Monday, February 14, 2011

THE AUTHENTIC TWAIN

More proof of the power of words! And proof, too, that sometimes their value is so great — and historic — that to change them is a “constitutional violation.”

Now what do I mean by that? Well, in this case, I am referring to censoring a classic, a pillar of American culture: Huckleberry Finn. In my opinion, this is a travesty.

You’ve probably read that a Mark Twain scholar, Alan Gribben, is planning to remove the “n” word — mentioned 219 times in the original — in a new, revised version of the book.

Apparently, readership of Huck Finn in schools has been declining, and some people think reading an expurgated version of the classic is better than not reading it at all.

A high school English teacher interviewed in a New York Times article on January 4 summed up my feelings: “I think authors’ language should be left alone…if it expresses the way people felt about race or slavery in the context of their time, that’s something I’d talk about in teaching it.”

Further, the real thing can serve as the basis of discussions about how far America has come…and how more subtle forms of racism still exist.

Technorati Tags: Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain, The New York Times, business, communications, public relations

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