JohnnyB calls my attention to a particularly amusing bit of media self-censorship. The
Philadelphia Inquirer Cincinnati Enquirer reports that an area high school canceled a performance of Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians under pressure from an NAACP official who objected to the original title of the book it was based on. Or as the Inky put it:
Hines said the book's original title and cover illustration used for its initial publishing that year  in England was a racial slur toward blacks and included a cover illustration of a black person and a hangman's noose.
"The original title was 'Ten Little (N - - - - - -),' and it is important to say that because that was the actual title," Hines said Monday.
Important for him to say it, maybe, but not for the newspaper which is merely charged, after all, with explaining the story to its readers. I particularly like how the newspaper's substitution of letters with dashes isn't quite enough to avoid giving offense, so they've cordoned off the former word with parantheses. Whew!
While we're at it, can I just say: What a d-----b--. He shuts down a high school play because it's based on a book whose title — used 70 years ago in another country and never in this one — was offensive? Who exactly was going to be offended if they didn't even know that? Sure, high school students should be taught the history of the book as a lesson in evolving racial attitudes, but they shouldn't be prohibited from performing the play, which in and of itself has zero racial content. (OK, Indians might not like the rhyme that drives the plot, though it's not really about Indians).
For the record, the novel is based on the 1860s funny death ditty Ten Little Indians, which the (racist!) Brits changed to Ten Little Niggers. Contrary to Hines and the
Inky Enquirer, the original cover does not show a hangman's noose. He may be thinking of a 1960s British reprint. (Both seen here). In any event, it's not a "hangman's noose," but a suicide's, so any lynching overtones are a product of the reader's recontextualization. (Nor is it a "person" but a Golliwogg, not that that makes it better).
From the beginning American editions of the book were titled either And Then There Were None or Ten Little Indians. In recent editions, the rhyme has been changed from Indians to soldiers or sailors (because it's still OK to insult the troops). The stubborn (and racist!) Brits continued to use the original title through the 1980s.