South Carolina legislature confiscates budget of college for assigning Alison Bechdel's "Fun Home" as a reading

My daughter’s college (Lawrence University in Wisc.) had Fun Home in their Freshman Studies curriculum, everyone on campus read it. It’s a great introduction to graphic novels and graphic autobiography. I think Persepolis and Blankets would be two other fantastic choices.


That’s… that’s… I don’t even know what to say. The way America funds their schools has always confused me, but this is just bizarre.

Things couldn’t be more different here in Finland. When I was 14, we watched a Swedish movie called Fucking Åmål (it even has a swear word in the title - gasp!) at school. It’s about two teen girls who fall in love. It was especially important for me because I was just coming to terms with my bisexuality.

I think books and movies about sexuality and gender should be essential at school. It helps people understand and accept diversity and helps LBGT teens accept themselves.


This speaks volumes about Representative Garry Smith’s own “education” and his desire to propagate that same mis-education to everyone else.


Other than being a tiny minded bigot with an agenda, I am confused as to what exactly this morons credentials are to allow him to assess if the work was worth scholarly attention. Or did he get a word of the day calendar and is trying to make it appear that there is a real issue beyond lesbians being icky if it isn’t an anecdote in a letter to penthouse?


Poor, poor Gary Price.


Money has been put where my mouth is. For reference, the name of the program in question is “The College Reads!”, and the college’s donation page is at


A fear-based bias he wants everyone else to have.


Sadly, I think THAT is exactly why they don’t want this book to be read by college students… not only will it help LBGT come to terms with themselves, but it will help non-LBGT kids accept them, too.

It’s a stupidly frustrating mindset, but that’s how they are thinking, honestly. It’s very sad, because it’s hard enough growing up, and doubly hard when you are told the way that you feel and who you are is just bad and wrong. I do think reactionaries like this are clearly starting to be on the losing end of this battle, and this is probably why they are doing such things, because they KNOW they are losing.


This is tangentially related, and really could probably accommodate something like you suggested, but at the moment they only do K-12:

It is a kickstarter-like funding system for classrooms and teachers who can’t get funding for cool educational things, usually because they are in high poverty districts, but not always.

I ran into them when a biology teacher couldn’t get funding for a few teaching/demonstration microscopes for her classroom.


I don’t get it. How is he related to this story at all?

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If there’s any positive to this, it’s that this publicity will drive Bechtel’s book sales and more will be exposed to this book than would have otherwise, if the program had quietly continued, undisturbed by the not atypical South Carolinian display of derangement.


Donating will feel good, but the knuckle-dragger’s position is that LGBT issue should not be publicly funded. A private donation could be viewed as support for that position. Uncomfortable fact, but there it is.


Volunteer funding for libraries is a nice idea, but it’s treating the symptoms instead of curing the illness.

What we really need to be doing is stopping people from gutting libraries. It boggles my mind that people who actively work to damage and destroy public education systems in deference to greed, religion, warfare, and the like aren’t tried for crimes against humanity.

Some bored schmoe passes the time by smoking a joint (because fuck it, what else are they going to do - read a book from the shuttered library?), gets stopped by a cop and locked away in a cell for a decade or two. Meanwhile, the politicians pushing their insane personal agendas not only walk free, but live high on the hog, sleeping like a baby every night. Disgusting, ain’t it?


I’m here to second the choice of Persepolis. Great stuff.

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The quality of writing in “Fun Home” and “Are You My Mother” is really excellent, and the drawing is, too. I have to admit that while I was never a fan of Bechdel’s previous long running strip “Dykes To Watch Out For” - I was glad it existed, and knew people who LOVED that strip.

I thought “Fun Home” was a very analytical and moving book, that operates on many simultaneous levels. “Fun Home” is a book that will be historically important for many questioning/LBGTI, etc. youth. This is also a book for straight people - especially young college students - who would never otherwise read a “gay” book. And for people who think comics are a lesser art form. And for people who scoff at autobiography.

I wish the South Carolina legislature would be forced to READ this book(and then pass a written exam to prove they actually read it), before they would be allowed to confiscate any budget for books.

This book is about Bechdel’s sexuality - and her father’s - and her mother’s - but it is also about growing up as a girl, living in a small town, having a teacher as a parent, having family involved in the funeral home business, going against the grain and living in a fabulously restored victorian house, her parent’s marriage, frustrated and thwarted adult ambition, questions around suicide - and storytelling, memory and drawing. It is no more about sexuality than say, Art Speigelman’s “MAUS” in which straight people have troubled romances, marriage, children and separation during WW2. In MAUS, Jewish identity under siege is also a central theme, as well as efforts to deny, conceal this identity to “pass” to survive. Which parallels some of the issues in “Fun Home”.

How can members of a legislature be so dumb ? You’d think they would have to pass a reading comprehension test to get the job ?


I disagree vehemently. One might as well say that Crane’s “The Open Boat” has suggestions of atheism due to Nature’s indifference to the plight of the story’s protagonists. Or, even better, maybe Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-five” should be banned from teaching because it depicts sex, or can be read as a critique of war-making?
Now that I think about it, gosh, I’m seeing the light–all public schools should receive an approved list of reading materials from the government or the local legislature because we wouldn’t want folks to get the wrong ideas. Clearly, there is but one system available to us: “Responsibility to superiors, authority toward inferiors.” Help us lift ourselves from the intellectual muck, South Carolina! Show us how we can prosper at your level, especially without Teh Gayz!!

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On the internet we just call them Americans.

This, actually. I really believe that this is related to the drive to privatize everything. Isn’t this why religiously tinged libertarians have managed to wrangle at least partial control of the GOP?


Ha… no, silly. The more well read you are, the more you know about how the world works, the less likely you are to be able to be manipulated…


There needs to be pushback on three fronts:

Short-term: Donate to restore the lost funds to Charleston.

Medium-term: Urge the SC state legislature to restore funds when the state budget is reviewed as a whole on March 10th.

Long-term, and perhaps most importantly: Support and donate to a viable candidate to oppose Garry Smith in the next election. Booting his dumb ass out the door is the best revenge.