Pixel Scroll 1/31/22 But It Is The Plotted Truth, That Really Drives You Insane! Let’s Scroll The Pixel Again!

(1) THE BROKEN MIRROR OF NOSTALGIA REFLECTS A FRACTURED PAST. [Item by Olav Rokne.] At the Escapist, possibly my favorite film critic Darren Mooney offers trenchant analysis on the recent phenomena of movies paying homage to previous works that were widely disliked when they first came out. In essence, he suggests that there may be a collective yearning for an imagined halcyon past that never really existed in the first place. “Phantom Menace & ASM: Why Are We Nostalgic for Things We Hate?”

Nostalgia isn’t memory. In many cases, what is being evoked in these nostalgic franchise extensions isn’t anything resembling reality or history, but instead an imagined object. This often involves a crass distortion of the original object, in order to flatter the presumed audience.

(2) YOUNG PEOPLE. James Davis Nicoll has the Young People Read Old SFF panel opine about Vonda McIntyre’s “Wings.” It was a very well-received story five decades ago, however, the reception comes with a bit of static now.

Although it has not been often reprinted, Vonda N. McIntyre’s 1973? “Wings” seems to have struck a chord with fans and fellow professionals. ?“Wings” was nominated for both a Hugo and a Nebula, losing the first to Le Guin’s ?“The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” and the second to Tiptree’s ?“Love Is the Plan the Plan Is Death”. ?“Wings” is one of two stories about an alien race whose name for themselves is never given. Their world dying, the species launches a generation ship for another star. 1974’s ?“The Mountains of Sunset, the Mountains of Dawn” details how the great migration played out. ?“Wings”, in contrast is focused on events on the dying homeworld, and the relationship of two persons there….

(3) FIYAH GRANTS OPEN. FIYAH Literary Magazine is accepting applications for grants to assist Black writers of speculative fiction in “defraying costs associated with honing their craft.” Three $1,000 grants will be distributed annually as part of Juneteenth every year. Applications for the Rest, Craft, and Study grants are being accepted through May 15, 2022. There also are two other grants. All the grants are limited to prose writers for now. [Via Tor.com.]

The Rest Grant — $1,000

The FIYAH Rest Grant is for activists and organizers with a record of working on behalf of the SFF community, but who are in need of respite or time to recommit to their personal projects. Application materials include a 1-2 page personal statement on one’s history of work or ongoing projects on behalf of an inclusive SFF space.

 Study Grant — $1,000

This grant is to be used for defraying costs associated with attending workshops, retreats, or conducting research for a writing project. Application requirements include proof of acceptance to a workshop or retreat (where applicable),  a 1-page description of the work requiring research, and a 3k-word writing sample.

Craft Grant — $1,000

This grant is awarded based on a writer’s submitted WIP sample or project proposal, in the spirit of assisting with the project’s completion. Application requirements include a 5k-word writing sample, a 1-page proposal or synopsis of the project in question, and an introductory document detailing your goals for the project after completion.

Two emergency grants of $500 will be awarded, in March and October.

Emergency Grant — 2x $500

This is a needs-based grant to assist Black SFF writers with emergency financial circumstances which may be interfering with their ability to write. Emergency circumstances may include but are not limited to threat of eviction, payment of school fees, compromised or destroyed equipment, injury, travel for family care-taking in a time of crisis, or disaster or medical related relief. The Emergency Grant is awarded biannually, once in March and once in October. Application requirements include a 1-page statement detailing the nature of the emergency need for funds and intent for its use.

There is also –

Editorial Grant

The FIYAH Editorial Grant is intended as a stipend for Black editors who have been accepted for an unpaid editorial internship or fellowship at a publishing house or literary agency in 2022-23. Application requirements include a personal statement detailing your editorial experience (or lack thereof) as well as your focus for your professional development and career going forward as an editor, agent, or other industry professional. A detailed critique of a SFF novel or novella you’ve read in the last 12 months is also required. Use the button below to access the application form.

This grant was made possible by a sponsorship from Sydnee Thompson.

Applicants for any FIYAH Grant must be 18 years of age by June 19th of the application year, and writers of speculative fiction. In addition:

FIYAH Grants, like our other submissions, are open to Black people of the African Diaspora. This definition is globally inclusive (Black anywhere in the world) and also applies to mixed/biracial and Afro-appended people regardless of gender identity or orientation.

(4) MAUS CREATOR COMMENTS ON BAN. In the Washington Post, Michael Cavna interviews Art Spiegelman about the recent efforts to ban MAUS. Spiegelman says he is happy that “the book has a second life as an anti-fascist tool.”  The hardcover of MAUS is currently #3 on Amazon and two paperback editions are in the top 10. “Art Spiegelman, ‘Maus’ author, sees the book’s Tennessee school ban as a ‘red alert’”.

…The 10-member board in McMinn County chose to remove “Maus” from its eighth-grade language arts curriculum, citing its profanity and nudity. Now the New York-based author is sifting through the minutes of the board’s Jan. 10 meeting, trying to make some sense of its decision to target the graphic memoir, which previously has been challenged in California and banned in Russia. [Spiegelman’s] conclusion: The issue is bigger than his comic book.

In the current sociopolitical climate, he views the Tennessee vote as no anomaly. “It’s part of a continuum, and just a harbinger of things to come,” Spiegelman says, adding that “the control of people’s thoughts is essential to all of this.”

As such school votes strategically aim to limit “what people can learn, what they can understand and think about,” he says, there is “at least one part of our political spectrum that seems to be very enthusiastic about” banning books.

“This is a red alert. It’s not just: ‘How dare they deny the Holocaust?’ ” he says with a mock gasp. “They’ll deny anything.”…

(5) LOCKED STAR MYSTERY. James Davis Nicoll tells his Tor.com audience about “Five Flawed Books That Are Still Worth Rereading”. One of them is —

Sundiver by David Brin (1980)

…Modern readers will likely find Sundiver (the novel, not the spacecraft in the novel) a bit too much of its era; not in a good way. The treatment of women in this novel makes it obvious that the novel was published closer to the midpoint of the 20th century than to today. The “uplift” which gives Brin’s series its name involves a combination of genetic manipulation and selective breeding, though the humans in the novel decry the way senior galactic patrons treat their servant races. As to the science: Brin, even at the time, must have known that cooling lasers could not work as he has them work in the book. Too bad that many readers must have accepted this as science fact.

However! The novel in hand is not the grand-scale space opera one might expect. It’s a murder mystery on an isolated space craft. It just so happens that I am, in addition to being an SF fan, am also a fan of murder mysteries set in isolated locations. Sundiver was an engaging example of the form—it is hard to get more isolated than a location within the Sun….

