Winter is a great time for backcountry skiing in Alaska. Cross country skiing and ski touring in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, along the Kuskulana River, near Mt Blackburn and the Wrangell Mountains, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.
Happy New Year, and Welcome back to the blog. I had a somewhat mixed couple of weeks, which I’m sure I’ll tell you all about here soon enough. Before I get all that together however, I’ll post a short note about this news I saw, an article concerning a new publishing of the Mark Twain classics: “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” edited by Professor Alan Gribben of Auburn University at Montgomery. It differs from other editions of those books because Mr. Gribben has turned the word “nigger” — as used by Tom and Huck — into “slave.” Mr. Gribben has also changed “Injun” to Indian.
This is interesting to me. I’m a huge fan of Twain, particularly those novels, and the idea of editing (i.e., rewording) such great work is almost ghastly .. on the surface. On the other hand, we live in a world where art, including ‘great art‘ is constantly being ‘adapted‘ for presentation: consider films presented on television, for example. How are bleeps, voice-overs, cuts and blurred body parts any different to a publisher swapping out words that might be offensive or inappropriate? Or updated versions of Shakespearean classics, making them infinitely more readable for kids? How about song lyrics bleeped for radio play? Or, better yet, literary classics like Nabokov’s “Lolita” banned from schools altogether?
How about the outcry over John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High”? The US Senate held a hearing in 1985 to deal with explicit lyrics in pop music. So we’re not talking about anything new here at all. Indeed, one of the most popular shows on TV in recent times is American Idol, where countless classic tunes have been butchered by this generations’ most current attempts to throw its own heros up the pop charts. 🙂 Continue reading →