censorship for fun and profit

September 24, 2011

While at Target today I noticed something in the $1 bins right before the check-out lines…  A copy of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde…  abridged for readers 7 years and older.

What in the name of God’s green earth made someone think that 7 year olds needed to read this story?  And how much had to be removed to make it sanitized enough for that age?  And at that point was it even the same story?

I understand the theory that getting young people to read the classics is a good thing.  I even agree.  But are you really reading the classics if you are getting the massively edited version?  Do you know that you’re not getting the whole thing… do you go looking for the expunged parts later so you can know the truth?

A few years ago I watched a fantastic documentary show on the History Channel called Lost Worlds: Jekyll and Hyde.  If anything I learned that the story was even darker than I remembered.

Truly, I’m not against getting young people reading great things but I think I really am against dumbing stuff down to make it “acceptable”.  If it’s not age appropriate, find something that is.

You can go read the whole thing from Project Gutenberg.

Now go curl up in bed with a book.

night

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