Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Be My Guest: All 'N' Together Now

Yes! My slacking can continue! This post comes courtesy of my talented cuz Carlos Colon, who penned this in response to a recent story about how a new edition of Mark Twain's classic "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is now "n*****" free. Is this a case of political correctness run amok?


It’s the middle of the day and I decided to take some time out to catch up on the news. As I perused the front page of CNN.com something stood out to me. “New Huck Finn to lose the “N” word.” My mind immediately jumped to censorship. (the suppression of speech or other communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the general body of people as determined by government, media outlet, or other controlling body) I paused for a moment then tried to understand the reasoning behind this decision; but after reading the authors reasoning I was directed back to my original reaction. 

Alan Gribben stated that his version is not an attempt to neuter the classic but rather update it. “Race matters in these books.” “It’s a matter of how you express that in the 21st century.” Unfortunately for Mr. Gribben, neuter he did and his 21st century version completely attenuates Mark Twain's representation of the time period the book is set in. Mr. Gribben thought it necessary to replace “Nigger” with “Slave”. Now that feeling of shock or disgust you felt when reading the last sentence is exactly why the two words are not interchangeable. “Slave” is a description of what a person is and the lifestyle they are subjected to, while “nigger” is a description of what one person thinks of the other; it is a word of hate. Try to read an excerpt from the book and insert slave; then reread the same excerpt in its original text and feel the difference in your emotion towards the two. This politically correct version may soothe the overprotective parent and the principal of your children’s over priced private school but it also expurgates the stories true meaning. 

Like what you read? Follow him @SmellofColon on Twitter.


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