Who is Smik?

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Creating P.C. reading by whitewashing the classics

An interesting issue has arisen

Publisher to release versions of 'Huck Finn' and 'Tom Sawyer' without the N-word, prompting strong but mixed reaction.
The internet is abuzz with reaction to a publisher’s controversial decision to replace the N-word with “slave” in Mark Twain’s classic novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in an effort not to offend readers.

You probably remember that Agatha Christie’s TEN LITTLE NIGGERS became TEN LITTLE INDIANS which always seemed to me to be a very strange choice, and now it is the much more sanitized AND THEN THERE WERE NONE.

The interesting thing was that in the Agatha Christie novel the "niggers" in question were ten soldier boy figurines on the dining room table. As the book evolved and people were murdered the figurines disappeared. The title of the book was based, as you will remember, on a nursery rhyme.

I remember (you probably don’t, being mainly much younger than this geriatric) reading Joseph Conrad’s THE NIGGER OF THE NARCISSUS.
Should we hunt down all books with similarly offensive titles?

But the Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer books are to be reprinted using “slave” instead of the n-word.
The count is apparently 219 times
Is this madness? What do you think?

What would the Australian equivalent be? Is it better to replace politically/socially offensive words with more sanitized ones, or should we be teaching our students to recognize the offensiveness, but also to undePublishrstand how the author was reflecting common usage at that time?

Posted via email from You Are Never Alone (on posterous)

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