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MS software censors anti- censorship theatre

Profanities blocked - you couldn't make it up, and if you did, you couldn't mail it

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Nannying software has struck in the heart of London's radical theatreland, today's Guardian tells us. Well, maybe it's stretching a point to call the Royal Court radical these days, but it has a long, heroic history at the forefront of anti-censorship, and as a pioneer of on-stage bad language and sundry profanities. It fought the Lord Chamberlain's censorship (now long since abandoned) in the 60s, claims credit for the first use of the F-word on the British stage (by Sir John Gielgud, no less), and more recently presented the play Shopping and Fucking. But that ceased, at least temporarily, with the opening of the refurbished theatre, the implementation of a new computer system and the arrival of somebody we suppose we have to call the Blinking Operator From, er, Hove. The new email system, Microsoft-related, we are told, included anti-sexual harassment settings that stopped staff sending one another scripts with naughty words in them. All of them? Not quite. The Reg has fond memories of a Court production of Hedda Gabler starring the late, great, Jill Bennett which didn't, as we recall, have any profanities in it. But it did have a nascent piece of sexual harrassment which, among other things, drove Hedda to blow her brains out in the final scene. We digress. In reality, there's not a lot of the Court's output that would get past an email system with nanny set to ten. The BOFH (not our BOFH, the real BOFH, obviously, although we're sure he'd jump at the consultancy) is now busily disengaging the stuff and making the Court safe for the scandalisation of Tory matrons once more. In only tenuously related news, we note that Microsoft is again busily changing the wording in Encarta to edit out the description of Bangkok as a commercial sex centre. It had to do this first in 1995, but the description has reappeared. Only in the Deluxe version of Encarta 2000 - a special, value-added MS service for top execs? Surely not... ®

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