Changing words (was Re: Checking in)

Otter Perry ottertee at
Wed Feb 4 11:34:33 EST 2004

On Wednesday, February 4, 2004, at 08:43 AM, minnow at wrote:

> I wouldn't
> know if the Puffins I have of Elizabeth Enright or Edward Eager have 
> been
> altered for the British child or not, nor yet the Katy stories -- 
> though I
> think the presence of a "Katy-did" means probably not, in that 
> particular
> case, because that's not an English insect I recognised as a child

I'm sure you know that a katydid _says_ 'katydid'.  And sometimes
'katy didn't'.

>  no more
> than I knew what a "squash" was.  (Still don't, unless it's a pumpkin, 
> but
> those get turned into lanterns at Halloween so I suppose it can't be.)

Sounds like me and 'vegetable marrows'.

Actually, a moment's research
on the web tells me that a vegetable marrow is, in fact, a kind of 
though not one generally cultivated in the USofA.

A pumpkin is also a kind of squash,
but 'squash' is used for a bunch of other related things.

Here's a handy link:

> The only American book being changed for sale in England that I 
> remember
> was a fuss at one point when some dwerpie tried to mess with Huck 
> Finn, but
> I think that was more to try to make it politically correct than to 
> change
> the "strange" diction so it may have been for all readers not just for 
> the
> English.... <mass snippage> The thing that astonished me was that the 
> book
> seemed to be being viewed as
> "wrong" because it was perceived by the person who wanted to change it 
> as
> being "pro-slavery".  Or at the very least as being wrong because it
> mentioned slavery at all, and slavery was wrong so one should just keep
> quiet about it.  Or something.  Very, very strange mindset, I thought. 
>  Did
> anyone who read that book really think it was in *favour* of slavery?

I haven't read it recently enough to know whether it just accepted 
as a fact.  I certainly can't remember it being in favor.

Huckleberry Finn is problematic, to say the least.  There's a story 
about an African-
American who was attending a very prestigious New England prep school
['public school' for those who speak British English].  His class was 
Huckleberry Finn and the other boys took it as a license to use the word
'nigger' to him.  Twerps.

I generally don't like Mr. Clemens, and Huck Finn is not a book I've 
enjoyed.  I really detest the part at the end where Tom Sawyer is 
Jim around.

I think _A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur's Court_ really sucks.  And
I can't remember ever having been moved to reread _Tom Sawyer_.

I suspect Mr. Clemens is generally too robust for me.  Or something.

However, he did an essay on James Fenimore Cooper that is one of
the funniest things I have ever read.  I remember absolutely rolling on
the floor the first time I connected with it.

[Tip on American Literature and movies:  no matter how dedicated you
  are to reading books from which movies are made, do NOT bother
  to read _The Last of the Mohicans_.  It is truly dreadful.  Nobody who
  makes a movie of it follows the plot as written.]

- The first rule of holes:
    when you're in one, stop digging.

                     -- Molly Ivins

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