Huckleberry Finn … Political Correctness … AUGH!

Okay, I am one of the least likely people on the planet to utter a racial slur.  I fully understand that perception can be everything, and that many of our children have a hard time disassociating themselves from modern culture when experiencing history.  My seventeen year old son watched “Blazing Saddles” with us last year and was horrified by the same thing that bothers people (apparently) about The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn…that stupid “n” word.

But there is no excuse for watering down classic literature.  Mark Twain didn’t write Native American or slave into his original text, and I don’t want my kids reading the book some new, less dynamic way just to shield them from what bastards their grandfathers and (in many cases) fathers) were.   Why not just write into our textbooks that things didn’t really happen the way they did and …oh.  Wait.  They’re doing that too.

Listen up, you mooks.  This is not just ridiculous, it’s dangerous.  Throughout history the civilizations that allowed their history to be rewritten to political or social agenda were almost always the same ones reviled by future generations.  If we change the way things were, we not only do a disservice to our own heritage, but we risk losing the truth in the shuffle…teach the kids why the language is the way it is in Mark Twain.  Discuss it.  Learn from it.  Don’t change it so it’s just a nice little story about two boys…

God only knows what they’ll want to do to my books – but I can tell you – libraries across the country carry them currently – and now, along with the fear of dropping into obscurity – I can add the notion that I might become censored, or known for writing something in language that isn’t even my own.

In the words of Brittany’s defender on Youtube… “Leave Twain alone, man…”

-DNW

7 comments

  1. Well said. I guess they think if all references are erased, then it never happened. Like the fools that say the holocaust never happened.

    Unfortunately, there seems to be a “politically correct” movement that says “Say it loud. Say it often, Say it till people believe it.”

  2. Concerning Blazing Saddles, what made that movie cutting edge wasn’t it’s raunchy humor or the dropping of the N-bomb. When you look at the movie, it is Mel Brooks making a statement against bigotry on a whole. This is made evident in the scene between Wilder and Little after Little’s Sheriff is greeted in town with “Up yours, you Nigger!” Wilder sums it up with a soft-spoken pep talk…

    “These are People of the Land. You know…morons.”

    The movie may be considered “shocking” today, but actually it is a brilliant commentary on just how ignorant bigotry of any kind is.

    Works like Huck Finn, Song of the South, et. al. are much like Blazing Saddles in that they are works of the time and statements by the author. They should be preserved and left untouched so that we can have discussions like this. “Editing for content” is a slippery slope that I, as a writer, would prefer not to ride.

    Nice post, David. Hope to see you in 2011.

    “Now… watch — me — you —faggots… *sings* Throw out your hands, stick out your tush, hands on your hips, GIVE ‘EM A PUSH…”

    (Mel Brooks at his best….)

  3. Scary, scary, indeed. Why not a simple explanatory note about the times and the background and make sure that it’s prominently displayed so people can see it when they open the book to page one.

  4. To pretty up, change and make any book politically correct also removes the lessons to be learned in those books. In part, haven’t these books and movies helped us to become better people?

  5. It’s appalling. The tiny-minded of today are no better than the bigots of yesterday. It’s simply a knee-jerk, irrational act to apply contemporary judgments and prejudices to particular aspects of a work like Huck, either misunderstanding or discounting its historical context, the light it shines on affairs of the day — which Twain so astutely exposed. What this says about us is that we allow an offensive word to assume a power that trumps deeper, rational thought. Far better to avoid offending the ignorant than using that same word to allow us to see a little more clearly than we might have yesterday.

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