By JOHN BOXLEY

Not That You Asked

I'm telling you this job just gets easier and easier. Just last week I wrote about the effort to overturn some of the tax breaks oil companies get since they are making record profits. I also wrote that one of the arguments against ending the tax breaks would be that raising those taxes would cost jobs. It happened. The Senate voted on the proposal last Tuesday and, while it passed 52-48, it was a loss because it came short of the 60 votes that would have made it filibuster proof. Our two senators voted along party lines with Democrat Mark Pryor voting to end the tax breaks and Republican John Boozman voting to keep them in place. And get this, part of Boozman's reasoning for keeping the tax breaks was that ending them would "eliminate well paying American jobs." You see why I say this job is so easy? Compared to this shooting fish in a barrel would be a challenge. And now on to an entirely different subject, but again, an easily predictable one. Arnold Schwarzenegger has joined the ever-growing fraternity of politicians who have cheated on their wives. The fraternity has grown so big you might just wonder why these stories are still considered news. It's almost as if such behavior is just part of a politician's career path. First you decide to run, you get elected, and you cheat on your wife. Then when you're caught, you announce that you've made a mistake, your wife has forgiven you, and you have found Jesus. Since Arnold is a Republican, he may try the same excuse Newt Gingrich used. You remember don't you? He claimed that at times when he was working hard for the country he would be overcome by a wave of passionate patriotism and have to have sex with the first woman who came along. In Arnold's case that woman just happened to be the maid, who was willing to go along because she too is a patriot. Maria can take solice in that this was the first Kennedy sex scandal where the Kennedy was the innocent victim. The Kennedy men have all been notorious womanizers. Her grandfather Joe was so brazen he brought his mistresses home with him. Her uncle John once claimed that if he didn't make whoopie at least once in a 24-hour period he woud get migraine headaches. Her other uncle Bobby was not quite as active as the others, but he and Ethel did have 11 children. The men in Maria's generation have also held up the family tradition. One of Bobby's sons had an affair with his kids' babysitter. William Kennedy Smith was put on trial and charged with rape. You may not have liked the Kennedy's politics, you have to admit, they did keep us entertained. What's the moral to all of this? It's that politicians are far too predictable. With very little effort you can predict how any one of them vote on any issue and how he will defend that vote. Also, most of the men will be tempted to forget their marital vows and most of them will.

Language Police

Monday, January 17, 2011

The language police are at it again. They have just published a new version of Huckleberry Finn that has replaced its one offensive word with the word slave. We all know what the word is, but it has gained such infamy, that I can't write it here even though it would not be used with any attempt to anger someone or hurt someone's feelings. Using phrases like the N-word or the F-word for our other unmentionable word reminds me of the Harry Potter books where the number one bad guy is called He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Mentioned.

Trying to edit or sanatize a great work of literature can destroy the author's intent. Twain said it best when he said, "The difference between the almost right word and the right word is the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning." We are talking about a book that many people, myself included, believe is the great American novel. It just shouldn't be done.

Do you still think that a little editing can't change a writer's intent? Suppose Rhett Butler had said, "Frankly me dear, I don't give a darn." It's just not the same.

If you are worried about content that might be objectionable to some people, do what Tipper Gore wanted to do with CDs--put a warning label on the cover. I would much rather mar the cover of a book instead of it's content.

I have never understood how the minds of people who would ban books work. Where did they get the idea that they have the right to tell the rest of us what we can and can't read? What makes them think that they know what's best for everybody else? You have to have an ego too big to measure to think like that.

I suppose that sanitizing Huckleberry Finn is better than banning it as some communities have. By the way, some of those same communities have also banned the Harry Potter books. On second thought, I'm wrong. It's much worse to try to rewrite a great book than to ban it. Just be aware that once you ban a book, more people will end up reading it.

People do have a right to find a book objectionable. They can even hate it if they want to. What they don't have a right to do is decide what someone else wants to read. There are some places where that is done, but believe me, you wouldn't want to live there.