Jan 072011

I was going to write this in a tweet but there’s a little bit more detail than I could fit into 140 characters.

As I’m sure most of you have heard by now there is a new version of the Mark Twain novel Huckleberry Finn that has removed all references to the word “nigger” and replaced it with the word “slave.” They have also removed the word “Injun,” but I am unsure as to what they have replaced it with (I’m guessing “Indian”).

There’s a lot of folks who are up in arms over this and who want to raise the specter of Political Correctness or blame this on the Obama Administration.

Here’s some fact juice for you, sparky –

Huckleberry Finn is in the public domain. What this means, if you aren’t familiar with the term, is that it was written so long ago that the copyright has expired. This is why you can download all of Mark Twain’s work for free if you have an e-Reader. This also means that, because of the lack of copyright, anyone can publish the book and edit it to their heart’s content.

Which is exactly what one publishing company has decided to do.

If you want to read Huckleberry Finn with all the original language intact you will still be able to find a copy. The firemen have not come to take away your precious words, and Big Brother isn’t stepping in here to protect you from reading something that might be offensive.

NewSouth books thinks that there is a market in this edition, and they are putting their money into that belief. It may very well pay off for them. So, if anything, this incident is an example of our free market in action and nothing more.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go back to collecting tin foil for my new hat.

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