I’d be grateful too if any Leftpondians can explain to me what exactly is offensive about Injun as opposed to Indian. Surely Injun is just a phonetic rendering of the way Twain’s characters would have pronounced the word; so what’s the problem with it?
Along the same line, though somewhat more offensive, nigger is a rendering in a southern dialect of Negro, which at one time, just meant black. (I have no doubt that you know that SL, just making an obvious point).
Canada has been using “First Nations” for sometime. The US tends to use “Native Americans.” Injun is offensive in North America as these things go. The history contained in that word is painful. I’d have thought that the editor could have easily left that one alone, however.
Interesting about this issue of bowlderization. The King James Bible uses the word “pisseth” at several points but all the later translations use another euphemism. The reason I know about this is that Twain’s Letters from the Earth has a very funny routine on this regarding the strangeness of the laws and commandments in the Bible.
Take the case of Jeroboam. “I will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall.” It was done. And not only was the man that did it cut off, but everybody else....
Some Midianite must have repeated Onan’s act, and brought that dire disaster upon his nation. If that was not the indelicacy that outraged the feelings of the Deity, then I know what it was: some Midianite had been pissing against the wall. I am sure of it, for that was an impropriety which the Source of all Etiquette never could stand. A person could piss against a tree, he could piss on his mother, he could piss on his own breeches, and get off, but he must not piss against the wall—that would be going quite too far. The origin of the divine prejudice against this humble crime is not stated; but we know that the prejudice was very strong—so strong that nothing but a wholesale massacre of the people inhabiting the region where the wall was defiled could satisfy the Deity.
Translations, I know are a different case, but just to note that certain adjustments in the original Hebrew texts were even done by Rabbis to avoid offense as they publicly read the original in synagogue.
I agree with SL and Dr. T. and others in this thread. There’s a place for this kind of thing. I heard the editor interviewed on Public Radio and his attempts seem reasonable. In the introduction he makes clear what he has done. And for older adults or even High School Advanced Placement students, he would not recommend his edition.