about males aren’t seen to be as evil as those about females? Naw… that would make that a sexist thing wouldn’t it?  My friend, Liam Sweeny, suggested I “change my cover, put a dog nursing her puppies on it,” and I hope he was just trying to be funny. I’m pretty sure he was—Liam doesn’t tolerate idiots any more than I do (sorry, is “idiots” a banned word? Probably… change that to “mentally challenged and prevented from possessing common sense”…). Well, I told him there was no way I was caving in or catering to these morons—my exact words were, “Not changing a thing—fuck ‘em!”  I don’t know what I think I’ll accomplish by posting this. I’m just royally and fucking mad and deeply saddened by the rampant PC idiocy that’s running rampant in our country and destroying the freedoms we used to cherish. Newspapers are supposed to be one of our last bastions of freedom of thought and expression and it’s obvious they’ve abdicated the last vestiges of this. If this doesn’t frighten people I don’t know what ever will.  So, I know that my novel won’t get any newspaper play. Hope you’ll read it and if you like it recommend it to a friend. Just be careful not to let the censors who seem to be among us hear you… it’s for sure no newspaper is going to publicize any arrests by the Thought Police over this. They’d be forced to use the title in the copy…  Maybe I’ll get a rapper to rap about it and hold up a copy in the video…  I’m going to protest by not buying a newspaper today. Oh, wait… I did that yesterday. And yesterday and the day before that and… didn’t work then and probably won’t work now…  What do y’all think about this? No big deal? Big deal? What would you do if it happened to your book? Kowtow and avoid anything in your writing that might be controversial? I don’t think that will happen to the writers I know… Maybe I should have cleared the title with Pravda? If anyone knows how to fight something like this, please let me know.  Fuck ‘em. Censor that, shitheads.  Blue skies, Les  http://www.amazon.com/Bitch-Edgerton-ebook/dp/B00HWJS2BQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1390227995&sr=1-1&keywords=the+bitch+by+les+edgerton


If this wasn’t so sad and even dangerous to our freedoms, it would be laughable. But, I can’t see anything humorous in it at all.

First, the title—THE BITCH—isn’t employed here as the pejorative term commonly used to denigrate women. It’s not even the term when used to describe a female dog. It simply refers to the term ex-cons use when describing the “three strikes and you’re out, ha-BITCH-ual criminal law” where an ex-felon, upon receiving a third felony conviction can be sentenced for up to life imprisonment for that conviction. That’s it. It has nothing to do with women or dogs. It has everything to do with our judicial system…

It’s a title that perfectly describes the story. It’s about an ex-con with two former convictions who’s been put on the spot by a former cellmate to do him a favor—a favor he owes because the guy saved his life back in the joint—and one that, if he’s caught doing it, will result in receiving life in prison, courtesy of “the bitch.” That’s it.

Turns out this word is on newspapers’ hit list of words they won’t print or publish. Except… that doesn’t seem to be entirely true. Daily, I get a list of articles from Google for the words “the bitch” hoping to discover perhaps an article or review of my novel I hadn’t seen. So far, haven’t been sent any for the novel—but, every single day I get a list of ten or more newspaper and other articles about rappers and rap songs and actors/actresses who use the words in songs and other material, often calling each other by this term in catfights on Hollywood Boulevard. My take is that it’s only writers who are using the word in an entirely different context and a totally different meaning that get censored. Guess I shoulda been a rapper or an actress who calls another rapper or actress this—that seems to be okay…

I’d like to send these newspaper geniuses and the rest of the nanny state personnel a copy of George Carlin’s famous bit on words and also a copy of George Orwell’s “1984.” Although, I don’t think it would matter to any of them. I don’t think they have the sense God gave a gnat to get in out of the rain. They certainly don’t think much of freedom of thought or freedom of speech. That’s patently obvious, at least to me. If newspapers ever think about why nobody reads ‘em any more, I might have a clue for them…

I wonder if I wrote a book on female dogs and their care and training, how I’d title that? Sure don’t want the censors after me about my little tome on my cuddly book on Lassie and Timmy…

I wonder what other words are on their censorship lists. Do you suppose “bastard” might be on there? After all, that’s the companion word to “bitch” isn’t it? One’s male, the other’s usually applied to a female. How on earth did the book, BASTARD OUT OF CAROLINA ever get talked about in newspapers? Or… is it possible, pejorative words about males aren’t seen to be as evil as those about females? Naw… that would make that a sexist thing wouldn’t it?

My friend, Liam Sweeny, suggested I “change my cover, put a dog nursing her puppies on it,” and I hope he was just trying to be funny. I’m pretty sure he was—Liam doesn’t tolerate idiots any more than I do (sorry, is “idiots” a banned word? Probably… change that to “mentally challenged and prevented from possessing common sense”…). Well, I told him there was no way I was caving in or catering to these morons—my exact words were, “Not changing a thing—fuck ‘em!”

