The most upsetting news I've heard in a long time...

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Kifle
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The most upsetting news I've heard in a long time...

Postby Kifle » Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:22 pm

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksbl ... acceptable

I can't believe that they are going to change the language in a classic book. For what? So that unappreciative high school students can not care just as much as they already don't? The only kids that will ever read this book, or any book for that matter, and actually understand and care what the underlying themes are would no doubt want to read it in its intended form; because without this form and that language, the entire book loses its intended meaning. The only person that would read the word "nigger" in a Twain book and take it as an attack against african americans is an ignorant ass in the first place that sees everything as racist. This makes me absolutely sick...
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Re: The most upsetting news I've heard in a long time...

Postby Teflor Lyorian » Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:29 pm

People who don't value history are the ones that know nothing about it.
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Re: The most upsetting news I've heard in a long time...

Postby Lilira » Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:34 am

... and are doomed forever to repeat it.
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Re: The most upsetting news I've heard in a long time...

Postby kiryan » Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:56 pm

I agree with you Kifle however, it is common to reprint books in the language of today...

One could argue that the word slave is as derrogatory today as nigger was then.

Also, I would like to point out that this is a manifestation of liberal theology of the public interest. Its ok to trample on the original's integrity perhaps even meaning to maybe get it in a few more schools.
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Re: The most upsetting news I've heard in a long time...

Postby Sarvis » Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:17 pm

kiryan wrote:I agree with you Kifle however, it is common to reprint books in the language of today...


Tell that to Shakespeare...

I agree with the article that changing the language robs the book of its meaning. But I can't really add anything to what the author said.
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Re: The most upsetting news I've heard in a long time...

Postby kiryan » Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:07 pm

Really? on what basis? The word nigger 100 years ago was just what the average person called a black person. Today it has a much more charged meaning, one that is so polarizing that it distracts from the original work. I'm not sure "slave" really stays true to the original, but apparently this particular Tom Sawyer scholar does.

Do you think the word "damn" written in a book 100 years ago imparts the same significance that it does today? Damn is a mild exclamation if not "polite" form of swearing today acceptable in all but the most prudish of company... while 100 years ago it was language reserved for a bawdry tavern full of sailors; strongly offensive language to say the least. To honestly provide the same experience content must be adapted to the cultural norms of today. Classics generally do beter than your average faire, but even they eventually can benefit from adaptation as the concepts of the classic can no longer be imagined by the average joe.

Shakespeare is a bit of a different case, because much of what he wrote is regarded as poetry, but look at the result of not changing his works... You have to take a college level class to even understand what you are reading (the english is so archaic now) before you can even begin to understand the nuances and moral issues he presents. Seriously, read original shakespeare... I tried once to read every one of his plays. I . Large portions literally don't make any sense anymore; they might as well be a foreign language. So do the classics of shakespeare become the de facto property of only those who aspire to college, and really to liberal arts majors or should they, can they be updated and presented in a way that others can share in what apparently has been thus far worthy of continued reading and study hundreds of years later?

The remake of "planet of the apes" was criticized by some academics because it was a straight remake of the original story. In the day it was originally produced and released, it really challenged people to think about the relationship of man and ape and moral implications of specisiation (thinking humans > animals by virtue of being human). Animals evolving was beyond the comprehension of a rational person and certainly man beast "love" was unthinkable. One critic suggested that in the remake, they shouldve replaced the "relationship" between the human male and the ape female with a human man and ape male to adapt it to current times and recast the moral challenge in today's terms.

I thought it was a fair critique. Obviously some who were enamored with the original... and presumably could understand its significance and relevance, would hate any deviation from the original... however for them, its just putting a fresh cover on a treasured book while denying others the same opportunity to experience and appreciate the work in a way they can relate to.
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Re: The most upsetting news I've heard in a long time...

Postby Kifle » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:31 am

Kiryan, you can't use "damn" as a good analogy here, because the power of the word used is what gives the book its power. In fact, if you take away the polarizing emotion away from the book in this way, you are removing 90% of its effectiveness in conveying its message. This book is all about anti-racism, and it shows you this by throwing it in your face constantly. Switching from nigger to slave in this particular book would be like asking the carpenter to build a house with thumbtacks instead of nails and a hammer.

Secondly, Clemens was a writer who used colloquialism in his books. You strip the man of his style if you make changes to the language. It no longer becomes colloquial if they call african-americans "slaves" instead of "niggers"... because they didn't call them slaves, they called them niggers.

When I first read puddinhead wilson, I was shocked at the language, and it made the book powerful. The end of the novel was given the power it had through the language used throughout the book. If you change twain's language, you change his book -- end of story. He wasn't a man that relied on literary gimmicks to sell books and get his message across. He isn't the best American writer because he randomly chose words.

Now, I see what you're saying about updating books. I can see why some would prefer to read "the canterbury tales" in modern English as opposed to Middle English; however, that is because they are two different languages. We are not so far removed that there is a language barrier between twain's time and ours to necessitate updating of the language. Pure and simple, it is only because they don't like the word. It still has the same meaning as it did, for the most part, and whether or not it has slid to the more pejorative, it would be all the more reason to keep it in there because of it.
Fotex group-says 'Behold! penis!'

Kifle puts on his robe and wizard hat.

Thalidyrr tells you 'Yeah, you know, getting it like a jackhammer wears you out.'

Teflor "You can beat a tank with a shovel!!1!1!!one!!1!uno!!"
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Re: The most upsetting news I've heard in a long time...

Postby Corth » Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:26 am

One thing I have to give Kifle a lot of credit for is that irrespective of his politics he consistently points out the hypocrises of political correctness. It's not a political issue so much as a common sense one.
Having said all that, the situation has been handled, so this thread is pretty much at an end. -Kossuth

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Re: The most upsetting news I've heard in a long time...

Postby Teflor Lyorian » Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:17 am

Classic literature is not simply something that can be summarized in a few paragraphs highlighting a central theme obscured by story telling.

It's history, seeing the words written the exact same way they were when they were put to ink over a hundred years ago. These are the things we lose when we take the history away.

There's more than one story in a book, it's best if you try not to strip them all away.
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If you don’t wanna join him, you got to beat him."
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Re: The most upsetting news I've heard in a long time...

Postby Kindi » Wed Feb 02, 2011 1:15 pm

the book is in the public domain. you could replace the word with 'lollipop' and do a print run if you wanted. this guy just planned on maybe 5000 books sold to a few schools who otherwise wouldn't have allowed the book. national media turned it into some crazy quest to puritanize the world. poor guy

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