Huck Finn Gets Some Changes

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Huck Finn Gets Some Changes

Postby lmjackson » 04 Jan 2011, 16:36

Just saw this on Yahoo! News.

According to Publishers Weekly, NewSouth Books plans to release a version of "Huck Finn" that cuts the "n" word and replaces it with "slave." The slur "injun," referring to Native Americans, will also be replaced.


One person sarcastically writes, "I love when people erase racism and pretend it never happened." Still, not everyone is outraged. One respondent writes that it is "awkward being the only black kid in class and having to read it." Another points out that the original is in the public domain and still available to anyone who wants to read it.



http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_newsroom/ ... me-changes

Thoughts?
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Re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes

Postby steve » 04 Jan 2011, 16:59

lmjackson wrote:Thoughts?

Just one: everyone involved in this effort is an idiot.
Read one of the best stories by Borges.
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Re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes

Postby sbs_mjc1 » 04 Jan 2011, 22:09

I agree with the "gee, isn't it nice to sweep historical racism under the rug and pretend it never happened?" commenter. And I think the "clean version" is missing the point-- yes, there's racist language, but there are some much more important issues about race and power in the content of the book. IMHO, lots of discussions about, say, whether or not the narrative degrades Jim's character get derailed by people focusing in on specific words and ignoring the context.
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Re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes

Postby Watcher55 » 05 Jan 2011, 08:06

Now wait a minnit y'all. These changes have gone through the proper channels and the Ministry of Truth has approved them. Those people are just doing their jobs. They're protecting us from ourselves and erradicating hate wherever it dares show itself in public. There should be a parade. And cake.

It's a frikken sin! >:(
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Re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes

Postby Sommer Leigh » 05 Jan 2011, 09:30

I read about it last night and spent all night fretting and yelling and fretting and yelling. I laid in bed last night staring at my ceiling fretting and growling and fretting and growling. I think it made my brain explode.

I wrote a blog post about it that is full of frustration and shock. I hate the whole mess. It's the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies of the next big trend- let's clean up the classics! If it's good enough for Huck Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird and Catcher in the Rye are going to love their new look!

See, this whole idea is going to give me an ulcer.

Argh! Makes me crazy!


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Re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes

Postby Margo » 05 Jan 2011, 10:11

Um yeah. Facepalm. It should be uncomfortable to read this aloud in class. It should have been uncomfortable to use a slur toward another person in the first place. The fact that it wasn't uncomfortable for so many years to use racial slurs is precisely the reason the language should stay.

Hey, yeah, let's take the rape scene out of SPEAK and make it about telling a girl she doesn't look good in that color dress.

And can we clean up Holden Caufield's language while we're at it?
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Re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes

Postby Sommer Leigh » 05 Jan 2011, 10:39

Margo wrote:Um yeah. Facepalm. It should be uncomfortable to read this aloud in class. It should have been uncomfortable to use a slur toward another person in the first place. The fact that it wasn't uncomfortable for so many years to use racial slurs is precisely the reason the language should stay.

Hey, yeah, let's take the rape scene out of SPEAK and make it about telling a girl she doesn't look good in that color dress.

And can we clean up Holden Caufield's language while we're at it?



If we wash Holden Caufield's mouth out with soap I will immediately fall out of love with him.
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Re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes

Postby Guardian » 05 Jan 2011, 21:24

lmjackson wrote:Thoughts?

I agree with Steve. Whoever is participating in it is an idiot. But I must tell you unfortunately this is not unique. We had a similar event a year or two years ago in my native country, where some people wanted to rewrite and reboot the traditional, old classics (Similar to Huck Finn), because they wanted to see it on a different way and they wanted to make their own rewritten piece of junks to replace the mandatory reads instead of the present classics (Summary: brainwash the young generation.). Another similar event was when some people wanted to rewrite our national hymn, because they believed they have the right to do that. They considered it as too old which is not fit for the modern, "colorful" standards (We have a very beautiful hymn.).

One thing is sure: the 21st century is a cursed century full with idiots.

Sommer. That's an excellent blog entry. I loved it. :)
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Re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes

Postby Cookie » 06 Jan 2011, 06:43

Guardian wrote:One thing is sure: the 21st century is a cursed century full with idiots.

Sommer. That's an excellent blog entry. I loved it. :)



I agree wholeheartedly on both counts.
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Re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes

Postby Sommer Leigh » 06 Jan 2011, 11:55

Thanks guys! This is a subject I feel very deeply about. It makes me CRAZY. Crazy!!! My husband's school district covers themselves with getting permission slips signed for a lot of the books that people have cried "Offensive!" about. It sucks that they have to do that with certain books that are not inappropriate at all, but it gives parents the chance to say no and other parents the chance to say yes. I think it is the best of all possible solutions.

