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Thursday, January 6, 2011

The height of PC absurdity

This is absolutely ridiculous.

Comments (12)

"The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter -- it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning." -- Mark Twain

This Huck Finn censor stuff rotates to the surface every eight years or so by my figuring.

Two thoughts:

I agree with Hemingway and would myself gladly cut out every thing that takes place after the river journey is ended and Jim recaptured. It's last portion is a juvenille cringe-fest.

A second thought about censored language and thinking:

We live in a world where much of the media, the educated, and the citizenry nodded in agreement when the President made his definitive observation about the Army murders.

He stated that we may never know, we can not know what was going on in the mind of an American officer who murdered and wounded a score of his colleagues while shouting "Alla ud Akbar."

"Human caused disasters?"

Some censorship is worse than others.

I'm actually surprised that the BBC, a paragon of PC wrote out the actual word and not "n-word" in their report.

I was about to post a comment suggesting that the author would himself have had some choice words about this, only to find that he actually did. Thanks, PBJ.

I hate the use of the N-word. Despise it.

That said, leave the story alone.

Mark Twain grew up and lived in the time where many weren't (as we try to say we are) enlightened. He painted a picture with words to tell a story.

I'm pretty sure his use of those words wasn't an endorsement of the use or their meanings.

What concerns me the most is the statement it makes about our school boards and educational institutions.

Rather than teach our children about a classic novel with uncomfortable words, we sanitize the book or we ban the book, and try to avoid the discomfort of teaching children about life.

I'd like to think our teachers can teach the book as it is.

And the funny thing is, if the kids listen to certain forms of hip hop, they may still hear the n-word anyways.

"None but ourselves can free our minds."

Crazy world, where slave-keeping is alive and well in central Saharan Africa, where it is estimated that 8% of the population is born into a "servile class", the current term, because slavery has become a heavy word. Victimhood is a tricky area, and trying to sterilize it doesn't do anyone any favors.

When we invent new terms and reject the old, we erase history. The word nigger should never be forgotten, and its history taught, precisely to lessen the likelihood of history repeating itself.

The word is bandied around now between blacks as a joking play on an outdated pejorative. And it should be erased from our literary canon? Ridiculous.

Try telling Spanish publishers to edit Carlos Fuentes, who devoted whole pages of stream of consciousness prose in his novel, "The Death of Artemio Cruz" to the word "chingado", which is very similar to "nigger". "Chingado" is the "one who is screwed", and refers to native Mexican Indians and their descendent "mestizo" class, born out of the domination of the natives by the conquistadors. Today, Mexicans still use the word pejoratively toward eachother and outsiders alike, and noone there is calling to censor their most famous and influential writer over it.

"This is absolutely ridiculous."

It is also funny that some people, when discuss the word 'nigger' actually use that word, while others use 'N-word'. I always thought it okay to use the word when discussing that word, but not use the word to disparage another person.

But the funniest word bashing I ever heard was when people used the 'racist' word niggardly. Even when given the correct definition, people still said you can't use that 'racist' word.

H. Rap Brown probably wouldn't like the publisher to change the title of his autobiography to "Die Slave Die!"

Who can forget Sly and the Family Stone's classic, "Don't Call Me Slave, Master"?

I don't really know what the term "PC" means, although its most common use (by far) is to frame a deliberately obnoxious or offensive statement as a principled assertion of free speech by denigrating anyone who would criticize it. That said, changing the n-word to "slave" is not "PC" in that or any other sense, as it is neither semantically accurate nor a step forward for racial sensitivity. Referring to someone as a slave (noun) subsumes their humanity and uniqueness to an externally imposed mass economic condition, which is why many thoughtful people nowadays would instead speak of an "enslaved person." Which would be much too unwieldy for a novel. Better to leave it alone and treat it as a teachable moment, i.e., why is it being used, and with such frequency? The word is not exactly unknown to the younger generation. I think they can handle it.

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