Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Thursday, January 6, 2011
"Another point: Twain HATED slavery. A major point of the book (despite Twain's preface that anyone trying to find a moral in it would be shot) was that Jim, although an uneducated slave, is noble, even heroic. And Huck, even though he's been taught that blacks are inferior, that it is fitting and proper to hold them as slaves, recognizes Jim's nobility, his heroism, his essential humanity. He also recognizes that the proper white society that is trying to educate him at the beginning of the book, is dishonest and corrupt. And having learned those lessons, at the end of the book, he leaves civilization for "the Territory."
Expunging "the 'n' word" from "Huckleberry Finn" dilutes the power of the book. It's a pity Twain is not alive today (he died 100 years ago this year) to confront his critics, because he'd find just the right way to vivisect these idiots with his pen. They'd wish they'd never HEARD of "Huckleberry Finn," because the whole country would be convulsed with laughter as he subjected these stupendous asses to the ridicule they so richly deserve."
"The astonishing thing is that even when you turn it into a tale of Klingon oppression, it is IMMEDIATELY CLEAR to ANYONE who can read that Twain is ridiculing a deformed moral conscience that believes the government has the right to take away people's freedom, and further ridiculing the idea that a drunk belligerent white man is more qualified to vote than a black man.
I mean, my eleven-month-old son craps his pants at least twice a day, and even he has the critical reading capacity to understand what Huck Finn is about."
And on and on and on. Everything I want to say is being said, which I guess should make me hopeful. To those who apparently have said this new edition is good because it will allow teachers to expose students to a great novel, I say, "IT'S NOT THE NOVEL! THAT'S NOT HOW THE NOVEL IS WRITTEN!" (I should point out that words like "Injun" and "half-breed" have also been supposedly expunged from this edition). My hope is that the backlash will be so overwhelming that teachers will resurrect the original version and expose their students to THAT.
I hate to post a Mark Twain quote from the internet when I don't know the source offhand; I fear I may be spreading mis-information, since I know from direct experience that people have attributed quotations to Mark Twain that there's no way he ever said. But I believe he was capable of this one:
“Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.”
- ▼ 2011 (14)