Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

Rosa's Law or How much PC is too much PC?

1121315171820

Posts

  • ShadowfireShadowfire Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Fartacus wrote: »
    And, of course, Twain would not have thought that the N-word would have been a tool of dehumanization in his time -- certainly he would not have expected his audience to think so, since it had not yet become a pejorative. So, clearly Twain felt that his book sufficiently accomplished the task you're describing without the use of pejorative language to describe Jim (I mean, there is lots of pejorative language used against him, but you know what I'm trying to say).

    That's another important point.

    Black people in Mark Twain's time were taught that the N-word was acceptable. Therefore, when they heard the n-word, they assumed that it was okay. The term was meant as an insult, but since they often internalized the insult, it didn't affect them.

    Black people reading the book today have a very different reaction than black people who would have read it in Twain's time (assuming that they were allowed to read at all). When black people hear the n-word today, they know that it's not acceptable.

    Doesn't that make it more important to read the original? I feel there's a piece of history there that's lost otherwise.

    steam_sig.png
    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Fartacus wrote: »
    It's one thing to teach Mein Kampf as an important history lesson. But if one of the kids says, "My parents were survivors of the Holocaust, I really don't want to read this," are you seriously going to tell that kid to suck it up and that it's important for her to learn from history?
    Night would be a much better example, because that's a book that is actually taught.

    And basically the entire point of reading Night is forcing the audience to confront the barbarity, the madness, the sheer villainy of the Holocaust. You aren't supposed to be comfortable reading the book.

    Huckleberry Finn, to me, is the same way.

    Yes but you don't see controversy surrounding Night the way it surrounds Huck Finn. Maybe that's because it was written by a Holocaust survivor, maybe that's because of the language in the book -- there are different arguments you could make.

    The point is, all discomfort is not the same. Some of it is valuable, educationally, and some of it is not.

    So many people in this thread have acted like if we let anyone teach the edited version of Huck Finn, WHERE WILL WE STOP??!? but really I think a pretty good metric is "when there is organized, ongoing, sustained, and significant complaint by the affected group."

    Why does the color of the author have any bearing on whether or not a text is offensive? Why does a book about the holocaust need to be written by someone who has lived through it for it to be not offensive?

    I think responding to complaints by an affected group are reasonable when said complaints are grounded by logical and pragmatic value. I don't see "this makes me uncomfortable" as particularly pragmatic, as there are a lot of things that make me uncomfortable (reading fairly racist time pieces about mexicans, for instance, made me uncomfortable).

    However, if you were to prove that teaching the version of Huckleberry Finn with the N word in it somehow increased hate crimes and overall racist sentiment, then I would consider it - but I somehow doubt that is the case.

    sig.jpg
  • SchrodingerSchrodinger Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Shadowfire wrote: »
    Doesn't that make it more important to read the original? I feel there's a piece of history there that's lost otherwise.

    That piece of history is still ongoing. That's sort of the point.

  • SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    agentk13 wrote: »
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    Yes, because I believe that some of the greatest lessons can be learned from things that make us feel uncomfortable. Sex makes us uncomfortable; very uncomfortable, to the point that my mother took me out of a sexual education class that would have taught me how to have protected sex with proper condom application. Obviously this isn't 100% analogous to your holocaust scenario, but it is in that it made both myself and the theoretical student uncomfortable, but would have been excellent lessons provided it was guided with a good teacher.

    I have read plenty of literature that offended me in the sense that I could not believe people behaved, said, and lived in a particular way. I'm half mexican, so on a personal level I can relate to this idea of racism being close to home, especially with the new Arizona immigration law and a recent appeal to make it so that natural born children of immigrants don't get citizenship. I find the term "anchor babies" offensive because it's being used today without shame. I do not find derogatory names for mexican's in books written during a fairly racist and oppressive era as particularly offensive or threatening.

    If the issue is that we are teaching Huckleberry Finn in it's original form to children who are unable to piece it out as rational adults, then we need to teach it in their final years of high school where they can deal with the best and worst of that time, or scrap teaching the book altogether because of our lacking maturity levels.

    I also fail to understand why Huckleberry Finn gets singled out. If the issue is that the N word in and of itself is offensive, then strip it from every piece of literature out there, including roots. If the N word wasn't used in an offensive way back then, but we find it offensive now - then it should be, by logical extension, offensive in every context (oddly enough, due to the lack thereof).

    I call this line of thinking "it tastes bad so it must be good for you." There are lots of things that make people uncomfortable, and you don't see me infecting classes with giardia. Huck Finn is uncomfortable for various reasons, but the discomfort generated by the n-word wasn't intended by the author and has no artistic significance. It's window dressing.

    Window dressing to you because you do not value the significance of it.

    I did not propose a "it tastes bad so it must be good for you" argument - I presented a "I see no pragmatic value for changing this contemporary piece" argument.

    sig.jpg
  • SchrodingerSchrodinger Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    However, if you were to prove that teaching the version of Huckleberry Finn with the N word in it somehow increased hate crimes and overall racist sentiment, then I would consider it - but I somehow doubt that is the case.

    Can you prove that replacing the n-word with "slave" somehow convinced white people that racism is okay?

  • SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    It's one thing to teach Mein Kampf as an important history lesson. But if one of the kids says, "My parents were survivors of the Holocaust, I really don't want to read this," are you seriously going to tell that kid to suck it up and that it's important for her to learn from history?
    Night would be a much better example, because that's a book that is actually taught.

    And basically the entire point of reading Night is forcing the audience to confront the barbarity, the madness, the sheer villainy of the Holocaust. You aren't supposed to be comfortable reading the book.

    Huckleberry Finn, to me, is the same way.

    Night is told from he perspective of a Holocaust Survivor.

    Huckleberry Finn is told from perspective of a rich white kid.

    There's a difference.

    If Night was told from the perspective of a random German who constantly used racial slurs to describe the Jews, it probably wouldn't be taught.