(6) FREE BOOK UPCOMING. One of the three books Team File 770 advanced to the finals of the Self-Published Science Fiction Competition will be available free over the next few days. Martin Reed’s novel The Hammond Conjecture will be on free book promotion on Amazon from February 1-5.

(7) EARLY CINEMATIC VAMPIRE. Dutch fantasy writer Remco van Straten has dug up a Dutch vampire movie from 1919 called “Vampire: the Scourge of Amsterdam (1919)”.

 As I looked through the Dutch newspaper archive for information on Nosferatu‘s Dutch premiere for a blog post, I stumbled upon something that I, fairly knowledgeable on horror film history, didn’t know about: an adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula was produced in the Netherlands in 1919, a full three years before Murnau made Nosferatu in 1922!…

(8) FANCAST DOUBLE-DIP. Cora Buhlert has posted a double Fancast Spotlight for The Dickheads Podcast (as in Philip K. Dick) and Postcards from a Dying World“Fancast Spotlight: The Dickheads Podcast and Postcards from a Dying World”.

Tell us about your podcast or channel.

I am involved in two fancasts. First and foremost is The Dickheads Podcast. We are in the 5th and maybe the final year of covering all of Philip K. Dick’s books in publication order. He has over forty novels published and at the time of this interview, we are about to record A Scanner Darkly the novel released in 1977….

On my own, I do a podcast called Postcards from a Dying World. In this show, I do whatever I want…. 

(9) THE PATTON OF SPACE FORCE. Season 2 of Space Force (dropping February 18 on Netflix) has a future where Patton Oswalt is an astronaut but the New York Jets are STILL terrible!

(10) HOLGER M. POHL OBIT. [Item by Cora Buhlert.] German SFF writer, editor and fan Holger M. Pohl died unexpectedly aged 63.

Pohl was a German SFF writer, editor and columnist for the fanzine Fantasyguide. He was the author of Arkland, a fantasy novel inspired by the sword and sorcery of the 1960s and 1970s,and contributed to the multi-author space opera series Die Neunte Expansion and Rettungskreuzer Ikarus. With Dirk van den Boom he co-wrote the space opera novel Welt der Sieben Ebenen. He was a common sight at German cons and beloved member of the German SFF community. I only met him once at the Dublin Worldcon. Very nice guy.

Here are some German-language obituaries: Markus Mäurer, “Holger M. Pohl – Ein Nachruf” at Translate or Die (the blog’s actual name); Dirk van den Boom, “Holger M. Pohl ist tot” at SF Boom; and the fanzine Fantasyguide where he had a regular column. 

(11) MEMORY LANE.

1966 [Item by Cat Eldridge] Fifty-six years at Tricon where Isaac Asimov was Toastmaster, Roger Zelazny’s This Immortal would win the Hugo for Best Novel in a tie with Frank Herbert’s Dune. It was first published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in October and November 1965, in 1966 by Ace Books, in 1967 by UK publisher Hart-Davis in hardcover, and later by the SF Book Club with a Richard Powers cover. Three other works were nominated: John Brunner’s The Squares of The City, Robert A. Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress which would win this Hugo the next year at NYCon 3 and Edward E. Smith’s Skylark DuQuesne.

(12) TODAY’S DAY.

January 31: National Gorilla Suit Day. 

Mad Magazine artist Don Martin created the idea of National Gorilla Suit Day for a 1963 comic strip in which a character mocks the holiday and is then assaulted by gorillas and people in gorilla suits. Since that time, the holiday has been semi-celebrated every year by fans of Mad Magazine and Don Martin by dressing up in a gorilla suit.

(13) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born January 31, 1921 John Agar. Between the early Fifties and the Sixties, he appeared in many SFF films such as The Rocket ManRevenge of the CreatureTarantulaThe Mole PeopleAttack of the Puppet PeopleInvisible InvadersDestination SpaceJourney to the Seventh PlanetCurse of the Swamp CreatureZontar: The Thing from Venus, Women of the Prehistoric Planet and E.T.N.: The Extraterrestrial Nastie. Love that last title! (Died 2002.)
  • Born January 31, 1937 Philip Glass, 85. 1000 Airplanes on the Roof: A Science Fiction Music-DramaEinstein on the BeachThe Making of the Representative for Planet 8 (with a libretto by Doris Lessing based on her novel of the same name), The marriages between zones three, four, and five (libretto by Doris Lessing, after her second novel from Canopus in Argos), The Witches of Venice and The Juniper Tree would be a very fragmentary listing of his works that have a genre underpinning. I’m very, very fond of the latter two works. 
  • Born January 31, 1960 Grant Morrison, 62. If you can find it, his early stuff on such U.K. publishers as Galaxy Media and Harrier Comics is worth searching out. Not your hero in tights materials at all. For his work in that venue, I’d recommend his run on The Resurrection of Ra’s al Ghul, all of his Doom Patrol work (and the HBO Max series is based on his work and is quite spectacular), Seven Soldiers and The Multiversity which is spectacularly weird. 
  • Born January 31, 1962 Will McIntosh, 60. Best known for the  dozens of short stories he’s written that have been published in magazines including Asimov’s, InterzoneLightspeed and Strange Horizons. He won a Hugo for his short story “Bridesicle“ at Aussiecon 4.
  • Born January 31, 1968 Matt King, 54. He’s Peter Streete in the most excellent Tenth Doctor story, “The Shakespeare Code”. His other genre performances are Freeman in the superb Jekyll, Cockerell in Inkheart based off Caroline Funke’s novel of that name, the ghost Henry Mallet in Spirited and Clyde in the recent maligned Doolittle.
  • Born January 31, 1973 Portia de Rossi, 49. She first shows up as Giddy in Sirens which would I’d stretching things to even include as genre adjacent but which is definitely worth watching. For SFF roles, she was in Catholic Church tinged horror film Stigmata, musical Zombie comedy Dead & Breakfast and werewolf horror Cursed. She was Lily Munster in the delightfully weird Mockingbird Lane pilot that never went to series. 

(14) COMICS SECTION.

(15) FUTURE TENSE. The January 2022 story in the Future Tense Fiction series, a monthly series of short stories from Future Tense and Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination about how technology and science will change our lives, is “If We Make It Through This Alive,” by A.T. Greenblatt, a story about a cutthroat future road race, the climate crisis, the ability/disability continuum, and much more.

Slate published the story along with a response essay by Damien P. Williams, a scholar of technology and society. “How heeding disabled people can help us survive the climate crisis.”

