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

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Posts

  • agentk13agentk13 __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    agentk13 wrote: »
    agentk13 wrote: »
    Just because an argument hurts your precious ego by calling you out doesn't mean that it's not a contribution to debate. You posted a well know fallacy and dodged an argument and I called you out on both, so now you're having a hissy fit and refusing to debate. Which one of us is arguing in bad faith?

    Nothing hurt my ego and I'm not having a hissy fit. I have quite the flaccid e-peen in this particular discussion. I'm not taking it as seriously as you think, apparently.

    I didn't post any fallacy. And what argument did I dodge?

    You are arguing in bad faith by seemingly completely ignoring a valid definition of a word and then telling us that we're stretching it.

    You posted a slippery slope. That's a fallacy.

    You dodged my assertion that you were ignoring half of the definition you yourself posted by asking if I'd read the quotation I'd posted.

    I didn't post a slippery slope fallacy. Continuing to say it does not make it any more true. Forseeable and reasonable consequences of an action do not equal a slippery slope.

    How was I ignoring half the defintion that I posted? Since you apparently can't look up definitions to words yourself, I'll just lay everything out and maybe we can figure out what your beef with me is (courtesy of Dictionary.com).

    cen·sor   /ˈsɛnsər/
    [sen-ser]

    –noun
    1. an official who examines books, plays, news reports, motion pictures, radio and television programs, letters, cablegrams, etc., for the purpose of suppressing parts deemed objectionable on moral, political, military, or other grounds.
    2. any person who supervises the manners or morality of others.
    3. an adverse critic; faultfinder.
    4. (in the ancient Roman republic) either of two officials who kept the register or census of the citizens, awarded public contracts, and supervised manners and morals.
    5. (in early Freudian dream theory) the force that represses ideas, impulses, and feelings, and prevents them from entering consciousness in their original, undisguised forms.

    –verb (used with object)
    6. to examine and act upon as a censor.
    7. to delete (a word or passage of text) in one's capacity as a censor.

    Definition 1 doesn't really apply to this situation, as it really only refers to a censor in a governmental capacity.

    But definitions 2 and 3 definitely apply. The company publishing this version of Huck Finn are both critical of the language used in the book and are supervising the manners and morality of others by removing content they deem objectionable.

    Which leads to definition 7, which has already been posted.

    The publishing company is acting as a censor to censor something. I'm not really sure how I can make this any clearer.

    Definition 2 doesn't apply to this case, as the only thing that's happening is a group releasing its own reprint of a work. Definition 3 doesn't make any sense in the definition of censorship you're trying to apply it to ("to delete (a word or passage of text) in one's capacity as an adverse critic; faultfinder?" when did a critic ever do that?). As for definition 7, not only can you not have the capacity of a verb, but it has the same problem that you keep denying.

    Also, your last paragraph is the most hilariously circular argument I've ever seen. You are literally stating that it's censorship because it's being done by a censor, who we can identify because he's practicing censorship, which we can identify because it's being done by a censor, who we can identify because he's practicing censorship, which we can identify because it's being done by a censor, who we can identify because he's practicing censorship, which we can identify because it's being done by a censor, who we can identify because he's practicing censorship, which we can identify because it's being done by a censor, who we can identify because he's practicing censorship, which we can identify because it's being done by a censor, who we can identify because he's practicing censorship, which we can identify because it's being done by a censor, who we can identify because he's practicing censorship, which we can identify because it's being done by a censor, who we can identify because he's practicing censorship, which we can identify because it's being done by a censor, who we can identify because he's practicing censorship, which we can identify because it's being done by a censor, who we can identify because he's practicing censorship, which we can identify because it's being done by a censor, who we can identify because he's practicing censorship, which we can identify because it's being done by a censor, who we can identify because he's practicing censorship, which we can identify because it's being done by a censor, who we can identify because he's practicing censorship, which we can identify...

  • DeebaserDeebaser Alpha Teemo Fake Board GamerRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Fartacus wrote: »
    Fine. Let's make everything "safe and comfortable". Let's edit everything ever so that no one is ever offended. Wouldn't want people talking about anything controversial in school, now would we? No, we need to coddle children so that they're used to not having any of their views challenged. That will certainly prepare them for the real world.

    You're right. Making children read a hateful word that they've doubtless had hurled at them dozens or hundreds of times throughout their life in the specific intent to hurt them -- that's just "challenging their views."

    We should definitely make sure to challenge everyone's views. We should read some books that call atheists heathens and liars and hell-bound satanist scum -- hell we should probably just have kids read the Bible in class! That would really "challenge the values" of those coddled Jews and Muslims and Hindus and Atheists! Plus, it's classic literature!

    Great, someone's going to have to bowlderize The Divine Comedy now...

  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Fartacus wrote: »
    Fine. Let's make everything "safe and comfortable". Let's edit everything ever so that no one is ever offended. Wouldn't want people talking about anything controversial in school, now would we? No, we need to coddle children so that they're used to not having any of their views challenged. That will certainly prepare them for the real world.

    You're right. Making children read a hateful word that they've doubtless had hurled at them dozens or hundreds of times throughout their life in the specific intent to hurt them -- that's just "challenging their views."