    But you yourself said that the n word, as twain used it, was not loaded with the equivalent offensive meaning that the word contains today.

    Thus not being equivalent to a random german who constantly uses racial slurs to describe the jews.

    sig.jpg
  • SchrodingerSchrodinger Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    If Night was told from the perspective of a random German who constantly used racial slurs to describe the Jews, it probably wouldn't be taught.

    But you yourself said that the n word, as twain used it, was not loaded with the equivalent offensive meaning that the word contains today.

    Thus not being equivalent to a random german who constantly uses racial slurs to describe the jews.

    Why wouldn't it be?

  • ArbitraryDescriptorArbitraryDescriptor Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    agentk13 wrote: »
    I've never read it, but the substitution seems illogical. Why are they replacing a word, which describes race (static), with a word that describes social status (dynamic) and is race-neutral?

    Coloured and negro are old timey words for black people. What was wrong with those? They're offensive in the right context, but mostly harmless by themselves (unlike the original). Slave is not a synonym for black-skinned human, not in any thesaurus.

    At the time and in the context of the narrative and characters, the two were interchangeable. Even if you'd been born free, southerners of that era would still consider you to be of a slave race and only fit for slavery. The first alternative you you listed would be anachronistic in the period depicted and the latter would have been too formal for everyone but Tom.

    Staying true to the period, there are plenty other words for black people used in the 1840s which still mean 'black person' today. To the 21st century reader, "slave" does not necessarily mean black. That would certainly be the implication in a book about 1840s America, but there is no reason to use a term that merely implies race in place of a word chosen to explicitly describe it, (both in the fictional context and to the reader), when less offensive synonyms are available.

    Automata-Sg.png
  • P10P10 An Idiot with Low IQ Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    It's one thing to teach Mein Kampf as an important history lesson. But if one of the kids says, "My parents were survivors of the Holocaust, I really don't want to read this," are you seriously going to tell that kid to suck it up and that it's important for her to learn from history?
    Night would be a much better example, because that's a book that is actually taught.

    And basically the entire point of reading Night is forcing the audience to confront the barbarity, the madness, the sheer villainy of the Holocaust. You aren't supposed to be comfortable reading the book.

    Huckleberry Finn, to me, is the same way.

    Night is told from he perspective of a Holocaust Survivor.

    Huckleberry Finn is told from perspective of a rich white kid.

    There's a difference.

    If Night was told from the perspective of a random German who constantly used racial slurs to describe the Jews, it probably wouldn't be taught.
    There's Holocaust literature written from the perspective of SS officers who oversaw or participated in the Holocaust. Granted, it isn't taught as far as I know, but I suspect that has more to do with the intense subject matter as opposed to controversy over the content. I'm surprised Night gets taught at all, and I doubt it's taught widely.

  • Torso BoyTorso Boy Registered User
    edited January 2011
    agentk13 wrote: »
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    Yes, because I believe that some of the greatest lessons can be learned from things that make us feel uncomfortable. Sex makes us uncomfortable; very uncomfortable, to the point that my mother took me out of a sexual education class that would have taught me how to have protected sex with proper condom application. Obviously this isn't 100% analogous to your holocaust scenario, but it is in that it made both myself and the theoretical student uncomfortable, but would have been excellent lessons provided it was guided with a good teacher.

    I have read plenty of literature that offended me in the sense that I could not believe people behaved, said, and lived in a particular way. I'm half mexican, so on a personal level I can relate to this idea of racism being close to home, especially with the new Arizona immigration law and a recent appeal to make it so that natural born children of immigrants don't get citizenship. I find the term "anchor babies" offensive because it's being used today without shame. I do not find derogatory names for mexican's in books written during a fairly racist and oppressive era as particularly offensive or threatening.

    If the issue is that we are teaching Huckleberry Finn in it's original form to children who are unable to piece it out as rational adults, then we need to teach it in their final years of high school where they can deal with the best and worst of that time, or scrap teaching the book altogether because of our lacking maturity levels.

    I also fail to understand why Huckleberry Finn gets singled out. If the issue is that the N word in and of itself is offensive, then strip it from every piece of literature out there, including roots. If the N word wasn't used in an offensive way back then, but we find it offensive now - then it should be, by logical extension, offensive in every context (oddly enough, due to the lack thereof).

    I call this line of thinking "it tastes bad so it must be good for you." There are lots of things that make people uncomfortable, and you don't see me infecting classes with giardia. Huck Finn is uncomfortable for various reasons, but the discomfort generated by the n-word wasn't intended by the author and has no artistic significance. It's window dressing.

    This is a true statement, but I don't see how it follows that we have the right to alter the work.

    Bogart smokes a lot in his movies, but this isn't an artistic statement about smoking. So, given today's values, we should edit the smoking out?

    Rent wrote: »
    So that's what having no idea what you are talking about looks like
  • SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    However, if you were to prove that teaching the version of Huckleberry Finn with the N word in it somehow increased hate crimes and overall racist sentiment, then I would consider it - but I somehow doubt that is the case.

    Can you prove that replacing the n-word with "slave" somehow convinced white people that racism is okay?

    I do not see how that is relevant to changing the original contents of a work of art.

    What I can and will say is that the original text of Huckleberry Finn has been taught for over 100 years and in that time we have seen less oppression endured by black Americans. I'll be pre-emptive and request that no one be so juvenile as to suggest that I believe that there is a causation here - only that the book on a pragmatic level, in its original form, does absolutely no harm to race relations and is a glimpse into the attitudes and speech of that time. The vernacular being very important to Twain (and to me in relation to art) makes me hesitate to suggest that editing this word out with something softer would be a good thing.