Aliza Greenblatt’s “If We Make It Through This Alive” is an immediately engaging story, but the deeper in you get, the more is revealed. And one of the starkest but most subtly played revelations comes near the very end, when the audience is confronted with twin harsh truths: Disabled and otherwise marginalized people are least often thought of when planning for the future—and what disabled people know from their experience of living in this world likely makes them better prepared than nondisabled people to survive whatever comes next….

(16) BLACK PANTHER HISTORY. As Black History Month approaches, Marvel is taking fans on a historical journey, uncovering the evolution of Marvel’s first Black superhero: T’Challa, the Black Panther. Marvel Entertainment and SiriusXM will launch their latest original unscripted podcast series, The History of Marvel Comics: Black Panther, on Monday, February 14.

The six-episode documentary podcast, hosted by New York Times best-selling author Nic Stone (“Shuri,” “Dear Martin”), explores the comic book origins of the Black Panther through conversations with the creators who shaped T’Challa’s journey, celebrates the innately Afro-Futuristic world of Wakanda, and analyzes the larger social impact of the character.

The History of Marvel Comics: Black Panther brings writers, artists, and historians together to share a story that only Marvel can tell. The show features exclusive interviews with notable talent including Brian Stelfreeze, Christopher Priest, Don McGregor, Joe Quesada, John Ridley, John Romita Jr., Reginald Hudlin, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and more.

The show explores some of Black Panther’s most pivotal moments including Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s 1966 debut of the character at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, his continued evolution through the birth of the Black Power Movement, his time with the Avengers and of course, the launching of  Black Panther’s adventures.

The series will initially be available exclusively on the SXM App and Marvel Podcasts Unlimited on Apple Podcasts. Episodes will be widely available one week later on Pandora, Stitcher, and all major podcast platforms in the U.S. Learn more at siriusxm.com/blackpanther.

(17) PITCHLESS MEETING. Mad Genius Club’s Dave Freer pretty much doesn’t watch TV and rarely sees a movie, which isn’t a problem except in this one way — “Every word you say…”

…It’s a curse because the right way to do elevator pitches to editors was to describe your book as like X movie or TV series, meets Y movie or TV series. Mary Poppins meets Die Hard and have a bastard love-child would be about my level… but I have actually heard it done, with movies I had never heard of (I am sure everyone else had). The Movie/TV tropes and references were plainly so much easier for both the author and the editor, than book ones. It is also plainly popular with readers, who, it seems know much more about movies than I do….

(18) ROAD TRIP! “NASA Vet and Space Mogul Aim to Build 97% Cheaper Space Station” at MSN.com.

…If Michael Suffredini is to get the price tag of the first private space station down to $3 billion — compared with the $100 billion it cost to build the International Space Station — the CEO of Houston-based Axiom Space has some decisions to make about what to outsource and what to build in-house.

… Axiom has tripled its headcount at its 14-acre Houston headquarters to 392, and will aim to get to 600 in the coming year. Recent hires include Tejpaul Bhatia, who helped build the startup ecosystem for Google Cloud, as chief revenue officer.

In order to make money, Axiom will also offer space tourism, though it says most of its revenues would eventually come from companies and industries taking advantage of a microgravity environment. U.K.-based studio Space Entertainment Enterprise, which is producing Tom Cruise’s upcoming space movie, announced on Jan. 20 a deal with Axiom to build an in-orbit studio.

Axiom slated its first entry to space for February, but recently moved it to March 31, due to additional spacecraft preparations and space-station traffic. For its first mission to the ISS in March, the crew includes American real estate mogul Larry Connor, Canadian entrepreneur Mark Pathy and Israeli tycoon Eytan Stibbe. The trip is costing each of them $55 million, according to Ghaffarian. It would be the first private astronaut mission in which the transportation vehicle is also private, according to NASA’s Hart. Axiom contracted SpaceX for the launch, and has become the biggest private client of Elon Musk’s space startup with four missions contracted. SpaceX did not immediately reply to a request for comment….

(19) LOOK, UP IN THE SKY! Space.com reports “The James Webb Space Telescope’s 1st target star is in the Big Dipper. Here’s where to see it.”

…Now that JWST has reached its final destination in space, the mission team is getting the next-generation space telescope prepped for observations. A bright point like HD 84406 provides a helpful target by which the team can align JWST’s honeycomb-shaped mirrors and to start gathering engineering data, according to the tweet….

(20) THE PLAY’S THE THING. [Item by Michael Toman.] Would any other theaterphile Filers also appreciate the opportunity to see this free performance of Jeton’s “The Department of Dreams”? Maybe with a small donation?

The world premiere of Department of Dreams by Kosovar playwright Jeton Neziraj at City Garage, November – December 2019. In this nightmarish, Orwellian comedy an autocratic government demands its citizens deposit their dreams in a central bureaucratic depository so that it can exert the fullest possible control of their imaginations. Dan, a new hire for the prized job of Interpreter, sift patiently through the nation’s dreams looking for threats to the government’s authority.  but finds nothing is as it seems except the authority he serves.

[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Chris Barkley, Olav Rokne, Cora Buhlert, Lise Andreasen, Joey Eschrich, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Ingvar.]

79 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/31/22 But It Is The Plotted Truth, That Really Drives You Insane! Let’s Scroll The Pixel Again!

  1. @David Goldfarb: Pohl had a story (“Children of the Night” I think) in which he explores how the electorate will find a justification however flimsy for their unacknowledgable deeper motivations

  2. I’ve noticed that the fig leaf these banning campaigns wear is always “profanity” and “nudity” but that some how we only ever see those charges brought to bear in a way that just so happens to benefit the cause of bigotry.

    There’s an observation I’ve seen recently, well crystalized in this twitter thread for example, where the impulse is to remove first-hand nonfictional accounts of the brutality of the Holocaust (like Maus) because there’s no redemption arc, there’s no good guys saving the day, it’s all just horrible and awful, how can we let children read that? But we must still teach the Holocaust, so instead of those first-hand accounts given by the victims and their families, we have these fictionalized Saturday Afternoon Specials in which the plucky gentile kid is suddenly surprised to discover what his Jewish neighbors are suffering and he darn well rescues them. Yay, redemption arc, yay, heroes to identify with, yay, Christians doing good deeds, that’s a keeper!

    So to tell the stories of the ghetto uprisings, or the stories of the clever ways righteous gentiles held a few Jews away from the machine? That’s good, for what it is. But what those flatly aren’t is a story of The Holocaust. To tell that story, you need oblivion. You need Maus.

    Apparently one of the panels this school board cited to prove Maus was inappropriate for children was a rather tiny depiction of the author’s mother, dead by suicide in her bathtub. And it’s rather sobering to realize that someone looked at that picture and was more concerned about the nudity than the suffering depicted there, and that even so some people considered that person competent to decide what was appropriate reading material for children.