    We should definitely make sure to challenge everyone's views. We should read some books that call atheists heathens and liars and hell-bound satanist scum -- hell we should probably just have kids read the Bible in class! That would really "challenge the values" of those coddled Jews and Muslims and Hindus and Atheists! Plus, it's classic literature!

    ...

    Okay. Let's do that.

    I totally think the Bible should be studied as literature.

  • JokermanJokerman Love is careless in its choosing. Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Deebaser wrote: »
    Fartacus wrote: »
    Fine. Let's make everything "safe and comfortable". Let's edit everything ever so that no one is ever offended. Wouldn't want people talking about anything controversial in school, now would we? No, we need to coddle children so that they're used to not having any of their views challenged. That will certainly prepare them for the real world.

    You're right. Making children read a hateful word that they've doubtless had hurled at them dozens or hundreds of times throughout their life in the specific intent to hurt them -- that's just "challenging their views."

    We should definitely make sure to challenge everyone's views. We should read some books that call atheists heathens and liars and hell-bound satanist scum -- hell we should probably just have kids read the Bible in class! That would really "challenge the values" of those coddled Jews and Muslims and Hindus and Atheists! Plus, it's classic literature!

    Great, someone's going to have to bowlderize The Divine Comedy now...

    "abandon all hope, all ye who debate here."

    Chanus wrote: »
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  • FartacusFartacus __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011

    I don't think it's necessarily appropriate for all educational environments, but the "harmful truth" approach has its own merits in advancing empathy and compassion for those harmed. To use an example, Al Jazeera more strongly emphasizes frank, uncensored coverage of "bad stuff," whether that is the results of a bombing or whatever. That approach does have its merits in showing actual human cost over what is often shown in American media.

    This is the same thing, as inappropriate language in historical literature shows important, useful information that is not easy to whitewash. Yes, people in historical America were largely racist assholes, even the nice ones. That's useful and relevant information today as we still struggle with racism in America.

    I think the value of keeping literature as is and teaching the problematic views in it is more useful than white washing it so we can teach it without appropriate historical context to inappropriately young age groups.

    A valid point, but I think we can draw some distinctions here.

    1) We can teach about suffering without making students suffer themselves, or suffer in certain ways

    The point here is that we can and should teach about our legacy of racism, and the issues we continue to have as a country with regards to race relations and racism. I'm not sure if it's necessary to include material that members of oppressed minority groups find hurtful or offensive to do so, though.

    Again, I think the willingness of people here to say "IF YOU CENSOR HUCK FINN WE MIGHT AS WELL NOT TALK ABOUT SLAVERY AT ALL" is indicative of their own myopia. Do you see black students and families and groups clamoring to have slavery taught about less? Do you see the Anti-Defamation League asking for people to talk about the Holocaust less? Quite the opposite.

    Clearly, people who are actually members of oppressed groups can see a difference that you can't -- one is offensive and the other isn't. Where some people see "well they're offended and that's dumb because this is all the same to me" clearly they see nuance and distinction that makes one thing worthy of offense and the other not.

    2) What kind of feelings are useful to experience for students? Yes, some discomfort may be good for students to experience -- to know what their country has done, or other countries, to see suffering and to feel empathic pain for those who suffered is a kind of suffering itself. Perhaps useful suffering.

    That, to me, does not seem identical to the alienation that black students often feel when Huck Finn is read -- when they have to hear their white teacher or their white classmates recite a word that is painful for them to hear. That is the suffering of disrespect, exclusion, of not having one's wishes listened to or ones preferences respected. I don't think it hurts white students to hear or read the N-word in Huck Finn.

    3) Does the equality of suffering matter? Is it different when only a small group of students is made to suffer, from when all the students in a class must suffer the discomfort of witnessing something unpleasant but true? Does selective suffering promote alienation and discontent within the suffering group? Does this magnify existing inequalities and problems in the system?

    Over and over again, I find everyone on the other side of this debate unwilling to make distinction or see nuance.

    Censorship is censorship, it is equally bad in all cases.

    Offense is offense, it is equally harmless or harmful in all cases.

    Censorship is always worse than offense.

    Etc.

    That, I think, should set off alarm bells. If you can't draw distinctions, you're probably not making the best argument.

  • SchrodingerSchrodinger Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Fartacus wrote: »
    While we're at it, let's never talk about slavery, Jim Crow laws, the Civil Rights movement, the Trail of Tears or the way the United States put Asian-American people in internment camps in the 1940's. We might offend someone, right?

    Funny, most oppressed groups never have a problem with that stuff. In fact, historically, the censorship side has been on the side of not teaching about these things because it would offend whites. Including the history and suffering of oppressed groups is sort of the opposite of the goals we're talking about: making sure all students, including those of oppressed/non-privileged groups feel valued and welcomed.

    The same people who insist that the confederate flag is simply a symbol of "history" and that the civil war had nothing to do with slavery tend to also be the ones who come down on PC the hardest.

