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acockey
02-07-2013, 08:09 PM
If Sammuel Clemens was a member of the AW community what your advice be to him about using the N word in Huckleberry Finn?

Torgo
02-07-2013, 08:11 PM
If Sammuel Clemens was a member of the AW community what your advice be to him about using the N word in Huckleberry Finn?

I'd tell him not to censor himself.

SomethingOrOther
02-07-2013, 08:18 PM
I wouldn't give Sammuel Clemens, or Mmark Twain for that matter, any advice. He could handle himmself.

Buffysquirrel
02-07-2013, 08:20 PM
I still remember writers in another community congratulating another writer on their 'courage' in using the N-word in their Twain f/a/n/f/i/c h/o/m/a/g/e prequel. Left a sour taste in my mouth at the time. But now I've seen The N-Word of the Narcissus, maybe it was courageous after all.

Honesty is the best policy?

Rhoda Nightingale
02-07-2013, 08:41 PM
If he were a new writer asking advice about the use of the N-word nowadays, that'd be one thing. But he's not. He's an old dead guy who wrote in the context of his own time. I'm not a fan of retroactive censorship, even if it's for a good cause.

Bufty
02-07-2013, 08:46 PM
So...you're not a facilitator. Don't be coy. What would your advice be?


If Sammuel Clemens was a member of the AW community what your advice be to him about using the N word in Huckleberry Finn?

shakeysix
02-07-2013, 08:51 PM
I would not dare to give any established writer advice, especially not one of Twain's stature. And I would make sure I spelled any writer's name correctly.

Stacia Kane
02-07-2013, 08:52 PM
Why would he need my advice on it? Why in the world would I be giving him advice on it, and not someone writing now who asked for my advice?

And my "advice" to him would be the same as it would to any writer: If it's necessary for the character or story, do it. I was a bit uncomfortable using words like "dago" in the first Downside book, but that's what the character said. That's the type of character he was. To censor such words just because I don't like them would have been false.

It made a point about him. It showed the reader something about him. It showed the reader something important about the world and the other characters, as well, which couldn't have been shown had he said something else.


Also, this:


I wouldn't give Sammuel Clemens, or Mmark Twain for that matter, any advice. He could handle himmself.


Personally, I prefer to give advice to people who are actually members here and who ask for it, rather than playing pointless fantasy games where I'm Mark Twain's writing advisor presuming to help him write his literary masterpieces, or where I'm hanging out with celebrities who don't actually write books at all but want my advice on the subject. But that may be just me.

Stacia Kane
02-07-2013, 08:52 PM
So...you're not a facilitator. Don't be coy. What would your advice be?


Yes, I'm curious about this, too.

acockey
02-07-2013, 09:03 PM
"Personally, I prefer to give advice to people who are actually members here and who ask for it, rather than playing pointless fantasy games where I'm Mark Twain's writing advisor presuming to help him write his literary masterpieces, or where I'm hanging out with celebrities who don't actually write books at all but want my advice on the subject. But that may be just me."
@Stacia but your a fantasy writer..so isn't it your job to fantasize :P

mirandashell
02-07-2013, 09:14 PM
Exactly. It's her job. She gets paid for it. So why should she do it for free?

acockey
02-07-2013, 09:17 PM
@mirandashell because I enjoy free things?

mirandashell
02-07-2013, 09:21 PM
Don't we all? But that doesn't mean we can demand them.

acockey
02-07-2013, 09:25 PM
I was in no way demanding stacia comment fully... I was being sarcastic

mirandashell
02-07-2013, 09:29 PM
It is very hard to tell if someone is being sarcastic on a message board. And I speak from experience as one of the most sarcastic people you will ever meet.

Smilies are your friend.

Medievalist
02-07-2013, 09:30 PM
I was in no way demanding stacia comment fully... I was being sarcastic

You might try this next time:

:sarcasm

Please note you are thus far failing to amuse; this does not bode well.

I present for your personal edification and delection:

Goodbye Huck Fin (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=45375&highlight=huckleberry)

mirandashell
02-07-2013, 09:31 PM
That's the one.

And this is the humorous sarcasm one: :tongue

Sheryl Nantus
02-07-2013, 09:48 PM
Who is Sammuel Clemens?

I've heard of Samuel Clemens...