  3. @Nicole
    Somehow these same people don’t have problems with the brutality in the bible, or things like football on TV, or taking them to protests where profanity is prominent.

  4. @Mike Glyer

    Dann665: It’s your claim — so it’s up to you to show that MAUS is available on the shelves at the Central High School or McMinn County High School, where eighth graders in the McMinn County Schools system would have access to it.

    The combined catalogs of the McMinn County schools is online. It shows that McMinn County High School has copies of both volumes of Maus: 3 copies of Vol 1, all checked out; and 2 copies of Vol 2, both on the shelf.

    @Aaron Pound

    cartoon mouse nudity

    @Lis Carey

    Nude mice. A few nude mice.

    The problematic nudity is not of mice, but of Art Spiegelman’s mother, nude in the tub, after she had cut her own wrists. In human form, not as a mouse. In two separate panels.

  5. bill: Can you explain how you’re doing that search to get the result in your screencap? Because I did that search yesterday, and again just now, and got this both times —

  6. @bill–

    The problematic nudity is not of mice, but of Art Spiegelman’s mother, nude in the tub, after she had cut her own wrists. In human form, not as a mouse. In two separate panels.

    Ah.

    And those are two really sexually suggestive images, right?

    Sorry, it’s still pathetic, that they’re using that as an excuse not to teach about how brutal and evil the Holocaust was, and how driven by hate.

    Also noted that your search of the McMinn County school libraries seems to have been right after the vote, before the order to remove the books could be carried out.

  7. @Mike Glyer

    Go here:
    https://mcminnschools.follettdestiny.com/common/welcome.jsp?context=saas51_4100953

    Select any of the McMinn County Schools.
    In the “limiters” box, set “Location” drop-down to “High Schools”
    Put “Maus” in the “Find” field
    Hit “enter”

    @Lis Carey

    And those are two really sexually suggestive images,

    Maybe in your mind.
    But whether they are sexually suggestive has nothing to do with it — the school board minutes (you should read them, then you might be informed enough to have an intelligent opinion on the matter) do not address salaciousness or lewdness, just nakedness.

    they’re using that as an excuse not to teach about how brutal and evil the Holocaust was, and how driven by hate.

    Why do you say that McMinn Schools are not teaching about the Holocaust? The Board minutes make it clear that they are looking to replace Maus with a more age appropriate text. Further, the curriculum mandated by Tennessee Common Core standards has Holocaust units in the 5th grade and in two separate places in High School history. McMinn students are educated about the Holocaust, whether or not they study Maus in 8th grade.

    your search of the McMinn County school libraries seems to have been right after the vote,

    What makes you think that? There’s no time or date stamp on the search. You are just making shit up here.
    The search was done minutes before my post. 24 days after the School Board vote is plenty of time for the library to react to an “order”, if such order existed. (And I repeated the search as part of writing this post. It is current.)

    If you do the search, and select “Details” for Maus Vol 1 and Vol 2, you get more information associated with each book. Part of that is the Accelerated Reader® assessment of the books. AR scores are widely used by schools to provide teachers and parents with information about the reading difficulty (lexile scores), complexity of the text, and the age appropriateness of the text. The local schools that my son went to, and others that I’m familiar with, all use AR scores as part of reading programs. The AR “IL” (Interest Level) for both Maus volumes is “UG” (Upper Grades — 9th – 12th).

    All this is to say that it is entirely appropriate for the McMinn School Board to determine that 8th grade is too young for Maus, and that decision is consistent with the judgment of professional educators. Any given 8th grader may be able to handle the book, but in general, it is more of a high school than middle school book.

  8. Bill,

    The McMinn Schools say they will replace Maus with an age-acceptable replacement. I, for one, will believe it when I see it.

  9. @Rob Thornton, they’ve got The Devil’s Arithmetic in their library. It’s pretty bleak, so far as the Holocaust is concerned*, but frames it within a comfortable present.

    *That is the weirdest sounding thing to say, but given how some of the alternatives suggested try their damnedest not to be bleak, it’s not wrong to point out.

  10. Bill: Thanks for the tip. The search works for me now and I get the two titles returned.

  11. I used to write AR quizzes, if anyone wants further info about them. (Does this make me an expert witness?)

    But the short version is that using them as a replacement for teacher or librarian judgement is laughable at best, and the scores are built around – at least as a fiction – the idea of encouraging young people to read by recommending stuff they might enjoy while reading at least semi-independently, not by what has educational value or works best for teaching a subject to an age group.

    Also, professional educators. That’s, um. That’s funny. Reading age and interest age were both decided by algorithm or, at best, publisher input. No-one should be appealing to the authority of AR quizzes.

    It’s funny how the authority of the actual professional educators with actual direct knowledge of the relevant student body involved in this whole thing has been so easily dismissed. But they made a curriculum with Maus in it, so I guess they’re not useful for defending censorship.

  12. @bill–

    @Lis Carey

    And those are two really sexually suggestive images,

    Maybe in your mind.
    But whether they are sexually suggestive has nothing to do with it — the school board minutes (you should read them, then you might be informed enough to have an intelligent opinion on the matter) do not address salaciousness or lewdness, just nakedness.

    Aw, bill, it’s sad to see that you can’t recognize even pretty unsubtle sarcasm.

    And the absence of any other reason specified, leaves the reasonable reader to conclude that we are expected to believe that the usual reason is at work, the fear that images of naked women will incite Dirty Thoughts in the minds of the Innocent Impressionable Young.

    It’s ridiculous in this case, of course. But that’s what they’re asking us to believe–the reason for banning it is the terribly shocking use of (very partially, and totally unsuggestive visible) nudity, and profanity in the form of a few uses of an expression eighth graders hear quite commonly–in a book where the topic is the far more important matter of the Holocaust.

    GMAFB.

    And I’ll believe in the “age-appropriate” replacement book when it’s announced. I bet if it does, it will be something from the genre of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, by John Boyne–centered around the experience and view point of a Good German, in this case the innocent 9yo son of a Nazi commandant, slowly learning about what’s going on in “Out-With,” from another 9yo boy inside the fence.

    It’s good, as far as it goes, but it doesn’t center the experience of the Jews, or even anyone of any of the other groups condemned wholesale by the Nazis. It in no way asks the reader to identify directly with the Jews, the “Other.”

    Maus centers the genuine, factual, horrific experience of the Jews under the Nazis, without a comfortable, distancing frame. That matters. And the reasons not to use Maus aren’t about nudity and profanity, but the same reasons school boards and/or politicians all over the south are increasingly trying to ban any honest teaching about the antebellum south and the Civil War–it might make white kids, or rather, their parents, uncomfortable by teaching them some important but painful truths.