  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    And, yes, I think there is some merit to saying "Hm, we have a group of students who are caused discomfort or harm by reading this book in our curriculum. That could conflict with our educational goals by making them perform poorly on this specific assignment, but also by making them feel alienated and unwelcome in our institution, something this group struggles with already. Is the unique educational value of this book worth that harm? If so, is there a way to retain the educational value of the book while making the group in question feel more welcome and valued?"

    That is a super reasonable question to ask and discussion to have. It's not even remotely analogous to "mak[ing] everything safe and comfortable" or ensuring that "no one is ever offended."

    On the contrary, it sounds like making everything "safe and comfortable" is exactly what you're talking about.

    And there's a level of education at which that is entirely appropriate! And at that level, confrontational or emotionally challenging subjects shouldn't be taught. If reading the racist language in Huck Finn is such a tremendous barrier for students, they probably weren't equipped to address the material anyway.

    gkcmatch_zps97480250.jpg
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  • FartacusFartacus __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    Slippery slope = "Once people can gay marry, they're going to marry dogs and/or toasters!"

    Not slippery slope = "One company edits a book for PC reasons, others might follow suit for fear of bothering people"

    bb160.jpg

    This is why censorship is something we can give no ground on.

    It's still a big slippery slope from publishers choosing to excise that word (again, I'm not sure what we really lose, even if all the copies of Huck Finn in the world were replaced with edited versions, but then again I'm not an Aspergers nerd who cares when comic-book movies change the suit design of my favorite heroes, either) to book burnings and Nazis.

    Also, I find your reasoning implausible, because at the very least any mainstream always creates an opposition -- niche marketing. If most publishers switched to an edited version, it would create a market niche for un-edited versions specifically touting how unedited they are. Anything else is extremely unlikely, if history is any indication.

    It is plausible that perhaps a slight majority of Huck Finn publishings might become edited (plausible, but not probable -- I personally find it unlikely) but that doesn't come close to proving an entire slippery slope chain of logic to Nazi book burnings.

    So, no, you just made a huge slippery slope argument.

    edit: I mean we've already given huge ground over the years to censorship for obscenity in movies, TV, radio, and other media, especially broadcast media.

    But, in fact, that level of censorship has decreased over the years, not increased. And we certainly haven't gotten to Nazi book burnings. Why is that? Doesn't that fly in the face of what you believe?

  • ChillyWillyChillyWilly Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    @ Fartacus: I've been hyperbolic. I'll apologize for that first off.

    I'm ok with leaving the Bible out of the classroom. I am, in fact, completely ok with leaving Huck Finn out of the classroom. The book itself isn't all that important, just the issue behind what the publishing company is doing.

    I just find it quite silly that people are editing literature that we know is dated and we know will have some old terms in it. My only fear is that by white-washing (white-wash/Huck Finn teehee) older literature, we may eventually do it a disservice. Editing a word or two out of Huck Finn may not be a big deal, but what if a publisher decides that they want to edit The Color Purple? Or Roots? Or some other piece of literature that they find offensive? Simple censoring can always lead to bigger instances of it.

    And don't say "slippery slope". That phrase hasn't been properly attributed to me in this thread one time.

    Again, I fully support the publishing company in their right to edit the book. Do I think it's stupid? Yep. But free speech and all that. They can do what they want. However, that doesn't mean that it isn't censorship and that doesn't mean that I have to agree with them.

    And I would thank you to keep your assumptions about who I do and don't know to yourself.

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  • ChillyWillyChillyWilly Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    agentk13 wrote: »
    agentk13 wrote: »
    agentk13 wrote: »
    Just because an argument hurts your precious ego by calling you out doesn't mean that it's not a contribution to debate. You posted a well know fallacy and dodged an argument and I called you out on both, so now you're having a hissy fit and refusing to debate. Which one of us is arguing in bad faith?

    Nothing hurt my ego and I'm not having a hissy fit. I have quite the flaccid e-peen in this particular discussion. I'm not taking it as seriously as you think, apparently.

    I didn't post any fallacy. And what argument did I dodge?

    You are arguing in bad faith by seemingly completely ignoring a valid definition of a word and then telling us that we're stretching it.

    You posted a slippery slope. That's a fallacy.

    You dodged my assertion that you were ignoring half of the definition you yourself posted by asking if I'd read the quotation I'd posted.

    I didn't post a slippery slope fallacy. Continuing to say it does not make it any more true. Forseeable and reasonable consequences of an action do not equal a slippery slope.

    How was I ignoring half the defintion that I posted? Since you apparently can't look up definitions to words yourself, I'll just lay everything out and maybe we can figure out what your beef with me is (courtesy of Dictionary.com).

    cen·sor   /ˈsɛnsər/
    [sen-ser]

    –noun
    1. an official who examines books, plays, news reports, motion pictures, radio and television programs, letters, cablegrams, etc., for the purpose of suppressing parts deemed objectionable on moral, political, military, or other grounds.
    2. any person who supervises the manners or morality of others.
    3. an adverse critic; faultfinder.
    4. (in the ancient Roman republic) either of two officials who kept the register or census of the citizens, awarded public contracts, and supervised manners and morals.
    5. (in early Freudian dream theory) the force that represses ideas, impulses, and feelings, and prevents them from entering consciousness in their original, undisguised forms.

