A Tennessee school board is voting to ban Art Spiegelman’s acclaimed graphic novel Maus, which depicts his father’s experiences as a holocaust survivor.
The McMinn County School Board in Tennessee has voted to ban the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel by cartoonist Art Spiegelman Maus of his study program.
Originally serialized in Raw from 1980 to 1991, Spiegelman’s Maus depicts the cartoonist – who was born in 1948, shortly after the end of World War II – interviewing his father, a Polish Jew, about his experiences as a Holocaust survivor. The famous postmodern graphic novel portrays Jews as mice and Germans as cats.
According to Tennessee Hollerthe McMinn County School Board voted 10-0 to ban Maus from all of his schools, citing the book’s inclusion of words like “God damn” and “naked photos” of women. Apparently, the school board discussed simply redacting words and images they deemed inappropriate, but ultimately chose to ban the book outright. When contacted for comment by Tennessee Hollerthe board claimed the Holocaust book had nothing to do with why it was banned.
“Why is the education system promoting this stuff, it’s not wise or healthy…I don’t deny it was horrible, brutal and cruel,” a board member said. “It’s like when you’re watching TV and a swear word or a nude scene pops up, it would be the same movie without it. Well, it would be the same book without it… If I had a kid in eighth grade , it’s not “It doesn’t happen. If I had to take him out and homeschool him or put him somewhere else, that wouldn’t happen.”
That said, while the council itself voted unanimously to ban Maus, others have come to the defense of the book. An educational supervisor said: “I can talk about history, I was a history teacher and there is nothing beautiful about the Holocaust and for me it was a great way to describe a horrific period of the story. Mr. Spiegelman has done his best to portray his deceased mother and we are nearly 80 years old…Are the words wrong? Yes, no one thinks they aren’t, but removing the first part doesn’t change the meaning of what it’s trying to portray and copyright… Are we going to teach these words outside of this book as words of vocabulary? No, you know me better than that…”
Whatever the reason, the decision to ban a landmark graphic novel like Maus is sure to raise some eyebrows, given the recent Conservative push to ban books. On top of that, news of McMinn County Council’s vote to ban Spiegelman’s book from its schools comes just a day before International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27.
At this point, many journalists and literary industry professionals offered their own take on the council’s decision, with most condemning it. “There is only one type of person who would vote for the ban Mauswhatever they’re called these days,” wrote Neil Gaiman. A Tennessee school board has voted to drop the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel Maus, which tells the story of the Holocaust with cartoon mice, because it contained inappropriate words and images. I wish them well in their quest for wholesome, family-friendly Holocaust content,” added Yair Rosenberg.
A Tennessee school board has voted to scrap the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel MAUS, which tells the story of the Holocaust with cartoon mice, because it contained inappropriate words and images. I wish them luck in their quest for wholesome, family-friendly Holocaust content. https://t.co/cNcz6ocmJB
— Yair Rosenberg (@Yair_Rosenberg) January 26, 2022
I will match that. DMs are temporarily open, send me your McMinn County mailing address and I’ll send you a copy of THE COMPLETE MAUS. Trolls = block. Thanks for RTing. https://t.co/DexfURBVWU
— Gary Whitta (@garywhitta) January 27, 2022
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