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Crawford Steve <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 18 Apr 2007 18:17:28 +0300
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Terrell, from another 52 year-old (in August),

I think you have hit the thing straight on. Try as we might, we
simply cannot impose ourselves and our present ideals on people that
lived so long ago. We think we might detect racism, but perhaps even
the word does not mean the same as it did then. American culture, in
both subjective and objective terms, was different then. So what we
are left with is some sort of present versus future cross cultural
analysis without the benefit of interviewing the participant. What
would Twain say? What do I mean, what would he say today? Or what
would he say then. Given all that has changed or not since then, how
could we expect him to answer the question? Would he know to whom he
was answering? Or, just as valid, how would we ask the question? And
again, would we be asking then or now? In other words, would we go
back in time to ask him or would we ring him up on the spiritual
phone now?  I am not against asking the question, I am against
accepting any answer as the truth, rather than what is obvious
speculation on the part of interested and curious persons.

Steve Crawford
Jyväskylä, Finland