    –verb (used with object)
    6. to examine and act upon as a censor.
    7. to delete (a word or passage of text) in one's capacity as a censor.

    Definition 1 doesn't really apply to this situation, as it really only refers to a censor in a governmental capacity.

    But definitions 2 and 3 definitely apply. The company publishing this version of Huck Finn are both critical of the language used in the book and are supervising the manners and morality of others by removing content they deem objectionable.

    Which leads to definition 7, which has already been posted.

    The publishing company is acting as a censor to censor something. I'm not really sure how I can make this any clearer.

    Definition 2 doesn't apply to this case, as the only thing that's happening is a group releasing its own reprint of a work. Definition 3 doesn't make any sense in the definition of censorship you're trying to apply it to ("to delete (a word or passage of text) in one's capacity as an adverse critic; faultfinder?" when did a critic ever do that?). As for definition 7, not only can you not have the capacity of a verb, but it has the same problem that you keep denying.

    Also, your last paragraph is the most hilariously circular argument I've ever seen. You are literally stating that it's censorship because it's being done by a censor, who we can identify because he's practicing censorship, which we can identify because it's being done by a censor, who we can identify because he's practicing censorship...[snipped for silly goosery]

    Fine. You don't agree with me. Believe whatever you want.

    I'm officially done debating the word "censorship" with any and all persons in this thread. Moving on.

    PAFC Top 10 Finisher in Seasons 1 and 3. 2nd in Seasons 4 and 5. Final 4 in Season 6.

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  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Fartacus wrote: »
    And it would be nice if people would stop pretending that the attitudes in Huck Finn are just part of the historic record, and realize that for a lot of people, they are very much a reality.
    Guy using the n-word on a bus =/= N-word in classical literature.

    Hey to the people it hurts, it often isn't! But I'm glad you've got the credentials to tell all black people how to feel.

    My girlfriend -- someone who knows I love her and whom I treat with utmost respect always -- does not allow me to say the n-word, even when quoting (including quoting her, as she uses it all the time), or in discussing it politically or philosophically.

    Why? Because hearing any white person say it makes her uncomfortable -- at best. Even someone she trusts and loves.

    But I guess she should just sack up and get over it, right?
    I fail to see the relevance of how you and your girlfriend handle racial slurs in your relationship.

    If she signed up for a literature class and demanded that the works in question be sanitized of any words she doesn't like, that's a wholly different situation.

    And, honestly, anyone who uses racial slurs but objects to others doing the same is a hypocrite.

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  • agentk13agentk13 __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    I think the big thing is that the term is simply window dressing. If there was some sort of artistic intent in the word, such as using it to show how shitty southerners were, then it would be a big deal. Instead, it's just a replacement of one period term with another period term that demonstrates the mindset of the characters even more clearly (except for the father, whose dialogue should be left intact to increase the contrast). In other words, this is as much censorship as Black Heimdal.

  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    agentk13 wrote: »
    I think the big thing is that the term is simply window dressing. If there was some sort of artistic intent in the word, such as using it to show how shitty southerners were, then it would be a big deal. Instead, it's just a replacement of one period term with another period term that demonstrates the mindset of the characters even more clearly (except for the father, whose dialogue should be left intact to increase the contrast). In other words, this is as much censorship as Black Heimdal.

    Black Heimdal wasn't black because people found White Heimdal offensive.

    sig.jpg
  • JokermanJokerman Love is careless in its choosing. Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    agentk13 wrote: »
    I think the big thing is that the term is simply window dressing. If there was some sort of artistic intent in the word, such as using it to show how shitty southerners were, then it would be a big deal. Instead, it's just a replacement of one period term with another period term that demonstrates the mindset of the characters even more clearly (except for the father, whose dialogue should be left intact to increase the contrast). In other words, this is as much censorship as Black Heimdal.

    Black Heimdal wasn't black because people found White Heimdal offensive.

    Also is it just me or does it seem rather offensive that it would be so easy to change an authors work after he died to meet with the times. Stan Lee is still alive, he can give his input on changes to his work. I don't think that Mark Twain will be weighing in on this any time soon.

    Chanus wrote: »
    the best asians are white people
    My blog about Beer!
  • SchrodingerSchrodinger Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    The N-word should be preserved for education purpose, because how else are black people going to learn just how much that white people used to hate them? Oh wait...

    Earlier in this thread, we had a bunch of anti-PC people complaining about how "mentally disabled" was stupid, because obnoxious kids would find a way to turn that into an insult. But these same obnoxious kids won't do the same thing with the N-word?

    I'm kind of divided on this issue. But I'm okay with sanitizing Huck Finn as long as people understand that it's a sanitized version, and that the original version used language that wouldn't be acceptable today.

    I don't want it to be like how they sanitized Thanksgiving to take out all of the references where the Pilgrims were celebrating the deaths of colored people, or the fact that the Pilgrims were essentially looting them blind.

  • agentk13agentk13 __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    The N-word should be preserved for education purpose, because how else are black people going to learn just how much that white people used to hate them? Oh wait...

