Cover via Amazon
I love books. I have too many (if that’s possible) and I particularly like the classics, like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and the Adventures of Tom Sawyer. My very old copies of these books among others, sit behind glass in an old barrister bookcase in a place of honor. The reason I like the classics is because they give us a glimpse into what was.
So, it was with great sadness and shock that I read recently in the New York Times and Publishers Weekly that an editor, Alan Gribben, a reported Mark Twain scholar at Auburn University took it upon himself to change the written word of Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain). He struck all mention of the word “nigger” and “injun Joe” in the books and replaced them with the words slave and indian. Why any “scholar” would think that these words are interchangeable is beyond my comprehension. Sometime in February the new politically correct, whitewashed version of these books will be published by NewSouth Books for student/classroom use.
Gribben said he felt a need for this change because many teachers felt “uncomfortable” teaching this book to students because of the words “nigger” and “injun”. Well, we should all feel uncomfortable with these words but the teachers are missing the boat on making it a teachable moment in explaining to kids just what it was like over 100 years ago. It was not a pretty time in our history of how blacks were treated, whitewashing the words does not wipeout what was done. This is not like the re-make of an old movie, this is distorting history to make things look better than they really were. This is falsifying Mark Twain’s words so the teachers of today can feel more comfortable. Here is a passage from the forward page of my old Huckleberry Finn book written by the author:
“In this book a number of dialects are used, to wit: the Missouri negro dialect; the extremest form of the backwoods. South-Western dialect; the ordinary Pike County dialect; and four modified varieties of this last. The shadings have not been done in a haphazard fashion, or by guesswork; but pains-takingly, and with the trustworthy guidance and support of personal familiarity with these several forms of speech. I make this explanation for the reason that without it many readers would suppose that all these characters were trying to talk alike and not succeeding. The Author.”
Since both books are in the public domain and long past their copyright, Gribben can make changes and the publisher, NewSouth, can print tons of copies and make big bucks distributing to schools where the books have been banned or simply not taught because of fear of reality. In the mean time, kids everywhere will still want to gets their hands on the original because it has been “banned” or changed, just like I did as a kid with Lolita and Lady Chatterley’s Lover. And of course, maybe they won’t understand it as well as if a teacher had taken the time to explain the history, culture and vernacular of 1884 and how far we have come.
But, I’m sure for NewSouth Books this is just the tip of the iceberg. I can see them with dollar signs in their eyes now, going after Uncle Tom’s Cabin and turning it into a condo.
The morning ABC gabfest known as “The View“, where differing views are supposed to be welcome, according to Barbara Walters on an early promo for the show, probably could use a new promo. It should read something like; “If Whoopi Goldberg or Joy Behar don’t like your view, then they will take their toys…er I mean views and walk off the stage and embarrass themselves and the show, because they are not bright enough or quick witted enough to stand their ground against opposing forces.” Or bullies like Bill O’Reilly.
The guy is a big bag of wind and they let him command the show this week like it was his own. I mean, four women against one guy (I don’t count Elisabeth Hasselbeck) and he still came out a winner even if you totally disagreed with what he said. Just in case you haven’t seen or heard what happened this week on The View, even though it has been on every news, radio and comedy program in the last 24 hours, probably worldwide, in a nutshell: O’Reilly came on the show and mentioned that 70% of people don’t want the a mosque in the area of the 9/11 tragedy. He said Muslims attacked us and most people don’t want a mosque there as a memory. Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg went nuts and said he should have said “terrorist Muslims” and not just said Muslims because it was not right to defame all Muslims. He said he wasn’t defaming all Muslims and that everyone knows that it was terrorist Muslims that attacked us. In other words it was semantics.
I watched the show as it happened and Barbara Walters looked, flustered and upset. She apologized to viewers and stated that her colleagues should not have walked out. Evidently O’Reilly apologized (according to Behar) and they came back on the set but Behar would not sit next to him as she had been previously and moved her seat. They supposedly left because they said they were upset by his words.
But, the part I don’t get besides the totally unprofessional antics of walking off their own show is; Why would these two liberals (Goldberg and Behar) not stick around and push their liberal agenda in his face? Aren’t liberals supposed to be tolerant? Aren’t liberals supposed to stand up and fight for what is right? Instead they walked out making themselves look so foolish, I could hardly believe my eyes. They didn’t even try to kick him on their way out or say anything meaningful or smart or even clever (and these two are comedians). They let O’Reilly get the upper hand on their own show. Walters knew it immediately and had to be ready to kill these two.
In the heat of the arguing before Goldberg and Behar left, O’Reilly was very condescending to Behar and at one point even told her to “listen and you might learn ” instead of coming back with a caustic comment or quip that she is known for, she childishly stuck her fingers behind his head in a ridiculous display not suitable for ANY talk show host on National TV. This was teenage stuff. I was embarrased for her.
I’ve never been a Bill O’Reilly fan and I do occasionally watch the view. I’m still not an O’Reilly fan and my View watching days are over. If I wanted to watch screaming and yelling I could turn on Springer, at least they are real white trash. Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar are phony liberals and classless acts at that.
I figure a headline like the one above should have Fox, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS and maybe even Geraldo knocking on my door in minutes , for the scoop of a lifetime. I mean, it worked for that nutcase Florida pastor Terry Jones from the Dove Outreach Church. (What does that mean anyway? Are they all running around catching doves? Call PETA quick).
Anyway, when Jones decided he needed his 15 minutes of fame he grabbed a few Qurans (Muslim holy books) and said he was going to burn them on 9/11. And bingo, the guy was a made-for-TV evangelist. One day you are a nobody with next to nobody in your cult/church and the next day you are a force to be reckoned with thanks to our main stream mess media that is having a slow news day, or week or just sitting around with their laptops waiting for the next big non-scoop.