:D

(Yes, yes - I get that you're all pissy about being told that your rape idea for a YA fantasy wasn't the greatest thing since sliced bread so you're going to start a thread somehow connecting to Clemens and the N word. Here's a free hint - people aren't that stupid to fall into this obvious trap.)

quicklime
02-07-2013, 09:54 PM
If Sammuel Clemens was a member of the AW community what your advice be to him about using the N word in Huckleberry Finn?

1. not to censor himself

2. Sam, you are writing a book a hundred years ago--write how you will, and in a manner that fits the times, but know the fact you use so much phonetic dialect is going to start lots of discussions later about how come you could do it and people writing in 2013 can't....

quicklime
02-07-2013, 09:56 PM
@mirandashell because I enjoy free things?


i see this glib flippance, especially if Sheryl is correct about its source, getting you some time off yet cockney...

*facepalm for even answering the OP

Stacia Kane
02-07-2013, 09:57 PM
"Personally, I prefer to give advice to people who are actually members here and who ask for it, rather than playing pointless fantasy games where I'm Mark Twain's writing advisor presuming to help him write his literary masterpieces, or where I'm hanging out with celebrities who don't actually write books at all but want my advice on the subject. But that may be just me."
@Stacia but your a fantasy writer..so isn't it your job to fantasize :P


Not about silliness like this, no.

acockey
02-07-2013, 10:04 PM
@Sheryl I am not being pissy about that, in fact, just the opposite, I created the thread to get away from that one..

To imply that I am walking around this board setting traps for people is ridiculous, please review my breadth of posting before you make a judgement call about me

@ Macallister lock thread the other one covers the same ground

quicklime
02-07-2013, 10:11 PM
@Sheryl I am not being pissy about that, in fact, just the oppisite, I created the thread to get away from that one..


I guess I share her confusion on the logic of this then.....


in any case, what was done a hundred, or thousand, years ago is, at times, irrelevant to what is today. Which is part of why I choose Microsoft word over berry stains on cave walls and part of why Clemens used a different style than is likely to find a market today.

There's some core issues, like "tell an engaging story" that are eternal, and most of what changes is window-dressing around that (good luck submitting a "contemporary fiction" tale in Elizabethan english because Shakespeare did it, but star-crossed lovers hit the NYT almost every week). Now as far as the n-word, I have it in a work right now. Because one of my guys is white trash and deeply racist...so he isn't gonna say "fucking African-Americans trying to establish their own sense of self in loud and obnoxious trends such as sagging," he's gonna say "fucking niggers with their pants hanging off their ass-crack." And that's how I will write it to be true to my character, although I know if someone who is black, especially a person I like, reads it I will cringe right into my fucking shoes...

So, by now I am pretty mystified as to your actual agenda, but there you have it--I'd tell Clemens to use the N-word, and I use it today, for similar reasons. It certainly isn't an endorsement of the sentiment, but a recognition of the character. Help any?

acockey
02-07-2013, 10:18 PM
@quicklime my agenda is to itch the mind of the writers on this board

CaroGirl
02-07-2013, 10:22 PM
I would certainly be niggardly in any advice I would give to Samuel Clemens about his writing.

His work is of his time and now timeless. If I were to write a story set at the same time and place, covering similar subject matter, it would be inauthentic to not use the N-word.

Sheryl Nantus
02-07-2013, 10:23 PM
@quicklime my agenda is to itch the mind of the writers on this board

What does that mean? "to itch"?

And trust me, we can generate discussions without prompts. We do it all the time.

:)

Bufty
02-07-2013, 10:28 PM
After reading all your empty posts it's my foot that's beginning to itch.


...my agenda is to itch the mind of the writers on this board

acockey
02-07-2013, 10:33 PM
define "empty posts"?

CaroGirl
02-07-2013, 10:37 PM
define "empty posts"?

define "my agenda is to itch the mind"

quicklime
02-07-2013, 10:37 PM
@quicklime my agenda is to itch the mind of the writers on this board


about the n-word or rape?

was your n-word question answered, or were we suitably scratched, yet?


because a person trying to stimulate discussion is arguably attempting to "scratch the mind of the board" but so is someone with a vendetta trying to argue their case....and so is a troll. This exercise feels more like one of the latter than the first case.

shakeysix
02-07-2013, 10:37 PM
to itch the minds? What the hell does that even mean? Obviously I have stumbled into something unpleasant and ongoing. Adios all --s6

Cyia
02-07-2013, 10:39 PM
Empty posts:

Under guise of starting conversation or engaging the board in some hypothetical, a poster does nothing but give short one or two sentence answers not relating to the topic at hand. If the poster is interested in the topic, s/he should have an opinion on it, and since s/he starts the 'discussion", their opinion should be stated.