    Earlier in this thread, we had a bunch of anti-PC people complaining about how "mentally disabled" was stupid, because obnoxious kids would find a way to turn that into an insult. But these same obnoxious kids won't do the same thing with the N-word?

    I'm kind of divided on this issue. But I'm okay with sanitizing Huck Finn as long as people understand that it's a sanitized version, and that the original version used language that wouldn't be acceptable today.

    I don't want it to be like how they sanitized Thanksgiving to take out all of the references where the Pilgrims were celebrating the deaths of colored people, or the fact that the Pilgrims were essentially looting them blind.

    Actually, all the looting came later. A month or so later, but still later.

  • SchrodingerSchrodinger Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Basically, Disney sanitizing Cinderella to edit out all references to mutilation is okay.

    On the other hand...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47ak4vjiNzw

  • CalixtusCalixtus Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    agentk13 wrote: »
    I think the big thing is that the term is simply window dressing. If there was some sort of artistic intent in the word, such as using it to show how shitty southerners were, then it would be a big deal. Instead, it's just a replacement of one period term with another period term that demonstrates the mindset of the characters even more clearly (except for the father, whose dialogue should be left intact to increase the contrast). In other words, this is as much censorship as Black Heimdal.
    Because the philosophical ideas surrounding the morality of slavery at the time were not heavily influenced by ideas concerning different human 'races' and the classification thereof?

    I have no scholarly training in history, but I'm pretty sure that by that time, the primary moral justification for the most heinous shit imaginable was firmly lodged in generally prevailing ideas regarding the importance of 'race'. Many different cultures throughout human history has accepted the practice of slavery, but this last incarnation before it was gradually eradicated was - and again, correct me if I'm wrong - firmly based on ideals of racial superiority.

    There is a massive difference between a system in which you can become a slave based on, say, an inability to pay your debts, and a system in which it is the colour of your skin is enough to make you property. The historical distinction between 'slave' and 'we believe you deserve to be a slave because of the colour of your skin' is important.

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  • Irond WillIrond Will Dragonmaster Cambridge. MASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited January 2011
    just a reminder

    invoking "privilege" or "entitlement" to dismiss someone else's arguments or perspectives is an infractable offense

    we don't dismiss people because of their ethnicity, race, religion or gender around here

    Wqdwp8l.png
  • CasedOutCasedOut Registered User
    edited January 2011
    Fartacus wrote: »
    And it would be nice if people would stop pretending that the attitudes in Huck Finn are just part of the historic record, and realize that for a lot of people, they are very much a reality.
    Guy using the n-word on a bus =/= N-word in classical literature.

    Hey to the people it hurts, it often isn't! But I'm glad you've got the credentials to tell all black people how to feel.

    My girlfriend -- someone who knows I love her and whom I treat with utmost respect always -- does not allow me to say the n-word, even when quoting (including quoting her, as she uses it all the time), or in discussing it politically or philosophically.

    Why? Because hearing any white person say it makes her uncomfortable -- at best. Even someone she trusts and loves.

    But I guess she should just sack up and get over it, right?

    Isn't possible that your girlfriend is actually wrong, that she is in fact overly sensitive? Should we really cater to everyone who is overly sensitive about things? I mean this is where it gets waaaay subjective about what is too sensitive and what is not. But to me, your girlfriend being offended by you quoting someone or using the word in some political or philosophical context is definitely overly sensitive. In my mind she is clearly in the wrong to be offended by using the word in that context. I could come up with lots of hyperbolic examples of people being offended when they have no right to be but I am sure you see where I am coming from.

    452773-1.png
  • agentk13agentk13 __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    Calixtus wrote: »
    agentk13 wrote: »
    I think the big thing is that the term is simply window dressing. If there was some sort of artistic intent in the word, such as using it to show how shitty southerners were, then it would be a big deal. Instead, it's just a replacement of one period term with another period term that demonstrates the mindset of the characters even more clearly (except for the father, whose dialogue should be left intact to increase the contrast). In other words, this is as much censorship as Black Heimdal.
    Because the philosophical ideas surrounding the morality of slavery at the time were not heavily influenced by ideas concerning different human 'races' and the classification thereof?

    I have no scholarly training in history, but I'm pretty sure that by that time, the primary moral justification for the most heinous shit imaginable was firmly lodged in generally prevailing ideas regarding the importance of 'race'. Many different cultures throughout human history has accepted the practice of slavery, but this last incarnation before it was gradually eradicated was - and again, correct me if I'm wrong - firmly based on ideals of racial superiority.

    There is a massive difference between a system in which you can become a slave based on, say, an inability to pay your debts, and a system in which it is the colour of your skin is enough to make you property. The historical distinction between 'slave' and 'we believe you deserve to be a slave because of the colour of your skin' is important.

    I think that baking the term "slave" a catchall for black people is just as effective as having the characters simply use a slur.

  • FartacusFartacus __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    I would agree that putting this on the level of government sponsored suppression of information is absurd, fartacus

    However it plucks the same western democratic value strings. People don't like the idea of artistic integrity being compromised by altering the piece based on its audience.

