Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Nigger X200

Pretend I just wrote the word "nigger" 200 times. And then did it a few more times. Great. Feeling good? The word kind of loses its effect after about repetition 116, but that's just me. Since I'm a white guy closing in fast on 40 I'm probably missing something. Kind of like having a point to this. Oh, wait, here it is.

Today here was another newspaper story about "Huckleberry Finn" being banned in one of our local schools. Apparently one parent complained the book features extensive use of the word "nigger", so the school authorities did what they usually do and yanked the book off the shelves. Now they're going to put the book back on the curriculum, but only after 11 teachers are trained specifically to teach the book.

What

The

Fuck?

"Huck Finn", in my opinion, is on the short list for "Best Book Ever". Does it use horribly racist language? You betcha. Does the protagonist start out as an ill-informed young lad with racisit view points only to have his ass saved time and again by an black slave, and therefore learsn that his many racist assumptions were wrong? Why yes, yes he does? Would such a lesson possibly be benefical to today's yout's? Gee, I dunno. Am I doing that annoying "question-and-answer" sing-songy thing again? Yes. Should I stop immediately? Probably.

Look, I'm against burning books, period. Except for maybe anything by Dean Koontz and "The Bridges of Madison County." Those I can sort of get behind starting a fire with.

Seriously Koontz, just stop. You've made a fortune. And while stranded at an ex-girlfriend's family's beach house I read several of your works. They make me weep that trees died. Cut it out. Get a hobby that doesn't involve writing. We'll all be better off.

"The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", however, is a classic. It should be taught in every high school, no ifs ands or buts about it. There's a point to the use of the word "nigger", and that is that people in Twain's time, (and let's not kid ourselves about our time either), talked like that. And as the book makes bludgeoningly obvious, they were WRONG to do so. I imagine reading that word is painful to some people, but guess what? Life isn't easy. Words are hard. It's the people who can rise above those words and by their actions disprove them that are worth knowing.

Also, the parts in "Huck Finn" that satirize mob justice and and the southern honor system that resulted in bloody family feuds are simply classic writing. On their own they would be required reading.

So cut the crap with the book banning. Read the book, discuss the lessons and we'll all be better for it.

Then we can turn out attention to Ethan Fucking Frome. Seriously, suicide by sled? You couldn't find a blunderbuss?

16 Comments:

Blogger B.E. Earl said...

Right On! X200

11:40 AM  
Blogger Persnickety Ticker said...

But seriously...tell us how you really feel about Koontz.

I read Huck Finn. Can't say it is one of my favorites, but it was required reading where I am from and I can say I learned all that I needed to from the book.

The fact that is was banned somewhere? Not surprising. Ignorance is contagious. It's main causes are illiteracy, prejudice and small mindedness.

I hear there are books on the cure out there somewhere...

1:37 PM  
Blogger Rhonda said...

I wholeheartedly agree!
These people that want to ban the book are the same people that don't want the kids sports teams to win because it might hurt the feelings of the team that loses.
Seriously are we gonna have to live in a whimpy society?!

2:03 PM  
Blogger eclectic said...

Crazy talk.

If you ban Huck Finn on that basis, you just as well ban To Kill a Mockingbird, The Color Purple, and every other history-based work of fact or fiction set in the USA in or around that time period (or today, for that matter, don't kid yourselves).

I don't want to be all fired up about stuff today, okay? I just want to do my job, love my kids, laugh a little, and call it a day. Why, why, WHY must people seek out conflict?

2:27 PM  
Blogger tysgirl said...

Narrow minded busy bodies, they fuck it up for everyone.

4:15 PM  
Blogger Alkelda the Gleeful said...

This is a timely post, as Banned Books Week is coming up (September 27--October 4). Here's a link with other challenged books: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_commonly_challenged_books_in_the_U.S.

Limpy, I am in agreement with you about Ethan Frome. I'm an Edith Wharton fan, and so I get it that life is suffering, but still!

4:55 PM  
Blogger Syd said...

You make a strong and succinct case, Lawyer Limpy. Well done.

6:17 PM  
Blogger Maggie said...

The whole book banning thing just burns my ass like a three foot flame. I try to see it from the other side, but just end up wanting to throw the book AT them.

8:17 PM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

Good post!

All the more worthy of your award - come and get it!

8:51 AM  
Blogger Slyde said...

i dunno... i didnt stop getting offended until i said it 167 times.... after that it was gravy.

i've heard about the Huck Finn debacle for a few months now... its downright ridiculous (but you knew that).

11:08 AM  
Blogger Sylvia said...

Absolutely true! Nice post.

9:21 AM  
Blogger Emotional Mullet said...

*fists pumping in the air*

How can we learn to W.R.I.T.E. if we don't R.E.A.D.? How can we learn to talk...to discuss..to discern...if we don't R.E.A.D.?

Argh.

My P-C-Bleeding-Heart-Liberal-Ass is on the boat with you.

How could I have ever pinpointed how I feel about anything if I didn't get to read books like...."To Kill A Mockingbird" ... which was banned from my middle school due to 'language'. Or..."The Color Purple"...another great book!?!?!?

I'm naming my first kid "Atticus" and he/she will be thrust from the womb with a fire hose.

Roar!

7:30 PM  
Blogger Party Girl said...

Unfortunetly it takes one uneducated person to raise a stink against the educational system of the masses which is supposed to make society better off and produce lessons in the youths who can then teach the old. However, sometimes one of the youths has one of those loud-mouth parents and the whole thing goes to hell.

9:54 AM  
Blogger Phollower said...

You said "buts".

12:47 PM  
Blogger Lil Bit said...

I guess they ban every HSer from having any gangsta rap CDs in their bookbags or on their iPods too, huh? pththhtt!

btw -- yo, niggah ... (and know I mean that with luv, k? lol), cuz...

I ♥ your blog!
(come check out my 3rd post down for the 411. lol)

ps. Sadly, won't get to your 2nd 50 now for a bit. I know, you're heartbroken over it, right? LOL

1:42 PM  
Blogger Rat In A Cage said...

Looks like we have to ban your blog now, too. Sorry.

5:25 AM  

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