    I am not comfortable with editing contemporary works of art to make us feel good about ourselves. It's okay for us to disagree - I don't think we will reach some sort of consensus on that point.

    sig.jpg
  • agentk13agentk13 __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    agentk13 wrote: »
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    Yes, because I believe that some of the greatest lessons can be learned from things that make us feel uncomfortable. Sex makes us uncomfortable; very uncomfortable, to the point that my mother took me out of a sexual education class that would have taught me how to have protected sex with proper condom application. Obviously this isn't 100% analogous to your holocaust scenario, but it is in that it made both myself and the theoretical student uncomfortable, but would have been excellent lessons provided it was guided with a good teacher.

    I have read plenty of literature that offended me in the sense that I could not believe people behaved, said, and lived in a particular way. I'm half mexican, so on a personal level I can relate to this idea of racism being close to home, especially with the new Arizona immigration law and a recent appeal to make it so that natural born children of immigrants don't get citizenship. I find the term "anchor babies" offensive because it's being used today without shame. I do not find derogatory names for mexican's in books written during a fairly racist and oppressive era as particularly offensive or threatening.

    If the issue is that we are teaching Huckleberry Finn in it's original form to children who are unable to piece it out as rational adults, then we need to teach it in their final years of high school where they can deal with the best and worst of that time, or scrap teaching the book altogether because of our lacking maturity levels.

    I also fail to understand why Huckleberry Finn gets singled out. If the issue is that the N word in and of itself is offensive, then strip it from every piece of literature out there, including roots. If the N word wasn't used in an offensive way back then, but we find it offensive now - then it should be, by logical extension, offensive in every context (oddly enough, due to the lack thereof).

    I call this line of thinking "it tastes bad so it must be good for you." There are lots of things that make people uncomfortable, and you don't see me infecting classes with giardia. Huck Finn is uncomfortable for various reasons, but the discomfort generated by the n-word wasn't intended by the author and has no artistic significance. It's window dressing.

    Window dressing to you because you do not value the significance of it.

    I did not propose a "it tastes bad so it must be good for you" argument - I presented a "I see no pragmatic value for changing this contemporary piece" argument.

    No you didn't. You've marginalized the effect the word has on blacks in other posts, but this post is about how the discomfort caused by the word means it's ART!!!, even though there wasn't any artistic intent for the word to create discomfort. The fact that you can deny that when your very post is quoted right there shows a hilarious disconnect from reality.

  • SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    If Night was told from the perspective of a random German who constantly used racial slurs to describe the Jews, it probably wouldn't be taught.

    But you yourself said that the n word, as twain used it, was not loaded with the equivalent offensive meaning that the word contains today.

    Thus not being equivalent to a random german who constantly uses racial slurs to describe the jews.

    Why wouldn't it be?

    I thought you said the n word, as Twain used it, simply meant black people (ie: not a racial slur) and thus was not interpreted as offensive. Jump 100+ years later, and it means a whole lot more, right? It's an epithet. A derogatory statement for a black person.

    When the germans were exterminating the jews, I'm pretty sure "Hooknose" was a racial epithet and was always considered offensive.

    sig.jpg
  • agentk13agentk13 __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    However, if you were to prove that teaching the version of Huckleberry Finn with the N word in it somehow increased hate crimes and overall racist sentiment, then I would consider it - but I somehow doubt that is the case.

    Can you prove that replacing the n-word with "slave" somehow convinced white people that racism is okay?

    I do not see how that is relevant to changing the original contents of a work of art.

    What I can and will say is that the original text of Huckleberry Finn has been taught for over 100 years and in that time we have seen less oppression endured by black Americans. I'll be pre-emptive and request that no one be so juvenile as to suggest that I believe that there is a causation here - only that the book on a pragmatic level, in its original form, does absolutely no harm to race relations and is a glimpse into the attitudes and speech of that time. The vernacular being very important to Twain (and to me in relation to art) makes me hesitate to suggest that editing this word out with something softer would be a good thing.

    I am not comfortable with editing contemporary works of art to make us feel good about ourselves. It's okay for us to disagree - I don't think we will reach some sort of consensus on that point.

    What?

    WHAT!

    That is literally the stupidest thing I've ever read.
    What I can and will say is that [lynchings/discrimination/eugenics] has been [practiced/practiced/taught] for over 100 years and in that time we have seen less oppression endured by black Americans. I'll be pre-emptive and request that no one be so juvenile as to suggest that I believe that there is a causation here - only that the [practice/practice/principals] on a pragmatic level, in its original form, does absolutely no harm to race relations.

  • SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    agentk13 wrote: »
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    agentk13 wrote: »
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    Yes, because I believe that some of the greatest lessons can be learned from things that make us feel uncomfortable. Sex makes us uncomfortable; very uncomfortable, to the point that my mother took me out of a sexual education class that would have taught me how to have protected sex with proper condom application. Obviously this isn't 100% analogous to your holocaust scenario, but it is in that it made both myself and the theoretical student uncomfortable, but would have been excellent lessons provided it was guided with a good teacher.

    I have read plenty of literature that offended me in the sense that I could not believe people behaved, said, and lived in a particular way. I'm half mexican, so on a personal level I can relate to this idea of racism being close to home, especially with the new Arizona immigration law and a recent appeal to make it so that natural born children of immigrants don't get citizenship. I find the term "anchor babies" offensive because it's being used today without shame. I do not find derogatory names for mexican's in books written during a fairly racist and oppressive era as particularly offensive or threatening.

    If the issue is that we are teaching Huckleberry Finn in it's original form to children who are unable to piece it out as rational adults, then we need to teach it in their final years of high school where they can deal with the best and worst of that time, or scrap teaching the book altogether because of our lacking maturity levels.

    I also fail to understand why Huckleberry Finn gets singled out. If the issue is that the N word in and of itself is offensive, then strip it from every piece of literature out there, including roots. If the N word wasn't used in an offensive way back then, but we find it offensive now - then it should be, by logical extension, offensive in every context (oddly enough, due to the lack thereof).

