*I wrote this on January 8th, 2010. The recent outrage over the Huckleberry Finn issue made me dredge it up and post it here.*
This is probably going to shock and appall several of you, and I'll eat any de-friendings that occur from this with a grin, because it just isn't right.
I just read a news story on Fox (I know, I know) regarding Joseph Conrad's The Nigger of the Narcissus. Here is the link: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,582491,00.html
What they have done is changed every instance of the word 'nigger' to 'n-word.'
Because it's not politically correct.
Okay, okay, okay; I understand that this blog may be viewed as coming from a place of what is commonly termed "White Privilege." I have never really understood what that means, because I haven't ever really felt privileged due to the color of my skin. I also understand that the word nigger has connotations and history that are awful and shameful and that people want to forget. I'm sorry, it's not possible. I have never been called a nigger, so I don't know how that feels; but I have been called a cunt, a bitch, a slag, a slut, a whore, a twat, and I know that being called any number of those things is terrible, shaming, and humiliating. Them's the breaks, though, when you're a woman, and the kind of woman I am. I'm not going to backpedal, either, and say that I've never used any of those words, including nigger, to express myself. I have. If that makes you think less of me, so be it; I am giving full disclosure here.
This is an alarming precedent to me. I don't like the fact that our society thinks it right or appropriate to alter historic works of literature in order to make them more palatable to our sensitive minds. I don't like this. We have an entire amendment in our Bill of Rights, in fact, the very FIRST amendment in the Bill of Rights guaranteeing our right to free speech. I stand by that. To paraphrase Voltaire, I may not like what you have to say, in fact, I may detest it, I may not agree at all with it, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. I don't want to live in a sanitized, homogenized world. I like living in a world where the Aristocrats joke is alive and well. I like living in a world where when I hit my thumb with a hammer, I can yell out a lusty, "FUCK!" without being afraid that the PC police will bust down my door (Demolition Man, anyone?). I like living in a world where I can tool down the highway, singing "Rock and Roll Nigger" at the top of my lungs-which is the only acceptable volume for that song in the first place- without being ticketed
What worries me is that now, will they go back and change every single book that has the word nigger in it? I own a pretty decent library, and I know that several books have that word somewhere between the pages. Mark Twain, Stephen King, will they be censored? What about Alex Haley? What word will they move on to next? Or will they start putting stickers on the covers of books now, too, warning us that these books contain naughty language? Will our books dwindle down to what amounts to classified documents from the CIA, covered in black marker, with only a sentence or two peeking out?
It's scary, people.
Words don't hurt, people hurt.
This note may not be around very long; the powers that be here may deem it necessary to delete this note, or even suspend or delete my account, depending on what the rules are. If they do, good riddance. This is my free speech.
Do me a favor, if you get up in arms about this little blog here. Look up Lenny Bruce, look up George Carlin, Jonathan Swift, Benjamin Franklin, and the Bill of Rights. Read that, and weep.