The Noble Moral Crusaders of Tennessee’s McMinn County School Board voted unanimously to remove Pulitzer Prize-winning Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel “Maus” from its English curriculum, allegedly over fears that the portrayal serious and agonizing Polish Jews (cartoon mice) surviving the Nazis (cartoon cats) contains profanity and brief nudity. Cartoon animals.
School board members would apparently prefer their harrowing tales of persecution, loss, perseverance, and the callousness and sadism that humanity is able to avoid any disgusting use of swear words. We understand, and in that vein would like to suggest a few additional texts for consideration in the pantheon of shame.
Herman Melville’s classic portrayal of a man’s vendetta against a white whale sends the wrong message to children about coexistence. Shakespeare can get pretty steamy (“Did you think I meant country matters?” says Hamlet), and there’s a whole lot of blood and death and witches – really scary, occult-indulgent stuff. The kids in “Lord of the Flies” set a pretty terrible example, and “To Kill a Mockingbird” depicts a sex crime and some themes that may upset Alabamians.
And don’t get us started on “Brave New World,” the story of a censored society where reading material is tightly controlled by bigoted bureaucrats who want to eliminate even the possibility that citizens might feel unwell or question their social environment. (Can you even imagine living in a world like that?)
Overall, it is clear that we have been far too permissive in the books we allow our teachers to teach and our students to use. Children must be protected from these destructive texts.
– New York Daily News