    I call this line of thinking "it tastes bad so it must be good for you." There are lots of things that make people uncomfortable, and you don't see me infecting classes with giardia. Huck Finn is uncomfortable for various reasons, but the discomfort generated by the n-word wasn't intended by the author and has no artistic significance. It's window dressing.

    Window dressing to you because you do not value the significance of it.

    I did not propose a "it tastes bad so it must be good for you" argument - I presented a "I see no pragmatic value for changing this contemporary piece" argument.

    No you didn't. You've marginalized the effect the word has on blacks in other posts, but this post is about how the discomfort caused by the word means it's ART!!!, even though there wasn't any artistic intent for the word to create discomfort. The fact that you can deny that when your very post is quoted right there shows a hilarious disconnect from reality.

    The word is a "stroke" in the overall "painting" that is Huckleberry Finn.

    I think words can be offensive - but context is everything, ie - calling your neighbor the n word today is more offensive than reading it in huckleberry finn, particularly because of how far we've come.

    And yes - I did argue that just because something makes you uncomfortable, doesn't mean that warrants action because it is an appeal based upon your emotions, a disregard for the contemporary context of the piece of art, and in general brings no pragmatic value to the table whereas I would say preserving it does.

    But thank you for being unnecessarily antagonistic and accusing me of being "disconnected from reality." It's given me enough of a reason to add you to my ignore list.

    I'll continue having a pleasant discussion with someone (schro/fart) who disagrees with me yet remains amicable.

    sig.jpg
  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Bogart smokes a lot in his movies, but this isn't an artistic statement about smoking. So, given today's values, we should edit the smoking out?
    We do things like that all the time. A lot of versions of Holiday Inn make don't show the blackface scene. Most modern productions of The Mikado alter words in one song because they are offensive.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mikado#Modernised_words_and_phrases

  • SchrodingerSchrodinger Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    If Night was told from the perspective of a random German who constantly used racial slurs to describe the Jews, it probably wouldn't be taught.

    But you yourself said that the n word, as twain used it, was not loaded with the equivalent offensive meaning that the word contains today.

    Thus not being equivalent to a random german who constantly uses racial slurs to describe the jews.

    Why wouldn't it be?

    I thought you said the n word, as Twain used it, simply meant black people (ie: not a racial slur) and thus was not interpreted as offensive. Jump 100+ years later, and it means a whole lot more, right? It's an epithet. A derogatory statement for a black person.

    When the germans were exterminating the jews, I'm pretty sure "Hooknose" was a racial epithet and was always considered offensive.

    And I'm pretty sure that people used racial slurs back then without really thinking it through.

    Because, you know, people do that.

  • SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    If Night was told from the perspective of a random German who constantly used racial slurs to describe the Jews, it probably wouldn't be taught.

    But you yourself said that the n word, as twain used it, was not loaded with the equivalent offensive meaning that the word contains today.

    Thus not being equivalent to a random german who constantly uses racial slurs to describe the jews.

    Why wouldn't it be?

    I thought you said the n word, as Twain used it, simply meant black people (ie: not a racial slur) and thus was not interpreted as offensive. Jump 100+ years later, and it means a whole lot more, right? It's an epithet. A derogatory statement for a black person.

    When the germans were exterminating the jews, I'm pretty sure "Hooknose" was a racial epithet and was always considered offensive.

    And I'm pretty sure that people used racial slurs back then without really thinking it through.

    Because, you know, people do that.

    So basically what you are saying is that you redact on your earlier comment about the N word simply meaning black people? That's what I'm wondering.

    *edit*

    I'm also waiting for the day that people find the words bitch, pussy, and gay as offensive as I do - I don't go out trying to remove those words from literature I read.

    sig.jpg
  • SchrodingerSchrodinger Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Couscous wrote: »
    Bogart smokes a lot in his movies, but this isn't an artistic statement about smoking. So, given today's values, we should edit the smoking out?
    We do things like that all the time. A lot of versions of Holiday Inn make don't show the blackface scene. Most modern productions of The Mikado alter words in one song because they are offensive.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mikado#Modernised_words_and_phrases

    In his audio commentary for the DVD release, producer Richard Shepherd said that at the time of production as well in retrospect, he wanted to recast the role "not because he [Rooney] didn't play the part well" but because Shepherd thought the part of Mr. Yunioshi should be performed by an actor of Japanese ethnicity; it was director Blake Edwards' decision to keep Rooney.[18] In a "making-of" for the 45th anniversary edition DVD release, Shepherd repeatedly apologizes, saying, "If we could just change Mickey Rooney, I'd be thrilled with the movie."[19] Director Blake Edwards stated, "Looking back, I wish I had never done it...and I would give anything to be able to recast it, but it's there, and onward and upward."[19] In a 2008 interview about the film, 87-year-old Rooney said he was heartbroken about the criticism: "Blake Edwards...wanted me to do it because he was a comedy director. They hired me to do this overboard, and we had fun doing it....Never in all the more than 40 years after we made it — not one complaint. Every place I've gone in the world people say, 'God, you were so funny.' Asians and Chinese come up to me and say, 'Mickey you were out of this world.'"[20] Rooney also said that if he'd known people would have been so offended, "I wouldn't have done it."[20]

  • SchrodingerSchrodinger Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    So basically what you are saying is that you redact on your earlier comment about the N word simply meaning black people? That's what I'm wondering.

    What I said earlier was that in Twain's time, the term was socially acceptable. Just like slurs against the Jews were socially acceptable in WWII Germany.

    These terms are not acceptable today.

  • agentk13agentk13 __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    agentk13 wrote: »
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    agentk13 wrote: »
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    Yes, because I believe that some of the greatest lessons can be learned from things that make us feel uncomfortable. Sex makes us uncomfortable; very uncomfortable, to the point that my mother took me out of a sexual education class that would have taught me how to have protected sex with proper condom application. Obviously this isn't 100% analogous to your holocaust scenario, but it is in that it made both myself and the theoretical student uncomfortable, but would have been excellent lessons provided it was guided with a good teacher.