  13. @Meredith

    It’s funny how the authority of the actual professional educators with actual direct knowledge of the relevant student body involved in this whole thing has been so easily dismissed.

    Here’s a quote from a high school teacher who was at the school board meeting:
    “I love the Holocaust I have taught the Holocaust almost every year in the
    classroom, but this is not a book I would teach my students. ”

    @Lis — if you read the transcript, you will see why they did it, and you won’t have to “conclude” anything. But if you just assume you know the reasons behind the action from press releases and media stories, you will be wrong.

  14. @bill

    the school board minutes (you should read them, then you might be informed enough to have an intelligent opinion on the matter) do not address salaciousness or lewdness, just nakedness.

    And that’s why – IN the transcript – one of the board members complained that the author had done illustrations for Playboy – notorious for having Nothing Whatever to do with salaciousness or lewdness – and stated that this by itself made anything he drew unsuitable in his eyes. Another board member said he thought the entire curriculum seemed ‘developed to normalize sexuality,” He also bizarrely complained about the old song in another textbook, “I’m just wild about Harry” (which WASN’T being taught at McMinn) for having the word ‘ecstasy’ in it, which to him has purely sexual connotations that should not be taught in school. and darkly added: “If I was trying to indoctrinate somebody’s kids, this is how I would do it. You put this stuff just enough on the edges, so the parents don’t catch it, but the kids, they soak it in.”

    It sure looks to me like they’re imputing salacious connotations to Maus that aren’t actually present in the work. There’s the hint of ‘the entire curriculum’ being a plot to tempt children into some evil hidden agenda. And when the proposal is made to just redact the eight words and the 2 panels with the suicide, and then use the book, one board member casually remarks that maybe the hanging mice have got to go too and if they get rid of that and other unspecified complaints it will be too extensive to cut, and another board member complains that showing hanging and child murder in an education text is not ‘healthy’ or ‘wise.’

    So yeah, I think it’s pretty clear that nudity and cussing objections aren’t ALL they have against this book. If you state that depicting child murder (an accurate and essential component of the Holocaust) and hangings (also accurate) is beyond the pale, you don’t give a full account of the Holocaust. You also (what a coincidence!) rule out lynching photos, with their cheering crowds in front of hanged men. By disallowing photos or drawings, you reduce these horrors to the unmemorable, ignorable, unreal paragraphs in a textbook. Which is, IMO a tragedy and a falsification of the historical truth.

    A deliberate effort on the school board’s part? I’d say at least one school member thinks there might be a dark evil plan by unspecified but unscrupulous people to ‘indoctrinate’ their children with these images. Who could he mean by that, I wonder?

    Just in passing, that one unnamed teacher who said they “love the Holocaust’ comes off deeply weird.

  15. @bill

    You’re not an idiot, which means you know better than to use yet another doesn’t-teach-those-kids person to try and pretend that all the professional educators of the world have a specific viewpoint – coincidentally, your own – while cheerfully ignoring the ones who teach the relevant student body and came up with the Maus-centred curriculum in the first place. The only professional educators with direct experience of the student body – not just the geographical proximity you previously tried to use to defend the board’s censorship – think Maus works great. They built their whole unit around it.

    You seem very determined to avoid having to think about that while clutching at educator-straws to find support somewhere, anywhere, from someone who you can consider an authority – however flawed, as in the case of AR, which I note you now seem to be pretending never even happened – and will reassure you that censorship is totally fine. Sorry, bill. You’re just going to have to take some responsibility for your own opinion about it instead.

  16. I will repeat myself, since it seems my point was missed the first time,* that if you see the depiction of a woman’s suicide as normalizing sexuality, that says more about you than about the illustration. (Maus is not CSI. The dead bodies are not there to titillate you. No, not even the women’s dead bodies.) And if you are more concerned with her corpse’s nakedness than with the suffering she endured, you need to check your sense of empathy. As in, is it functioning? Do you even have one? Did you ever?

    And if you are willing to use that nakedness as an excuse to not educate future generations about to the circumstances of her suffering, thus withholding from them the tools necessary to fully comprehend those circumstances and do their level best to prevent their recurrence, you are not fit to decide what students of any age ought to be taught.

    *Witness: bill helpfully informs us about the panel in question two comments after I had brought it up!

  17. Looking over those minutes again, I see a possible explanation as to why McMinn’s Central High has a copy of Maus available and other schools in McMinn do not.

    One unnamed teacher from McMinn High School (the same one who loved the Holocaust): We have others, we have the Pearson version, not that I am a fan of it but..
    Rob Shamblin- Is that the older version?
    UT – No, we adopted a newer version [presumably the version the board is objecting to] when they adopted the older one.
    Rob Shamblin- I spoke to another system that was familiar with that book, but they are using the older version that doesn’t have the same verbiage and graphics. I don’t know what changed.
    Melasawn Knight- It was taught at the other high school last year, Central and it’s the same curriculum.

    So there is ALREADY a version of Maus that has been bowdlerized from the original, with unspecified objectionable parts cut out, that has been taught at Central High in McMinn (and IMO, is likely the one available in the library). It has been taught there without any legal objection from the author. Huzzah, problem solved! But does the board decide to teach that pre-redacted version? Or at least choose to READ that bowdlerized version to see if they think that version might not damage the delicate sensibilities of McMinn youth? Oddly, they do not even consider the possibility.

    Why is that, I wonder? It seems that the Holocaust-loving teacher is ‘not a fan’ of that edited-for-television version, but they don’t say why. AFAICT, no one in the minutes specifically discusses WHY an official McMinn county school text that has already been officially abridged to spare kids’ sensibilities is still not good enough to use in the school board’s eyes, but I think “It shows people hanging, it shows them killing kids, why does the educational system promote this kind of stuff? It is not wise or healthy,” is the real reason. This is backed up by the apparent legal expert of the school board:

    Scott Bennett- In responding to the question earlier, if a kid had actually said the whole word, yes you could have disciplined them because you took the word out and you’re not supposed to say it. Had they gone further and maybe, you know we don’t like the scene of the mice hanging from the tree. Ok, so now you are starting to move into the author’s creative license, at that point you are just changing their work.

    IMO, this is an especially illuminating bit:

    Rob Shamblin- So can we take it, as far as it needs to go, because I don’t know that it is going to end with one book. I think the process needs to include a bigger plan to holistically redact things that we don’t want in there. We hope we have good employees, LIKE MINDED CULTURE [my emphasis, obviously], centric folks that fit with McMinn County, that they’re going to make the right discretionary decisions to redact that literature in an appropriate way for the age related presentation.

