Friday, January 7, 2011

Rant: Censorship

The moonbats have decided to censor The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. I'm angry that they can get away with this shit, but I'm not too surprised. The moonbats behind this latest suppression of free speech are Randall Williams and Suzanne La Rosa of New South Books, officially supported by McAvoy Layne, who makes his living as a Mark Twain impersonator.

In particular Williams and La Rosa object to Mark Twain's use of the word 'nigger', so they've taken it into their politically correct heads to replace the infamous word 'nigger' with 'slave'. Likewise the word 'Injun' is replaced with 'Indian'. I expected these revisionists to use the phrase 'Native American', but I guess that these two are being deliberately insensitive to the American Indians - after all, everyone has to hate someone, right?

I'm being facetious. I didn't really expect them to use 'Native American'.

I think the publishers hoped to pull this deception off quietly, but thankfully there is some media coverage objecting to this despicable subterfuge. Naturally most commercial media in the United States doesn't want to condemn this censorship too strongly, because then the media could be accused of being insensitive, racist and politically incorrect. Here's an example from ABC:

Mark Twain Remains Censored, and Uncensored
The book's editor, Twain scholar Alan Gribben, writes in the introduction that he had taught Twain's work for years and that students were relieved when he chose not to recite any troubling words. He said changing the language would bring new readers and described Twain as "a notoriously commercial writer who watched for every opportunity to enlarge the mass market for his works.

"He presumably would have been quick to adapt his language if he could have foreseen how today's audiences recoil at racial slurs in a culturally altered country," Gribben writes.

"That's ridiculous," Powers said. "It's like people who ask what would Mark Twain think of women's lib? You can't assume that and then use that as a pretext for eviscerating a work of art."

"That is completely disingenuous," adds mystery novelist Walter Mosley, who wrote an introduction for a book of Twain detective stories. "They can say, 'Well, Mark Twain liked to make a buck.' But he's not making anything out of this."
While ABC won't decry this activity, at least they are willing to quote a few people who do. Walter Mosley, for instance. Tell me, am I the only one who sees some hypocrisy here? The BBC (that's British Broadcasting Company) has the cojones to publish a somewhat stronger condemnation, noting Twain's own feelings about accuracy and publishers.

Furore over 'censored' edition of Huckleberry Finn

Twain himself was very particular about his words.
He is quoted as saying that "the difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter".

And when a printer made punctuation changes to A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Twain wrote later that he had "given orders for the typesetter to be shot without giving him time to pray".
The Nevada Appeal out of Carson City, NV supports this censorship. The editor of the paper won't call it censorship, though, because that would be wrong.

Twain scholar supports altering ‘Huckleberry Finn'

In the midst of a national debate over censorship, Mark Twain impersonator and scholar McAvoy Layne is coming down on the side of altering the author's text.

After experiencing first-hand the challenges of teaching “Huckleberry Finn” 23 years ago and receiving a less than warm reception, Layne says he sees the benefit of altering — some would say censoring — the work.

“I took that word to a half-black, half-white classroom in Las Vegas and the contempt weighed 40 pounds,” Layne said. “From (the students' perspective) here's a dead white guy who just used a word that negates everything I was trying to say ... the word is the offsetting factor.
Since self-proclaimed scholar Layne has conducted his own popularity poll in a Vegas classroom, he is clearly... what, in the right about this? Who are these idiots trying to kid? Besides, according to Layne Mark Twain's work isn't really being censored. It's being altered.

I'd like to alter Layne, and I'd use the same methods a veterinarian uses to alter a tom cat, minus the anesthesia.

The folks over at The Examiner got it right.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Censored
Censorship in all forms must be opposed in the United States; it is an old pastime and hobby of many without thought of preserving our literary history.
A sentiment that I agree with. While people who oppose censorship could write to their elected critters and remind them that they were elected to prevent this kind of thing. The protests wouldn't get very far, though. Here's why:

