The Tennessee school board’s decision to ban the Holocaust novel Maus was met with bewilderment and anger


A Tennessee school’s decision to ban a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about surviving the Holocaust has sparked angry reactions online, along with condemnation of the author himself.

the graphic novel Maus: a survivor’s story by Art Spiegelman uses illustrations of mice and cats to tell the story of how the author’s parents survived Auschwitz during the Holocaust. It was serialized between 1980 and 1991 and, in 1992, became the first (and to date only) graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize, the Special Prize in Letters.

At the McMinn County school board, 10 members unanimously agreed in favor of removing the novel from the eighth-grade curriculum, citing the use of eight profanities, including the phrase “Damn” and drawings of “nude photos” of women.

“There is harsh and objectionable language in this book,” school principal Lee Parkison said at a board of education meeting earlier this month.

Board member Tony Allman agreed that “vulgar and inappropriate” content should be removed, adding: “We do not need to enable or promote this material.”

Allman clarified that he “does not deny” that the genocide and murder of six million Jews during World War II was “horrible, brutal and cruel”, but said that it is “not wise or healthy” for children to see a book that “shows hanging people” and “shows them killing children.”

Another board member, Cochran, said, “If I had a child in the eighth grade, this wouldn’t happen. If I were to move him and homeschool him or put him somewhere else, this won’t happen.”

He added: “We can tell you exactly what happened, but we don’t need all the nudity and all the other stuff.”

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Cochran accused the book of trying to “indoctrinate” children, saying, “You put this stuff just far enough on the edges, so parents don’t catch it, but kids absorb it. I think we need to re-look at the whole game plan.” studies”.

The board finally agreed that mouse must be expelled from school altogether.

Spiegelman said he was “baffled” by this decision in an interview with CNBC on Wednesday. “It makes my jaw drop, like, ‘What?’” the 73-year-old author said. He also called the ban “Orwellian”.

“I’ve met so many young people who … have learned things from my book,” Spiegelman said. “I also understand that Tennessee is obviously crazy. Something is going very, very crazy there.”

Neil Gaiman, author of good omenstweeted: “There is only one type of people who would vote to ban mousewhatever they call themselves these days.”

New York Times Journalist Jane Coaston posted: “I read Maus when I was nine years old and it changed my life. He made me a better person, a more empathetic and compassionate person. I believe mouse It should be as widely read as possible.

The US Holocaust Museum also condemned the move, tweeting: “mouse has played a vital role in Holocaust education by sharing personal and detailed experiences of victims and survivors. On the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, it is more important than ever that students learn this history.

“Teaching about the Holocaust using books like Maus can inspire students to think critically about the past and their own roles and responsibilities today.”

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Actress Carrie Coon wrote: “They can’t read mousebut they may have access to an AR-15.”

(AFP via Getty Images)

mouse is a graphic novel that tells the story of a Holocaust survivor. Jews are mice. Nazis are cats. It’s powerful. It’s exciting,” satirist Jeremy Newberger posted. “It is an excellent teaching tool about the Holocaust. The curse is necessary. The TN School Board is wrong to ban it.”

Meanwhile, screenwriter Gary Whitta was among those who offered to send copies of mouse to people who live in Mcminn County.

The prohibition of mouse It comes as conservative groups across the country, such as the parent advocacy group Moms for Liberty, are pressuring schools to remove books from their libraries and curricula. Books that offend often address issues of race, LGBTQ, and marginalized communities.

Last year, the American Library Association reported a worrying increase in organized attempts to ban, and in some cases even burn, library books.

In Virginia and Utah, Toni Morrison books have been pulled from some school shelves due to their “explicit” content. Alison Bechdel funny house he also retired in northern Kansas due to his LGBTQ issues. In southern Pennsylvania, a long list of books, almost exclusively written by people of color, were banned.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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