Re: Hemingway’s Politics Were No Secret—Just Read His Only Crime Novel | David Masciotra | CrimeReads

Anthony Boynton

I agree with Michael about Huck Finn. It was a brilliant attack on racism made in the language of the people of that time. If I remember correctly, Hemingway's use of the "N" word fit the time and place: Key West Florida and Cuba during the depression, but his book was not an attack against racism, rather it was an attack on the corrupt and decadent lives of the rich contrasted with the poverty and degradation of everyone else.

On Mon, Jan 10, 2022 at 3:37 PM Michael Meeropol <mameerop@...> wrote:
I don't know if the Hemingway usage captures the spirit of the times but I think the language in Huck Finn "works" --- racism is a terrible thing --- and Twain exposes it brilliantly in Huck Finn (the character of Jim is so strong that Huck cannot "pray a lie" when he tries to apologize to God for protecting Jim (a runaway) from being captured and sent back to slavery) --- and racists should use that language.

Black folks do/did too --- Read August Wilson's plays --- (I always thought the younger playwright of A NIGHT IN MIAMI reduced authrenticity when she had those four characters call each other "Negro")

WHen the TV series ROOTS was on TV it was essential that racist white folks use that language ---

WHen I would read aloud in my classes that dealt with racism, I wouldn't READ that word aloud --- but to doctor the books seems a bit silly --- It is essential to warn people about all reading, film, etc. that might seriously create flashes of pain (I guess the technical term is "trigger warnings") but the realities described in books, etc. are important.

(By the way, I always was very impressed by Mark Harris the baseball writer whose book THE SOUTHPAW introduced Henry W. Wiggen to readers --- He blanks out only Fuck and the N-word leaving bastard and other "curse" words whole --- in contrast to newspapers at the time who blanked out words like bastard but left the N-word in full print ...)

On Mon, Jan 10, 2022 at 2:30 PM Anthony Boynton <anthony.boynton@...> wrote:
It continues throughout. If you can't read Hemingway, try reading Huck Finn. The language hadn't been changed by the struggles of the 50's and 60's which made the N word into the most offensive word in the English language. Before we marched and demonstrated and fought, it was an "acceptable" part of the English language, and the Founding Fathers who had owned slaves were considered to be good guys. We have changed the world for the better in some important ways including the way we ahve changed language.

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