Censorship Sensitivity reader services just popped onto my radar screen today. I must admit, it’s only a little troubling.
Hey! Let’s ban books before they get published! That means we won’t have to maintain the list anymore and nobody will ever get the chance to read any of these seriously dangerous pieces of literature.
Lord help us, the ability to publish garbage is like an inalienable human right! Hasn’t it been for all time? Shoot, Marcion could get published with his heresy. So could Aleister Crowley (witchcraft) and Hitler. I’m pretty sure the masses are what determine bad work from good work, and.. get this… the opine of the masses changes! Look at the Victorian Era serials, a glut of writing that people gobbled at the time, yet if we look at some examples today, there is little but wonder at how such linguistic architecture even passed for literature. Keep in mind, the serials were frequently paid for by line as well as piece, so if you could jam some big fatty $20 terminology and couch it with $12 flowery descriptives, you were in the money.
Even the Bible, offensive as it is to the majority, survives not by the will of the critics but by the consensus of the masses over millennia.
Can you imagine if Shakespeare, Jack London, Heinlein or (insert pre-2,000’s author here) was pre-screened by a sensitivity reader? Oh, by the way, had they done so at the time, mores and philosophies have changed. You depend on an individual specialist today, you’re obsolete tomorrow. Better to simply write the best quality, carefully and responsibly, leaving the finished work to the masses. Bob the equality expert is a voice in the wind, likely less of value than even your worst attempt at literature.