Jump to content


Episode 140 — Huckleberry Finn


6 replies to this topic

#1 Earwolf Admin

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • 1,202 posts

Posted 29 April 2013 - 11:01 PM

Paul W. Downs & Lucia Aniello of Paulilu stop by to talk to Andrew about it being mildly problematic to teach kids Huckleberry Finn, references from literature in the past that might be considered racist today, and whether they had the college assignment of having to read Mein Kampf. Sell your copy of Mein Kampf and make sure to leave us a message about anything you think is racist at (323) 389-RACE.

#2 dlo burns

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 140 posts
  • LocationSaltoclypse, UT

Posted 30 April 2013 - 12:47 AM

(If I can even remember correctly) My teacher put forward a vote to read Huck Finn or Uncle Tom's Cabin, which I'm glad we chose Fin because I recently tried reading UTC and it was so dry and boring. It always seemed like the more stale the book was, the worse we acted in class.

#3 Hyde Parker

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 72 posts

Posted 30 April 2013 - 06:55 AM

Uncle Tom's Cabin is an Important book and one of the most wildly popular of the nineteenth century, but it's melodramatic and religiously motivated to an extent that basically no one reads it anymore. Henry Louis Gates Jr. (of beer summit fame) put out an annotated version of it that John Updike reviewed here: http://www.newyorker...1106crbo_books1

Twain is, relative to Stowe, a wonderful writer, and pretty much anything he wrote is still a pleasure to read today.

#4 Hyde Parker

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 72 posts

Posted 30 April 2013 - 07:14 AM

In contrast, Mein Kampf is more political-historical curiosity than genuinely interesting or important work of writing. A book Hitler wrote rather than the book Hitler wrote, if you get my meaning - about as significant in a study of the man as his paintings.

Still, if you're going to shit on the contents of Mein Kampf, specifically, then you should probably read at least some of it.

#5 Not Erik

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 44 posts

Posted 30 April 2013 - 08:35 AM

Wow, I thought this would turn out differently. Andrew tends to call stuff racist and I thought he would come down on Huck Finn, but I completely agree with the conclusion here: Huckleberry Finn is a book for adults and somehow we give it to 13 and 14 year olds who definitely aren't going to get that it's satire and is supposed to complicate moral distinctions rather than simplify them.

I remember my High School teacher teaching it like it was just a fun boat ride with goofy jokes.

#6 Michael Wo

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 193 posts

Posted 30 April 2013 - 09:08 AM

I was fortunate to have a REALLY good American Lit teacher as a high school freshman. She spent a lot of time discussing Huck Finn with us, the meanings and interpretations, the "zeitgeist" of then versus now, and the concept of satire. So it was really eye-opening for me - and a big step in my awareness of what was happening outside my "Green Bay Packers on TV and Richard Marx on the radio" existence.

It's too bad that, in the hosts'/guests' words, it is "irresponsibly taught" to so many kids.

#7 Shariq Torres

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 962 posts

Posted 30 April 2013 - 02:28 PM

We had to read this when I was a junior. I was in Advanced Placement classes and people still made n-word jokes. Because I was the only black male in the class, a group of Indian kids started calling me "Nigger Jim." That's when I learned two things: 1) other non-white people will participate in racism just as quickly as whites and 2) that when I put my hips into an uppercut, I can really hurt someone.