Replacing the Word ‘N-Word’ With Robot in Huckleberry Finn

Online fundraising spaces like Kickstarter and Indiegogo can provide the keys to cool creative projects for writers, artists, comedians, whoever.

This is the best one that I’ve seen yet.

Just watch the video. Here’s some text from their Kickstarter page for good measure:

But this classic novel has been banned from many schools and libraries ever since its first publication, originally because it portrayed the African American character Jim as being human and now because of the book’s use of the word “n-word” over two hundred times.

Publisher NewSouth Books is attempting to get the book back on library shelves and in classrooms by publishing a new version that removes the controversial word “n-word” and replaces it with the word “slave.”

Critics are calling this “censorship” and “whitewashing of history.” We call it “not far enough.”

Robots instead of N-bombs: Statistically, people prefer robots to the word “n-word.” The word “n-word” is ugly and pejorative. Robots are fun and cool…even when they’re trying to take over our world! So we’ve decided to take the word “n-word” out of Mark Twain’s classic and replace it with “robot.”

Why robots? Well, there’s no denying it: robots are “in” right now. The film “Transformers” made over $708 million around the world. The film “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” made over $800 million dollars. The last film version of Huckleberry Finn only brought in $24 million dollars. Even accounting for inflation (which we frankly don’t know how to do), it’s clear that robots are more popular than Huckleberry Finn.

And that’s a MOVIE, not a book.

But why not vampires? They’re “in” too, aren’t they? Good point, hypothetical question asker. Vampires are “in.” But replacing the word “n-word” with vampire would be silly. Robots have a long history in literature and popular culture of being used as a metaphor for slavery and oppression. Replacing the black characters with robots in the book will maintain the integrity of MOST of Mark Twain’s themes. It will also make the book more attractive to racists who wouldn’t ordinarily read a book sympathetic to the plight of African Americans in the Antebellum South. And this is really about getting more people to read the book.

Sean Cranbury is the Executive Editor of Books on the Radio. He's also Founder and Creative Director of the Real Vancouver Writers' Series. Sean is General Manager at the legendary Storm Crow Tavern and consults with literary arts organizations on digital communications strategies.

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