Mark Twain

I was sabotaged! Thank you very much

The morning before Election Day I eagerly go to my computer to post my newest and last blog regarding the fight against SB 5. Computer is working fine, I do some last-minute polishing of a piece I have been working on for several days and then press the button to post it to my blog—NOTHING!

I access my internet home page and the Columbus Dispatch but then it slows to a crawl and then a stop. I cannot access my blog and then I suddenly have no internet connection. Strangely, when I check my modem connection it shows 5 green bars but then there is an orange circle over it. I call my internet provider and am told they can’t send a technician for 3 days. Curiously, I find I can get back on the internet an hour before the polls close on Election Day.

Did someone deliberately block my internet connection? The internet technician came out today, three days after the event, and tested all necessary items. Bright green bars flashed across the screen. He tells me there is no problem with my internet or modem. In fact, very strong signals are coming my way. I ask him about the possibility of sabotage and he politely repeats that there is nothing wrong with my internet connections. He explains that many things can be done to create interference—even someone from China could have created the problem. Somehow I doubt that anyone in China could give a rat’s ass about Ohio politics, my writings and my blog.

Am I frustrated? Yes! Am I angry? No. I am not angry and in fact I have many things to be thankful for. So, I am taking this time to extend my thanks to the malicious culprit who tried to silence me:

  • ·         Thank you for giving me the opportunity to run several scans on my computer. Everything checked out OK with no viruses so I guess my firewall is working.
  • ·         Thank you for giving me the opportunity to reboot my computer and internet several times. I needed the extra exercise of crawling under my desk. I also found a few extra pens while I was down there.
  • ·         Thank you for the opportunity to talk with the lovely tech support people in India. I enjoy the challenge of interpreting their dialect mixed in with the background noise of a hundred other tech support people.
  • ·         Thank you for the extra glass of wine at the end of that day.
  • ·         Thank you for freeing up my time and allowing me to take advantage of a beautiful Indian Summer day and go for an impromptu drive through the back roads with my husband. It was a lovely day.
  • ·         Thank you for confirming that people are reading my blog. The events are too coincidental for make me to think it was anything else but objections to my blog. In addition, there is also the time you or your friends reported my blog to the Facebook people as being “abusive”. I must have made my points well.
  • ·         Thank you for including me in the list of those who were censored. That list includes: George Orwell’s 1984; Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer;  Adolph Huxley’s Brave New World; Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales; Joseph Heller’s Catch 22; J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye; Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass; John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men; Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter; and many, many more. That is a pretty impressive list and I feel honored to join it.
  • ·         Thank you for showing your true, sadistic colors.

Although this was done anonymously, I know who you are. Your politics are different from mine so you are leaning to the right of the scale. You are obviously a fan of Gov. Kasich and feel he can do no wrong or you would not have found my words so offensive. You are a bully and a control freak; otherwise you would not stoop so low. You would, instead, wait until my blog is posted and then engage in debate under the comments section.

Unlike many other blogs found on the web, I have tried to maintain a sense of decorum and professionalism. I have not resorted to profanity or name calling which is found in many others. There is nothing “abusive” in my content other than a different point of view than your own. True followers of Notes from the Pond know that I encourage healthy debates and discussions. That has been one of my points during the SB 5 campaign—people deserve the right to come together to discuss the problems and work them out together. It is only through open minds and honest discussions can we find the answers to the many problems our state and nation are facing.

We need to be able to come together as one family around the table to look at our many needs and then find a workable solution that benefits everybody. This will never happen as long as there are some people so interested in their own self-serving needs that they feel they must stoop so low as to change the words of a grandmother as in Grandma Quinn or to try to silence a lowly blogger.

Finally, thank you, my friend, for opening my eyes.

MARK TWAIN IS SPINNING IN HIS GRAVE

The cover of the first edition of Adventures o...

Image via Wikipedia

The recent decision to rewrite Mark Twain’s, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, must have him more than turning over in his grave—he must be spinning in his grave. It is an American classic and has been called the first great American novel. In fact, the great 20th century American novelist, Ernest Hemingway wrote: “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

It is a well-constructed story of life before the Civil War and a young boy’s adventures with a runaway slave and his conviction in doing the right thing even though it goes against popular belief. The whole controversy with Huckleberry Finn is over one word—the “N” word. The “N” word is objectionable in today’s society but at the time it was written it was a very acceptable word. To rewrite an American classic to remove one word distorts history and facts. What is even worse, it is changing the work of an artist. Would we repaint the works of Picasso or Salvador Dali to make the paintings conform to today’s realism? Would we change the works of Bach, Beethoven, or Handel and put their classics to rap to appeal to today’s teenagers? Would we clothe the Venus de Milo or Michelangelo’s David?

Many of these works and more were controversial when they were first presented to the world but they were expressions of the artist. An artist works from a vision and feels compelled to toil in his art to express that vision. The life of an artist is not easy because to be a good artist, whether the art is in music, dance, performing arts, painting, or literature, one must bare one’s soul. True art comes from deep within and it is always intimidating to expose one’s vulnerabilities.

A writer crafts his words carefully. A writer chooses words that not only tell a story but also paint a picture and create music to the ear with the rhythm of the sentences. A writer chooses every word with awareness and constructs each paragraph so it will best express her thoughts clearly and concisely. A writer is aware of the connotations of words, that is, what emotions the words will create in her readers.

William Shakespeare is considered, perhaps, the best writer of all times; however, the archaic language is sometimes difficult to understand. Does this mean we need to rewrite his works also, dumb it down so today’s audience can better understand it? Perhaps we should just remove all classic literature from the library shelves and replace them with Cliff Notes. For those not familiar with Cliff Notes it is a series of books summarizing the classics in literature. The books are excellent for study guides but if one relies on them exclusively one misses the beauty of the writer’s words. A book should be read not just for its plot line but for the journey the author takes you on. If plot line is all you want just read an outline or the chapter titles.

It would be a shame to lose the beauty of Shakespeare’s words such as:

  • What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
  • Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.
  • Having nothing, nothing can he lose.
  • If music be the food of love, play on.
  • Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.

I agree that Twain’s use of the “N” word is very offensive in today’s world but the book must be read with regard as to how it was intended when the book was written. It was a word commonly associated with the slaves; it is only because of the bloodshed during the Civil War and the fight for civil rights that the word has taken on a negative connotation. I am not advocating use of the word in today’s society, merely requesting we respect Mark Twain’s craft.

Twain was actually very liberal and forward thinking for his time. He was a supporter of abolition and emancipation and argued that non-whites did not receive justice in the United States. He was also known to pay for at least one African-American to attend Yale University Law School and for another to attend a southern university to become a minister. He was also apparently friends with Booker T. Washington who often joined Twain and Standard Oil executive, Henry Rogers, on Rogers’ boat the Kanawha. So, do not judge Twain for his use of the “N” word; I am sure when he wrote Huckleberry Finn he did not intentionally slander all African-Americans.

Samuel Clemens may roll over in his grave over this controversy but I am sure that Mark Twain, the writer, is spinning in his grave. Proof of this is Twain’s own description of the need for choosing the right word:

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—‘tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”