Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

February 21, 2014

South Carolina Politicians Attempting To Punish Schools For Assigning Books Including Fun Home

imageThis is idiotic and disgraceful, and I don't just mean the automatic video pop-up there. Sorry about that. Anyway, a budget committee on the state level in South Carolina has apparently trimmed two small but not-insignificant amounts of money from two schools for assigning two books they argue have gay themes. This is sort of like an onion of deep stupidity, so I'm going to peel at it in a way I hope doesn't endorse any sort of backwards thinking moving from one level to another. One of the books in question is Alison Bechdel's highly-regarded comics memoir Fun Home, which was assigned as reading to a group of incoming freshman at the College Of Charleston.

I have no idea why a university couldn't assign books with any kind of theme they want. I have no idea why the reality in which Fun Home traffics is transformative in any way of it being one kind of book instead of just a book with a variety of entry points and value based on the skill of its execution and the humane orientation of its story. I have no idea if you even granted these dopes their definition of these books why you wouldn't want people in school engaging with them because it seems to me that engaging with ideas is what you do when you're in school, or what you should be doing. I have no idea how any rational reading of Fun Home could lead you thinking the book promotes anything other than the tough work of struggling with who you are in the context of the people that shaped you and why you turned out that way -- and again, I'm not sure why that isn't something perfectly suited for incoming college freshman to encounter in the form of a shared reading experience. I'm also not sure how this is supposed to work politically except maybe make everyone under the age of 50 like the College Of Charleston and the other school and never want to vote for whatever party the goofballs that are cutting funds in an overt political/cultural move happen to operate.

I hope that if it comes to it, we'll have the chance to send them some money to make up for the amount. I'm going to send the Fun Home school a few bucks anyway, because I can -- 66 George St, Charleston, SC 29424. All hail Fun Home, a book so forceful it has led to actual television movie style political reprisals: from dumbasses, apparently, but still.
posted 1:55 am PST | Permalink

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