Friday, January 7, 2011

Alan Gribben & Samuel Clemens: Never The Twain Should Meet

Well, apparently NewSouth Books is publishing a politically correct edition of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. All racist words will be replaced by the seemingly more manageable word - slave.

I'm a writer. I chose each word with painstaking care. I equate editing to amputating a limb. I understand the social structure suicide tool: censorship.

I wanted to test my theory. I entered the words - how many editions of the bible - in the Google search engine.

I found a website: Open Directory Project. The validity of the site isn't important. I just wanted a list.

* American Standard Version (4)
* Amplified Bible (1)
* Authorized Version (3)
* Douay-Rheims@ (6)
* English Standard Version (8)
* King James Version@ (3)
* New American Standard Bible (8)
* New English Translation (3)
* New English Translation of the Septuagint (3)
* New International Version (4)
* New King James Version (5)
* New Living Translation (2)
* New Revised Standard Version (8)
* Orthodox Study Bible (6)
* Revised Standard Version (6)
* The Message (4)
* Today's New International Version (6)
* World English Bible (4)
* Young's Literal Translation (3)

- Whether or not one believes in God isn't the point.
- Whether or not one believes God wrote the bible is the point, but let's move past that controversy.
- Whether or not one believes ancient sexist caucasian men wrote the bible isn't the point.
- No one can argue the historical importance of the Holy Bible. And yet look how many times it's been altared, altered, changed, diluted, adapted, and censored.

Shouldn't the Holy Bible be revered in its original translation? Should words of such historical (we're ignoring its theological impact here) importance be exempt from excising according to the lines of political or societal pressure?

And yet where's the controversy? Where's the societal uproar?

How many times is the bible misquoted? How many times are the words twisted to suit a theology? How many arguments are debated in homes & halls when biblical text is used to beat obedience or ignorance into others?

And yet where's the controversy? Where's the societal uproar?

Just for the record - I think it's morally wrong to change the words of any text one didn't author.

Always.

It's a lie.

NewSouth Books is going to bear false witness against Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) and attribute forged words to his hand. Since Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) chose each word so carefully he even altered his name, his selections should be honored. Publishing an abbreviated or edited edition of Huckleberry Finn with Twain's name as author is a lie and false advertising.

The book's editor, Alan Gribben, should feel ashamed for his actions. His actions are simply the coveting of Twain's fame and the theft of Twain's authentic legacy.