One Person’s Response To A Sanitized Huck Finn

One Person’s Response To A Sanitized Huck Finn

Well, I hope this action of Mr. Gribben’s in no way distracts from the two editions I have planned of Huckleberry Finn coming out in the spring. One is a legal/military redacted version where the offensive words are blacked out. The other is a MAD LIBS version where the offensive words are omitted and replaced with a 15 character space allowing the reader to supply an appropriate word of his or her choice. (Alan C. Reese, on the Mark Twain List Server)

As the discussion of the issue of “redacting” Twain’s works continues, I think it relevant to mention that Alan Gribben is a respected Mark Twain scholar who teaches English at Auburn University, Montgomery. He certainly knows the importance of maintaining the integrity of Twain’s work and even the importance of Twain’s use of language. All the more, it makes one wonder why he took on the task of publishing PC version of Huck Fin and Tom Sawyer. Apparently, he wants to combat censorship based on a few words. But I think in so doing, he sacrifices both Twain’s works and good pedagogy.

2 thoughts on “One Person’s Response To A Sanitized Huck Finn”

  1. “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”
    Fascists and other sociopaths just love to take advantage of gullible academics and have them spinning in loops about infantile crap. (I remember a perfect 1984 quote for this occasion which I must find.) So let’s not get sucked in or feel afraid to call these people “illiterate kooks”.
    If we can all so easily google that Mark Twain was an abolitionist and took on so many other causes on the part of Blacks, Chinese, Philipinos, etc, then the “Nigger Jim” controversy can be shoved immediately in the trash. It’s dirty divisive politics only. (And I write “Nigger Jim” with impunity because other “adults” really need to grow up and recognize the absurdity of racism instead of fetishizing a meaningless word. Remember that fear is control but laughter is the best medicine.)
    Finally, any professor or scholar who participates in censorship is automatically a fraud so I’ll be interested to see how Alan Gribben’s career manages to prop itself up in the future and most tellingly by what interest groups.

  2. I wonder how many of those trying to censor politically incorrect language were screaming “censorship, man” 40 years ago, in defence of obscenity? Quite a few, I fear.
    It’s also depressing to see how many people accept the pretence of these hateful people that ‘Nigger’ is ‘offensive.’ I know the latter is just a code-word for “Shut up or else”, but surely, in a democracy, we vote on these things? And I think we all know that no majority for this censorship would be forthcoming.
    Fascism seems like the right phrase for imposing ideology by force on the majority.

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