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Mark Twain, Censored

January 6, 2011

The other day, I saw on Twitter that Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn was being “edited” to removed the “offensive” words. That’s a nice way of saying it’s being censored.

The deal is this: they are taking out the word “nigger” and replacing it with “slave” in the hopes that this version won’t be banned from some schools. But, I think they are missing the point. Schools ban this book because they are into censorship and limiting what their students read, learn and  think. I am not sure I believe that this edit will help make the book more readable in schools. Perhaps the language was just an excuse schools use to ban the book and they will now just find another reason to limit students’ reading of Twain’s novels.

What do you think of the edit? Of censorship?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 7, 2011 12:59 pm

    Censorship is lazy. There’s so much more to learn from literature or artwork in it’s original form.

    Also, “fixing” an author’s original work opens a terrible can of worms. Should we also start putting pasties on Boticelli’s “Birth of Venus” as it appears in textbooks?

  2. Dylan Charles permalink
    January 8, 2011 11:02 am

    I had a teacher in high school that was on a personal crusade to make sure that Huck Finn was taught in its proper context. You can’t just yank a work out of its historical context and leave it at that. And you definitely can’t sanitize it and expect it to still have any meaning. Twain was writing about the ugliness of society. There’s going to be some offensiveness in there.

  3. January 9, 2011 2:53 pm

    This is a terrible idea.

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