Ronald Brak

Because not everyone can be normal.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Oh My God! - Physiology Text Censored!

A couple of days ago I borrowed a physiology textbook from the Medical Library of an Australian University. An actual real live medical library connected to an actual hospital where every day people get hacked up with scalpels to save their lives. Not a fake medical library connected to a fake hospital where no one gets hacked up by scalpels and so accurate knowledge of physiology is not quite so essential.

The book is called Fundamentals of Human Physiology and it is written by Lauralee Sherwood. When I first opened the book I saw a physiological illustration of a human, that is, a picture of a person showing the guts and stuff inside them. But this was unique among all the physiological illustrations I have seen in that the person had their clothes on. I burst out laughing because it was just so odd. But then I realised the author or the artist must be making a point. Most people generally don't walk around naked and humans have been using clothes for thousands of years to protect them from the environment. Good point, now teach us some physiology.

But then I looked through the rest of the text I saw that they weren't making a point. The book is censored. Everybody has their clothes on. According to the textbook the integumentary system includes a pair of blue shorts. I only found one picture in the whole book that wasn't censored and that was in the section on human reproduction. They got out of showing a dong by putting it in cross section and they did the same thing for a boob, but there was just one bit they couldn't work out how to hide. It must have driven the illustrator mad. I can just imagine her playing with that particular part, turning it at all different ways and angles while trying to figure how to make it not look like what it looks like. I guess she eventually just gave up and decided that it wasn't actually possible to censor it.

Censoring a physiology textbook is pure stupidity. It's hard enough to come to a good understanding of the location of all the different bits and pieces inside a human body without the extra complication created by having the illustrations wear clothes. A health professional needs to learn to relate what is inside the body to what is visible on the outside of the body. The illustrations in this book are doing their bit to make the world a slightly more stupid and more dangerous place.

And why did they do it? Surely the Taliban market segment can't be that large? Or are there actually people in English speaking countries who are shocked when they see what the human body actually looks like in a physiology textbook? If this is the case, then why didn't the author realise that maybe the best thing to do with these strange people is to shock them and help them get over this problem rather than pander to it? Maybe that way fewer Americans will end up stabbing themselves in the eyes with forks when they accidentally see Janet Jackson's nipple.

Or maybe I shouldn't be blaming the author, this could all be the publisher's fault. Hopefully Lauralee Sherwood will knock some sense into her publisher and the next edition won't be so laughable. And if the publishers won't play ball she drop them like a lump of congealed idiocy for the good of the study of physiology and for the good of America! Do it for America, Lauralee! Stick a nipple in their eye! Shove a tastefully drawn dong in their face! Don't surrender knowledge of the appearance of the human body to pornography! Have you seen American pornography? Surrendering people's concept of normal human physiology to American pornography is a disturbing road to go down.

Or so I've been told.

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