Tuesday, January 04, 2011

They must have slept through literature class in high school

Bike Bubba has the best take we've seen on the meddling doofuses who have taken it upon themselves to censor all the "offensive" words out of an upcoming edition of Huckleberry Finn.  Words that are crucial, by the way, to the book's central theme of Huck coming to understand and appreciate the humanity of the put-upon Jim, as well as being an indicative history of the racial strife of that period.

How are people supposed to learn from (as well as not repeat) the mistakes of the past once they've been whitewashed (pun intended) out of existence?

Are we going to see these self-appointed guardians of America's precious little snowflakes call out Alex Haley's Roots as next in line for evisceration, since after all that Pulitzer Prize-winning tome contains the exact same words (and on many more occasions, as well as graphic depictions of racism and slavery)?  Or are these moral arbiters of free speech going to state with a straight face that it's perfectly OK to use those words in the latter instance because Roots was written by a black man?


Anonymous said...

Absolutely. Bowdler eviscerated Shakespeare. Modern day busy-bodies would ruin Twain. For years, people have tried to get Twain off high-school reading lists because he used "that word". Not only was it the language of the time, it was used to convey the emotional situation, almost like Twain expected the language to evolve.

The work isn't under copyright any more, and they can do it, but that doesn't mean it has to be purchased, or tolerated by taxpayers when a school wants to buy it.

Bike Bubba said...

Bowdler also did a number on the Bible, if I remember correctly. I'm thinking that the KJV's "cut off him that pisseth against a wall" didn't make the editor's cut, to put it mildly, just like Othellos "make the best with two backs" hit the floor, too.

And all too many slept through literature class, myself included, in many ways. It's part of why I only "got" the Constitution, Twain, and a bunch of other literature as an adult.