Photo by Edward F. Palm)

About Me

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Forest, Virginia, United States
A long time ago, my sophomore English teacher, Father William Campbell, saw something in my writing and predicted that I would someday become a newspaper columnist. He suggested the perfect title for my column--"Leaves of the Palm." Now that I have a little extra time on my hands I've decided to put Father Campbell's prediction to the test. I'm going to start using this blog site not just to reprint opinion pieces I've published elsewhere but to try to get more of my ideas and opinions out there. Feedback is welcome. To find out more about me, please check out my Web site: www.EdwardFPalm.com (Click on any of the photos below for an enlarged view.)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Huck Finn Controversy

(I couldn't resist weighing in on this one.)

Readers of George Orwell’s 1984 may remember that Big Brother’s society employs bureaucrats charged with deleting from the language words the government deems unsuitable.  Kudos to Harvard’s Professor Alan Gribben for bringing us one step closer to the future Orwell envisioned by editing the N-word out of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  But as long as we are going to hide the ugly truth about nineteenth-century Americans and their use of that offensive word, let’s not half-step.  Let’s sanitize some other inconvenient truths of American history and culture. 
       We could change the history books to reflect that the Plains Indians grew tired of their migratory lifestyle and petitioned the United States government to establish, and restrict them to, reservations.
         Likewise, we could declare that West Coast Americans of Japanese descent demanded to be placed in protective custody during World War II.  
         And, while we are at it, why not revise the embarrassing history of slavery itself, recasting slaves as disadvantaged day laborers?  But that would require New South Books to hold the presses and to send Orwellian “Newspeak” advocate Gribben back to the text with his blue pen. --EFP


J. David Bell said...

Well said, Ed! The bowdlerizing of texts such as Huck Finn is disturbing not only because it distorts the evils of the past but because it disguises the evils of the present. We're not a race-blind society today, not by a long shot, and you can't pretend we are by expunging words from works of literature.

b w wicks said...

Jon stewart show ii jan 2011

Edward F. Palm said...

Thanks for bringing the John Stewart segment to my attention. It's great. I only hope that Professor Gribben saw it. --EFP