Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Dumb-ering Down of America

As if that's possible...our little experiment in democracy is already pretty fucking dumbed-down, but that's another post. Today's tirade, kiddies, has all to do with the notion that vanilla do-gooders can just decide one day to muck around in someone else's authorship for whatever wrong-headed PC reason occurs to them. I'm talking, of course, of the publisher who is planning to issue a new edition of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and expunge every use of the word 'nigger'. Oh, for the LOVE OF...REALLY PEOPLE? REALLY? This from today's New York Times:

A new effort to sanitize “Huckleberry Finn” comes from Alan Gribben, a professor of English at Auburn University, at Montgomery, Ala., who has produced a new edition of Twain’s novel that replaces the word “nigger” with “slave.” Nigger, which appears in the book more than 200 times, was a common racial epithet in the antebellum South, used by Twain as part of his characters’ vernacular speech and as a reflection of mid-19th-century social attitudes along the Mississippi River.

I am so offended by this on SO many levels that I hardly know where to begin. First of all..motherfuckers, it's NOT YOUR LITERARY WORK! It was written by perhaps the most deservedly beloved of American authors, Mark Twain, a man who, in his writing turned the society of his day on it's head and ironically made them look into the face of their own dirty little prejudices. Mark Twain used the word 'nigger' to illustrate the absolute banality of the word and the absolute banality of those who in his time used it. He clearly was onto something that today's cranially challenged "educators" can't begin to grasp. Namely if you call something by its name, if you turn a brightly lighted mirror onto the absurdities of societal prejudices masquerading as "norms", you serve to effectively drain them of any power.

Mark Twain is dead; he can't stand up to this pea-brained little band of sadly mistaken do-gooders and say: "Hey! Keep your grubby little mitts off of my words! I am the author of that book and I chose each and every word in it with deliberation and purpose!" How cowardly, now that he's no longer able to defend his creation, to begin picking it apart in the name of some lame-brained ideal of creative revisionism.

More from The NYT:

Mr. Gribben has said he worried that the N-word had resulted in the novel falling off reading lists, and that he thought his edition would be welcomed by schoolteachers and university instructors who wanted to spare “the reader from a racial slur that never seems to lose its vitriol.” Never mind that today nigger is used by many rappers, who have reclaimed the word from its ugly past. Never mind that attaching the epithet slave to the character Jim — who has run away in a bid for freedom — effectively labels him as property, as the very thing he is trying to escape.

Isn't Huckleberry Finn a better tool as written, for teachers to open an honest dialogue in the classroom about how people use words to subjugate others and how words can offer a direct light into the societal norms of a bygone era? My goodness, books like Huck Finn are historical documents! Should we go back and rewrite history so that nobody will be offended or feel diminished or otherwise disenfranchised? Sheesh.

The larger comment, of course, embedded in this wrong-headed move is that we have become so afraid of looking at truth that even words as written by those long dead are not immune from being hacked at in order to get them to conform to our current appetite for "niceness". MOTHERFUCKING YUCK I say!!

Clearly all of this politesse is absolute anathema to The ABIB, whose very existence is rooted almost entirely in political UN-correctness. So go ahead, whack away at classic literature to your hearts' content, reform everything in the boring, bland image of "Everyone's Happy Valley", but I'm here to tell you it's not right and if we're not careful we'll all be drinking the Koolaid in the name of "what's appropriate". Gives a bitch the shivers...

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