"a generation so soft that we are traumatized by reading about it".
I like that description.
Actually, this controversy has me thinking I should read HF again. Like you, I read it eons ago but I don't remember being offended by it. Yup, PC-gone-crazy!
Thanks for chiming in, Marian.
For me the most uncomfortably old-fashioned language in Twain is the portrayl of "Indianness" in Tom Sawyer. However, this involves more than one word-that-shall-not-be-named, so it probably escaped the PC Police glancing between donuts. In my book you purchased, the title chapter "Sacred Ground & Holy Water" was originally scheduled to be published in a large environmental magazine, but the board forbid the editor, because I portrayed ancient indigenous women as being attractive, which clashed with their PC diety status. The editor of the University of Calgary's Canadian Ethnic Studies courageously published the exact piece (not the edited version which had been refereed and approved by her board). As she explained to me, "This work is a little bit naughty, but we just finished stereotyping this group negatively, I'm not quite ready to canonize a positive stereotype either." While Edgar Allan Poe and Jack London were avowed racists, Huck Finn is pretty tame, but it broke a rule.
Interesting point about the merger and not a peep.
We're very good at keeping the important news on the back burner (unless it's a homicide, etc., - if it bleeds, it leads?) and hype the fluff. We've become so used to the pablum we're being fed, we don't know anymore how to read between the lines, listen to other (differing) opinions or look for other sources for information.
I wrote a blog post on the issue as well. I composed it as a satire, which I thought was pretty obvious but a few people commented that they didn't know if I was being serious or not.
I think it's important to note too that Twain said he wrote books about children but not necessarily books for children. This is also the same author quoted as saying, "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug." I think it's a shame to alter his words, regardless of the reasons for doing so.
Loved it. Thanks for sharing, Lisa!
And yes, the Onion would definitely be a good fit for you.
Thanks! *blushes* And thanks for raising this discussion. I really enjoyed what Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert had to say on the issue but I'm surprised there wasn't more mainstream talk about it. I'm glad to see book bloggers chiming in on the issue, but it still seems like a relatively muted discussion. In the past when newly released books have been challenged or banned there has been quite the stirring in the book blogging world, and I'm a little surprised that more people have not raised a similar outcry about this version of censorship.
Probably the only person who should have any claim to change an author's words is the editor. Sometimes, a tweak here and a tweak there makes all the difference to a book - but of course in MY opinion (as an editor) that needs to be in collaboration with the author themselves.
As for changing the work post publication - well, that's jsut not on. A simple change can totally mis-represent what the original author was trying to say, whether that change is purporseful or indeed accidental. Such changes could REALLY have serious repercussions for the reputation of the author.
And as for PC - well, I agree with what's been said here. If you don't like it don't read it. It upsets me when innocent works such as those of Enid Blyton have had entire characters removed "just in case" anyone takes offence.
Though I DO admit to have hesitated a little bit when reading "The Wishing Chair" to my boys when I came across (and please don't correct my inaccuracy here) "Dick and Fanny were feeling rather gay today".
I love that Dick and Fanny were feeling rather gay.
I also remember when it only meant "happy" as in "[Work while you work and play while you play,] this is the way to be happy and gay."
I think regardless of copyright and such as has already been discussed in earlier comments that they shouldn't change the words. Yes the N-word is a "bad" one. But if we remove it, how will future generations understand why it's bad? It's bad because of the context it's used in and the derogatory meaning put into it. If it's erased from the books, will it in time be erased from our memories?
.. I hope that makes sense >_>