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