    Steven Brady- After discussing with Mr. Parkison, we felt that was best for our community like you were saying.

    Looks like there’s already been a discussion among the board members that we who read the minutes are NOT privy to, to be redacting more things on a broader basis (among the criteria for redactors being ‘like minded culture’ – I’ve read McMinn county is over 90% white, and I’d lay a large bet there are few Jews there) than is discussed at the board meeting. In that light, the attempt by board members to impute evil, seductive, tempting images to Maus that it clearly does not possess and the protest “We’re banning the book (the board members DO use the word ‘ban’) because we aren’t allowed to redact the word ‘bitch’ to “—–” instead of “b—-!” looks even more disingenuous than it already does.

  18. @jayn — Each of the ten voting members of the school board had their own reasons for voting to remove the book. I don’t think that there’s any reason to decide that most of them found the text to be salacious, but maybe one or two were worried about the appearance of salaciousness (i.e., the Playboy reference).

    I think it would be odd for any reasonable adult to find the book, or the two specific images, to be erotic/sexy/etc. But remember, this discussion is about putting the book in front of 13-14 year old boys, who are hard-wired to look for the taboo and make a big deal of it. I’d bet than in any 8th grade class studying the book, there will be a few boys who get to those pages and start snickering BOOBIES!!! Think Beavis & Butthead.

    So the questions the board were asking were “Is this book the right thing to put in front of McMinn County 8th graders? Are the benefits of teaching the book worth the costs? Particularly in light of the fact that there are other vehicles for teaching the Holocaust that do not carry the same baggage?” And to me, from reading the transcript, informed by the fact that I grew up in Tennessee and am acutely aware of the mindset of parents in the area, I think it is obvious that they feel like the book is too adult for 8th graders, and it would be best removed. And that is an entirely rational decision for them to make — the book is clearly adult in nature, Tennessee schools can and do use other vehicles to teach the Holocaust, and the use of the book conveys approval of vocabulary and such that goes against the values of the community and what the schools are trying to teach. It may not be the decision you would make for your kids or school, or the decision a more liberal community would make for its schools, but it’s the decision this school board made.

    @Meredith —
    “the ones who teach the relevant student body and came up with the Maus-centred curriculum in the first place”
    The ones who teach the relevant student body — the faculty of the McMinn schools — did not come up with the Maus-centred curriculum.
    The curriculum is a package called “Expeditionary Learning,” put together by a company that came out of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The Tennessee Dept of Education approved it in 2019, and the McMinn schools picked it up early in 2020. The 8th grade curriculum includes four modules — one each on Latin America, food, the Holocaust, and Japanese Internment. Last school year, they didn’t do the Holocaust module because of issues associated with distance learning and Covid, so this year is the first that the teachers in McMinn County have engaged the book.
    And one of the themes of the board meeting is that several members are not happy with the process of how they ended up with this text being the core of this module — they feel that someone at the TN Dept of Ed, and also whoever in McMinn County that endorsed the package, didn’t do a good enough job of deciding “Yes, this material is age appropriate for this class”. The teachers, the students, and the parents were all engaging the book for the first time. And some of them, having gone through the module, are having misgivings.
    So your statement “The only professional educators with direct experience of the student body . . . think Maus works great. They built their whole unit around it” doesn’t make sense. The McMinn educators did not build a unit, they bought a package that included a unit, without a great deal of knowledge or experience as to how it would be received by the community.

    “the case of AR, which I note you now seem to be pretending never even happened” — “pretending never even happened”??? I have no idea what you mean by this. I made the statement, it’s in print under my name. What pretending?
    But if you think that the AR assessment of Maus as a 9th grade and up book is meaningless, I’ll note that when School Library Journal reviewed the book in Nov 2003, they said it was for “Grade 9 and up”. (And I haven’t, and do not maintain that it is inappropriate for all 8th graders. But it is inappropriate for enough of them for it to be a reasonable decision for a school board to say, “Nope, let’s call time out on this book and relook at this decision.”)

    @Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    And if you are willing to use that nakedness as an excuse to not educate future generations about to the circumstances of her suffering, thus withholding from them the tools necessary to fully comprehend those circumstances and do their level best to prevent their recurrence, you are not fit to decide what students of any age ought to be taught.

    If this unit on Maus was the only exposure to the Holocaust that McMinn students got, I could endorse this comment. But it’s not. Even if they end up replacing Maus with Hogan’s Heroes, the Tennessee curriculum covers the Holocaust in depth in other places.

    @jayn

    We have others, we have the Pearson version, not that I am a fan of it but..

    There is no “Pearson” version of Maus. Pearson publishes text books. The copies of Maus that are in the library are from Pantheon. I think they have jumped to talking about the ELA text books that cover the whole year, and are not speaking specifically about Maus.

  19. @bill

    Thanks

    Regards,
    Dann
    People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians. – George Lucas to the Congress March 3, 1988.

  20. @bill: That doesn’t wash. Reading the minutes that you were recently preening yourself about having read:

    Melasawn Knight- I was just about to bring that up. The high schools have adopted a separate curriculum, but it is in the freshman curriculum, the same book, and was taught last year in freshman classes and a digital version as well. We are not talking just eighth grade, we are talking freshman but different curriculum vendor.

    …it’s clear they’re talking about one (1) singular book, the one that they spent 20 pages discussing, during which discussion NO other book was mentioned; Maus.

    I was trying to find out more about the “Pearson’s version” that was mysteriously unacceptable to the board. I found on Reddit one studious person who looked into it and found this:

    Hey, sorry it took so long. I have found that English 1 (which I will assume will be 9th grade) in McMinn County High school use the Pearson “My Perspectives” English Language Arts curriculum. I looked it up and “My Perspectives” is a customizable curriculum that provides eBooks with their curriculum, but will also deliver some physical books as well. I found the list of available physical books here https://assets.pearsonschool.com/asset_mgr/current/201548/myPerspectives%20Trade%20Book%20List.pdf . It contains Maus I, but not Maus II. The Learn Zillion 8th grade curriculum also include Maus I. I have not yet checked Central High School’s English 1 curriculum yet, so I don’t know what the difference between Central High and McMinn High is yet, but I am wondering if they are talking about a version that has both Maus 1 and Maus II… there are editions of Maus out there that compile both novels into one book, and Maus II is considered more “graphic” than Maus I from a cursory search of opinions on the matter

    So, yes, bill, there DOES seem to be a “Pearson” version of Maus, despite your firm conviction to the contrary. Speaking of firm convictions, I find it amusing that you’re tacitly acknowledging my point that the school board IS explicitly saying they intend to expand their banning eye to more books in the future based on such interesting criteria as “like minded culture.”