    Really I feel that if the class cannot handle the n bomb, you should not teach them huck Finn. One of the more important conversations about the book is the one about racism, simply because the word is used. If you change that, you're not really teaching Huck Finn. I would say the same of Faulkner or Conrad.

    In high school, as I mentioned, it's important to be more sensitive to students' emotional needs, and if having an obligatory discussion of racism through reading racist language is too difficult for them, then so be it; you don't want to alienate them or make them feel unsafe in their school.

    I have found that black students are usually pretty interested in discussing racism and engaging the topic if that is one of the explicit goals of that part of the curriculum, but I live in Canada, and I have only taught university students, so my anecdote is not resoundingly powerful.

    Yeah, I think probably just not teaching it is better too.

    But whatever it's not that big a deal, you know?

    Society will not come crumbling down, no one is being hurt by this.

  • FartacusFartacus __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    Fartacus wrote: »
    And it would be nice if people would stop pretending that the attitudes in Huck Finn are just part of the historic record, and realize that for a lot of people, they are very much a reality.
    Guy using the n-word on a bus =/= N-word in classical literature.

    Hey to the people it hurts, it often isn't! But I'm glad you've got the credentials to tell all black people how to feel.

    My girlfriend -- someone who knows I love her and whom I treat with utmost respect always -- does not allow me to say the n-word, even when quoting (including quoting her, as she uses it all the time), or in discussing it politically or philosophically.

    Why? Because hearing any white person say it makes her uncomfortable -- at best. Even someone she trusts and loves.

    But I guess she should just sack up and get over it, right?

    Yes, she should. I understand the value of context, but being so hypersensitive that you cannot stand hearing your own words said by someone else is hypocritical and over reactionary.

    Good luck with that!

    I'm glad you feel comfortable telling other people how to feel. I don't, and I'm glad that people I know have the decency to respect my wishes when I don't want them to say certain things that bother me, because of this thing called decency.

    It's not goddamn tyranny to ask something of someone that is super reasonable and not hard to do.

    How exactly does it hurt me to not say the N-word around her? What point am I proving to her by saying it anyway? It bothers her, it costs me nothing. How is this even unclear?

  • FartacusFartacus __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    Calixtus wrote: »
    Fartacus wrote: »
    And it would be nice if people would stop pretending that the attitudes in Huck Finn are just part of the historic record, and realize that for a lot of people, they are very much a reality.
    Guy using the n-word on a bus =/= N-word in classical literature.

    Hey to the people it hurts, it often isn't! But I'm glad you've got the credentials to tell all black people how to feel.

    My girlfriend -- someone who knows I love her and whom I treat with utmost respect always -- does not allow me to say the n-word, even when quoting (including quoting her, as she uses it all the time), or in discussing it politically or philosophically.

    Why? Because hearing any white person say it makes her uncomfortable -- at best. Even someone she trusts and loves.

    But I guess she should just sack up and get over it, right?
    So Styro points out that context matters. You bring up your girlfriend, who thinks it's offensive when you use the word, but uses it herself. I would, from this, infer that your girlfriend - like Styro - by using the word herself and not being offended by it, also believes context matters.

    If she also thinks classical literature written centuries ago is a less acceptable context than the words that come out of her own mouth today, then I would consider this a problem, yes. But she's certainly grasped the salient point already - context matters.

    yes but in this case the most important context is "is a white person saying it."

    you don't get to decide what the important context is -- the people the word is designed to offend do

  • FartacusFartacus __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    adytum wrote: »
    There are pages and pages being written as if the only choices are to censor the work and teach it, or teach the uncensored work to all children everywhere.

    Occasionally someone will interject that, hey, maybe you can not publish a censored copy and only teach it in the appropriate setting!

    But those replies are being swept aside by outrage.

    I am fine with this

    i have said this at the beginning of the thread

    there are probably more productive ways to deal with the book than editing it, like just not teaching it, or teaching it in college, or whatever

    and literally no one in the thread has argued that all copies should be edited

  • JokermanJokerman Love is careless in its choosing. Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Fartacus wrote: »
    Calixtus wrote: »
    Fartacus wrote: »
    And it would be nice if people would stop pretending that the attitudes in Huck Finn are just part of the historic record, and realize that for a lot of people, they are very much a reality.
    Guy using the n-word on a bus =/= N-word in classical literature.

    Hey to the people it hurts, it often isn't! But I'm glad you've got the credentials to tell all black people how to feel.

    My girlfriend -- someone who knows I love her and whom I treat with utmost respect always -- does not allow me to say the n-word, even when quoting (including quoting her, as she uses it all the time), or in discussing it politically or philosophically.

    Why? Because hearing any white person say it makes her uncomfortable -- at best. Even someone she trusts and loves.

    But I guess she should just sack up and get over it, right?
    So Styro points out that context matters. You bring up your girlfriend, who thinks it's offensive when you use the word, but uses it herself. I would, from this, infer that your girlfriend - like Styro - by using the word herself and not being offended by it, also believes context matters.

