Thursday, January 06, 2011

Quote of the Day


"Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it."

-- Attributed to Mark Twain

No one's sure if he really said this, but it certainly sounds like something he would've said. Regardless, it's wonderfully pertinent given the current and ridiculous attempt by one publishing company to sanitize Twain's classic, Huckleberry Finn, by removing the word "nigger" from the name of the character "Nigger Jim" on the grounds that today's more refined audiences may find it offensive.

On the other hand, wouldn't it be great if they announced that they were in fact changing the name, but only to "Nigger Dave"?

25 comments:

L. said...

Should the name strike readers today as offensive? Yes. Does that mean it should be changed to protect our delicate sensibilities? I don't think so.

The fact of the matter is that humans have said and done some fucked up stuff to one another in our history. Sugarcoating that fact insults our societal intelligence.

Krash630 said...

People in South Carolina and Mississippi would probably want to remove the words slave and slavery as well.

littlebitoffeisty said...

He also changed "Injun Joe" to "Indian Joe".

brite said...

Oh Chez...that made me chuckle! Nigger Dave indeed! hahahahahahahahahaha.
Also, Clemens is at this moment spinning so furiously in his grave that we can expect a large sinkhole to appear in Elmira, NY at any time.

Anonymous said...

I vote for "Nigger Nate". Has such a nice ring to it.

Le Penseur said...

'The whole principle is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak.' - Robert A. Heinlein, 'The Man Who Sold The Moon', p. 188.

Stephen said...

African American James sounds good.

Chris said...

Thank you for the laugh!

Anonymous said...

Well if we're gonna go down this road let's start with the bible - lord knows as refined as i am today I find much of it offensive.

Kevin Davis said...

I for one welcome our alien overlord, Mark Twain...a.k.a. Samuel Clemens... a.k.a. Kodos.

Anonymous said...

Chez your pal Mary Elizabeth Williams over at Salon seems to have a differing view http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2011/01/04/huckleberry_finn_cleaned_up

Bill Orvis White said...

@Krash630
-not taking the bait

@Chez
That word was banned in our house growing up. I once called our homekeeper that name when I was six. Mama shoved a hot chicken leg down my throat and Daddy whupped my sorry butt with the sharp metal end of his belt for three hours. Never said the word since and I don't let anyone around me say it now. I got into it with Roscoe at the local Hardee's. Roscoe called the worker that name when his Thickburger was taking too long. I took him down to the floor and there we were: two fat stupid ole white Mississippi boys wrasslin' on the floor of a Hardee's. We were a sorry sight, but since then, Roscoe Everhard Carter never said the word since.


Amen,
Bill

Alanna said...

I think Nigger Logan would be more fitting for the times. Or Nigger Bryce or whatever-the-fuck else idiot people name their boys these days. Nigger Jordan. There you go.

Le Penseur said...

I just don't see how referring to Jim as 'slave' would be any less demeaning than referring to him as 'nigger'.

Anonymous said...

@ Alanna: Don't you mean "Nigga' Jordan"? Gotta' be politically correct, after all.

banks said...

I don't understand how the Nigger Dave crack is funny. I think I might have an inkling as to how it's supposed to be funny, but could someone please explain the humor to me please? I am genuinely confused.

toastie said...

Impeccably-Tanned Virgil

jrm78 said...

They're actually going to rename him Rigger Jim and retcon him into the stagehands guild.

/and no listening post? I nominate new Sufjan Stevens for the role

Matt Osborne said...

Bowdlerization is bad for culture. I'm agin it! (That's southern for "against")

Alanna said...

Ditto on Sufjan Stevens

CNNfan said...

Samuel Langhorne Clemens renamed himself "Mark Twain" and that was not considered censorship (of his real name), was it? There can not be a double standard.

The tradition Samuel started, of renaming (himself) in his writing, should be carried on, because it is an improvement for kids to read. Language changes. A pine cone used to be called a pineapple.


On the subject of renaming, is Rick Sanchez is renaming himself to RickSanchezTV.com ?

bryce said...

@Alanna - I take offense at the use of the name Bryce. What a horrible name.

Anonymous said...

N-word Jim

John Foley said...

Person Of Color Jim.

Chez said...

The Reverend Dr. Jim.

(Jesus, I suck.)