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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Harold Bush <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 23 Feb 2010 12:41:10 -0600
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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Like Gregg Camfield, I am reading these discussions late, having just
returned to e-mail since it erupted.

First:  I have worked with Tom Wortham over the years and not only is he an
erudite and extremely precise scholar and one of the very best academic
editors that I know; he is also quite fair and judicious in such matters.
 So I second Gregg's corrective that we be a bit more supportive of one of
our own, one of over 40 years, and have our doubts about a news account out
for (perhaps) bad blood.

Second:  TENSION!  That is now one of my favorite keywords/ themes for all
things American, especially the great literature.  Sure, there's tension:
 here, for instance, between heavily racist upbringings and cultural forces
and the progressive forces of equality and acceptance.  I would imagine most
readers of the FORUM recognize both aspects of Mark Twain -- and Lincoln, by
the way.  If you do not think Lincoln wrestled with issues of race, I
suggest reading more deeply in the works of the great AL.  I believe I am
correct to say that almost all white Americans in the 1880s believed that
their "race" was superior to blacks, in several ways, such as intelligence
and most kinds of creativity.  It was almost common sense, back then.  And
so a great deal of tension arises whenever someone grapples with the corn
pone opinions in the air they breathe.  I do not have a problem with that,
as someone suggested, it makes me admire Twain all the more.

Can someone be both, and simultaneously, a progressive champion of the
downtrodden, AND a deeply confused person about all sorts of things like
race, class, and gender?  Given my own confusions about all kinds of things,
I am voting for yes.

ps:  when people talk about ALL OF US in 150 years, what "obvious blind
spots" will they tend to home in on?

pps:  am I a twerp?  I forget -- what is a twerp?  does it have to do with
farting in a bathtub?  I was called that once, I think it was 7th grade, but
I have been suppressing it ever since.

Harold K. Bush, Ph.D
Saint Louis University