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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Holding A Mirror Up To Contextual Edits

While I do oppose racial slurs, I do understand how and why they were/are used in literature and even in modern music. It's all about context - that word that just about every conservative in America loves to use but doesn't understand.

To that end, this is just as bad as the Tea Baggers claiming that no one in their ranks uses racist speech.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Mark Twain wrote that "the difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter." A new edition of "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and "Tom Sawyer" will try to find out if that holds true by replacing the N-word with "slave" in an effort not to offend readers.

Twain scholar Alan Gribben, who is working with NewSouth Books in Alabama to publish a combined volume of the books, said the N-word appears 219 times in "Huck Finn" and four times in "Tom Sawyer." He said the word puts the books in danger of joining the list of literary classics that Twain once humorously defined as those "which people praise and don't read."

"It's such a shame that one word should be a barrier between a marvelous reading experience and a lot of readers," Gribben said.

Yet Twain was particular about his words. His letter in 1888 about the right word and the almost right one was "the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning."

The book isn't scheduled to be published until February, at a mere 7,500 copies, but Gribben has already received a flood of hateful e-mail accusing him of desecrating the novels. He said the e-mails prove the word makes people uncomfortable.


Twain is one of our national literary treasures and knew full well what he was doing when penning these masterpieces of work. Those that are attempting to distort the context within the hallowed pages have about as much knowledge of Twain's message as they do of how an analog synth works.

They need to stop destroying American literature.

The reason that I bring up the Tea Baggers and their accurately and clearly documented use of racist language, imagery, and animus of a variety of sorts is because of a posting by none other than one of their greatest apologists - Michelle Malkin:

If it’s Tuesday (or Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, etc., etc.), it’s Political Correctness Run Amok Day in America’s education establishment.

The latest salvo? A publishing house will release p.c.-policed versions of both The Adventures of Huck Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer with the words “nigger” and “Injun” deleted.

The tiresome war on Mark Twain’s novels is older than Al Sharpton’s hair grease. I’m reprinting a piece I wrote about the whitewashers’ attempt to expunge the word “nigger” from Huck Finn in 2001. America’s schoolchildren have been robbed by ignorant censors who are too busy counting Twain’s words to understand them and feckless educators too lazy to teach them.


That last paragraph always brings up a chuckle, as Malkin - and so many more conservatives like her - are telling us that there's "nothing to see here" and that "we don't understand what the Tea Parties are about" - "we" being anyone that has the ability to research the Obama administrations legislative goals, their pasts, and their widely documented actions from a neutral and non-hysterical perspective.

I'm thinking Mrs. Malkin - and anyone else within the Tea Bagger ranks that is twitching in teeth-gnashing rage over this pointless and ridiculous republishing of Twain's work - should consider the irony of their standpoints.

Now, before anyone thinks I'm comparing any Tea Bagger to Twain, it should be clear that Malkin and her easily swayed automatons are the Alan Gribben's and NewSouth Books' of the socio-political realm. While that should be obvious to most, I just thought I'd throw that out there.

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