I remember when I was a kid, going back to school after a break was probably the greatest torture adults could ever devise for someone my age. My mom always knew to make my favorite breakfast and steer clear of me on that first day back, since I'd usually be a massive grouch the entire day. Ohhhhh how things change when you get older and start liking what you study infinitely more than what you do for a living.
Classes started back up on Monday, and just like first quarter, after the first couple of days getting acclimated to the new content and class structure (and touching base with my new groups), I'm realizing I'm in for one hell of a semester. The thing that excites me, though, is that I feel like we've gotten past the appetizer that was first quarter and are finally getting down to the meat and potatoes of the degree. I have really missed working in reference at Linfield over the past two years, and now I'm going to be learning the structure and methods behind what I did as a student worker! At times during my brief ref worker tenure, I felt like I was doing something (and doing it relatively well) without the proper understanding of how and why it worked. I'm really hoping these two classes will help fill in those gaps and give me a good foundation for where I'd like to start out before heading towards administration: reference librarianship in a medical or science library.
So in other news, I realized after having coffee with a friend last night that I'm slightly behind on the whole Huck Finn censorship drama that's playing out at the moment. From what I understand, a publishing house in Alabama is combining forces with a Twain scholar to publish an edition of the many-times-banned The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn that removes the "n word" and replaces it with "slave". People are outraged. Here's my take:
We live in a free country. If one publishing house wants to print one edition of a novel that is censored in some way, they are entirely free to do so. In my opinion, it isn't even that much of a censoring - replacing a derogatory racial slur with a socially acceptable word that still encapsulates one of the most shameful periods of our history admirably is fine by me. It isn't like NewSouth is trying to replace "n****r" with "African American" or some other politically correct term. And quite honestly, if the n-word is the sole reason this book isn't getting into the hands of more junior high and high school students, then by all means put out a slightly altered version that won't piss off close-minded, uptight parents and school boards. They are editing out one word. In one edition. They are not editing the content or controversial subject matter of the novel, nor are they launching a campaign to stamp out the n-word from all copies of Huck Finn ever printed. If a kid wants to get his/her hands on an unaltered copy, all they'd have to do is wander down to their local library or bookstore and pick up one of the HUNDREDS of unaltered versions.
Censorship of any kind is a definite sore spot for me - the second I was old enough to comprehend the idea of a Banned Books list, I immediately went to the library to try and track down as many of them as I could. So don't get me wrong - I am 100% against the idea that anyone in a position of authority can deny the rights of others to read or watch or listen to any controversial material. But that isn't what's happening here. What's happening here is an interesting kind of reverse censorship that I find both fascinating and entirely blown out of proportion. Let NewSouth print their version of Huck Finn. Let whoever would like to read it do so. In the meantime, please just stop talking about how this one edition of Huck Finn is going to be a giant leap backwards in the fight against censorship and banning books, because that argument is total crap. But that's just my opinion. I'd be curious to hear what you all think about it!
Whew. Okay. Mini censorship rant over. Think I'll play a little Machinarium before heading to bed. Lots of good beer and good company to look forward to this weekend. ^_^