Friday, January 28, 2011

I hit a roadblock.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Straight Ahead

Friday night the temperature outside my home was three degrees Fahrenheit. I spelled that correctly on the first try. Today is Sunday and it is sunny, bright, stark and clear. On my countdown to spring, we have only 56 days to go.
The family found a new house to have an attachment to. We all really, really love it and we've visited it three or four times now. It's closer to my workplace, it has beautiful wood floors, a very big deck that covers the front of the house, a grand view of a cemetery, lots of tall windows and built-in bookcases. A match for us that we all feel is meant to be. Alas, there have been many others before it that I have become too attached to ... places that I've become attached to that are unavailable ... am I victim of a tired human condition? Do I need to change or should I continue to dream and work toward making it a reality ... ? Well, of course I need to keep moving forward.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

You're Dead; We're Changing Your Book, OK?

So many stories in the news yesterday about modifying Huckleberry Finn to take out the words inside it that censors deem offensive racial slurs. On first listen, my reaction was to feel irritated and defeated at the homogenization of our world, our culture trickling into one stream of what is right and wrong and good and bad and fashionable and indecent; and anger at the audacity of those who have judged and then act by modifying art to make it non-offensive. I close my eyes and see the shelves of Wal-Mart, where everything looks like the same cheap plastic with no character or originality, because the corporations think we all need soulless products that everyone else has, so we can replace it in a few months after they break so we can get more assembly-line-generic goods that everyone else has.
I heard they were taking the "n" out of the book, so I imagined it would be called "Huckleberry Fi_ _" and that there would be small gaps on every page where they entirely eliminated the letter "n" from every word in it. It would still be just as easy to follow, and the_ it would_'t be obvious that they were cha_gi_g a_y o_e particular word or the other .... a subtle cha_ge, if you will.
Then I heard the logic behind the censorship, and I can see some value in making a version available, a choice, to help stop the perpetuation of racially based insults, so that our children can read and appreciate the story without the ingestion of what we recognize now as vicious attacks through name-calling based on where someone looks like they've come from. So, the idea is that the book will be better this way?
Censorship seems OK, as long as the original version is still available to see it in its intended form. Yes, it's not as sharp or authentic and it feels homogenized, but it's a way to enrich our young and impressionable minds in a more innocent way. I do see some value in that, but the problem is that the writer is dead. We can't ask him if it would be OK. I think it would only be OK if the author wanted the clean version to exist, too. Of course, he lived in a different time and he probably couldn't foresee the 100-year-later judgments and calls for censorship on his choice of words. Posthumous censorship seems evil. No doubt ... this censored version will be on the shelf of your local Wal-Mart book and magazine section shortly.