First Amendment to the United States Constitution
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Free speech is not easy. It means that no good fascist bastards like Randall Williams and Suzanne La Rosa are allowed to censor historical literary works without much by way of restriction, and as deplorable as their actions are they are protected under the First Amendment. Of course, my right to own whatever weapon I like and carry such weapon in whatever manner amuses me is clearly protected by the Second Amendment, so why am I restricted by law? And since I'm restricted, couldn't these two fascist pigs be restricted in a similar manner? i.e. served a no-knock warrant at 3:00 AM by a rabid Los Angeles SWAT team with all the attendant damage to my person, family, home and possessions during service of the no-knock warrant, then be arrested for resisting arrest and subversion, beaten and 'lost' in the system for 72 hours while I'm interrogated and denied legal council. Much as I despise these two moonbats, I'm not willing to go down that road. Instead, I'll begin my protest with the power of the pen. The perpetrators of this repression are:

NewSouth, Inc., is an Alabama-based book publishing company co-owned by partners Randall Williams and Suzanne La Rosa.
We gravitate to material which enhances our understanding of who we are and which asks us to stretch in our understanding of others,” says La Rosa. “Our publishing program is defined by its strong cultural component.
What a bunch of hypocrites.They don't want understanding. They want justification for trying to make reality conform to their own twisted morals. I'm going to write and tell them so, then I'm going to write my elected critters and explain just why I oppose revisionist history and literature, and while NewSouth, Inc. has a right to publish revised works, they should not be allowed to do so without including an extremely prominent disclaimer stating that this book is being marketed as the original work, but it is not. The work has been rewritten to conform to the whims of two people who are as ignorant as they are controlling.

Here is the contact information for New South Books. Don't hesitate to tell 'em what you think.

New South Books - Contact Us

Mail: P. O. Box 1588, Montgomery, AL 36102-1588
Deliveries:105 S. Court St., Montgomery, AL 36104
Fax: 334-834-3557

For Sales, Marketing, and General Business, contact: Suzanne La Rosa, Publisher
For Editorial and Production, contact: Randall Williams, Editor-in-Chief
For Editorial and Acquisitions, contact: Brian Seidman, Managing Editor


Older School said...

You summed it up nicely with the disclaimer idea.
If this Mr. Layne makes his living as a Mark Twain impersonator, perhaps he too should make a disclaimer at the start of each one of his acts and refrain from using the word. However, to change the original written text is akin to putting clothes on the statue of David because the nudeness is offensive.
It's censorship, pure and simple.

Full Metal Patriot said...

Great post, MJ. This censorship is not only disgusting, it's part of a disturbing hypocrisy among many on the Left. They see nothing wrong with black rappers who use "The Dreaded N-Word" yet feel completely justified in censoring literature which uses the word in historical context.


flask said...


i am not wild about racists. and i do not run around calling people nigger, because given its cultural connotations there aren't many people who can go around using the word and have it not have harmful implications, intended or not.

but it IS appropriate for me or anyone else to use it in its historical context and it IS appropriate for it to stand in literature and in period pieces and "slave" is NOT a synonym for "nigger" no matter what any stupid-assed well-meaning language fascist thinks and beside all that freedom of speech is a wonderful thing and while i draw limits about what venues are appropriate for the expression of racist speech, free speech is free speech.

other hand, stupidity aside, i guess free speech also extends to that moonbats's right to edit mr. twain's masterwork for her own purposes and i believe he falls under public domain, so it's not so different than any other crazy-assed use of public domain work.

i reserve the right not to support that idiot publisher, who probably has other idiot agendas, but constitutional rights being what they are, we have to put up with all kinds of nonsense, i suppose.

don't blame every whack-a-loon idiot hatwipe idea on the left, please. we all know that crap comes from both sides just as easily as from anywhere and that the real problem is not where you stand on the political spectrum, but how far your head is up your ass while you stand there.

makes me mad just thinking about it, though. twain wrote what he wrote. slaves still exist and so do niggers only they don't mean the same thing and certainly not the way twain wrote about them and there's no point pissing on american literature and certainly not in public and then calling attention to what a fine thing you have done.


Mad Jack said...

Thanks all of you for your comments and kind words. I hate censorship, but what's worse is when a revisionist such as Newsouth Books passes their revised work off as the original.

Graveyard Dog said...

Very powerful scene from 'The Waltons' about censorship. I saw this when I was about 7... still remember it to this day as if I just saw the show last night.

Mad Jack said...

Thanks Graveyard. I never appreciated The Waltons until I got older. Possibly wiser.