I don’t know what I think I’ll accomplish by posting this. I’m just royally and fucking mad and deeply saddened by the PC idiocy that’s running rampant in our country and destroying the freedoms we used to cherish. Newspapers are supposed to be one of our last bastions of freedom of thought and expression and it’s obvious they’ve abdicated the last vestiges of this. If this doesn’t frighten people I don’t know what ever will.

So, I know that my novel won’t get any newspaper play. Hope you’ll read it and if you like it recommend it to a friend. Just be careful not to let the censors who seem to be among us hear you… it’s for sure no newspaper is going to publicize any arrests by the Thought Police over this. They’d be forced to use the title in the copy…

Maybe I’ll get a rapper to rap about it and hold up a copy in the video…

I’m going to protest by not buying a newspaper today. Oh, wait… I did that yesterday. And yesterday and the day before that and… didn’t work then and probably won’t work now…

What do y’all think about this? No big deal? Big deal? What would you do if it happened to your book? Kowtow and avoid anything in your writing that might be controversial? I don’t think that will happen to the writers I know… Maybe I should have cleared the title with Pravda? If anyone knows how to fight something like this, please let me know.

Fuck ‘em. Censor that, shitheads.

Blue skies,
Les


10 comments:

Robin Deffendall said...

I totally understand, and while I don 't have the story about how and how hard the author of the review pitched her piece, I hope that somewhere there could be found an intellectually upstanding editor who would to the time to recognize how the word is used. It would be ridiculous to have to write something like "I really loved Les Edgerton's book, which for the sake of delicate readers in this newspaper I will have to call The B***H. You should read it. If you're even slightly tolerant of words which do not need to be offensive, but can't guess the real title, go to http://amzn.com/0989932303...."

dhowardx said...

Fuck 'em all.
On a similar note, check out http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/the-coddling-of-the-american-mind/399356/
Regarding "Microaggressions" (the word "bitch" would qualify), the article says:
The current movement is largely about emotional well-being. More than the last ("political correctness), it presumes an extraordinary fragility of the collegiate (read: national) psyche, and therefore elevates the goal of protecting students from psychological harm.

Les Edgerton said...

Thanks, Robin. This, from a librarian, is especially remarkable as you guys are perhaps the last bastion of a free society. I know for sure you wouldn't stand for such intolerance and I'm proud to count you as my friend.

Dhowardx--thanks, man!

BrianE424 said...

I am so sorry. For a writer to have review of his work rejected simply because the title does not fit newspapers' style guides is terrible. But these engrained things take time. Consider how long it is taking a certain Wash DC football team to see the other side of why their name for it is so offensive to Native Americans. That's been going on for decades...write a letter to those editorial boards.

http://www.poynter.org/news/mediawire/256258/heres-a-list-of-outlets-and-journalists-who-wont-use-the-name-redskins/

Catherine Clark said...

The Bitch is one of the finest novels I've ever read. Anyone who read even the first ten pages knows it is about a prison nickname. Perhaps some newspaper editors can't or won't read what is behind this title.

Can you give us a list of the papers that have a problem with this?

Anonymous-9 said...

This is OUTRAGEOUS. A travesty of free speech, and a black eye on those newspapers. Yeah, give us a list, Les. We need to raise a ruckus.
Anonymous-9/Elaine Ash

Liam Sweeny said...

Yeah, I was totally joking. This shit sucks.

Les Edgerton said...

Thanks for all your wonderful support, folks! You warm the cockles of my heart... (Wish I knew for sure what cockles were... kind of sounds like it might be one of those banned words...)

Can't give you a list, alas. But, I think this is a fairly well-spread phenomena--probably if you just look at your own local rag they'd adhere to this censorship practice. The real news is probably the ones that don't censure...

bradyfans said...

Free speech under attack. Reminds me of the scene in Field of Dreams when they're at a PTA meeting where the woman wants a certain book removed from the curriculum and the verbal battle that ensues. Ever try to explain the merits of free speech to someone who just doesn't get it? They will agree with every point you make to them, but when it comes around to the issue they believe strongly in (eg. religion), they will revert right back to their initial stance. Frustrating beyond belief. It's hard to open a closed mind.

Anyway, I'm new to this blog and not sure where to post this, but I have purchased the book Hooked and have some questions about Story Worthy Problems. Where is the appropriate place to ask for help? Thanks!

Holly said...

In the criminal justice system, at least in my office (I work with prosecutors in a major city), we call the process surrounding the habitual criminal stuff, "the bitch." As in, "Is he bitch eligible?" Or, "He's pleading to the bitch." Here's a good one: "Can we file the big bitch, or just the little bitch?" I realize your title is a bit provocative and it might catch the eye of someone and cause them to take the book off the shelf thinking, "what the heck is this about," read the cover (or better yet the book) and see for themselves. But, if it's too much, you could have titled it, "The Habitual Criminal Count, and the Effect it Had on One Fellow, Once." That'll grab 'em...