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Two Literary Classics 
6th-Jan-2011 04:11 pm
Zoidberg
Inspired from an entry in eyelid's journal...



Poll #1665092 Literary Classics

Should the novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer be republished to have the word "nigger" (which appears 219 times in the book) replaced with the word "slave"? (The original version will still remain in print).

Yes
4(6.7%)
No
52(86.7%)
I'm not sure
4(6.7%)

Have you ever read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer?

Yes
40(66.7%)
I'm not sure, I might have
5(8.3%)
No
15(25.0%)

If you read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, what is your opinion of it?

I never read it
13(22.0%)
I don't know, I can't remember it
10(16.9%)
Excellent
10(16.9%)
Good
21(35.6%)
So-so
5(8.5%)
Not that good
0(0.0%)
It sucks
0(0.0%)
Something else (what?)
0(0.0%)

Have you ever read the book Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger?

Yes
39(63.9%)
I'm not sure, I might have
1(1.6%)
No
21(34.4%)

If you read Catcher in the Rye, what is your opinion of it?

I never read it
20(33.3%)
I don't know, I can't remember it
2(3.3%)
Excellent
9(15.0%)
Good
8(13.3%)
So-so
10(16.7%)
Not that good
6(10.0%)
It sucks
5(8.3%)
Something else (what?)
0(0.0%)


Edit: I messed up, it's actually the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn that is being edited, not Tom Sawyer.
Comments 
7th-Jan-2011 12:21 am (UTC)
you know, I looked at the BBC's list of the greatest novels and apparently I'm well-read, but I haven't read either of these novels.

The thing about changing the wording in the Adventures of Tom Sawyer to me is that the word "nigger" is not used so much today, so coming across it the first few times might make people really pause. To cut it out could end up desensitizing readers even more than we are already desensitized.
7th-Jan-2011 12:37 am (UTC)
I read Tom Sawyer in school, so naturally I have no recollection of it. :)

I read Catcher in the Rye a few months ago. I found myself angry with Holden at how annoying, self-centered, and arrogant he is.
7th-Jan-2011 01:52 am (UTC)
I completely second your Catcher in the Rye comment.
7th-Jan-2011 08:47 pm (UTC)
i also agree with your catcher in the rye comment. stop whining!!!!!!!
7th-Jan-2011 03:38 am (UTC)
I like this poll. =)

Please allow me a roundabout, TL;DR way to come to a point that begins like this:

I've lived as a girl, a boy, and an androgynous genderqueer, which makes me about as transgender as they get. To this day, i do not consider myself a girl or a boy, and before you start asking me invasive questions like what is or was between my thighs, i'll politely remind you that i neither ask nor care about what's between yours. It's none of my business.

If there is one word that has very particular meanings to me, it's "tranny".

Having endured the often hateful persecution of our ignorant, bigoted society for the crime of being who and what i am, i know what it means to be a tranny. I know how it feels when others talk about my "condition" in euphemisms. I know what it means to face blatant, legally sanctioned discrimination. I know exactly what it feels like to fear for my life. Any trans person does. It's why, at least among the transfolk i know, it's something of a compliment when we call each other "tranny": we are referring to the fiery darts of society that we mutually withstand, to the courage and strength it takes to survive the burden that life dumped on us by making us what we are.

If you are not trans, you do not know what it takes to walk a mile in my shoes. And you're not going to make me angry if you call me "tranny", but even if you are just trying to empathize or be friendly, you'll almost certainly make yourself look patronizing, insensitive, or just plain stupid. You do not know what it means to be a tranny, so why are you trying to pretend? And why must you insist on using a hateful slur to do it? In all honesty, you would only be doing yourself a favor by removing the word "tranny" from your spoken vocabulary.

It would surprise me if similar kinship and sentiment did not exist among blacks who call each other "nigger".

Despite all that, it saddens me that we (American society) have become so hypersensitive to a particular issue that we would try to excise it from our minds. Yes, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer has the "N"-word in it. Yes, it is a racial slur. But we should know what it means. Changing the wording in the book removes any insight into society we may have otherwise gained from it. Such a notion is willful ignorance.

*sigh*

(gets off soap box) Thanks for staying with me if you made it this far.
7th-Jan-2011 06:49 am (UTC)
Your post is delightful. I agree. I like the word tranny. I hate censorship.
7th-Jan-2011 03:48 am (UTC)
I can understand the motivation behind it, I suppose, but it bothers me. An author chooses a particular way of phrasing things for a reason -- whether to accurately reflect dialectic speech, or to indicate certain concepts, or to make jokes or puns or whatever. "Modernizations" or censoring like that... I find it really offensive, because you lose a lot of what makes a work so... punchy.
7th-Jan-2011 04:28 am (UTC)
This. It's been decades since I last read Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn... but I was recently rereading the novel version of One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest. It's a lot of things, but politically correct ain't one of them. Not even close. It bears a lot of slurs loaded with racism and sexism, and even the Chief mentally acknowledges his own homophobia while using a very derogatory term in the process. These slurs are all offensive to me.

And yet if the publisher sought to sanitize the book to remove those slurs, I would be very pissed off. Because this is about a theoretical slice of life in a mental ward back in the 1960s, really in your face, and this kind of storytelling can bring to light some harsh truths about the world back then. If it were altered to become more politically correct, it wouldn't have anything close to the edge that it has.
(Deleted comment)
7th-Jan-2011 08:49 pm (UTC)
that's a good point. but i didn't enjoy reading it, accurate as it may be.
7th-Jan-2011 05:24 am (UTC)
I said it should be, but mostly because the original version would still be printed. Mark Twain is one of my favorite authors, and Huck Finn is one of my favorite books. I understand the cultural/historical context of the word and why people are upset to have it changed. That's why I'm glad the original version would still be published. That being said, I would prefer to read a version without that word.
7th-Jan-2011 08:43 am (UTC)
The catcher in the rye is one of my favourite books :D
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