Said person obviously monitors the thread, as they jump in with their non-answers after many posts, but they don't ENGAGE in it with respect to what s/he asked/posited. They expect answers, but have never fulfill that obligation themselves.

acockey
02-07-2013, 10:40 PM
ok well this day for me has been craptacular day of my making..ill be back in a week... I dont know how to lock a thread or request so if someone could do it for me that would be great

@cyia thank you for the heads up I will endeavor to do better

Xelebes
02-07-2013, 11:14 PM
I think you should think twice about using the word "negro" or any of its derivatives as it is an inflammatory word that evokes fear due to current usage being associated with violence. I also have other concerns about your portrayals of folks who would be offended by the term "negro" as being second class citizens, destitute in poverty and low class stature; consider removing these characters from your story.


(Italics for facetiousness and sarcasm.)

AW Admin
02-08-2013, 12:05 AM
@quicklime my agenda is to itch the mind of the writers on this board

Well, you're failing abysmally then.

What you have managed to do is attract my attention—and that doesn't bode well.

If you're here to troll, or engage in performance art, you're not welcome, and I'll be quite happy to show you the door.

If you're interested in genuine, honest intelligent conversation around writing, we'd love to have you, and would be delighted to see you engage.

Buffysquirrel
02-08-2013, 12:49 AM
I find Stacia's objections all very reasonable, but then I can't help wondering, if you don't want to engage with the topic, why post in the thread?

Then I start thinking, well, I probably do that all the time.

Ken
02-08-2013, 01:06 AM
If Sammuel Clemens was a member of the AW community --

... he would probably get banned within half an hour. He'd call someone an idiot, have countless arguments, insult 10 people in ten minutes, threaten to fight someone, etc. That's the impression I get from bios on him I've read. The guy was cantankerous and opinionated. Many brilliant and super talented people are like that in one way or another, going by bios I've read. But I guess because of how talented they are you make allowances. Or you just read their books and have nothing to do with them personally. With the n-word, I hate the term, passionately, but don't fault clemens for using it. It was part of people's speech at the time and he was striving for an accurate portrayal.

Stacia Kane
02-08-2013, 01:34 AM
I find Stacia's objections all very reasonable, but then I can't help wondering, if you don't want to engage with the topic, why post in the thread?


I guess you missed this?




And my "advice" to him would be the same as it would to any writer: If it's necessary for the character or story, do it. I was a bit uncomfortable using words like "dago" in the first Downside book, but that's what the character said. That's the type of character he was. To censor such words just because I don't like them would have been false.

It made a point about him. It showed the reader something about him. It showed the reader something important about the world and the other characters, as well, which couldn't have been shown had he said something else.

Buffysquirrel
02-08-2013, 01:45 AM
I guess you missed this?

Very likely. I can be a dumb sqrl at times.

Sarita
02-08-2013, 02:08 AM
If Sammuel Clemens was a member of the AW community what your advice be to him about using the N word in Huckleberry Finn?

I'd say, "Thanks for writing so many wonderful works and inspiring the name of my first child. Now, why is it you don't like Jane Austen (who inspired the name for my second child)?"

Buffysquirrel
02-08-2013, 02:11 AM
Jane Austen wrote about teh girly things.

lolchemist
02-08-2013, 06:17 AM
Saw the thread this morning and was like 'I'm not even gonna comment in here!' because it just seemed like OP was trolling. I almost wanted to pm a mod but I had to go to work and I figured things would sort themselves out.

Anyway, if the point wasn't to troll, I suppose was it to ask in a roundabout way what we think about the usage of the 'n-word' in books nowadays? If so, why pick on Samuel Clemens when Dick Gregory has a book named Nigger (http://www.amazon.com/Nigger-An-Autobiography-Dick-Gregory/dp/1568491166/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1360289683&sr=8-3&keywords=nigger)? Why pick on anyone at all? Just ask without being coy.

My opinion: Write whatever you want, use whatever words you want. Some people will like it and some people wont. As long as YOU like it, that's all that really matters.

BenPanced
02-08-2013, 06:27 AM
"Read the self-pub pages. You could srsly use some of the advice in there. Srsly."

Atlantis
02-08-2013, 10:45 AM
If Sammuel Clemens was a member of the AW community what your advice be to him about using the N word in Huckleberry Finn?

