Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mark Twain Censorship?

When the local news was on TV last night, I wasn't really paying attention until I heard the words Mark Twain and censorship in the same sentence. That made me take notice and turn up the volume. The story reported was about the publisher New South Books.

They have decided to change a couple of words in two of Twain's books, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, and offer them in one volume, without the "n" word and the one considered hurtful to the Native Americans.

I am not a racist and was brought up to believe that all people are equal. Nobody in my family ever used the "n" word. NOBODY. Did I know that word existed? Of course I did. I grew up in the 1950's & 1960's. I knew all about the Civil Rights Movement, race riots, marches, etc. News about that and the Vietnam War was splayed on TV every day and night. Vietnam was horrible in so many ways, and I was also upset to see so much suffering and injustice in my own country.

But I don't intend on making this a huge political statement. I just think it is WRONG to change words in classic books!! Yes, we all "get it" that there are words that aren't "nice" and that most likely offend some/many people....but we can't go around changing every single word in every single book that offends people!! That's just nuts. Think about it this way....Uh oh! There are words in Gone With the Wind that need to be "updated". They might upset someone! Then there's some in Catcher in the Rye. Oh, and what about Fahrenheit 451, Catch-22, etc.

I Just Don't Get It.

"Don't let schooling interfere with your education." -- Mark Twain

“When you reread a classic, you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than there was before” -- Cliff Fadiman

20 comments:

  1. I agree. I think Mark Twain would roll over in his grave about this!

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  2. That is ridiculous! Hello, people. Just put it in context.

    What are they doing messing with a historical work of fiction?!

    Makes me crazy. In fact, my blood is boiling.

    "/

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  3. Hey Kathy, Kathie, and Sue! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

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  4. This really infuriates me. Have these censors bothered to read Shakespeare? If they understood it, they would be cutting it to ribbons too. What next? To Kill a Mockingbird? Kat

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  5. I hard that today and it made me really angry! We do not need to change things like this...it was part of the culture and history we need to remember so we can not repeat it. It's just wrong to go back and change things like that.

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  6. What a shame that things have to be taken out of context and out of history and tampered with changing them from what they were.

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  7. I agree Becky. You can't do that. I was thinking "Catcher in the Rye," when I was reading that too! I remember when we read that in school as a kid, some parents had a fit!

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  8. Thanks Kat, Linda, Myrna, Daisy and Sara!!

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  9. Great new look Becky! I do love Mark Twain and people need to leave his work alone!

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  10. Hi Jennee! Glad you like the new blog look! Thanks for stopping and commenting!

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  11. Love the renewed look and the awesome music.
    I agree with you , Becky. Leave the classics alone. Someone has way too much time on their hands! I do believe there are "bigger irons in the fire!" and more important issues that need our attention. The Turtle Lady

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  12. I couldn't agree more. It is a sad state of affairs when we erase a part of American history...Good or Bad. And yes, I do believe Mark Twain was part of this rich part of our American History. *hugs*

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  13. I don't know how anyone who supports the arts can, in good conscience, change an original work. It's a form of censorship, and I've ranted about censorship many times.

    The irony? New South is trying to whitewash the politically incorrect from Twain's work. HA! Twain's probably smirking.

    (P.S. Love the new look over here, Becky. See? WE can change our stuff-but nobody else better touch it!)

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  14. Thank you, Turtle Lady, Mo and Cathy C.!! I love everyone's comments on this, and particularly Mo's, because she came up with the words I WANTED to come up with, but couldn't! "It is a sad state of affairs when we erase a part of American history." Powerful stuff!

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  15. Right there with ya, Becky!!! It is totally wrong. Perhaps a better way would be to use the original word, yet explain that it is derogatory and ought not to be used.

    As you know, I LOVE classic movies, and many movies I watch are 1940's war movies. Over and over, the word "Japs" is used. I cringe when I hear the word, but I would NEVER think it should be omitted or changed. It was totally natural in that time period, and to change it, is to somewhat try to change history.

    Blessings and hugs,
    Patti

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  16. So far I haven't heard from a single person who isn't horrified. And that includes the high school kids I had today. It made for some interesting discussion in a current studies class!

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  17. I agree, Becky. Censorship is wrong. Do we keep updating literature, with every new wave of phrases?

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  18. Hi Patti, Tammy and Sioux! I love all these wonderful, and highly intelligent comments!! My blog friends are the best!!

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I love comments, especially because I know the time it takes to stop and type one, even a short one! Thanks very much!

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