Huck Finn and Revisionist Editing

Family Guy Huck Finn Spoof

Jim explains how that's OUR WORD!!!

It doesn’t take a time machine to know what Mark Twain would likely think of a publisher’s proposal to release a version of Huckleberry Finn with the word “nigger” edited out. I’m sure he’d have a lot of colorful expressions with which to express his displeasure.

Arguments about the hurtfulness of the n-word aside, this smacks of what is perhaps the worst kind of censorship. That which attempts to build the future by erasing the past. Forgetting history is a sure way to ensure that it is repeated. While Huckleberry Finn is a work of fiction, it paints and preserves a picture of a time in American history that should not be forgotten and still holds valuable lessons for us going forward.

As an artist, my feeling is that once a work is completed, that’s it. The time for revision and refinement is over. Obviously, not everyone holds this opinion. But I think that the “enhanced” versions of Star Wars and E.T. and their less than pleased critical reception by fans of the originals, should give pause to anyone seeking to revise classic works, even the creator of said works! Han shot first, and no amount of CG editing is going to change that for me!

I grew up watching Tom and Jerry cartoons in the afternoon. These and other cartoons of that era had some horrible stereotypes of black people and other minorities and women. Years later, many of these same cartoons had been butchered to either remove or redub the black maid and other, now offensive, images. I thought it was a  pretty silly thing to do. Even as a kid, I knew those images did not represent my people. But I thought it was cool to be able to look back in time and get a glimpse of how things were in the past, even through a goofy cat and mouse cartoon.

We still need to know and remember a time when being called a nigger was not hip, cool, or a sign of friendship.

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