NEW YORK -- While sorting through the perennial lip-pursing tempest about a certain word in Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" -- the "N-word," as we now say it -- I turned for inspiration to the master himself.
"The difference between the almost-right word & the right word is … the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning," Twain wrote.
The latest affront on Twain's word selection, replacing that N-word with "slave," to protect the sensibilities of moderns is the work of a well-intentioned heretic. What was it someone or other said? The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Then again, Twain himself recommended Heaven for the climate and Hell for the company.
That some teachers and librarians find Twain offensive is regrettable. But let's be clear: These facts are an indictment of teachers and librarians who should find another line of work, not that Twain needs fixin'.
But selectively editing literature, like history, is denial by any other name. When it comes to denial and truth, as everyone knows, never the Twain shall meet.