In new texts, there is good reason to avoid this word.
But when discussing an extant text, where there is historical context, avoiding the word borders on
An erudite type on BBC radio said the other day (paraphrasing much here)
There is no time in a discussion of Twain (or other authors) to establish context.
Quite rightly, the other inteviewee snorted loudly.
There were times when the word 'hell' was avoided.
In a time when people were hacking at each other with swords and lacking health care, 'bloody' must
have had a stronger meaning.
Of course this is the reverse process, a 'bad' word becomes neutered.
The 'N' word is being expunged, and in common, day to day usage, rightly so.
But that in a discussion of Twain, that this word cannot be used, is bowdlerisation.
"Just because I understand something does not mean I agree with it"
And from what I remember of the book, 90% of the characters were horrible.
And what colour was their skin? Not dark for sure.
So in concentrating on the 'N' word.... the point of the book is missed.
I am going to submit "decimate" as uglier than n, f or c words.
We should slap people for mentioning 'Battle Royale'.
----- Original Message -----
From: <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, January 15, 2011 1:01 AM
Subject: Re: I am language confused -
> Hi Kit!
> May I venture a reply? I'd say it's not a matter of guilt or fear at all, but a matter of taste.
> It's an ugly word, with a history and a number of contextual usages to be sure, usages both to
> inflict harm (by bigoted whites) and to dissipate it (by victimized blacks), but either way, at
> root it's an ugly word, and lots of folks would rather not say or spell it out if they don't
> absolutely have to. You may not believe that a word can be ugly and therefore unpleasant to utter
> or spell out, but those of us who do would put the n- word near the top of the list. Way above the
> f- word.
> My two cents.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Kit Barry" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Sent: Friday, January 14, 2011 4:46:18 PM
> Subject: I am language confused -
> Why in a rational, intelligent conversation, is the euphemism "N word" =
> being used
> in place of "nigger" ?
> Is this word over-empowered?
> Is this euphemism a measure of guilt? Of fear? Of what?