Everyone's favorite white-suited, bushy-mustachioed humorist, Mark Twain, has been in the news of late, with his wildly popular autobiography going through press runs like a Ginsu through Jell-O. But now something more controversial is afoot, as Twain's classic novel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, prepares to go under the knife of political correctness.
Twain scholar Alan Gribben and the appositely-named NewSouth Books plan to release an expurgated version of Huckleberry Finn, along with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, in one volume, wherein every use of the "n" word is replaced by the word "slave." The word "Injun" is also to be subjected to the euphemistic scalpel. "This is not an effort to render Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn colorblind," said Gribben. "Race matters in these books. It's a matter of how you express that in the twenty-first century."
Over years of teaching, the sixty-nine-year-old English professor became increasingly sensitized to the emotions behind the word, and repeatedly replaced it with the word "slave" when reading aloud. Including the table of contents, the slur actually appears 219 times in the book. He became fully convinced that practical considerations should trump authorial intent, to the dismay of traditional academics. That said, if you're inclined to protest too loudly about this benevolent-minded, albeit controversial, intervention, remember that Vanilla Ice was once Queen, so textual purity might be a pipe dream.