I'm not sure if all y'all read this over the weekend, but apparently Microsoft is making a change to their terms of service in which it bans users from using 'offensive language' on its software. And if you get caught, they could take away your license and your ability to use the software you've paid for. In some places, I read that Office 365 - and therefore the version of Word therein - is part of the plan. In others, there was no mention of that only software I don't care about.
Now, I don't have Office 365. I'm still running Office 7 (I think). It's old enough that MS no longer supports it, along with my version of Windows, so I don't exactly get updates anymore. I doubt this will touch me even if it does effect Word at all.
But it does kind of touch me, in the ways it should touch us all. You know, in the free speech arena. Free speech is something we all should be concerned with, especially the writers among us. We should be able to say and write whatever we damn well please, whether it offends someone or not*. That's kind of why the Founding Fathers put that amendment in there. And made it first. It was that important.
But... MS is not the government. As a private business, it can prohibit whatever it damn well pleases. And as a consumer, I have the right to stop using their software should their prohibition screw up my use of it.
But... yeah, another one... this private business prohibition of free speech leads us all onto a slippery slope. One company does it and then another and another until the government gets the idea that's what the people want and they vote to repeal the Amendment and take our rights away. Which is pretty much what they're talking about with the Second Amendment right now. It's bad stuff, folks.
So yeah, the MS thing may not be touching me personally right at this moment, but it's touching me and you and you and you... You get the idea. The problem is I'm not enough of a force to make any of it matter to MS. I could boycott them, but I haven't actually spent money with them in years, and what I've spent has been such a pittance it would be like a mosquito biting an elephant out of spite. And the spite would come around and slap the crap out of me instead of even annoying the elephant.
I would need to buy a whole new computer - one that didn't have a MS operating system - and fill it with non-MS software. (What is that now? Do Wordperfect and Lotus even exist anymore?) Convert every file I own to the new software... learn the new software... get others I work with to convert... Argh.
It would be better if people just stopped messing with the rights of others. Know what I mean?
Anyway, I'm not really worried about it right now - other than on the grander scale. I'll still be able to write the way I've always written and to the spreadsheet things and compute like I've computed for years. Until they make me stop because I've offended someone, that is.
FYI - the villain in Early Grave (and others of my books) uses offensive language and terms. She's a villain, for petesakes, not a little old church lady.
*With the exception of sedition, which is justifiably blocked.