You just couldn't make this up: a book publisher censoring a book about book-burning. The late and great, great Ray Bradbury recalls, in the 1979 Coda to Fahrenheit 451:
Only six weeks ago, I discovered that, over the years, some cubby-hole editors at Ballantine Books, fearful of contaminating the young, had, bit by bit, censored some 75 separate sections from the novel [Fahrenheit 451]. Students, reading the novel which, after all, deals with censorship and book-burning in the future, wrote to tell me of this exquisite irony.If Ballantine Books had any integrity, I would hope that they cast the offending editor out of the nearest window. I would hope further that their offices back then were at least on the 30th floor, so that the editor had time to reflect on the irony of his mistake.
I am delighted that Bradbury lived to see an era where the staggeringly rude and yet wonderful Rachel Bloom could record and broadcast to the world an extremely suggestive and sexual video about her and the master of future fiction. (Not safe for work. Really, I'm not kidding. Not in the slightest. Minimum safe viewing age probably about 80 years. Just fantastic. Use headphones.) Nevertheless, censorship hasn't gone away: "damn" is just fine these days, but I fear that militants of other groups are thriving. Hands up who thinks this couldn't happen today:
...the university wrote back that they hardly dared do my play — it had no women in it! And the ERA ladies on campus would descend with ball-bats if the drama department even tried!In my dreaming moments, I can see just this scene playing out in a student union meeting somewhere. Then the ghost of Bradbury descends and smites the offending head-up-arse-earnest "progressives", thundering a denounciation that shrivels what remains of their souls...
Grinding my bicuspids into powder, I suggested that would mean, from now on, no more productions of Boys in the Band (no women), or The Women (no men). Or, counting heads, male and female, a good lot of Shakespeare that would never be seen again, especially if you count lines and find that all the good stuff went to the males!
I wrote back maybe they should do my play one week, and The Women the next. They probably thought I was joking, and I’m not sure that I wasn't.