What's interesting is that he has more parents who don't sign because they don't really care and don't see it as important or aren't around enough to ask than he has parents who don't want their kid reading a book.



The Washington Post has an opinion: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/compos ... leber.html

As does The Wall Street Journal: http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2011/01/ ... he-n-word/
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Re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes

Postby Cookie » 06 Jan 2011, 13:14

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Re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes

Postby jkmcdonnell » 06 Jan 2011, 16:31

Sommer Leigh wrote:I wrote a blog post about it that is full of frustration and shock. I hate the whole mess. It's the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies of the next big trend- let's clean up the classics! If it's good enough for Huck Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird and Catcher in the Rye are going to love their new look!


That was my first thought about all this - the slippery slope of censorship. These texts chart our social progression through issues or race, gender, etc. by reflecting dominant cultural values of their time, but any contemporary reader should analyse and/or instinctively read them within the context of today - a measure of how far we've come and how far we have to go. As someone else pointed out, racism shouldn't just be erased. We're supposed to learn from it - from our mistakes - and that's only more difficult if we don't have access to the past to learn from it in the first place.

(Is it totally paranoid to wonder if this is the first step to the Though Police and Ministry of Truth "controlling the past to control the future"? Just kidding. I hope.)

And now, of course, Roger Ebert is probably wishing he'd kept his finger of the 'submit' button: http://twitter.com/ebertchicago/status/22676387810779136
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Re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes

Postby Cookie » 06 Jan 2011, 17:10

jkmcdonnell wrote:
Sommer Leigh wrote:I wrote a blog post about it that is full of frustration and shock. I hate the whole mess. It's the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies of the next big trend- let's clean up the classics! If it's good enough for Huck Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird and Catcher in the Rye are going to love their new look!


That was my first thought about all this - the slippery slope of censorship. These texts chart our social progression through issues or race, gender, etc. by reflecting dominant cultural values of their time, but any contemporary reader should analyse and/or instinctively read them within the context of today - a measure of how far we've come and how far we have to go. As someone else pointed out, racism shouldn't just be erased. We're supposed to learn from it - from our mistakes - and that's only more difficult if we don't have access to the past to learn from it in the first place.

(Is it totally paranoid to wonder if this is the first step to the Though Police and Ministry of Truth "controlling the past to control the future"? Just kidding. I hope.)

And now, of course, Roger Ebert is probably wishing he'd kept his finger of the 'submit' button: http://twitter.com/ebertchicago/status/22676387810779136


GAH! Not the thought police!
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Re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes

Postby Watcher55 » 06 Jan 2011, 18:20

Great articles Sommer and Cookie, Thanks

jkmcdonnell wrote:
Sommer Leigh wrote:I wrote a blog post about it that is full of frustration and shock. I hate the whole mess. It's the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies of the next big trend- let's clean up the classics! If it's good enough for Huck Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird and Catcher in the Rye are going to love their new look!


That was my first thought about all this - the slippery slope of censorship. These texts chart our social progression through issues or race, gender, etc. by reflecting dominant cultural values of their time, but any contemporary reader should analyse and/or instinctively read them within the context of today - a measure of how far we've come and how far we have to go.


Here's a sad exchange that took place when I was teaching high school History. On the first day of class I liked to establish a base line so I started like this:
W55: Ok, let's see what you know. 1 extra credit point for a sensible response and 3 points for a correct response.
Class: Ok, Mr. 55
W55: Tell me about FDR
Crickets: chirp chirp
W55: Winston Churchill?
Crickets: chirp chirp
They didn't know about Jim Crow laws, Medgar Evers, or Fredrick Douglass (sp?) and could just identify MLK.

jkmcdonnell wrote:(Is it totally paranoid to wonder if this is the first step to the Though Police and Ministry of Truth "controlling the past to control the future"? Just kidding. I hope.)


It is not totally paranoid; I'll just say I'm glad I'm almost old.
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Re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes

Postby Watcher55 » 06 Jan 2011, 18:52

Sommer Leigh wrote:Thanks guys! This is a subject I feel very deeply about. It makes me CRAZY. Crazy!!! My husband's school district covers themselves with getting permission slips signed for a lot of the books that people have cried "Offensive!" about. It sucks that they have to do that with certain books that are not inappropriate at all, but it gives parents the chance to say no and other parents the chance to say yes. I think it is the best of all possible solutions.

What's interesting is that he has more parents who don't sign because they don't really care and don't see it as important or aren't around enough to ask than he has parents who don't want their kid reading a book.



The Washington Post has an opinion: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/compos ... leber.html

As does The Wall Street Journal: http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2011/01/ ... he-n-word/


The fact that a critic has taken to tampering with Twain’s great work is another sign that the atavistic philistinism that has taken hold of our politics and culture has found a place in academia. - Ishmael Reed WSJ


I wish i'da said that.
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