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Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Compromise in Huckleberry Finn

In the 2nd year of University for my English course I had to read the 'Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' by renowned American 'I'm better than you' author Mark Twain.

I didn't enjoy it.
I'll explain that in another blog entry (I won't, it'll be a facetious uninteresting post, but have some hope folks), but I do have an issue with the version I had, the 2011 printing which out of qualms of 'moral dubiousness' replaces the term 'nigger' with 'slave' with regards to the character of Jim. I have....problems with this. Obvious problems I'll outline via a metaphorical role play that in no way occurred between the employees of the publishing company.

Although 'Slaves with Attitude' doesn't have to same hip hop ring to it.

Publishing employee 1
So, for this reprinting of Huckleberry Finn, we think it would be best for sensitivity and decency if we remove the word 'nigger'.

Employee 2
Yep, that's a good idea. It doesn't make that the defining aspect of Jim's character. He can stand on his own terms instead of being a one note by product of that adjective!

Employee 1
No, I was just thinking we should put 'slave' instead because the n-word is controversial, and we rely SOLELY ON SALES OF THIS BOOK.

Employee 2
How about we him Jim? No 'nigger' and no 'slave', just Jim. Regular Jim.

Employee 1

I know the word itself has far more offensive contexts, and that certain members African American community have claimed it back as a positive word, but that's a wider issue I'd rather not get involved with. (Although I will say it's the intent behind words than the word itself, for example, fuck and shit and boner-salad buffet. Each word is being employed negatively or positively, although boner-salad buffet is predominantly positive).

I have a problem with how completely missing the point this change seems. I'm sure in theory it was fine, but in practice it just makes you furrow your brow and go '.....really? Did you not think this through?'

So here's to you Jim.
Good ole regular Jim.

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