Left: A textual abomination
On occasion I will purchase used books, only to find that one of the previous owners has marked up the text with highlighter or some other implement of penmanship. While I have never been one to mark up a book, I suppose that ownership brings with it certain prerogatives, and as merely the latest in a chain of book owners, far be it from me to be critical.
I do protest, however, when I come across a library book upon which some blithering fool has etched lines, illegible scribbling, and other post-printing desecration to a text that is supposed to be public property. The accompanying photograph is from a book by historian Roger Mettam entitled Power and Faction in Louis XIV's France, which takes a contrarian stance to the idea that the Sun King's reign was exemplary of early modern absolutism.
At some point in the book's sixteen-year lifespan at the University of Toledo's Carlson Library, one of the readers decided that their needs outweighed those of other readers, especially those who: a) dislike books being marked up; or b) might not mind a book with a few choice highlighting efforts, but who do not agree with the wholesale underlining of entire paragraphs.
Thus, throughout the first few chapters of this book I have to cope with the heavy black Scripto marks that occasionally run through words the ham-fisted imbecile intended to underline. Given my aforementioned preference for books without marks, I find myself increasingly irritated and distracted by this literary outrage, and thoughts go through my head of what I would do to this person with a red Sharpie marker were I to locate and corner said churlish dolt.