    I have read plenty of literature that offended me in the sense that I could not believe people behaved, said, and lived in a particular way. I'm half mexican, so on a personal level I can relate to this idea of racism being close to home, especially with the new Arizona immigration law and a recent appeal to make it so that natural born children of immigrants don't get citizenship. I find the term "anchor babies" offensive because it's being used today without shame. I do not find derogatory names for mexican's in books written during a fairly racist and oppressive era as particularly offensive or threatening.

    If the issue is that we are teaching Huckleberry Finn in it's original form to children who are unable to piece it out as rational adults, then we need to teach it in their final years of high school where they can deal with the best and worst of that time, or scrap teaching the book altogether because of our lacking maturity levels.

    I also fail to understand why Huckleberry Finn gets singled out. If the issue is that the N word in and of itself is offensive, then strip it from every piece of literature out there, including roots. If the N word wasn't used in an offensive way back then, but we find it offensive now - then it should be, by logical extension, offensive in every context (oddly enough, due to the lack thereof).

    I call this line of thinking "it tastes bad so it must be good for you." There are lots of things that make people uncomfortable, and you don't see me infecting classes with giardia. Huck Finn is uncomfortable for various reasons, but the discomfort generated by the n-word wasn't intended by the author and has no artistic significance. It's window dressing.

    Window dressing to you because you do not value the significance of it.

    I did not propose a "it tastes bad so it must be good for you" argument - I presented a "I see no pragmatic value for changing this contemporary piece" argument.

    No you didn't. You've marginalized the effect the word has on blacks in other posts, but this post is about how the discomfort caused by the word means it's ART!!!, even though there wasn't any artistic intent for the word to create discomfort. The fact that you can deny that when your very post is quoted right there shows a hilarious disconnect from reality.

    The word is a "stroke" in the overall "painting" that is Huckleberry Finn.

    I think words can be offensive - but context is everything, ie - calling your neighbor the n word today is more offensive than reading it in huckleberry finn, particularly because of how far we've come.

    And yes - I did argue that just because something makes you uncomfortable, doesn't mean that warrants action because it is an appeal based upon your emotions, a disregard for the contemporary context of the piece of art, and in general brings no pragmatic value to the table whereas I would say preserving it does.

    But thank you for being unnecessarily antagonistic and accusing me of being "disconnected from reality." It's given me enough of a reason to add you to my ignore list.

    I'll continue having a pleasant discussion with someone (schro/fart) who disagrees with me yet remains amicable.

    It's amazing how thin skinned the people who keep insisting that black people should just get over it are. Hell, this one is "censoring" my text from his view of the forum because he finds my very tone offensive. Has there ever been greater hypocrisy?

  • SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    So basically what you are saying is that you redact on your earlier comment about the N word simply meaning black people? That's what I'm wondering.

    What I said earlier was that in Twain's time, the term was socially acceptable. Just like slurs against the Jews were socially acceptable in WWII Germany.

    These terms are not acceptable today.

    Ah - Thank you for clarifying.

    However, correct me if I'm wrong - I thought at one point you were arguing from an idea similar to CousCous' quote...
    Among Anglophones, the word n-wordwas not always considered derogatory, because it then denoted “black-skinned”, a common Anglophone usage.[7] Nineteenth-century English (language) literature features usages of n-word without racist connotation, e.g. the Joseph Conrad novella The N-word of the 'Narcissus' (1897). Moreover, Charles Dickens and Mark Twain created characters who uttered the word as contemporary usage. Twain, in the autobiographic book Life on the Mississippi (1883), used the term within quotes, indicating reported usage, but used the term "negro" when speaking in his own narrative persona.[8]

    sig.jpg
  • Torso BoyTorso Boy Registered User
    edited January 2011
    Couscous wrote: »
    Bogart smokes a lot in his movies, but this isn't an artistic statement about smoking. So, given today's values, we should edit the smoking out?
    We do things like that all the time. A lot of versions of Holiday Inn make don't show the blackface scene. Most modern productions of The Mikado alter words in one song because they are offensive.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mikado#Modernised_words_and_phrases

    Be careful here, I made an argument about how things ought to be and you replied with an observation about how things are. If you're arguing that we ought to do it, this isn't evidence supporting that; if you're arguing that the fact it is done makes it okay, then you're in for an uphill battle.

    Rent wrote: »
    So that's what having no idea what you are talking about looks like
  • SchrodingerSchrodinger Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    So basically what you are saying is that you redact on your earlier comment about the N word simply meaning black people? That's what I'm wondering.

    What I said earlier was that in Twain's time, the term was socially acceptable. Just like slurs against the Jews were socially acceptable in WWII Germany.

    These terms are not acceptable today.

    Ah - Thank you for clarifying.

    However, correct me if I'm wrong - I thought at one point you were arguing from an idea similar to CousCous' quote...
    Among Anglophones, the word n-wordwas not always considered derogatory, because it then denoted “black-skinned”, a common Anglophone usage.[7] Nineteenth-century English (language) literature features usages of n-word without racist connotation, e.g. the Joseph Conrad novella The N-word of the 'Narcissus' (1897). Moreover, Charles Dickens and Mark Twain created characters who uttered the word as contemporary usage. Twain, in the autobiographic book Life on the Mississippi (1883), used the term within quotes, indicating reported usage, but used the term "negro" when speaking in his own narrative persona.[8]

    Something can be offensive and still be socially acceptable.

    Here's the thing.

    If you call a black person the n-word during Mark Twain's time, he might get offended, but he probably won't punch you in the face, or call you out on it. He probably will feel completely powerless to do anything to stop you.

    If you call a black person the n-word today? Completely different reaction.

    The n-word isn't merely something that black people get upset about. It's something that they should feel upset about it. They earned the right to feel upset.

