Thursday, January 13, 2011

Apologia for my prolonged absence, sort of

Photo: The undead writer on her RV not working.

Sorry bloggers. I know I've been gone a long time. Any reports of my death are, at least as far as today at four o'clock, premature. I've just been busy editing my book, formatting my book, doing the holidays, traveling, and just frittering away my time. That's all. It is now twelve days into the New year and funnily enough my resolutions are the same as last year's: to clean out my storage room, de clutter my house, exercise more, and get my novel into print. So, far, nada. But friends, the year and the decade are still young. Today for example, I walked the dogs, blogged, accidentally stabbed my hand while chopping vegetables, and made homemade chicken soup after getting the blood stopped. I may get the bed made...or not. Its frakkin' cold here in Florida, but having said that the weather is better (here) than practically anywhere else so I'm not really complaining. And, we've got sunshine.

My biggest rant lately has been over some misguided (at best) or idiot (in probable actuality) professor type deciding to edit the "N" word out of Mark Twain's great masterpiece, Huckleberry Finn. Of all the crack brained and misguided attempts at political correctness I've heard of in this mixed up world we live in, this is one of the dumbest. And condescending. And shortsighted.

Some fool who thinks, just cause he probably graduated college, that he is qualified to judge a genius's work dares to have the arrogance and audacity to tamper with literary perfection. Insert loud raspberry noise here. Whoever this Joe is, I'll bet a catfish to a catamaran that he can't write a lick compared to our Sam. I'll be he isn't nearly as smart or as interesting to talk to, either. After all, like Oscar Wilde, there's almost nothing that Mark Twain ever said that wasn't a quotable statement. I dunno if the man who dares to tamper with Huck is black or white and frankly my dears, I don't give a ...dang.

He claims that black children will be so put off by the use of the "N" word that they will not read the book, so the word must be deleted. Never mind that the offending word was routinely in use during the time of history that the book was written and that part of Twain's point was to show the wrongness of Jim being enslaved at all never mind considered as and treated as 'lesser than' white people by the other characters. If Twain was alive, the tamperer with his work would be sued and Twain would win. The professor would lose his job and credibility. Twain would issue a brilliant quotable quote that would turn the hapless hacker into the humbug I suspect he might be. But, its easy to pick on a dead man. So the professor pushes the delete button on the "N" word and substitutes whatever he likes.

It probably doesn't occur to him either that he is insulting the intelligence and capability of all children, black white or otherwise, by assuming that they can't understand and appreciate Twain's writing after seeing one potentially offensive term. Too many adults underestimate children and that offends ME.

Its too easy to rewrite history. Literary or otherwise. (Dangerous in so many ways to rewrite history, but that's another story) I can just hear Professor Humbug now: "Let's forget, why don't we, that anyone was ever treated badly or called names that offend. It will make it all so much more comfortably readable."

What's next, Prof? Outlaw the word 'Nazi' in literature? Just say why don't you that Hitler and his goons were rude people? Maybe forget the Holocaust ever happened? There are some offensive words in the Bible, no doubt. In Shakespeare too, mayhap. Why don't we just remove any words that anybody anywhere doesn't feel comfortable with? Make it a real pretty world? Like a fairy tale. Without witches, of course.

But wait, somebody tell Professor Humbug that rap artists routinely use the "N" word in their music. That seems to be okay with the professor. He's seemingly not worried about children being put off by that. Is it okay because that is black people insulting other black people? Or is it 'cause the rap artists aren't dead and will sue his, uh butt?

Whatever. See me shrug. I'm just going to give the word changing professor my 'Pampas Ass of the week' award. And speaking as a writer who's not dead yet: don't presume to know my intentions or correct my words. If you don't like them, don't read my books. Now or in future. Like Twain, I don't suffer fools. Edit that: foolishness in the name of fun, yes. But self important serious fools, no.

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