Well, first off, I don't know who that person is. Not that it matters. I'd tell them it's just a word, it can't hurt anyone, sticks and stones and all that. Do not censor yourself because that is the worst thing a writer can do. I don't get why this is such an issue.

James D. Macdonald
02-08-2013, 10:50 AM
"The failure mode of 'clever' is 'asshole.'" -- John Scalzi

blacbird
02-08-2013, 12:09 PM
If Sammuel Clemens was a member of the AW community what your advice be to him about using the N word in Huckleberry Finn?

First thing I'd tell him is to be tolerant of the originator of this thread for not being able to spell his name correctly.

Clemens wrote HF as a major protest against the racial prejudices and injustices of the time, and used the N word clearly with that intent in mind. It was common parlance at the time, and that continued as a racial epithet for nearly a century after; in some quarters it still does.

Aside from that, the point of this thread is . . . what?

caw

Mr Flibble
02-08-2013, 01:33 PM
I don't know that I'd give him advice. I'd probably ask how he got internet where he is....

DancingMaenid
02-08-2013, 02:04 PM
If he were a new writer asking advice about the use of the N-word nowadays, that'd be one thing. But he's not. He's an old dead guy who wrote in the context of his own time. I'm not a fan of retroactive censorship, even if it's for a good cause.

That's pretty much what I was thinking. It's hard to apply modern advice to works that were written years ago, in different social climates.

When it comes to self-censorship, I think it comes down to whether or not your language choices evoke what you want them to, and if they will serve the story well or distract from it. That's fairly subjective.

Becky Black
02-08-2013, 02:15 PM
But if he was alive and writing today he'd be a man of this time and who can say what he'd be writing about and how he'd be writing it? The question of whether or not to use that word might never even arise.

Even if he wrote about the same subjects he'd be writing them as a someone from now dealing with historical events, not someone writing about contemporary events happening around him. He'd have a modern sensibility about the word and know the issues its use would raise.

Unless we're talking about bringing him here in a time machine and giving him a laptop, I suppose...

onesecondglance
02-08-2013, 04:01 PM
I'd probably ask how he got internet where he is....

Ye Olde Mississippi Three Gee, obviously.

G. Applejack
02-08-2013, 04:10 PM
I understand this was a troll, but I saw a quote from Reddit recently that spoke about explaining modern thought to people from the past. It's not exact, but it went something like:

I would tell him that I have a machine in my pocket which gives me access to nearly the entirety of the knowledge of mankind. I use it to look at funny cat pictures and argue with strangers.

Torgo
02-08-2013, 04:17 PM
I understand this was a troll, but I saw a quote from Reddit recently that spoke about explaining modern thought to people from the past. It's not exact, but it went something like:

I would tell him that I have a machine in my pocket which gives me access to nearly the entirety of the knowledge of mankind. I use it to look at funny cat pictures and argue with strangers.

I regularly have long imaginary conversations with Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, in the character of a time-traveller from the future.

Jamesaritchie
02-08-2013, 04:21 PM
What bothers me is that writers today are so frightened by a word that they won't even use it when asking whether Twain should have used it.

shadowwalker
02-08-2013, 04:23 PM
Forget the n-word - I'd more than likely be asking for advice than giving it.

CaroGirl
02-08-2013, 05:19 PM
Forget the n-word - I'd more than likely be asking for advice than giving it.

^^^This!

ChristinaLayton
02-08-2013, 06:30 PM
I am on the team of those who said they wouldn't give any established writer advice about anything. :e2cheer:

The minute I saw Samuel Clemens' name spelled incorrectly I knew this person was trolling.

Personally if I saw Mark Twain or Stephen King on here, I'd feel intimidated and I'd :gone:

Susan Littlefield
02-08-2013, 07:36 PM
If Sammuel Clemens was a member of the AW community what your advice be to him about using the N word in Huckleberry Finn?

None. As much as I hate that word, it's the language of their day.

Now you...participation is the key to any discussion. What advice would you give?

James D. Macdonald
02-08-2013, 07:43 PM
Better you should ask what word you're using in your novels today that, a century and a half from now, will get that same book banned from classrooms.

veinglory
02-08-2013, 07:45 PM
He wrote several landmarks in American literature, he doesn't need any advice from me.

SomethingOrOther
02-08-2013, 08:44 PM
Better you should ask what word you're using in your novels today that, a century and a half from now, will get that same book banned from classrooms.

