KidPop News: Sanitized Twain, Hazardous Nintendo and Bawdy Kids' Shows

Filed under: Books for Kids, Music, Video Games, TV


Huck Finn Gets Politically Correct
In a move that has already begun to stir up rafts of controversy, publisher NewSouth Books announced that, in February, it will release a new edition of Mark Twain's classic "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" with all 219 instances of the N-word removed. The new version, edited by Auburn University Twain scholar Alan Gribben, subs in the word "slave" for the racial slur.

On the one hand, this reeks of censorship and feels completely wrong to the truthfulness of a powerful work of literature (the new edit removes hateful words that, by many interpretations, Twain –- a well-known abolitionist –- purposely used to make a point on civil rights). But Gribben told Publisher's Weekly that he created the new edit in response to educators who told him they'd love to teach the book, but couldn't because of the racially-charged language ("Huckleberry Finn" has long history of being banned by schools). Also, kids have been marketed abridged, simplified, and "retold" versions of literary classics for ages. Is a sanitized Huck any different than, say, a modern-language "Romeo and Juliet?" Well, with the history of racial relations in this country being what it is, many would say yes.

So, is the hubbub over a P.C. Huck Finn too much? Or wholly justified? Whichever side of the argument you fall on, there's probably much to be learned from this debate.

As a side note, the new Twain edition, which contains "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" as well, also removes all occurrences of "injun."


Nintendo's New Game System Called a Hazard by ... Nintendo
We're closing in on the debut of Nintendo's latest technological breakthrough: The handheld Nintendo 3DS, the first game system to provide three-dimensional gaming without the use of 3-D glasses. But the company itself just posted a warning on its Japanese website, declaring the 3DS potentially unsafe for kids under the age of 6. Since young eyes are still developing at that age, and the game system creates its 3-D effect by delivering different images to the left and right eyes, Nintendo warns that playing with it may have "a potential impact on the growth of children's eyes." They also recommend that older players spend no more than 30 minutes at a time on the device.

Will the biggest video game villains of the New Year be headaches and nausea? Frankly, I've been sick of the 3-D craze for a long time now. It has become far too de rigueur in the film world (do we seriously need to see smurfs in 3-D?) and used as a stand-in for actual quality. Let's hope video games don't follow suit.

Russian Kids' Show Gets Risqué
A viral video clip, reportedly from a Russian children's program, has been making a stir online this week. Click here to view it, but if you're at work, be aware that it may draw some unwanted attention. It features a singer named Angina who can barely keep her scanty clothing on while dancing with a stage full of kids. (The kids seem to be having an undeniably great time, by the way.) It kind of puts that censored Katy Perry "Sesame Street" video in a whole new light.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.