    When people say that they should lighten up, they are attempting to put black people back in their place. Literally. "Here's a section of history that we want you to relive. From the perspective of a white person."

    Of course, some black people will be offended more than others. Which is why no one is arguing that all the books should be changed. Merely that teachers should have the right should the setting merit it.

  • SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    So basically what you are saying is that you redact on your earlier comment about the N word simply meaning black people? That's what I'm wondering.

    What I said earlier was that in Twain's time, the term was socially acceptable. Just like slurs against the Jews were socially acceptable in WWII Germany.

    These terms are not acceptable today.

    Ah - Thank you for clarifying.

    However, correct me if I'm wrong - I thought at one point you were arguing from an idea similar to CousCous' quote...
    Among Anglophones, the word n-wordwas not always considered derogatory, because it then denoted “black-skinned”, a common Anglophone usage.[7] Nineteenth-century English (language) literature features usages of n-word without racist connotation, e.g. the Joseph Conrad novella The N-word of the 'Narcissus' (1897). Moreover, Charles Dickens and Mark Twain created characters who uttered the word as contemporary usage. Twain, in the autobiographic book Life on the Mississippi (1883), used the term within quotes, indicating reported usage, but used the term "negro" when speaking in his own narrative persona.[8]

    Something can be offensive and still be socially acceptable.

    Here's the thing.

    If you call a black person the n-word during Mark Twain's time, he might get offended, but he probably won't punch you in the face, or call you out on it. He probably will feel completely powerless to do anything to stop you.

    If you call a black person the n-word today? Completely different reaction.

    The n-word isn't merely something that black people get upset about. It's something that they should feel upset about it. They earned the right to feel upset.

    When people say that they should lighten up, they are attempting to put black people back in their place. Literally. "Here's a section of history that we want you to relive. From the perspective of a white person."

    Of course, some black people will be offended more than others. Which is why no one is arguing that all the books should be changed. Merely that teachers should have the right should the setting merit it.

    Teachers should have the right to do what? You never really clarify that. If it's to change the book - they aren't the ones changing it - it's the Boards of Education/Publishers - I think you would be hard pressed to find that a majority of English teachers want this book edited or that is sets a particularly good precedent.

    But anywho - I'm going to ask a series of questions to see if we can agree on something, so bear with me.

    1) First - would we be able to agree on this statement: the reason why we are removing the n word from huckleberry finn is because the n word is intrinsically offensive and makes people feel uncomfortable.

    2) If we are changing the n word to something else because it is intrinsically offensive and makes people uncomfortable, why do we not by logical extension, remove it from all works and art, thereby ensuring the comfort and sensitivity towards those who have endured and suffered from racism?

    sig.jpg
  • SchrodingerSchrodinger Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    Teachers should have the right to do what? You never really clarify that. If it's to change the book - they aren't the ones changing it - it's the Boards of Education/Publishers - I think you would be hard pressed to find that a majority of English teachers want this book edited or that is sets a particularly good precedent.

    The publishers are creating an alternate edition. The original edition is still available, and more schools will still use it.
    But anywho - I'm going to ask a series of questions to see if we can agree on something, so bear with me.

    1) First - would we be able to agree on this statement: the reason why we are removing the n word from huckleberry finn is because the n word is intrinsically offensive and makes people feel uncomfortable.

    2) If we are changing the n word to something else because it is intrinsically offensive and makes people uncomfortable, why do we not by logical extension, remove it from all works and art, thereby ensuring the comfort and sensitivity towards those who have endured and suffered from racism?

    The problem is that the main character who the reader is supposed to identify with uses the term casually.

    That would be very different from, say, a showing of "Murder in Mississippi" where the villain uses the n-word to insult the main character.

  • SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    Teachers should have the right to do what? You never really clarify that. If it's to change the book - they aren't the ones changing it - it's the Boards of Education/Publishers - I think you would be hard pressed to find that a majority of English teachers want this book edited or that is sets a particularly good precedent.

    The publishers are creating an alternate edition. The original edition is still available, and more schools will still use it.
    But anywho - I'm going to ask a series of questions to see if we can agree on something, so bear with me.

    1) First - would we be able to agree on this statement: the reason why we are removing the n word from huckleberry finn is because the n word is intrinsically offensive and makes people feel uncomfortable.

    2) If we are changing the n word to something else because it is intrinsically offensive and makes people uncomfortable, why do we not by logical extension, remove it from all works and art, thereby ensuring the comfort and sensitivity towards those who have endured and suffered from racism?

    The problem is that the main character who the reader is supposed to identify with uses the term casually.

    That would be very different from, say, a showing of "Murder in Mississippi" where the villain uses the n-word to insult the main character.

    RE: Editions

    Ah - okay - choice isn't so bad then, however book choice still isn't really made by teachers so much as it is made by the boards of education.

    RE: The questions

    So this is an issue of how the term is used - and how it is used then causes the ensuing discomfort.

    Now, I am assuming that according to the above, you bring up a "murder in Mississippi" as an instance where this "very different" use of the word is permissible. In this case, using the N word when insulting a character is permissible, whereas using it casually is not.

    Using that as a guideline - all casual uses of the term risks making people feel uncomfortable, therefore we should remove it from all works that use it in such a manner.

    If this isn't what you are arguing for - then I will ask that you explicitly state under what criteria that it would be okay to use the N word in such a way that doesn't make people uncomfortable and if possible, provide works as examples.

    This isn't me being glib or anything - I'm just trying to understand your position more thoroughly.

    sig.jpg
  • SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    agentk13 wrote: »
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    agentk13 wrote: »
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    agentk13 wrote: »
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    Yes, because I believe that some of the greatest lessons can be learned from things that make us feel uncomfortable. Sex makes us uncomfortable; very uncomfortable, to the point that my mother took me out of a sexual education class that would have taught me how to have protected sex with proper condom application. Obviously this isn't 100% analogous to your holocaust scenario, but it is in that it made both myself and the theoretical student uncomfortable, but would have been excellent lessons provided it was guided with a good teacher.

