Friday, January 14, 2011

Andrei Mealy mouthed generation

Have you ever read Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn. It's been a standard classroom text for generations.

But despite its literary merit a problem has developed.

When Mark Twain wrote it the standard term for a black person was the um N-WORD and it appears 219 times within the text.

So the latest editions fix this by changing the unacceptable word where ever it appears to "slave", thereby destroying the rhythm and flow of the original prose.

Literature and art are a context of their times and modifying them to match modern sensitivities kind of ruins the point of reading them.

On a related matter an old Dire Straits song has fallen foul of the language police.

Yes this song can no longer be played in its original form in Canada because the lyrics contain the word "Faggot", ironically used ironically.

How long before Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice gets banned for its antisemitism I wonder?

Funny thing is we studied that text at school and in the course of that study discussed antisemitism and various anti Jewish libels current at the time it was first written and performed. A far more valuable learning experience than would be had if we could only access it through a cleaned up version or read a more innocuous text.

2 comment(s):

ZenTiger said...

I find this ridiculous and stupid.

However, we have to understand it is worse than that. If we view this as a cultural war, the progressives will be victorious because they insist on re-writing history, whether it is 100 years old or one week old.

homepaddock said...

Sanitising literature is trying to re-write history.

Better to leave the offending words in so students can learn about how things used to be and guard against repeating sins of the past.

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