Thu, 6 Jan 2011 22:48:43 -0500
All of this reminds me of the Disney version of Huckleberry Finn done in the 90's. Disney substituted the word slave for the "N" word and the intonation and the entire implications of "slavery" shifted the meaning of the entire text. The Disney version made slavery seem like a happy adventure--a walk in the park. Part of the effectiveness of Twain's classic with its dreaded repetitive use of the "N" word is the impact of the word and the implications of the word on the person labeled with it. He demonstrates how unthinking and habitual the derogatory nature of the word was (and is) and how cruel the essence of slavery was . . . denying the humanity of the work's most humane character. Taking the "N" word out is like omitting the end scene where Tom cruelly plans the escape of Jim --freeing the already freed slave who is still enslaved. Twain expresses the irony of the American slave system and the irony of the denial of the humanity of its victims.
But, we've been here before. Didn't another great writer say, "There is nothing new under the sun"?