  21. @jayn — so you’re saying that the copies in the library are published by Pearson, and have been bowdlerized? Even though the library catalog says they are the standard Pantheon version? Even though the library has Vol II, which Pearson does not make available?

    ” I find it amusing that you’re tacitly acknowledging my point that the school board IS explicitly saying they intend to expand their banning eye to more books”
    If I’m doing this, tacitly or otherwise, I don’t see where.

  22. @bill
    I’m saying that the BOARD was aware of the existence of a version of Maus “that doesn’t have the same verbiage and graphics” that the school board is ostensibly objecting to, that has been taught at Central High in McMinn without an issue, except that the teacher who loves the Holocaust is ‘not a fan’ for undescribed reasons. This edition has no legal problems of the kind the board’s legal expert pointed out with the board’s proposed home-grown “white-out the hangings” censorship. Does the board say, “Cool, let’s look at that version and see if it suits our kids’ best interest as we perceive it?” They do not. Why?

    I’d say there’s a lot of evidence within the minutes that they’d come to the meeting with their minds made up that Maus was out of their school, that nothing anyone explaining or attempting some fix of their objections would change that decision, and they were doing it for far more than their original stated reasons of 2 panels of nudity and some dirty words, both of which MIGHT have already been dealt with by the official abridged version if they cared to LOOK at it. They did not care to. 2 panels of nudity and some dirty words were their excuse, not their reason for the ban.

    THAT is the point I’m concerned with. Whether the Maus copy at Central High library is the ‘standard’ Pantheon or one that Pantheon worked with Pearson to produce for teaching use that you JUST grudgingly admitted the existence of after confidently denying it, is a side issue.

    You tacitly acknowledged the main point of my previous post – that the school board came with a far bigger agenda with a far broader and less publicly defined focus than the supposed flaws in Maus that the meeting was supposedly about when you said: “I think they have jumped to talking about the ELA text books that cover the whole year, and are not speaking specifically about Maus.” You are acknowledging that the school board came to this meeting loaded for bear and are exuberantly cannonading in all directions for the evil seductive targets they claim to find everywhere (as in that one member’s bizarre “I’m Just Wild About Harry” tangent) so it WAS perfectly credible to you that they’d run off on a tangent about other books instead of Maus – while you conspicuously ignored my minutes-backed points about WHAT criteria (“like-minded culture”, “indoctrinate somebody’s kids”) they were using to aim their fusillades.

    Each of the ten voting members of the school board had their own reasons for voting to remove the book. I don’t think that there’s any reason to decide that most of them found the text to be salacious, but maybe one or two were worried about the appearance of salaciousness (i.e., the Playboy reference)…
    I think it would be odd for any reasonable adult to find the book, or the two specific images, to be erotic/sexy/etc. But remember, this discussion is about putting the book in front of 13-14 year old boys…

    At least ONE guy on the board seemed to quite sincerely and indignantly find a hundred year old song from a Broadway musical wickedly stimulating enough to him to be positively pornographic, so I don’t think we should be too hard on the predilections of 13-14 year old boys in comparison.

    Your original position on this story was that we had no authority to criticize the ban, that these wise elders knew the needs of their community better than we did, and if we read the minutes like YOU had, we all might attain “an intelligent opinion” on their clear-eyed lewdness-free accurate assessment of Maus. Well, I quoted you excerpts of those minutes, and now your position has shifted to, “Well, okay, yeah, there IS that one guy who is positively obsessed with lewdness and salaciousness, but he’s an outlier. The rest are only concerned with the flaws in Maus that are actually there.” And you’re STILL wrong. That one guy is not an outlier. You’re ignoring the minutes-backed evidence that they’re working on criteria WAY beyond the mere nudity and cusswords that was the original declared excuse for their ban, rather ominous criteria that they openly referred to. And they aren’t going to let what is ACTUALLY on the pages of Maus get in the way of their banning it.

    Evidence? The one “I’m Just Wild About Harry” masturbator (Mike Cochran) whose mutterings about indoctrination I have quoted but you have steadfastly ignored, is not the only one disinterested in actually READING Maus to see if the vices he attributes to it are actually there.

    Rob Shamblin – But if it’s more offensive than that, and I have not seen the book and read the whole book, I read the reviews, then it’s a bigger problem.

    So – he hasn’t actually SEEN the book, he’s read some reviews (from where? Amazon? Commonsense Media? EvangelicalFocus.com, which feels that the flaw in Maus is that Speigelman hasn’t found Jesus? Where?) Nevertheless, he isn’t about to let his lack of research get in the way of his zeal for looking to Maus and beyond for books to ban. See below…Mike the masturbator has just proudly recounted a grimly funny anecdote about how he oversaw teachers putting tape over illustrations of a book from second grade which depicted a naked man riding a bull, to protect the children from the sight of his butt, although even HE admits that the picture was “not vulgar, it’s something you would see in an art gallery.” This local censorship effort is praised by Shamblin. And then:

    Steven Brady- We implemented that, we chose to do redactions.

    Rob Shamblin- So can we take it, as far as it needs to go, because I don’t know that it is going to end with one book. I think the process needs to include a bigger plan to holistically redact things that we don’t want in there. We hope we have good employees, like minded culture, centric folks that fit with McMinn County, that they’re going to make the right discretionary decisions to redact that literature in an appropriate way for the age related presentation.

    Steven Brady- After discussing with Mr. Parkison, we felt that was best for our community like you were saying.

    So…there’s a THIRD member of the board who has already been working in concert with Mike the Masturbating Conspiracy Theorist and Rob the Non-Reader, agreeing to the “like-minded culture” etc. criteria for redaction of multiple books Rob is enthusiastically proposing (probably without reading them, just the reviews). I quoted the “like-minded culture” bit before, bill, but you ignored it, for some reason.

    Many opinionators in the media have used your tack of saying “Aw, those cute prudish good-hearted small-towners are just worried about the nudity and cussing. It’s NOT about minimizing the Holocaust in teaching kids; if you horrified snowflakes would just read the minutes you’d be able to form a really ‘intelligent opinion’ (as you snidely put it) about their essential virtue and fitness for banning this book from their kids’ school.”

    In the minutes, another board member complains of Maus: “It shows people hanging, it shows them killing kids, why does the educational system promote this kind of stuff, it is not wise or healthy.”

