When I read that someone “revises history,” I tend to think of a distortion of the historical record based on deliberate dishonesty or a personal bias.
In this case, the parentheses around the word “one” make it clear to anyone with any familiarity with editorial practices that it is an emendation. It’s not hard for readers to deduce what the original word was, but they could always look it up if they wanted.
So why use the parenthetical at all? Because in this case, there is ample reason to believe the emended version reflects the author’s intention, as evidenced by the fact that derivative works by the same author have used that exact phrasing. In the 1960s, “man” was more widely accepted as a synonym for “adult human being,” but even then there were many who argued that it excluded women. Someone coming across the phrase for the first time in the 21st century could well be excused for wondering why such a gender-specific noun was used.
Now this I hate. The original title reminds us that these are individuals who bring with them their own emotions, attitudes, and histories from outside the courtroom. “Jurors” strips away all that. Better to call the play “12 Angry People.”
Only semi-related anecdote: When I was teaching English in Japan one of my students asked me if I was familiar with an old American movie he’d seen on TV. It was a black and white movie about a trial. He didn’t know the original English title, but he translated the Japanese title back into English for me as “12 Men Who Are Angry”. For some reason that really cracked me up, even though it’s really only a bit different from the actual English title.
We don’t change Shakespeare in any similar way. So why change this?
Someone of similar ignorance, having found out what “(one)” was substituted for, will wonder the exact same thing. So there’s no reason to change it.
Everybody knows jurors are people. We don’t need reminding. Even in that day some jurors were women. But all of the jurors in the play were in fact men. And “People” strips away the punch of the single syllable “Men”. If I were the author, I’d only grant rights with the condition that nothing be changed, and I’d raise holy hell if it was.
Both of these changes are unnecessary and ridiculous. If people want a play about jurors who aren’t all men, let them write it.
I hope you’ll take this in the affectionate spirit in which it’s written: This post really made me laugh, in a “this is why I love the Dope” kind of way. You almost wrote a letter to the editor for misrepresenting the racial make-up of the denizens of the planet Vulcan. I hope I don’t sound patronizing, but I find that hilarious, in no little part because I might do something similar. What a delightful bunch of geeks we are.
I know it’s been done as 12 Angry Women and it was quite interesting. I love gender bending in theater, or anything, really, that can add something new to a play that’s been done a trillion times before.
As for the quoted bit… yeah, that’s rather odd. I’m not a fan of ‘man’ or ‘mankind’ being used to represent all of humanity, but this edit is a bit odd. Then again, the whole piece is poorly written and edited and full of “unnecessary” “quotes.”
plural men \ˈmen, in compounds ˌmen or mən\
Middle English, from Old English man, mon human being, male human; akin to Old High German man human being, Sanskrit manu
before 12th century
1 a (1): an individual human
It seems an open mind will be necessary. I read in a spoiler that Spock creates the Kobayshi Maru test in the new movie. However, in “The Wrath of Khan,” as Spock lay dying of radiation, he said to Kirk, “I never took the Kobayashi Maru. What do you think of my solution?” It seems unreasonable to me to believe if Spock created the Kobayshi Maru that he wouldn’t have tested it on himself.
It seems there will be a lot of minutiae that we long-time fans will have to let go of. Fans have been demanding a fresh start to Star Trek for a long time and Star Trek does need new fans in order to continue.