Shutdown.

All hail our future robot overlords!

Manuel Royal
02-08-2013, 08:50 PM
I imagine Samuel Clemens might be both amused at the misspelling of his name, and full of questions about the 21st century. He wouldn't need any help deciding how to write his greatest book.

If I were writing a book set in that time and place -- the antebellum Deep South -- I wouldn't hesitate to use "nigger" where it made sense for the characters. Racism is a big part of the story of America (an epic story, but not always a nice one).

In particular, censoring that word out of Huckleberry Finn is a terrible idea, even though people keep wanting to do it. Twain knew what he was doing.

Consider this passage in its original and censored versions. (Huck is spinning a convenient yarn about a riverboat accident. He's speaking to Tom Sawyer's Aunt Sally.)


"It warn't the grounding -- that didn't keep us back but a little. We blowed out a cylinder-head."

"Good gracious! Anybody hurt?"

"No'm. Killed a nigger."

"Well, it's lucky, because sometimes people do get hurt...."
Could there be a more economical, vivid way to show how even a nice, easygoing, Christian woman didn't really see the black people all around her as human beings?

Here's the same passage as it appeared in a censored version:

"It warn't the grounding -- that didn't keep us back but a little. We blowed out a cylinder-head."

"Good gracious! Anybody hurt?"

"No'm."

"Well, it's lucky, because sometimes people do get hurt...."Completely loses its impact.

Now, in the "NewSouth Edition", they just substitute the word "slave" for "nigger". But -- slavery in America was specifically, deeply, insanely, intractably racist. There is simply no other word that expresses that fact so forcefully, in that time and place. A writer should use the most effective word.

Torgo
02-08-2013, 09:03 PM
Now, in the "NewSouth Edition", they just substitute the word "slave" for "nigger".

Which doesn't even work 100% of the time. There's an episode involving a freed slave that makes no sense if you do that.

It seems like a lot of the problems that come up are related to children being made to read Huckleberry Finn in school. But it seems to me that kids would need so much historical and cultural context before they could engage with it usefully that it's a bit silly to still be teaching it.

Phaeal
02-08-2013, 09:12 PM
I regularly have long imaginary conversations with Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, in the character of a time-traveller from the future.

I have long imaginary conversations with Jane Austen, and then we go out to a club to look for quizzes.

Manuel Royal
02-09-2013, 12:41 AM
Better you should ask what word you're using in your novels today that, a century and a half from now, will get that same book banned from classrooms.
Guess you could base a whole anthology on that! (Or an AW competition ....)

I've always figured today's anti-gay laws and prejudices will seem, to the next generation, the way segregated buses seem to us. Or, possibly, the idea of killing other animals for food will seem barbaric. (Except for insects; I expect we'll all be eating those, unless we progress right to lab-grown tissues. Though possibly, things will probably collapse to the point where filthy survivors in what used to be the First World are trading sexual favors for half a rat. If so, banning books won't be on the top of their to-do list.)

quicklime
02-09-2013, 12:53 AM
gay marriage laws and sodomy laws and the like probably barbaric...animals, not so much. we are omnivores by nature, and I agree from a biological standpoint there is far greater energy yield per acre in vagation than when you start burning it through successive animals, but I doubt we'll stop anytime soon.

I hope not.... I likeses tasty deer, and trout, and pigs, and cows, and tuna, and turkey, and......

G. Applejack
02-09-2013, 01:08 AM
I regularly have long imaginary conversations with Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, in the character of a time-traveller from the future.


...You're not the only one. ;)

RichardGarfinkle
02-09-2013, 01:37 AM
gay marriage laws and sodomy laws and the like probably barbaric...animals, not so much. we are omnivores by nature, and I agree from a biological standpoint there is far greater energy yield per acre in vagation than when you start burning it through successive animals, but I doubt we'll stop anytime soon.

I hope not.... I likeses tasty deer, and trout, and pigs, and cows, and tuna, and turkey, and......

If we manage to perfect 3D printing of meat then the idea of killing and eating animals could come to be seen as some horrific action of a barbaric past.

Buffysquirrel
02-09-2013, 01:59 AM
If we manage to perfect 3D printing of meat then the idea of killing and eating animals could come to be seen as some horrific action of a barbaric past.

After all the suddenly unnecessary animals have been killed, presumably.

RichardGarfinkle
02-09-2013, 02:36 AM
After all the suddenly unnecessary animals have been killed, presumably.

