Archive for tom the dancing bug

odds and ends

Posted in commentary, odds and ends with tags , , , , , on January 14, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

Hey, have you heard about the New Engand Comic Arts in the Classroom Conference (NECAC)? If you haven’t, you should click here. The website does a FAR better job than I would describing the event.

Everyone here knows what a huge proponent I am about getting comics in the classroom, especially for those lower level reluctant high school readers. The NECAC looks like an amazing step in that direction… and look! Among the many special guests is Rania Telgemeier, author of my favorite graphic novel of 2010, Smile! You must go! I mean… I cannot go, because I live out here in Ohio and I’ll be working… but YOU! You must go!

I should also selfishly mention that the NECAC is putting together an anthology of comics about teaching and learning titled “Show and Tell” that you can support through their KickStarter project. It looks like a worthy publication and you should definitely check it out. I may be contributing some of my journal comics, which would be the first time they’ve seen print anywhere beyond a Xerox machine.

——————————————————————

Much has already been said about the controversial decision of  NewSouth Books’ decision to edit Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn for modern audiences by removing words that are perceived derogatory by today’s standards. Or, I should say, a modern YOUNG audience, as this book purports to be for teachers use in an effort to avoid some of the derogatory racial language used by Twain.

I don’t agree with NewSouth’s editing choices, but it also doesn’t bother me much as it seems to bother the majority of people I’ve encountered on the Internet. I have quite a bit of faith in people’s B.S. detectors and simply cannot imagine this re-edited version getting much of a foothold. The original Huck Finn has stood the test of time so far and no matter what a bunch of attention-seeking editors do to it, Huck Finn will continue to stand. Even as an educator for whom this book may be intended for use, I think the editing is a stupid idea… but like most stupid ideas, it will go away when people stop paying attention to it.

I will point you to this VERY funny edition of Ruben Bolling’s Tom the Dancing Bug for some commentary on the ridiculousness inherent in needlessly changing classic stories to reflect modern sensibilities. Ruben says it better than I ever could. I’ve always felt that Tom the Dancing Bug is one of those comics that should get a lot more attention than it seemingly does, as it’s terrific. I would LOVE to be able to buy a nice collection of all of Bolling’s “Louis Maltby” strips in one volume.

——————————————–

Normally this is where I do some kind of book/comic/movie/TV recommendation, but I haven’t been consuming a whole lot of stuff lately. I’ve yet to start on any of the books gifted to me over the holidays, I haven’t seen any movies to speak of and television is largely in reruns.

I did finally see Inception last week and had about the same reaction as most folks- I enjoyed it immensely and half of the time had no idea what was going on. Thomas Hardy was the stand-out in an already stellar cast and if you haven’t seen it, you should… but I believe my wife and I were the last two people in America NOT to have seen Inception, so that’s not much of a recommendation. Sorry! I’ll do better next week.