The headline says it all. According to the Guardian article Censoring Mark Twain’s ‘n-words’ is unacceptable, a new edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn from Alabama-based publisher NewSouth books plans to replace “nigger” with “slave,” and “injun” with “indian” in what they describe as a “bold move compassionately advocated” to replace “two hurtful epithets” that have caused the book to often fall off of school curriculum nationwide.
What’s the point of reading a censored version of the book? By the time that we Americans dilute our literary heritage, taking away both impact and historical significance from what we read, we will have thoroughly become a nation of imbeciles, and may not even notice the loss.
As the famous Mark Twain said, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter – it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” And in his books, I’m sure he’d prefer that the rights words, as written, continue to be used.
This list of Analogies and Metaphors Found in High School Essays is worth a look. Some of my favorites include:
- Even in his last years, Grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long it had rusted shut. -Sandra Hull, Arlington
- The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work. -Malcolm Fleschner, Arlington
- It came down the stairs looking very much like something no one had ever seen before. -Marian Carlsson, Lexington
- The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM. -Paul J. Kocak, Syracuse
- She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef. -Brian Broadus, Charlottesville
- It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall. -Brian Broadus, Charlottesville
For the whole list, go read Analogies and Metaphors Found in High School Essays, I won’t quote all of it here.
I came across this video, encouraging youths to READ A BOOK, and thought it was both amusing and didactic. This video is necessary to combat popular rap anti-intellectualism, such as the tripe spewed by rapper Lil’ Wayne, who openly admits he does not read:
See also Harrison Ford’s ‘Read’ poster.