    I have read plenty of literature that offended me in the sense that I could not believe people behaved, said, and lived in a particular way. I'm half mexican, so on a personal level I can relate to this idea of racism being close to home, especially with the new Arizona immigration law and a recent appeal to make it so that natural born children of immigrants don't get citizenship. I find the term "anchor babies" offensive because it's being used today without shame. I do not find derogatory names for mexican's in books written during a fairly racist and oppressive era as particularly offensive or threatening.

    If the issue is that we are teaching Huckleberry Finn in it's original form to children who are unable to piece it out as rational adults, then we need to teach it in their final years of high school where they can deal with the best and worst of that time, or scrap teaching the book altogether because of our lacking maturity levels.

    I also fail to understand why Huckleberry Finn gets singled out. If the issue is that the N word in and of itself is offensive, then strip it from every piece of literature out there, including roots. If the N word wasn't used in an offensive way back then, but we find it offensive now - then it should be, by logical extension, offensive in every context (oddly enough, due to the lack thereof).

    I call this line of thinking "it tastes bad so it must be good for you." There are lots of things that make people uncomfortable, and you don't see me infecting classes with giardia. Huck Finn is uncomfortable for various reasons, but the discomfort generated by the n-word wasn't intended by the author and has no artistic significance. It's window dressing.

    Window dressing to you because you do not value the significance of it.

    I did not propose a "it tastes bad so it must be good for you" argument - I presented a "I see no pragmatic value for changing this contemporary piece" argument.

    No you didn't. You've marginalized the effect the word has on blacks in other posts, but this post is about how the discomfort caused by the word means it's ART!!!, even though there wasn't any artistic intent for the word to create discomfort. The fact that you can deny that when your very post is quoted right there shows a hilarious disconnect from reality.

    The word is a "stroke" in the overall "painting" that is Huckleberry Finn.

    I think words can be offensive - but context is everything, ie - calling your neighbor the n word today is more offensive than reading it in huckleberry finn, particularly because of how far we've come.

    And yes - I did argue that just because something makes you uncomfortable, doesn't mean that warrants action because it is an appeal based upon your emotions, a disregard for the contemporary context of the piece of art, and in general brings no pragmatic value to the table whereas I would say preserving it does.

    But thank you for being unnecessarily antagonistic and accusing me of being "disconnected from reality." It's given me enough of a reason to add you to my ignore list.

    I'll continue having a pleasant discussion with someone (schro/fart) who disagrees with me yet remains amicable.

    It's amazing how thin skinned the people who keep insisting that black people should just get over it are. Hell, this one is "censoring" my text from his view of the forum because he finds my very tone offensive. Has there ever been greater hypocrisy?

    I caught this before adding you - The difference is you can't have a two-way discussion with an inanimate object. You can have a discussion with a human being and there is a conscious choice behind having a civil one and an uncivil one.

    It's probably why there has been very little productive discourse between people with massive amounts of sarcasm, epithets, and general anger behind their posts. I do not have discussions with people who focus on crapping on the other person vs. discussing the issue at hand.

    sig.jpg
  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Torso Boy wrote: »
    Couscous wrote: »
    Bogart smokes a lot in his movies, but this isn't an artistic statement about smoking. So, given today's values, we should edit the smoking out?
    We do things like that all the time. A lot of versions of Holiday Inn make don't show the blackface scene. Most modern productions of The Mikado alter words in one song because they are offensive.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mikado#Modernised_words_and_phrases

    Be careful here, I made an argument about how things ought to be and you replied with an observation about how things are. If you're arguing that we ought to do it, this isn't evidence supporting that; if you're arguing that the fact it is done makes it okay, then you're in for an uphill battle.

    If it detracts from a modern audience's appreciation of the work, I don't see why it shouldn't be altered slightly.

  • agentk13agentk13 __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    Who's angry and using epithets?

  • ElJeffeElJeffe Super Moderator, Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited January 2011
    Irond Will wrote: »
    i guess i feel like a major point of Huckleberry Finn is the contrast between the virtue of Jim and the way he's routinely dehumanized by words and beyond. Like, his rough treatment was Twain's central point of writing that book, and it was a centrally important book specifically for that reason.

    i don't object strongly to a revised version of the book being peddled for specific purposes so much as i resent the attitude that it needs to be sanitized. slavery was an abhorrant institution and its aftermath nearly as bad. cleaning up these one or two terms in a novel of the time i feel robs the work of some of its impact and importance without really serving a good purpose IMO.

    This.

    It doesn't much matter if "n
    " back then had different connotations than it does today. Even if it did - even if people back then considered it exactly the same as the word "African American" today - then you are robbing the book of valuable information by editing it out. Because if that was the case, you would be obscuring the fact that the meaning of the word had changed so much. Whatever Twain's reasoning for using that word, he did, and that fact is relevant in and of itself.

    And if a casual reading of that text, devoid of proper historical context, gives the reader the wrong impression... so? That's not an argument for editing the book, it's an argument for teaching kids the right goddamn context.

    What about, say, Inferno? Dante filled that thing with hundreds of allusions to current events. If you don't have some sort of reader's guide, or an expert knowledge of 14th century sociopolitical minutae, that book is absolutely opaque. Does this mean we should edit the book to include nothing but references to Bill Clinton and Paris Hilton and P-Diddy and then pretend that's what Dante's true intent was? Or does it mean we should try to explain to students the proper context when they're reading the book?

    (And if anyone says that the proper answer is updating the book with modern pop-cultural references, I will strangle you through the internets.)