    If she also thinks classical literature written centuries ago is a less acceptable context than the words that come out of her own mouth today, then I would consider this a problem, yes. But she's certainly grasped the salient point already - context matters.

    yes but in this case the most important context is "is a white person saying it."

    you don't get to decide what the important context is -- the people the word is designed to offend do

    Interesting...

    So if Mark Twain had been black, instead of a progressive Caucasian, she'd have no problem with the book?

    Chanus wrote: »
    the best asians are white people
    My blog about Beer!
  • FartacusFartacus __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    And, yes, I think there is some merit to saying "Hm, we have a group of students who are caused discomfort or harm by reading this book in our curriculum. That could conflict with our educational goals by making them perform poorly on this specific assignment, but also by making them feel alienated and unwelcome in our institution, something this group struggles with already. Is the unique educational value of this book worth that harm? If so, is there a way to retain the educational value of the book while making the group in question feel more welcome and valued?"

    That is a super reasonable question to ask and discussion to have. It's not even remotely analogous to "mak[ing] everything safe and comfortable" or ensuring that "no one is ever offended."

    On the contrary, it sounds like making everything "safe and comfortable" is exactly what you're talking about.

    And there's a level of education at which that is entirely appropriate! And at that level, confrontational or emotionally challenging subjects shouldn't be taught. If reading the racist language in Huck Finn is such a tremendous barrier for students, they probably weren't equipped to address the material anyway.

    but you have to deal with the fact that it's a bigger barrier for some students than others and there's no other way to slice it

  • agentk13agentk13 __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    Fartacus wrote: »
    adytum wrote: »
    There are pages and pages being written as if the only choices are to censor the work and teach it, or teach the uncensored work to all children everywhere.

    Occasionally someone will interject that, hey, maybe you can not publish a censored copy and only teach it in the appropriate setting!

    But those replies are being swept aside by outrage.

    I am fine with this

    i have said this at the beginning of the thread

    there are probably more productive ways to deal with the book than editing it, like just not teaching it, or teaching it in college, or whatever

    and literally no one in the thread has argued that all copies should be edited

    And then there's the fact that the things that make the work inappropriate for the setting are vestigial to the work, so that it can be made appropriate for the setting and therefor be utilized with no loss.

  • FartacusFartacus __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    @ Fartacus: I've been hyperbolic. I'll apologize for that first off.

    I'm ok with leaving the Bible out of the classroom. I am, in fact, completely ok with leaving Huck Finn out of the classroom. The book itself isn't all that important, just the issue behind what the publishing company is doing.

    I just find it quite silly that people are editing literature that we know is dated and we know will have some old terms in it. My only fear is that by white-washing (white-wash/Huck Finn teehee) older literature, we may eventually do it a disservice. Editing a word or two out of Huck Finn may not be a big deal, but what if a publisher decides that they want to edit The Color Purple? Or Roots? Or some other piece of literature that they find offensive? Simple censoring can always lead to bigger instances of it.

    And don't say "slippery slope". That phrase hasn't been properly attributed to me in this thread one time.

    Again, I fully support the publishing company in their right to edit the book. Do I think it's stupid? Yep. But free speech and all that. They can do what they want. However, that doesn't mean that it isn't censorship and that doesn't mean that I have to agree with them.

    And I would thank you to keep your assumptions about who I do and don't know to yourself.

    OK, let's talk about that disservice. What would it be? How big would it be?

    This thread has taken two tacks thus far:

    1) It's a disservice to the book!
    Response: What is the disservice? Also, here is the benefit: XYZ

    2) Nevermind, it's censorship!
    Response: No not really.

    3) IT'S CENSORSHIP
    Response: NOT REALLY

    4) SHUT UP NAZI
    Response: NO YOU SHUT UP MORON

    5) IT'S STILL CENSORSHIP
    Response: OK, maybe it is, but by this definition it doesn't really warrant the response you've afforded it.

    6) It's a disservice.
    Response: What is the disservice?

  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    6) It's a disservice.
    Response: What is the disservice?

    You're being taught edited versions great works of literature because it makes someone feel bad?

    sig.jpg
  • FartacusFartacus __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    The N-word should be preserved for education purpose, because how else are black people going to learn just how much that white people used to hate them? Oh wait...

    Earlier in this thread, we had a bunch of anti-PC people complaining about how "mentally disabled" was stupid, because obnoxious kids would find a way to turn that into an insult. But these same obnoxious kids won't do the same thing with the N-word?

    I'm kind of divided on this issue. But I'm okay with sanitizing Huck Finn as long as people understand that it's a sanitized version, and that the original version used language that wouldn't be acceptable today.

    I don't want it to be like how they sanitized Thanksgiving to take out all of the references where the Pilgrims were celebrating the deaths of colored people, or the fact that the Pilgrims were essentially looting them blind.

    Somehow I don't think that's what will happen -- Native Americans generally aren't the ones clamoring for the Disney version of Thanksgiving. Whites are.

    Everyone in this thread who keeps comparing removing the N-word to "whitewashing" is being disingenuous. The same people who want the Confederate flag to still fly over the capitol of their state are people who want the N-word left in Huck Finn, and oppressed groups generally like to have offensive words removed but the memory of their suffering retained. White groups generally want the opposite.

