The Eighth Commandment
I couldn't move, I was too tired, too fagged and fashed, too care-worn and care-torn. Drifting in and out of consciousness during my mandatory, elongated wait for a US internal flight. And even if I could, where would I go? The video screens were everywhere, the soundtrack echoed the length of the airport. There was nowhere to run. Outside the airport was a conurbation which I can only describe as 200 square miles of Bracknell (the town, not the Lady). Anyway, I was an old hand by now, I'd been in the States six days - I'd got used to their breathtakingly mendacious advertising copy. Still a small voice of reason shouted "Don't be stupid, you can't teach drive, 'To drive' yes. Boy you're going to get the cream of the crop applying after this advert aren't you? 'I'd like to do a degree in capitalist virtues please, can I do feminine intuition as a minor?'". And then another voice "Oh, God, maybe they do teach it, like they teach creative writing, can you imagine - 'Welcome to Perserverance 101, this is your impossibly heavy boulder which you'll be failing to push up this steep slope for the next six months. Please read the safety instructions and sign this disclaimer.'"
Even with these voices arguing in my head I could still manage to doze fitfully, as I said I'd become inured, after just six days, to a high level of background imbecility. Then it got worse. "If you can keep your head when all about you/Are losing theirs and blaming it on you..." Oh my Lord, can they really have a pan-ethnic selection of college professors reading "If"? How cheesy can you get? Then it got worse. What are they going to do at the end though? Eh? Where it says "be a Man my son", oh no they haven't. Oh no they can't, they have, they've bowdlerised it!
Bowdlerisation. Sometimes it's good to have something named after you. The Guillotine for example, I bet Monsieur Guillotine was thrilled. Wellington. Macintosh. And Marco Polo had such a success with those mints (sorry). Ah but then again, I bet Bowdler was pretty pleased as well, snivelling little shit that he must have been. Even though he's dead I don't think it's too late to give the bastard a taste of his own medicine. We should get all the lexicographers of the English language (I was talking to a lexicographer recently - turns out there aren't actually that many of them) in a medium sized room and ply them with fine wines and good food and then hand them brown envelopes containing not insubstantial amounts of cash and the following specimen dishonest entry: 1.)The act of completely ruining the work of a genius by removing or altering slightly saucy or politically inconvenient passages. 2.) To fuck something up good and proper for no apparent reason cf.
It takes a special kind of idiot to Bowdlerise something. It's very akin to Dan Quayle in full view of the world's media adding that extra 'e' at the end of 'potato.' It's like the curator of the Tate saying "Well, we're very pleased to have these paintings from Picasso's Blue Period, but to stop them being a bit samey I've gone over some of them in a pink wash." Yup, that's America.