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Because if that was the case, you would be obscuring the fact that the meaning of the word had changed so much. Whatever Twain's reasoning for using that word, he did, and that fact is relevant in and of itself.
    It depends on the reason for reading the book. If I want to read it as enjoyment as really good literature, removing it would be useful in helping a person appreciate it.
    What about, say, Inferno? Dante filled that thing with hundreds of allusions to current events. If you don't have some sort of reader's guide, or an expert knowledge of 14th century sociopolitical minutae, that book is absolutely opaque. Does this mean we should edit the book to include nothing but references to Bill Clinton and Paris Hilton and P-Diddy and then pretend that's what Dante's true intent was? Or does it mean we should try to explain to students the proper context when they're reading the book?
    In the Divine Comedy, the political crap is half the entire point so replacing them all would harm the point. The n-word doesn't have much to do with the point of the book outside of being vernacular usage.

  • SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Couscous wrote: »
    Because if that was the case, you would be obscuring the fact that the meaning of the word had changed so much. Whatever Twain's reasoning for using that word, he did, and that fact is relevant in and of itself.
    It depends on the reason for reading the book. If I want to read it as enjoyment as really good literature, removing it would be useful in helping a person appreciate it.
    What about, say, Inferno? Dante filled that thing with hundreds of allusions to current events. If you don't have some sort of reader's guide, or an expert knowledge of 14th century sociopolitical minutae, that book is absolutely opaque. Does this mean we should edit the book to include nothing but references to Bill Clinton and Paris Hilton and P-Diddy and then pretend that's what Dante's true intent was? Or does it mean we should try to explain to students the proper context when they're reading the book?
    In the Divine Comedy, the political crap is half the entire point so replacing them all would harm the point. The n-word doesn't have much to do with the point of the book outside of being vernacular usage.

    If your enjoyment of Huckleberry Finn hinges upon the removal of that word, something tells me that you wouldn't be really interested in reading it in the first place.

    If that isn't the case, feel free to scribble it out using a sharpie.

    I'm not joking.

    sig.jpg
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Super Moderator, Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited January 2011
    Couscous wrote: »
    In the Divine Comedy, the political crap is half the entire point so replacing them all would harm the point. The n-word doesn't have much to do with the point of the book outside of being vernacular usage.

    In the larger, metacontextual sense, yes, the n-word has a ton to do with the book. It just doesn't have much to do with the plot.

    If your concern is preservation of original intent, you know what would be a lot better than editing the entire text of the book? Sticking in a two-paragraph preface that says, "The meaning of the word 'n
    ' has changed slightly, this is what it means now...."

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Its an odd argument that says slave is close enough to n
    that you can use them as equivalent words while also saying that n
    is waaaaaaay worse than slave.

    Can't really have it both ways.

    You're either changing huck fin just so someone finds it less offensive or you're wasting time.

    sig.jpg
  • agentk13agentk13 __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    Its an odd argument that says slave is close enough to n
    that you can use them as equivalent words while also saying that n
    is waaaaaaay worse than slave.

    Can't really have it both ways.

    You're either changing huck fin just so someone finds it less offensive or you're wasting time.

    How many times do you need the fact that we don't live in the 1880's explained to you? The stupidity of this "point" has been pointed out the last five times you posted it. Are you a goldfish?

  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    agentk13 wrote: »
    Its an odd argument that says slave is close enough to n
    that you can use them as equivalent words while also saying that n
    is waaaaaaay worse than slave.

    Can't really have it both ways.

    You're either changing huck fin just so someone finds it less offensive or you're wasting time.

    How many times do you need the fact that we don't live in the 1880's explained to you? The stupidity of this "point" has been pointed out the last five times you posted it. Are you a goldfish?

    Yes I am.

    Don't be a fishist.

    sig.jpg
  • SchrodingerSchrodinger Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Its an odd argument that says slave is close enough to n
    that you can use them as equivalent words while also saying that n
    is waaaaaaay worse than slave.

    Can't really have it both ways.

    You're either changing huck fin just so someone finds it less offensive or you're wasting time.

    The words are equivalent in the context of the story.

    They are not equivalent in the context of a classroom setting.

    The teacher can just allude to the word that "slave" is referring to, and everyone in the class will know what the original word was, but they'll also know that it's not okay to use it to describe black people just because Huck did.

    When Samuel L. Jackson says, "I am tired of these monkey fighting snakes on this monday-to-friday plane," they know exactly what he really wants to say. They also understand why what he really wants to say doesn't make it to cable.

    If people know exactly what the phrase replaces, but they also know that the class doesn't want to give the impression that the word is acceptable, then what is the problem?

  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    If people know exactly what the phrase replaces, but they also know that the class doesn't want to give the impression that the word is acceptable, then what is the problem?

    So we could just go through and replace every n
    with "elephant" or......n-word.

    Yeah not sure how thats going to work. If merely reading the word is so hurtful I'm not buying that replacing it with a code word is going to make it better.

    Informational hygiene, particularly in things like classical lit are more important than someone's sensitivities.

    sig.jpg
  • agentk13agentk13 __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Couscous wrote: »
    In the Divine Comedy, the political crap is half the entire point so replacing them all would harm the point. The n-word doesn't have much to do with the point of the book outside of being vernacular usage.

    In the larger, metacontextual sense, yes, the n-word has a ton to do with the book. It just doesn't have much to do with the plot.

    If your concern is preservation of original intent, you know what would be a lot better than editing the entire text of the book? Sticking in a two-paragraph preface that says, "The meaning of the word 'n
    ' has changed slightly, this is what it means now...."

    It's more for classrooms in which there are policies against using this type of language or in which harassment or racial tension is enough of a concern that it needs to be avoided in the classroom (out loud readings). The current consensus seems to be to replace it with "n-word" or some other term as you read it off, but that tends to harm immersion.

    Anyway, I have yet to see a part of the book in any way changed by the substitution rather than a few words having different letters. In other words, show me a section of Huck Finn changed more than correcting a typo would change it.

This discussion has been closed.