There has been plenty of press about the new expurgated edition of Huckleberry Finn, which replaces the word "nigger" (used over 200 times throughout the book) with the word "slave". Most of the commentary has repeated the usual objections to this type of censorship - about the dangers of tinkering with the author's intent, about the lack of authenticity that results when language that is very much of its time and place is subject to the different standards of a different era, etc. An editorial by James Taranto in yesterday's Wall Street Journal also pointed out the obvious fact that the words nigger and slave are not, in fact, interchangeable.
It took Steven Colbert, however, to point out that the censorship just may not have gone far enough!
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Huckleberry Finn Censorship|
Thanks to Michael at the Travelin' Librarian for sharing!
I don't normally post twice in one day, but somehow I had missed this excellent contribution to the discussion from Clay Shirky that my friend Genesis passed on via a comment on my post earlier today and thought it was worth sharing.
Definitely worth a read.
What do works by William Shakespeare, Shel Silverstein, Charles Dickens, Laura Ingalls Wilder, William Faulkner, Maya Angelou and Dante have in common? All have been banned from a library at some point. What else do they have in common? They are on many school reading lists and as a result are among the most heavily circulated books at PVLD!
This week libraries across the country are commemorating Banned Books Week, and PVLD is joining in to make people aware of what might be lost when books are banned. We've typically had a somewhat low-key display of banned books, but this year we're doing something a bit more interactive...and perhaps a bit edgier -
A mock pyre has been located in a highly trafficked area near the Reference Desk at Peninsula Center Library. Adjacent to the pyre is a display of a number of books that have baeen banned at some time in the past. Each book has a tag with the reason it was banned. Ten of the books also have a certificate for a small prize inside! Many of the librarians are sporting t-shirts reading "Closing books shuts out ideas"...and last week some of them posed for this great shot! If you are interested in learning about what you might have missed out on if the censors had their way, stop by the Peninsula Center Library!
A mock pyre has been located in a highly trafficked area near the Reference Desk at Peninsula Center Library. Adjacent to the pyre is a display of a number of books that have baeen banned at some time in the past. Each book has a tag with the reason it was banned. Ten of the books also have a certificate for a small prize inside!
Many of the librarians are sporting t-shirts reading "Closing books shuts out ideas"...and last week some of them posed for this great shot!
If you are interested in learning about what you might have missed out on if the censors had their way, stop by the Peninsula Center Library!
On Saturday, September 29th at 3PM t PVLD will be screening the new documentary The Hollywood Librarian at the Peninsula Center Library. We are one of several dozen libraries across the country showing this film during its debut in honor of Banned Books Week - and as far as we know we are the only LA-area library that will be showing it!
Want to see more? Join us on the 29th! Details can be found at http://www.pvld.org/events/hwlibrarian.html
There is a modest admission charge ($8 for adults age 12-60, $5 for kids age 6-12 and older adults over age 60, and free to librarians, library school students, PVLD volunteers, and kids 5 and under) - proceeds benefit the Peninsula Friends of the Library.
Space is limited and reservations are required - please call 310-33-9584 x601 to reserve your tickets.
Librarians and library school students who are interested in a tour of our Annex for teens (and now open for older adults) are welcome to meet at the entrance to the Peninsula Center Library Community Room at 2:15PM on the 29th.
As libraries wrestle with Internet filtering, whether to allow MySpace, and how to respond to concerna about award-winning kids books that contain a technically correct reference to a certain part of the male anatomy, I thought the following were timely:
1. From the "Cool Cat Teacher Blog" http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/2007/02/including-classmate-with-leukemia.html (thanks to Stephen Abrams for the reference):
We do not outlaw hammers, nails, or fists -- we teach people to use them properly.
2. From Susan Patron, Los Angeles Public Librarian and author of this year's Newberry award-winning and unexpectedly controversial "The Power of Lucky":(apologies for the formatting glitches!)