    This is the crux of why Maus was removed, IMO, and why it’s so bad that it was banned. IIRC, the most poignant death of a child in Maus is that of Art Spiegelman’s brother Richieu. He is in the care of an aunt who hears that they all are about to be taken to the camps; she kills her own children, Richieu and herself. Note well – the death of the children itself is NOT shown, despite the board member’s complaint. We see the desperate moment when Hela declares her children will not be taken to a concentration camp and gassed, and calls them over, by name. (See the panel itself here). The aftermath is only told to us in a text box by Spiegelman’s father. We are shown enough to see these kids as individuals, and told enough to feel the horror of their death without needing to see it. THIS is what the board doesn’t want their children to read, and feel.
    As Stalin said, “a single death is a tragedy, a million deaths are a statistic.” The school board’s fine with historical text paragraphs dense with statistics about the Holocaust. They’d probably be the same with a few historical text paragraphs about lynchings. But actual pictures of hangings? An emotional, empathic connection to kids of a different culture perishing in a graphically depicted Holocaust, even if their death itself is NOT pictured? That’s a bridge too far. But omitting the death of children IS falsifying the teaching of the Holocaust.

    That’s why I think this downplaying of the significance of the ban you and others are engaging in is not just incorrect on the facts; it’s fucking dangerous.

  23. Does anyone else get chills (and not the good kind) at the phrase ‘like minded culture’?

  24. @jayn — I was going to write a detailed response, but then I see how hyperbolically you exaggerate things, and I realize that there’s no sense in it. “Mike the masturbator”??? Really?

    If you want to talk about what people really say and do, I’m up for it. But you take statements, exaggerate them until they no longer represent what is actually said, and go from there. Have fun libelling people.

  25. @rochrist
    Oh, God, yes.

    @bill
    I’m angry because I’m Jewish and I’m seeing people remove great Holocaust literature from a school curriculum under a flimsy pretext, led by a man who openly admits he hasn’t actually read the book he’s deemed offensive and wants to ban it anyway, and considers it but the opening salvo in banning other unnamed (possibly unread books) under criteria that include “like-minded culture.” I presented document-citing evidence for the flimsy pretext, the unread, uninformed, ban-happy Culture Warrior board member, and the collaboration of various other members with him based on HIS stated criteria for what’s acceptable.

    And you, bill? You ignore all the quote-backed facts about these board members. You don’t get angry at them. You get angry at ME, purportedly for mildly insulting one of the collaborators of the ban enthusiast. You call my insult “libel” (which it’s not, unless you know for a fact that Mike NEVER masturbates AND that his community would consider it reputation-damaging for anyone to ever be known to have done so – are you Mike, btw?) and use that pretext to deny that I have written anything about “what people really say and do,” thus sparing yourself the painful admission that I have documented everything that I said these people are REALLY saying and doing with their actual words saying what they ARE doing.

    I’m only angry at you, bill, to the extent that your own disingenuous mendacity is a faint echo and amplification of the huge wave of disingenuous mendacity that is downplaying and minimizing the harm people like the McMinn board are doing to the country at large.

  26. I thought I’d wait a bit to let bill figure out on his own that adding more professional educators involved in creating and selecting the curriculum just… sort of… made my argument better, not worse? Or that I was referring to his little dodge of me pointing out that, firstly, I know AR much better than he ever will, and secondly, his attempt to use them to shore up his bad argument was nonsense, that would’ve been good, too.

    But he doesn’t seem to be likely to do so, and now he’s being a jerk to jayn, so I think I’d rather do this than argue with a man absolutely desperate to avoid even admitting he’s making an argument:

    jayn, I’m sorry they did it, I’m sorry this is hitting so close to home for you, and I’m sorry you’ve having to deal with people like bill and Dann making bad excuses for it. It’s awful and dead wrong that any of this is happening.

  27. @jayn — I’m sorry you are angry, and I’m also sorry if my comments here are exacerbating that. I have no desire to make you or anyone else angry.
    If I thought that the removal of Maus from the 8th grade curriculum would mean that McMinn students would not be educated about the Holocaust, I might feel similarly. But that is not the case, and there are several things that show this.

    The Tennessee Board of Education mandates that schools teach the Holocaust in 5th grade (in Social Studies), and twice in high school (as part of U.S. History, and as part of World History and Geography). In addition, students specifically engage anti-Semitism in Europe and the Jewish Diaspora. The McMinn school libraries have dozens and dozens of books about the holocaust, at various levels of maturity, as appropriate for a school system that goes from elementary through high school, including copies of Maus. Teachers have not been required to remove Maus from their classroom shelves. And finally, the teachers and Board have been quite clear that they want to continue to teach the Holocaust, just with a different text without nudity and taking the Lord’s name in vain. (Just a few days back, you said “I think it’s safe to take the school board at their last word.” Why do you insist now that they are hiding their true motives?) While they haven’t said what the long term solution is, in the short term they are using a workbook from the unit (probably from Pearson) that includes excerpts from 10 or 12 books about the Holocaust as a substitute for the removed text.

    “You get angry at ME,”
    Nope, not angry at you. I just think you take the facts as given and exaggerate them before you respond to them, so as to justify a hyperbolic response. If you disagree with Mike Cochran’s statements in the meeting minutes, then engage them as written. There’s nothing in the record that suggest that he personally is sexually excited by the lyrics of “I’m Just Wild About Harry”, so when you call him “Mike the Masturbator”, it takes away from any serious argument you may have.

    “I have documented everything that I said”
    You said that “there DOES seem to be a ‘Pearson’ version of Maus.” But again, there isn’t. I called the company and checked (even though it was already obviously so). The texts they make available are the same copies that you and I can buy from Amazon. Pearson is acting as a purchasing agent, and they simply make them available as supplements to the formal curriculum as a convenience to customers.
    You said “text that has already been officially abridged” and “the official abridged version”, but there’s no such thing. The copies that Pearson sells are the standard commercially available versions, unabridged. Any abridgement or bowdlerizing is done by the McMinn staff, with whiteout and markers.

    “I’m only angry at you, bill, to the extent that your own disingenuous mendacity”
    Angry at me? Why bother? I’m just another guy on the internet. If what I say angers you, then don’t take me so seriously. (Rest assured I will lose no sleep over what you’ve posted here). My words here affect nothing and no one (unless they allow it). And “mendacity”? You may disagree with the conclusions I’ve drawn from the record, but I’m not lying. I’d take offense if what you were saying carried any weight with me. Here’s an internet protip: just because someone says something you don’t agree with doesn’t mean that they are lying.

    @Meredith:
    “a man absolutely desperate to avoid even admitting he’s making an argument”
    ??? I happily admit that I’m making several arguments. My history on File770 is pretty much three things: adding trivia to Scroll items, correcting erroneous statements, and arguing with people who are wrong (and it’s a target-rich environment, I’ve gotta say.)

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