    It may seem like a contradiction, but the racists and the oppressed both seem to get it just fine, so maybe it's something that needs to be looked at a little more carefully.

  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Fartacus wrote: »
    6) It's a disservice.
    Response: What is the disservice?
    The book was written a certain way to make a certain point. Maybe you don't like the way the point is made, or don't like the point itself. That's fine. And maybe you don't like violence, so you cut out the stabby-stabby scene in Julius Caesar.

    It's still the same play, right? Just with less violence that is likely to disturb young minds.

    Aetian Jupiter - 41 Gunslinger - The Old Republic
    Rigorous Scholarship

  • agentk13agentk13 __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    6) It's a disservice.
    Response: What is the disservice?

    You're being taught edited versions great works of literature because it makes someone feel bad?

    So?

  • agentk13agentk13 __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Fartacus wrote: »
    6) It's a disservice.
    Response: What is the disservice?
    The book was written a certain way to make a certain point. Maybe you don't like the way the point is made, or don't like the point itself. That's fine. And maybe you don't like violence, so you cut out the stabby-stabby scene in Julius Caesar.

    It's still the same play, right? Just with less violence that is likely to disturb young minds.

    And how, exactly, does the word change in any way impact any message?

  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    agentk13 wrote: »
    6) It's a disservice.
    Response: What is the disservice?

    You're being taught edited versions great works of literature because it makes someone feel bad?

    So?

    So that's bad? Unless of course you're a better writer than Twain.

    Come again Deebaser?

    sig.jpg
  • JokermanJokerman Love is careless in its choosing. Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    agentk13 wrote: »
    6) It's a disservice.
    Response: What is the disservice?

    You're being taught edited versions great works of literature because it makes someone feel bad?

    So?

    Soooo maybe it's not a good idea to change a great work of american fiction that has a lot to offer us about the time it was written as to not offend someones sensitivities?

    Chanus wrote: »
    the best asians are white people
    My blog about Beer!
  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    agentk13 wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Fartacus wrote: »
    6) It's a disservice.
    Response: What is the disservice?
    The book was written a certain way to make a certain point. Maybe you don't like the way the point is made, or don't like the point itself. That's fine. And maybe you don't like violence, so you cut out the stabby-stabby scene in Julius Caesar.

    It's still the same play, right? Just with less violence that is likely to disturb young minds.

    And how, exactly, does the word change in any way impact any message?

    Because the n-word and slave have entirely different meanings and connotations.

    sig.jpg
  • DeebaserDeebaser Alpha Teemo Fake Board GamerRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    agentk13 wrote: »
    6) It's a disservice.
    Response: What is the disservice?

    You're being taught edited versions great works of literature because it makes someone feel bad?

    So?

    So that's bad? Unless of course you're a better writer than Twain.

    Come again Deebaser?

    never mind me, Today's set of "Use Cases" have made me functionally retarded.

  • agentk13agentk13 __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    agentk13 wrote: »
    6) It's a disservice.
    Response: What is the disservice?

    You're being taught edited versions great works of literature because it makes someone feel bad?

    So?

    So that's bad? Unless of course you're a better writer than Twain.

    Come again Deebaser?

    Why is that bad? You have yet to demonstrate any harm or loss caused by a word substitution in a single edition. Really, if something this small can cause significant harm to western civilization, the various versions of Twain's autobiography would have caused the apocalypse by now.

  • FartacusFartacus __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2011
    CasedOut wrote: »
    Fartacus wrote: »
    And it would be nice if people would stop pretending that the attitudes in Huck Finn are just part of the historic record, and realize that for a lot of people, they are very much a reality.
    Guy using the n-word on a bus =/= N-word in classical literature.

    Hey to the people it hurts, it often isn't! But I'm glad you've got the credentials to tell all black people how to feel.

    My girlfriend -- someone who knows I love her and whom I treat with utmost respect always -- does not allow me to say the n-word, even when quoting (including quoting her, as she uses it all the time), or in discussing it politically or philosophically.

    Why? Because hearing any white person say it makes her uncomfortable -- at best. Even someone she trusts and loves.

    But I guess she should just sack up and get over it, right?

    Isn't possible that your girlfriend is actually wrong, that she is in fact overly sensitive? Should we really cater to everyone who is overly sensitive about things? I mean this is where it gets waaaay subjective about what is too sensitive and what is not. But to me, your girlfriend being offended by you quoting someone or using the word in some political or philosophical context is definitely overly sensitive. In my mind she is clearly in the wrong to be offended by using the word in that context. I could come up with lots of hyperbolic examples of people being offended when they have no right to be but I am sure you see where I am coming from.

    Do you have total control over your feelings? What do I lose by respecting her feelings?

    It's also perfectly rational, I feel.

    The word being spoken by a white person has an association with unpleasant emotion. I mean, I guess we could put all black people in therapy to break that association, or something, but that seems just a tiny bit extreme.

    It causes her discomfort. It costs me nothing not to do it. Why is this a hard choice? Why should she conform to me, instead of the other way around, even though that would be difficult to her, although it's easy for me to conform to her wishes?

This discussion has been closed.