The Null Device

As the baby-boomers who grew up in the 1960s struggle to protect their children from awareness of sex, race, violence and other facts of living in a fallen world, they're now putting bowdlerised editions of books in schools; the special editions have anything controversial, from suggestions of nudity, violence or alcohol to discussion of inter-ethnic relations, excised, often with absurd results:
One passage was derived from Frank Conroy's memoir, "Stop-Time." The changes include replacing "hell" with "heck" in one sentence and excising references to sex, religion, nudity and potential violence (in the form of the declared intent of two boys to kill a snake) that are essential to an understanding of the passage.

The ostensible rationale is to eliminate the possibility of offending anybody in any way. The outcome, however, will probably be to create a generation of sheltered psychological infants with weakened intellectual immune systems and severely stunted ethical reasoning skills.

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Posted by: gah. http:// Tue Jun 4 05:14:09 2002

The article refers to short excerpts of books which are presented in the reading comprehension portion of the state-wide high school graduation exam. There are no "bowdlerised editions" being published or distributed. The changes, while silly, are not as inexplicable as you may think, as many standardized tests in the U.S. have come under fire for "cultural bias". The test proctors are merely covering their own asses.