The latest blow for Political Correctness sees a college professor edit Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn to remove the currently offense terms ‘nigger’ and ‘injun.’ At least he didn’t add zombies or vampires or sea monsters. Auburn University English professor Alan Gribben says that he always felt uncomfortable with Mark Twain’s choice of words so he plugged in the words ‘slave’ and ‘Indian’ to create his sanitized versions of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer.
I was watching Blazing Saddles not too long ago and the word ‘nigger’ was bleeped each time it came up. Since this is one of the running gags in Blazing Saddles, there was a lot of bleeping. Is this kind of thing really necessary? After all, the whole point of Blazing Saddles is to be funny, and that often means being offensive. See Eddie Murphy’s Raw or give a listen to Red Fox or George Carlin’s comedy.
I’d like to think that Star Trek was right about race and that in the fullness of time none of this silliness will matter. But we aren’t quite there yet. I was working in Arizona a few years back, in a small town in the middle of nowhere. I asked one of the old guys what they did for fun and he said, Oh we keep busy, we have a pretty active unit of the Klan here. His generation will be dead none too soon, but there are always more morons waiting in the wings.
Will getting rid of ‘bad’ words in books and movies make us better people? How about getting rid of all the murders and violence on TV and in the Movies? And where do we stop with this kind of stuff? And who gets to decide what is offensive? America has a profound fondness for offense, everyone seems to be offended these days by just about everything.
How many words would we need to rewrite to make everyone feel hunky dory?