Or simply not actively farmed and bred anymore.

Rhoda Nightingale
02-09-2013, 02:44 AM
I have nothing to add, just wanted to shout a THANK YOU to whichever mod fixed the spelling in the thread topic.

ArachnePhobia
02-09-2013, 02:57 AM
I have nothing to add, just wanted to shout a THANK YOU to whichever mod fixed the spelling in the thread topic.

I thought you were gonna tell him to write more horror genre stories, but then it occurred to me that if Mark Twain wrote horror, he'd be Ambrose Bierce.

Rhoda Nightingale
02-09-2013, 02:59 AM
^Don't be silly--I'd never presume to force on genre on somebody. Anyway, that bit in the cave in Tom Sawyer legitimately freaked me out--I have this thing about caves. Not claustrophobia, but being underground. My dad was stuck in one once.

Torgo
02-09-2013, 03:01 AM
I thought you were gonna tell him to write more horror genre stories, but then it occurred to me that if Mark Twain wrote horror, he'd be Ambrose Bierce.

What happened to that guy, anyway?

ArachnePhobia
02-09-2013, 03:06 AM
@ Rhoda: I was totally kidding. ;)

ETA: OMG, that's scary about the cave, though.

@ Torgo: Good question.

Buffysquirrel
02-09-2013, 03:16 AM
Or simply not actively farmed and bred anymore.

Somehow I don't see the farmers kindly keeping them around to die of old age prior to their selling their land for development.

RedWombat
02-09-2013, 06:51 AM
There's at least one organization dedicated to preserving rare and heirloom farm breeds--losing the Royal Palm turkey or Old Spot hog would be a tragedy, if you ask me. Even if we could print meat, I'd hate to see some really awesome animals simply fade out of existence.

James D. Macdonald
02-09-2013, 06:59 AM
What happened to that guy, anyway?

Vanished in Mexico.

Probably said something witty and acerbic to Pancho Villa and that was it.

frimble3
02-09-2013, 07:06 AM
What happened to that guy, anyway? Ambrose Bierce? In 1913 he went to see the Mexican Revolution, and ... vanished.
An Ambrose Bierce story in itself, perhaps? In any case, he'd be an interesting time traveller.

I have one other concern about Samuel Clemens, if he were to appear among us: I wouldn't dream of telling him how to write, but given his rather unsuccessful business career, whoever spots him first: WARN HIM OFF P.A.!
'No money down!' might sound a little too tempting, and if he falls for them, the use of the 'N'-word is immaterial, as no-one will ever read his work.

blacbird
02-09-2013, 10:52 AM
Now, in the "NewSouth Edition", they just substitute the word "slave" for "nigger". But -- slavery in America was specifically, deeply, insanely, intractably racist. There is simply no other word that expresses that fact so forcefully, in that time and place. A writer should use the most effective word.

And by no means, even in the Antebellum South, were all Negroes slaves. New Orleans, in particular, had a history of a free black creole population, which resonates to this day, and which has been the cause of strife within the modern black community. Back in the early 1980s I lived there, and there was a three-way election for mayor involving a white candidate, a descendant of the free black creole population, and a descendant of enslaved blacks. It was extremely close, but the creole person emerged victorious.

As a personal anecdote, I voted for the young slave-descended candidate, who was sharp and sensible and seemed to be the wave of the future. That man was William Jefferson, later elected to the U.S. Congress, and who turned out to be completely corrupt and I believe is now in prison for a bribery conviction. Once in three or four decades I'm wrong.

caw

blacbird
02-09-2013, 10:59 AM
Ambrose Bierce? In 1913 he went to see the Mexican Revolution, and ... vanished.

A pretty good and vastly underwatched movie was made about the end of Bierce's life, titled The Old Gringo. It starred Gregory Peck as Bierce, one of the last movies made by Peck.

This is a digression to the thread, I know, but I ain't the first digressor, so:

For anyone unfamiliar with Ambrose Bierce, you are really missing something good. In addition to his sarcastic and often extremely funny aphorisms and commentaries collected in The Devil's Dictionary, he was a prolific writer of short stories, and a terrific craftsman of economical, effective prose narrative. He was a correspondent during the American Civil War, saw a lot of horror and carnage, and it affected him deeply. His stories about the war are rivaled only by Stephen Crane's masterpiece, The Red Badge of Courage, and Crane never witnessed any of the war itself. Bierce also penned a number of now-classic horror stories, still readable and effectively creepy. "The Open Road" is one of the most widely-anthologized classic horror stories ever.

