On 1/11/2011 7:54 AM, Michael Kiskis wrote:
> What exactly do you expect those of us in the academy to do? We can offer
> statements disagreeing with the arguments that led to this new edition. And
> we can choose both not to use it and to counsel teachers not to use it. (In
> doing that, we also need to take complaints about the book seriously by
> minority readers, and we need to step up and do a better job teaching future
> and present teachers who struggle with the book in their classrooms -- too
> often we are quick to dismiss readers and offer only condescending comment
> instead of real instruction.) But once that is done, what remains?
> I did an interview with a newspaper that was published on Sunday (the
> Syracuse Post-Standard). Reading through the comments that were posted, I
> was surprised to find one person -- a reader of Twain -- had placed a call
> to Alan Gribben's institution hoping to complain directly to Alan (really it
> seemed to yell at him). Is that the route we are headed? God, I hope not.
> It also seems to me that we live in a time that demonstrates the power of
> language. Our political and cultural "debate" in the United States has
> become incoherent because of the use of personal attacks and tests for
> ideological purity. And there is some likelihood that we have lost the
> ability to disagree and have moved instead toward a kind of psychological
> and even physical violence. We can at least offer some example of how to
> disagree -- with some element of respect. Without that, comes chaos.
> Supporting an individual's right to offer a different approach to Twain and
> his writing (even to the point of making ruinous changes to a text) is
> within a long tradition of academic argument. Perhaps we could all gain
> some small status from flaming each other. But it would hardly be worth the
> On Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 1:48 PM, Dan Davis<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> I know. I said I would be quiet for a while. But now that NewSouth is
>> beginning to assemble on its website a long sampling of quotes from those
>> who, inexplicably, have chosen to defend this new publication, it seems
>> especially important to keep the discussion alive. The sense I continue to
>> have -- that many who should know better are responding to this event with
>> yawn and a shrug -- is nicely highlighted in this editorial:
>> In this light, and after spending many hours looking at the public's
>> reaction to this news, I find it quite disappointing that there has been
>> little more than a whimper from the academic community. Indeed, it seems
>> some on this list can hardly wait for people to stop talking about it.
>> What's that all about? The world is looking to academia to help them
>> understand this news and its implications, but to date they hear little
>> than crickets chirping.
>> If anyone here honestly considers Gribben's position defensible*, I'd
>> certainly like to see the argument laid out, point by point.
>> Keep in mind that it is a relatively simple matter to objectively prove
>> Gribben's edits have altered the meaning of the text -- his
>> to the contrary notwithstanding.
>> Dan Davis
>> Atlanta, GA
>> * When I say "defensible" I mean supportable by means other than emotional
>> references to Dr. Gribben's credentials, experience, reputation, or
>> all-around good-guy personality.