Mark Twain Controversy

  • Aired:  01/11/11
  •  | Views: 201,379

Instead of replacing the n-word in "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," Larry Wilmore believes it should be emphasized. (5:02)

PROGRAM.

WE TURN NOW --

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

WE TURN NOW AS WE DO EVERY

TUESDAY TO LITVINENKO RAREY

NEWS -- LITERARY NEWS.

WE TURN TO MARK TWAIN'S BELOVED

ADVENTURES OF HUCKELBERRY PHINN.

WE'VE ALL READ THE BOOK.

I'M SURE THERE'S QUESTIONS

CONCERNING THE STORY.

YES, CBS NEWS.

>> ON ONE PAGE OF HUCK FINN

TWAIN WROTE THE N WORD SIX

TIMES.

SHOULD EACH ONE BE EDITED OUT

AND REPLACED WITH THE WORD

SLAVE.

>> Jon: I FEEL LIKE THAT MAY

BE A TRICK QUESTION.

I FEEL LIKE REALLY ANY ANSWER I

GIVE IS GOING TO GET IN TROUBLE.

THE PUBLISHER SAYS YES, THE NEW

SOUTH EDITION AIMS TO APPEASE OF

SENSITIVITYIES OF MODERN READERS

BY REPLACING THE WORD WITH THE

WORD SLAVE.

HERE WITH HIS PERSPECTIVE SENIOR

BLACK CORRESPONDENT LARRY WIL

WILMORE.

LARRY.

>> THANK YOU, JON.

CONGRATULATIONS ON THE

PROMOTION, JIM.

THIS IS SAY HUGE UPGRADE FROM

ANYTHINGER TO SLAVE.

THAT'S -- NIGGER TO SLAVE.

IT'S LIKE A SHOW GOING FROM THE

WB TO UPN.

>> Jon: THE EDITORS OF THIS

NEW VERSION ARE TRYING TO MAKE

THE BOOK MORE ACCESSIBLE, THEY

SAY, SO THAT IT CAN BE TAUGHT

WITHOUT MAKING STUDENTS IN THE

CLASSROOM WHO MAY BE

UNCOMFORTABLE REPEAT THE WORD

NN --

>> SORRY?

>> Jon: SO THAT THE CHILDREN

DON'T HAVE TO SAY IN THE CLASS

SAY THE NNFN --

>> SORRY JON, WHAT WORD.

>> Jon: NNN.

>> SAY IT, JON.

>> Jon: IT'S UNCOMFORTABLE.

>> IT SHOULD BE.

MARK TWAIN PUT THAT WORD IN FOR

A REASON.

THE N WORD SPEAKS TO A SOCIETY

THAT CASUALLY DEHUMANIZED BLACK

PEOPLE.

SLAVE WAS JUST A JOB

DESCRIPTION.

[LAUGHTER]

AND IT'S NOT EVEN AK REUT.

JIM IS NO LONGER A SLAVE.

HE RAN AWAY.

TWAIN'S SAYING HE CAN'T RUN AWAY

FROM BEING A NIGGER.

[ APPLAUSE ]

>> Jon: YOU HAVE TO BE PRETTY

FAST, I WOULD --

[LAUGHTER]

>> NICE ONE, JON.

NICE.

>> Jon: YOU KNOW, A LOT OF

HIGH SCHOOLS WERE REFUSING TO

TEACH THE BOOK AT ALL BECAUSE OF

THE WORDS.

ISN'T THIS MINOR CHANGE A WAY TO

EXPOSE MORE KIDS TO GOOD

LITERATURE.

>> YEAH, BUT IT'S BAD HISTORY.

AS LONG AS YOU ARE CHANGING

THINGS DON'T STOP THERE.

HUCK AND JIM LOOK SO POOR.

THE ILLUSTRATIONS ARE OFFENSIVE.

THAT'S BETTER.

THERE YOU GO.

GET THEM OUT OF THOSE DIRTY

CLOTHES.

YOU KNOW, MAN AND A BY ALONE

KIND OF CREEPY.

MAKE HUCK A HOT GIRL.

CLOTHES.

PERFECT.

[LAUGHTER]

LOOK, JON, SEE JIM IS NOT A

SLAVE, HE IS THE KING OF THE

WORLD.

YOU KNOW (bleep) IT TURN THEM

BOTH INTO TALKING ANIMALS.

THERE YOU GO.

WHO COULD BE AVENDORRED BY

THE -- AOWNED BY -- OFFENDED BY

THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY

TURTLE AND NIGGER RABBIT?

>> Jon: JUST A SIMPLE

CURIOSITY FOR ME HOW DO YOU

DECIDE WHICH ANIMAL IS --

>> YOU ARE MISSING THE POINT.

[LAUGHTER]

>> Jon: ALL RIGHT.

[LAUGHTER]

>> LOOK, USING THAT WORD DOESN'T

MAKE THE BOOK OFFENSIVE TO

TODAY'S KIDS.

THEY ARE ACCUSTOMED TO IT.

IF YOU WANT KIDS TO PICK UP A

BOOK, EMPHASIZE THAT WORD.

PIMP THE COVER.

[LAUGHTER]

YEAH.

SEE LOOK -- YOU'VE GOT A GIRL --

SAY IT'S WRITTEN BY LIL TWAIN.

IT WILL BE A YOUNG ADULT BEST

SELLER.

LEAVE JIM ALONE.

>> Jon: YOU ARE PASSIONATE IN

YOUR DEFENSE OF THE CHARACTER,

JIM.

>> I HAVE TO BE, JON, OR THEY

WOULD TAKE THE BROTHER OUT OF

THE BOOK COMPLETELY.

THEY TRIED.

THEY MADE A TV MOVIE VERSION IN

THE 1950'S THAT DID AWAY WITH

THE JIM CHARACTER COMPLETELY.

THAT IS DENNIS THE MENACE ON A

RAFT.

WHAT IS (bleep) 1950'S?

[LAUGHTER]

>> Jon: WHEN DO YOU THINK

WE'LL GET OVER THIS TOWERING

WHITEWASH OUR HISTORY?

>> NOT AS LONG AS THIS CONGRESS

IS IN SESSION, JON.

REMEMBER LAST WEEK WHEN THEY

READ THE CONSTITUTION OUT LOUD

THEY CHOSE TO LEAVE OUT THE

CLAUSE DESIGNATING SLAVES AS

THREE-FIFTHS OF A PERSON.

IT'S OUR HISTORY.

JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE EMBARRASSED

TO BE CAUGHT ON C-SPAN READING

IT DOESN'T MEAN WE CAN'T HANDLE

IT.

IT'S OKAY TO BE STEIN WITHOUT

YOUR

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