January 12, 2011

Jon Stewart on the Mark Twain N-Word Controversy

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What is the issue?

On last night’s episode of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart and always-insightful Senior Black Correspondent Larry Wilmore tackled the issue of the so-called “sanitization” of Huck Finn. This is old news in the blogosphere but, surprise, surprise, JStew and Wilmore have some important contributions to make to the conversation.

You shoulda put a toga on it

The word “nigger” makes us uncomfortable and, as Wilmore says, it should. After all, it is a clear reminder of America’s casual dehumanization of black people. But Twain’s inclusion of the word doesn’t make Huck Finn any less of a Great American Novel; if anything, it adds to the book’s greatness. Moreover, it’s scary to think of a future where art and literature, the only avenues through which we are free to openly examine society, are marred by political correctness. One minute we’re politically-correct-ifying Huck Finn, next we’re putting a toga on the Venus de Milo. TC mark

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