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Stefan Kanfer
Gribbenizing Finn « Back to Story

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Gribben is a Twain scholar by any legitimate definition; note how many times he's cited in Google Books. Right away, then, Kanfer reveals how lazy a writer he is.

Kanfer might also want to try, as a white man, to teach Huck Finn these days in multicultural high school classrooms. Of course, he has no idea what pressures real teachers face in such circumstances. It's easier -- and lazier -- to issue edicts from on high. I'd love to see him cope with the first accusation to his principal that he's a racist because he's forcing students to read the "n" word 219 times. The default response: drop the book and avoid the controversy.

"Kanferize": to pontificate while smugly ignorant. Sounds good to me!

Oscar (#9) - well put. I'm surprised that Mr. Kanfer would make such a mistake after quoting Noel Perrin, who spends several paragraphs of "Dr. Bowdler's Legacy" explaining the difference between censorship and bowdlerization.
Great article! I found myself laughing out loud when I read it. But just try to convince the moral police that they are ridiculous. And this latest example from a university English professor, no less.
But Robert, it isn't PC to say 'Ten Little Indians' anymore. It needs to be further Gribbenized to 'Ten Little Native Americans.' Oops, is Ten Little Native Americans' acceptable anymore? How about Gribbenizing the title to 'Ten Little Pre-Columbian Americans?'
After a while you just get sick of it - I thought that maybe we couldn't get any lower - wrong!
Why not change every occurrence of the offending word to "Gribben" instead of "slave?" The name "Gribben Jim" has the appropriate overtones of contempt from a self-styled ruling caste.
Where's the censorship?

Did Gribben forcibly prevent anyone from reading or writing anything he wanted? According to your article the only sin he committed was to write something you don't like. And for this you call him a censor.
One quibble. Surely Conrad's title must become The Degraded One of the Daffodil.
Maybe the good professor can do some Gribbenizing in the rap music.
D. L. Thompson et al January 08, 2011 at 12:25 PM
The unispired and the "intellect deprived" often turn their sights to the social revision and critisism of those who's contibutions to their world and ours will forever be far better regarded than that of those who try to deny it.
Love your style AND substance!
And what about Agatha Christie's 'Ten Little Niggers?' The title was Gribbenized in the US to 'Ten Little Indians'
Excellent comment, with a remarkable ending!
Ok, ok, but really it's no joke. At least we know--with this "New South"--edition (and what a can of worms THAT is) what we're buying. The amount of silent "Gribbenizing" that goes on, especailly with children's classics, is a sad loss to literature. Ever tried to buy the author's version of _Hitty_? Or _Mary Poppins_? It's a hunt, I'll tell you.
We allow "purification" of our literature but tolerate the foulest profanity in public conversations and on TV, both bleeped and ripped, and on British TV imports the words are slighted enough to pass censors. All this in the day of totally nude dancing in adult clubs, or in Portland,Oregon, fully-engaged sex acts on stage in "private" clubs. Those in ivory towers of academe should find out what the public is encountering on a daily basis off the printed page.
Fabulous piece - the best yet on the foolishness of Gibbens and NewSouth publishing. The over-the-top approach to political correctness in the 21sth century.

Think I'll read Huck aloud to my children tonight in protest!
Hm. It would be most enlightening to see Mr. Gibben's learned reaction to the book by Obama's long-time tutor and friend Comrade Frank Marshall Davis “Sex Rebel: Black” (about seducing by this proud author some 12-yrs girl)... My, my, just how many of these well-wishing henchmen I had seen in my USSR, throwing whole pages out of Steinbeck, Andre Gide, and even out of their beloved Lenin, when the guru was saying something contrary to the modern party line – but in ours ambitions of that unholy gang were limited by a short small-typed code at the end of each tortured by censors book: “E-298”, “M-470” etc. It’s so sad that today they are not ashamed of their full names any more, being respectfully called “professors” by the robbed readers – and not in some Cuba Venezuela or Iran, but in the USA!!! Rostislav, Saint-Petersburg, Russia.
Brian Richard Allen January 07, 2011 at 9:20 PM
.... Gribben has been the target of much derision recently ... although ... he has performed a valuable service ... Bowdlerizing has been the classic synonym for ignorance and inhibition (and) It’s time ... for “Gribbenizing” to replace the British term and to give censorship a fresh, postmodern twist. Who says the twenty-first can’t be another American Century ...?

Love it!