It's easy to understand the desire of publishers to remove the N-word from an upcoming edition of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. It is a term that, despite its various uses, has retained its ability to hurt.Is there an "appropriate age" at which this pillar of literary antisemitism can be taught in Ontario schools? Can this, perhaps the most confounding and arguably the most beautiful piece of Judenhass ever written, be taught "with a sensitive understanding" to iPod-era schoolkids?
The Jewish community has also had to deal with similar issues, specifically around the staging of The Merchant of Venice. In our many dealings with Ontario school boards we have never asked that the play be altered, only that it be taught at an appropriate age and with a sensitive understanding.
Len Rudner, regional director, Ontario
Canadian Jewish Congress
To the first query, I'd have to say "no"; to the second: I highly doubt it.
That said, this letter isn't really about great works of literature that are problematic. It's about the Ceej endeavouring to do some damage control due to its problematic reliance on state censorship as a (failed, fruitless, feckless) means of "protecting" Canadian Jewry from its haters.
Update: Hands off Huck Finn!
Update: The Top Ten Censored Books