Yes, The Scout Report (TSR) has risen like a reluctant phoenix from a second-hand smokey pyre of apathy and ennui. This rearing of the head may only last a couple of posts, but the TSR Board aims to reveal and jar in fits and starts. What woke the board from its Raymond Chandler-esque big sleep was the announcement that Alan Gribben, the (bobble) head of Auburn University's English Department, had edited NewSouth Books' edition of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, replacing the “n-word” with “slave,” “injun” with “indian," and "half-breed" with "half-blood." (We don't get that last one.) TSR board members read the official version from the Cliffs Notes Library of Long-Winded Literature in its entirety and have no problem with Mr. Twain's word choice. We often takes issue with the number of words an author strings together, but never the choice (except maybe Finnegans Wake, which Dr. Hervey Cleckley, in The Mask of Sanity, called, "a 628-page collection of erudite gibberish indistinguishable to most people from the familiar word salad produced by hebephrenic patients on the back wards of any state hospital"). But we digress.
Twain was particular about word choice. In 1888, he wrote that the difference between the right word and the almost right one was "the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning."
High-mindedness notwithstanding, Professor Gribben has too much time on his hands. We suggest a better use might be teaching college students that "Me and Jennifer are going to the mall" is not proper grammar. Now that's offensive! While he's at it though, he might change "Miss Watson" to "Ms. Watson." Obviously, the author was promoting sexist stereotypes, which he emphasized by referring to her as "a tolerable slim old maid." Bless her heart.
Revealing digression. Everyone judges books by their covers. Why else would so much effort go into designing them? Book stores are a disorienting riot of colorful typography, and there is anecdotal evidence of customers having seizures. Perhaps books should also be judged by their titles. If titles were accurate clues to content, we wouldn't have to read the flaps, and Professor Gribben could move on to dumbing down something else. The blog Better Book Titles gives us those clues. Get the gist in a few seconds. Live better lives reading blogs.
Controlled tangent. TSR's chief of protocol enforcement and defenestration, Mrs. James Peregrine Leger-Demain IV (Mrs. IV), issued this statement, "My family is alarmed that this dust-up will resurrect that specious theory that my ancestor, Nelson Herbert Walker Prescott VIII, a.k.a. Nelly, was the model for Miss Watson, Sambo's dour personification of religious rectitude. The very idea that Cousin Nelly and Sambo [as Twain was known to intimates] took a rowing class one summer means anything other than they enjoyed a school-boy romp is preposterous."