Friday, October 28, 2011

I've Been Censored

wog - (noun) : chiefly British usually disparaging
: a dark-skinned foreigner; especially: one from the Middle East or Far East

I got censored yesterday. No, not because I used the word above, but because I asked about its use. A literary agent listed the books his clients have coming out, one of which is a Bible for teens with the title WogBook. To say the least, I was surprised to see the term used on the cover of a Christian book. So I looked it up. There is actually a second definition for the word. It is short for polliwog and refers to a US Navy sailor who hasn’t crossed the equator.

I assume the name isn’t using the first definition. I suppose some people might call Jesus a wog since his lived in the Middle East, but this is a book that is being published by a Christian publisher. That leaves the second definition. I suppose someone might compare teenagers to polliwogs, but I think most teenagers would find it offensive for someone to call them a polliwog.

So, I asked about it in the comments, saying that I wouldn’t give a teenager such a book for fear of how they would take it and I expressed how I was surprised that a publisher would go for that title. My comment stayed up for several hours and then it disappeared without comment.

Here is where it gets interesting. I did a little checking and what I found was that the publishing company is owned by the man who created the book. Essentially, it is a self-published book, but the publisher also publishes some other others. That sort of explains the title. The author probably picked the title, for whatever reason, and there was no one to say, “that isn’t such a good idea.” Perhaps he is trying to gain sales from the controversy.

Now I’ve got more questions than ever. I’m not that far removed from the position that author is in. I have published my own books and I have published books by other authors. But I don’t have an agent. That doesn’t make sense. The whole reason for an agent is to shop your work to publishers. When you are the publisher, having an agent just eats into the profits. I may be scratching my head over this one for quite a while. In the mean time, I’ve probably gotten yet another agent upset with me.