And "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" managed to combine both the war experience and horror in an amalgam almost unique. It is always a nominee in any poll asking for the "best short story ever".

caw

kuwisdelu
02-09-2013, 11:07 AM
I'd tell him he'd never get published today.

Same as I tell every other writer who posts on AW.

blacbird
02-09-2013, 11:24 AM
I'd tell him he'd never get published today.

Same as I tell every other writer who posts on AW.

In which comment you would often be correct.

caw

ArachnePhobia
02-09-2013, 03:48 PM
A pretty good and vastly underwatched movie was made about the end of Bierce's life, titled The Old Gringo. It starred Gregory Peck as Bierce, one of the last movies made by Peck.

This is a digression to the thread, I know, but I ain't the first digressor, so:

For anyone unfamiliar with Ambrose Bierce, you are really missing something good. In addition to his sarcastic and often extremely funny aphorisms and commentaries collected in The Devil's Dictionary, he was a prolific writer of short stories, and a terrific craftsman of economical, effective prose narrative. He was a correspondent during the American Civil War, saw a lot of horror and carnage, and it affected him deeply. His stories about the war are rivaled only by Stephen Crane's masterpiece, The Red Badge of Courage, and Crane never witnessed any of the war itself. Bierce also penned a number of now-classic horror stories, still readable and effectively creepy. "The Open Road" is one of the most widely-anthologized classic horror stories ever.

And "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" managed to combine both the war experience and horror in an amalgam almost unique. It is always a nominee in any poll asking for the "best short story ever".

caw

Seconding this. "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" is amazing.

theDolphin
02-09-2013, 07:39 PM
Interesting question, though I'm coming to it late. It definitely puts into relief the politically correct restrictions of our own day. The restrictions have always existed and will always exist in one form or another and I think awareness of them is important to the writer as businessman. I also think they're irrelevant to the writer as artist. In the end it depends on what you want to do and how you want to do it.

That said, the first thing that came to my mind when I read the question was that taking the N-word out of Twain bears a striking resemblance to making Greedo shoot first.

CaroGirl
02-10-2013, 11:51 PM
I'd tell him he'd never get published today.

Same as I tell every other writer who posts on AW.

Do you mean that's what you'd tell every writer on AW, other than yourself? Or that's what you'd tell every alternate writer on AW?

Just wondering about your numbers. :)

quicklime
02-11-2013, 02:06 AM
If we manage to perfect 3D printing of meat then the idea of killing and eating animals could come to be seen as some horrific action of a barbaric past.


not in my lip-smacking lifetime.

quicklime
02-11-2013, 02:09 AM
There's at least one organization dedicated to preserving rare and heirloom farm breeds--losing the Royal Palm turkey or Old Spot hog would be a tragedy, if you ask me. Even if we could print meat, I'd hate to see some really awesome animals simply fade out of existence.


which would be an interesting but complete derail as well...think Holsteins would do well in Wisconsin winters, foraging wild, or is it just more noble to allow livestock to starve and pass into obscurity than to, you know, utilize them? Or would we simply start trucking them to Alabama where winters are milder in some ginormous, noble relocation program?

buz
02-11-2013, 03:15 AM
Where would they live, though?

Humans generally don't like to share their land and space with other animals unless the other animals prove themselves useful or entertaining. :) (<<smiley face of bitterness)

RedWombat
02-11-2013, 06:10 AM
I once saw a feral peacock walking down the road in rural Pennsylvania...

Phaeal
02-11-2013, 07:43 PM
which would be an interesting but complete derail as well...think Holsteins would do well in Wisconsin winters, foraging wild, or is it just more noble to allow livestock to starve and pass into obscurity than to, you know, utilize them? Or would we simply start trucking them to Alabama where winters are milder in some ginormous, noble relocation program?

Well, as the whole country goes subtropical, the gators will get anything we don't protect. Then we'll have bigger and gnarlier gators.

Live in the sewers? Dude, I'm taking over your hot tub.

Chomp.

quicklime
02-11-2013, 10:09 PM
'till the gators evolve to eat tofu and quinoa

bearilou
02-12-2013, 04:54 PM
the first thing that came to my mind when I read the question was that taking the N-word out of Twain bears a striking resemblance to making Greedo shoot first.

You nailed it. That's exactly what I think.


I once saw a feral peacock walking down the road in rural Pennsylvania...

