A new edition of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn edits out the N-word, which I hereby, in protest, refuse to type because it skeeves me to think that I’ll catch Twell like Roger Ebert. (Also, women enjoy sex. I’m just saying.)
I do appreciate the anger most African Americans feel upon hearing the word uttered (or Tweeted) by a white man. And after all, Twain was white. But, just speaking for myself, I read the book at a young age. It was a significant part of getting me to understand at least in part how fucked up things were for African Americans in the South. It armed me against all the contemporary white protestations that too much is made of racism. Huckleberry Finn gave me a context for history.
Keith Staciewicz of Entertainment Weekly is non-committal on the subject, stating:
…if this puts the book into the hands of kids who would not otherwise be allowed to read it due to forces beyond their control (overprotective parents and the school boards they frighten), then maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to judge. It’s unfortunate, but is it really any more catastrophic than a TBS-friendly re-edit of The Godfather, you down-and-dirty melon farmer?
Leave it to that bastion of non-committal culture, Entertainment Weekly to equate the alteration of historical texts for political correctness with the TV edit of The Godfather, which to my mind is possibly the most insultingly ludicrous comparison I’ve ever heard. For the record, I think they’re both jack-assed gestures, but they’re not the same thing.