"That Guy That I Hang Out With Who Used to Be a Slave" Jim


Thanks to the intervention of one Dr. Alan Gribben, American kids will no longer be racist after reading Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and timorous teachers will now feel comfortable assigning a book that once featured 219 instances (according to Gribben) of the word "nigger." Gribben's new edition of Huckleberry Finn will excise all those bits that make people feel uncomfortable—because good literature never, ever makes people feel uncomfortable.

From the AP:

Mark Twain wrote that "the difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter." A new edition of "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and "Tom Sawyer" will try to find out if that holds true by replacing the N-word with "slave" in an effort not to offend readers.

Twain scholar Alan Gribben, who is working with NewSouth Books in Alabama to publish a combined volume of the books, said the N-word appears 219 times in "Huck Finn" and four times in "Tom Sawyer." He said the word puts the books in danger of joining the list of literary classics that Twain once humorously defined as those "which people praise and don't read."

"It's such a shame that one word should be a barrier between a marvelous reading experience and a lot of readers," Gribben said.

Yet Twain was particular about his words. His letter in 1888 about the right word and the almost right one was "the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning."

Don't read Evelyn Waugh's Scoop or Black Mischief (colonialist and racist); toss the reactionary and sexist Kingsley Amis on to the fire (probably shouldn't read Girl-20; definitely shouldn't read Stanley and the Women); and simply pulp the entire back catalog of George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman series, which manages to offend every minority group, every country, every-not-an-Englishman on virtually every page.

In the comments section, please feel free suggest other books that should be rewritten by Dr. Gribben (who should not be confused with Dr. Crippen, who apparently liked Huck Finn just the way he was). And here is a sample of NewSouth Publishing's exceedingly dumb defense of the Twain desecration: 

In a bold move compassionately advocated by Twain scholar Dr. Alan Gribben and embraced by NewSouth,Mark Twain's Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn also replaces two hurtful epithets that appear hundreds of times in the texts with less offensive words, this intended to counter the "preemptive censorship" that Dr. Gribben observes has caused these important works of literature to fall off curriculum lists nationwide.