*waits for the rest of the joke*


For anyone unfamiliar with Ambrose Bierce, you are really missing something good.

My one, true fictional love of all time.

My first one as well.

*goes to her happy place, dragging her collection of Ambrose Bierce with her*

quicklime
02-12-2013, 06:12 PM
Owl Creek we read in high school I believe...story stuck with me ever since, including reading it in my early thirties and hitting the end and going "shiiiit, I remember this one."

He was a great writer, in terms of "old-timers" I put him up there with Lovecraft and Bradbury and Poe (Ray's obviously the youngest of the bunch, but The October Country was his greatest book to my mind, and it still feels very "old-timey" when you read it...to me)

DennisB
02-12-2013, 07:35 PM
Elmore Leonard uses the "n" word freely. I'm pretty sure a couple of Tarrentino's films used the "n" word quite a bit, despite being set in 1990 and later.

SomethingOrOther
02-12-2013, 07:42 PM
Speaking of that... (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=di9_zOaEneo)

Warning: n-word and blasphemy.

Manuel Royal
02-12-2013, 10:22 PM
As noted, Ambrose Bierce's fate is a mystery. There was a movie that imagined his possible last days, starring Gregory Peck. Old Gringo, I think.

Every writer should read The Devil's Dictionary.

Don In 60
02-12-2013, 10:24 PM
James Ellroy throws the n word around freely.

RedWombat
02-13-2013, 12:44 AM
*waits for the rest of the joke*

No, that's pretty much it. Although I have always wondered, assuming a fox or a coyote eventually ate it, whether all his friends though he was lying--"Seriously, guys! It was a giant blue chicken! I swear!"

"Yeah, sure, Bob..."

jjdebenedictis
02-13-2013, 06:28 AM
No, that's pretty much it. Although I have always wondered, assuming a fox or a coyote eventually ate it, whether all his friends though he was lying--"Seriously, guys! It was a giant blue chicken! I swear!"

"Yeah, sure, Bob..."Peacocks stroll around wild in India. They can't be pushovers.

That is to say, some birds are pretty badass. Canadian geese can break your arm with a wing blow. Large parrots can sever a finger with their beak.

Maybe that peacock leaves a gore-soaked trail of claw-shanked foxes in its wake. Maybe the peacock ate the coyote.

"Bob! Bob! What's wrong? Buddy, are you okay?"

"Giant...giant blue chicken...tried to kill me."

frimble3
02-13-2013, 07:29 AM
Peacocks stroll around wild in India. They can't be pushovers.

That is to say, some birds are pretty badass. Canadian geese can break your arm with a wing blow. Large parrots can sever a finger with their beak.

Maybe that peacock leaves a gore-soaked trail of claw-shanked foxes in its wake. Maybe the peacock ate the coyote.

"Bob! Bob! What's wrong? Buddy, are you okay?"

"Giant...giant blue chicken...tried to kill me."

"And then, as I'm lying there, dazed from the pecking, he backs off, shakes out this giant tail, three times his size, and he gives out this godawful victory scream! Oh, man, I didn't stop running until I hit the den. Maybe we should set a guard tonight."

RedWombat
02-13-2013, 10:17 PM
Maybe the peacock ate the coyote.


You know, a great horned owl DID take down my stepmother's miniature poodle some years ago. I got some bird rescue people to confirm, based on the wounds, and apparently it's not all that uncommon with toy breed dogs put out at night.

The problem is--at the risk of indelicacy--when they hunch up to poop, they strongly resemble a rabbit from the air, and the owl goes "Dinner!" and hits it and then realizes it weighs rather more than he expected. But since they strike right for the head...well.

My stepmother was philosophical about the whole affair.

I am sure Samuel Clemens would have found this fascinating. (Seriously!)

Michel_Cayer
02-14-2013, 12:19 AM
If he were a new writer asking advice about the use of the N-word nowadays, that'd be one thing. But he's not. He's an old dead guy who wrote in the context of his own time. I'm not a fan of retroactive censorship, even if it's for a good cause.

I second this. This type of censorship is extremely dangerous and puts you on a very slippery slope.

jeffo20
02-14-2013, 04:22 AM
You know, a great horned owl DID take down my stepmother's miniature poodle some years ago. Great Horned Owls are not to be messed with.

frimble3
02-14-2013, 05:46 AM
Great Horned Owls are not to be messed with.
They are one of the reasons coon-skin caps fell out of favour.