This would be comical if it wasn’t so sad. Can you imagine a real pro newsman like Walter Cronkite, in the face of this nutcase pastor, even giving him the time of day? I mean, this is less important that Paris Hilton thinking that the crack cocaine that fell out of her purse was chewing gum. This is even less important than anything Jon Gosselin ever did, said or wore. This is more embarrassing than Geraldo Rivera’s opening up that vault years ago on National TV and finding NOTHING. This is more embarrassing than Glenn Beck crying and Sarah Palin whining.
Our enlightened media literally turned a nothing pastor and his idiotic tiny tribe of kool-aid, loser followers into a national comment frenzy as anyone who is running for anything, that could even remotely be construed as political had to have their voice heard on this “issue”. It’s as if the “balloon boy madness” won’t go away. The press is so easily duped that it bleeds a non-story until the President of The United States has to get involved. And I’m pretty sure he should be focusing his attention on the economy, the war, jobs, greedy banks, slime-ball insurance companies and well-real issues.
So, I have decided that as a writer that regularly does freelance writing for AOL websites among others, I am up to spreading my wings, as it were. I’ve figured out that If I burn something they (the main stream mess media) will come and I will become famous just long enough to nab a book publisher or write an article for Oprah magazine. Since today, September 11, is “No News is Good News Day” I have decided to burn my old press card, which is sure to incite an international something-or-other. Or, at the very least get me on a talk show.
The big guns are out to get us. No, not the too big to fail banks or the health care industry oe even the greedy insurance companies. They already screwed us. But, now we have yet another industry in search of de-regulation , privatization, and the right to do what they want; our cable and internet carriers. In other words AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon among others are lobbying our legislators to privatize the internet and its content. In a nutshell ; limit what we can do and see on the internet without paying someone-like them.
Think about how much we presently have to pay to watch re-runs of Gilligans Island, fake news programming (Fox News) and supposed reality TV? Even if you throw in some decent programming and sports the basic package at Comcast is about $59.00. That is without any premium movie channels (where they basically give a few new movies a month and show them over and over again ad-nauseum. It can easily top $100. That is without internet service which for most companies runs $25. and up.
If the internet was privatized and had no regulations then “the big guns” could decide what we have access to. Instead of having total access to the World Wide Web, it could conceivably be only access to “the wonderful world of Comcast”. If you wanted to jump to my blog rants for instance, I would either be gone because I couldn’t pay their fee or you would have to pay a fee to see my blog and we all know that’s not going to happen. When these carriers talk about de-regulation, make no mistake that they mean a no-rules free-for-all for them. They would be able to block content, treat a legitimate site like spam and not allow it through or charge special fees to watch free TV on the internet.
Right now on the internet we experience what is called “net neutrality”. Which means those that own the “stuff” that connects all of us to the internet cannot restrict the sites and content we download. Under net neutrality the nations “big guns” cannot reserve preferential bandwidth for those sites and services that make them more money. Under net neutrality service providers cannot charge businesses for access to online customers. So, I can buy an antique on Ebay or a pair of shoes from Annie’s Shoe Hut, and big outfit or a small, it is my choice. Without net neutrality, they push Annies to the back burner or out the cyber door. Not enough money for the service providers.
Anyone who works or plays on the internet needs to know about this. A good resource is www.savemyinternet.com , where you get a FREE manual all about this. It is a communications guide released today by the non-profit research center Harmony Institute. It gives you a much better picture than I can of just what there is for us to lose if net neutrality falls by the wayside and ISP’s control the internet. Tell everyone you know about this or someday we’ll all say, how did this happen? Just like we did with the economy.
Wow, it’s hot on the back burner. But, not as hot as being in front of the Capitol Hill gang, the President of the United States and millions of Americans who would dearly love to spend five minutes alone with British Petroleum’s CEO Tony Hayward. Hayward you may remember, endeared himself to the general public by whining to reporters recently concerning the gulf oil spill by stating “I’d like my life back” when asked about the scale of the disaster and the time it has taken to do basically, nothing of any consequence.
In an interview Friday with Sky News , BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg said Hayward will be turning over control of the day-to-day operations of the gulf spill disaster to BP Managing Director Robert Dudley. Svanberg did say that Hayward’s comments to reporters after the Deepwater Horizon Disaster had hurt the company. Most Americans however, find their sympathy lies with the families of the 11 people killed in the disaster, the wildlife lost, more lost jobs and businesses and the eco system. BP and/or Hayward aren’t even on the list.
When Hayward spoke to Congress on Thursday his babblespeak even baffled Congress, that in itself a surprise. Congress too is known to speak in a political jargon unknown to outsiders but they could not seem to make heads or tails out of Hayward’s lack of answers on the oil spill. Evidently Hayward played the old game of ducking and evading questions, said he had no knowledge of the planning that went into the Deepwater Horizon rig and refused to comment on why he thought it exploded. I don’t know why Congress found this frustrating, as Americans we get this same “I don’t know” stuff all the time from our elected politicians, we are pretty much used to it. In this case it is just a big business, greedy corporate CEO, surely they can deal with it.
Svanberg said that Hayward was going to initially be the face of the company during the disaster but since the oil spill has grown more political they are changing their tack. Oh please, this is just another word for spin. Since we have all grown to realize Hayward cares more about himself and the company than people, they need to quickly change it up. This is straight from the public relations 101 book.
So while we have crude oil gushing into the Gulf Of Mexico, we have a crude company trying out their new “tack” on us. President Barack Obama has asked for a $20 billion fund to compensate victims and hopefully these people with get some money before their next “tack”, which will probably be bankruptcy or handing out free shares of BP stock.