Context

Publishers are editing Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” so that it may find more acceptance  within the public school environment.  They will take out the the word “nigger” and replace it with the word slave.  They will be making a few other changers along the way.

In Dr Gribben’s editions the offensive word has been changed to ‘slave’, while mentions of ‘injun’ will become ‘Indian’ and ‘half-breed’ is altered to ‘half-blood’.

I wonder what makes Dr. Gribbens believe that “half-blood” is is less offensive than “half-breed”.  It’s a shame that we can’t allow one of the greatest American Novels top be read by our children unedited in the context of the times and people it was written about.

The Dire Straits Song has now been banned in Canada because the word “faggot” was used.

The Dire Straits song “Money for Nothing” was ruled by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council to be “extremely offensive” and thus inappropriate for airing on radio or television because it uses an anti-gay slur.

The decision against St. John’s radio station CHOZ-FM in Newfoundland was released Wednesday. In it, the panel ruled that the word “faggot” “contravened the Human Rights Clauses” and its ethics code and is “no longer” permitted “even if entirely or marginally acceptable in earlier days.”

The song is about a dialog between blue collar workers and the performer. We get an interpretation from Coyote Blog

If you have never heard the song before, it may seem an odd juxtaposition at first — why does it alternate between jabs at rock stars on MTV and talk about moving appliances?  Because the song is exactly what it sounds like — Mark Knopfler overheard some workers in an appliance store watching MTV and heckling the performers they saw for being rich and spoiled and overpaid and not working very hard.

The song is interesting not just because it has a great opening that is fun to play at maximum volume, but because Knopfler is one of those guys on MTV the workers are heckling.  Does he secretly agree with them, is he hurt by them, does he find them funny?   Anyway, the word “faggot” in the piece is essentially aimed at the performers themselves — they are describing a critique they have received, repeated in all its salty blue-collar flavor.  As such the words feel utterly authentic, perhaps because they are — Knopfler reportedly grabbed a piece of scratch paper right at the store and started jotting down notes.

And then we have accusations of inflammatory talk that incites violence. The TEA parties are a product of angry Americans the speeches and talk were always about political change starting at the ballot box.  “A campaign to overthrow the government.” This taken out of context suggest violence.   Within context this reminds us of how far we have come and how far we have to go. When repeated out of context these words could be construed as a call to war.   Everyone knows the context, but some will twist the meaning just to further their own political goals or to fit it in with their own narrative.

Just Sayin’

One thought on “Context”

  1. Thank you for your Jan 16th blog. I have reposted this on my Facebook attempting to draw interest, outrage and hopefully, (but I wouldn’t bet on it), action.

    Keep up the good work!
    Betty
    Sugar Land, Tx.

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