I can’t help but wonder if all this brouhaha about dumbing down the vocabulary in classic literature right now has at least part of its origin in the sad fact that many of our parents and teachers can’t understand the big words.
This isn’t funny; it’s unforgiveable.
The more words we know, the better able we are to communicate with others and to understand others. Literate people have three vocabularies, as I tell my students each semester. One is relatively small; one is medium-sized, and one is quite large. Think “The Three Bears.”
Our smallest vocabulary is our speaking vocabulary. The middle-sized vocabulary is our writing vocabulary. Our largest vocabulary is – or at least, is supposed to be – our reading vocabulary.
That is, our reading vocabulary is large unless the dumbing-down PC police have stuck their white-out pens into other peoples’ business.
The only person who has the right to change a piece of writing is the writer. Period. If you are so over-sensitive and culturally illiterate that you are offended because back in a certain period of history, people spoke and acted in a particular way, and you don’t want anybody to know about it because it hurts your feelings even though it was quite ordinary for the times, and you’re unable, due to your low brain cell count, to create a valuable lesson with such facts, you’re batshit stupid. I pity your poor children. I hope you’re not a teacher.
And if you belong to the school of thought that still thinks that “soporific” is a word that small children can’t handle and you want it removed from Beatrix Potter’s “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” there are no words in any thesaurus to adequately describe your ignorance.
I despise you.
* As for the title, it’s absolutely true, and such people’s brains aren’t the only small body part they’re sporting. This is, of course, an opinion, but I firmly believe that people who advocate censorship are considerably unendowed in every other area, as well.
Censorship comes in all kinds of guises, all of them disgusting. Equally disgusting is our population’s growing lack of cultural literacy.