Any American who’s familiar with the work of Samuel Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain, is probably aware that his autobiography is set to be published soon, 100 years after his death (as per his wishes).
Here’s an excerpt that kinda makes me wish he were alive right now. He’d make a great atheist blogger, IMHO.
About once a year some pious public library banishes Huck Finn from its children’s department, and on the same plea always—that Huck, the neglected and untaught son of a town drunkard, is given to lying, when in difficulty and hard pressed, and is therefore a bad example for young people, and a damager of their morals.
Two or three years ago I was near by when one of these banishments was decreed and advertised, and I went over and asked the librarian about it, and he said yes, Huck was banished for lying. I asked,
“Is there nothing else against him?”
“No, I think not.”
“Do you banish all books that are likely to defile young morals, or do you stop with Huck?”
“We do not discriminate; we banish all that are hurtful to young morals.”
I picked up a book, and said—
“I see several copies of this book lying around. Are the young forbidden to read it?”
“The Bible? Of course not.”
Damn. Can’t wait to read it.
For more irreverent Twain, add The Mysterious Stranger to your summer reading list. You can read it online here.