The Tennessee School Board-Approved Maus

Originally published at: The Tennessee School Board-Approved Maus | Boing Boing

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Thinking I was being proactive and a good parent, as soon as the news broke I ordered Maus so that my 14-year-old and I could read it. Sitting in the kitchen Sunday I said “Oh, hey, little Pane, I ordered a graphic novel called Maus that I’d like us to read together.” He rolled his eyes in a way that only a teen can (it must hurt, right, rolling them that far back, that hard?) and said “Daaad. I read that last year. Why do I have to read it again.”

It turned out that it was in the school library, and the graphic novel format looked interesting. Also, dad is an old, out of touch meddling so-and-so. Again.

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Sad Kristen Bell GIF

I think it’s still a good idea to go through it with him, as I’m sure there is stuff he missed and context you could provide…

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Trump 8:7 “Let he* that is without sin, cast the first fire extinguisher.”
*and it will be a “he”, “she” will be at home, where she belongs (“We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”)

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I love this comic. My 14 y.o. has already read Maus. I think I will wait another year for my 11 y.o. and try to read it with her.

We all read the Boy in the Striped Pajamas last year and that book never touched me emotionally, but I couldn’t didn’t understand why. Recently, I found this critique of the book, and I completely agree with it. The story really sanitizes the whole Holocaust. The victims were “others” who we should feel sorry for, but we don’t need to identify with. All the Jews are victims with no agency or depth.

It’s easy to see why some lazy teachers would prefer reading Boy in the Striped Pajamas instead of Maus. I grew up surrounded by survivors and hearing their stories deeply affected me. Most of the survivors are now dead, but it’s still important for young people to really know what it was like back then.

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This is a huge issue with much of the Holocaust material and why Maus is so powerful.

A film that I really thought was powerful was Son of Saul, about a man who is a Sonderkommando (Jewish prisoners who cleaned the gas chambers) in Auschwitz who finds a boy who he believes is his son. It’s an incredibly oppressive film that uses POV camera work to give you some kind of idea of what these camps were actually like.

That really is one of the best ways to learn about this, which thankfully, there is a robust collection of survivors narratives here, in Israel, and other countries.

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my wife and i watched all nine hours of shoah over the course of two days a few years ago. i watched it again earlier this year during my days of steroid insomnia during chemotherapy. that is an intense film. without a single picture of bodies or violence on-screen it brought the holocaust home to me in a way that was unique. i would describe the film as the single most powerful document i’ve ever seen about the holocaust.

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lady gaga applause GIF

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I’m sure Art Spiegelman would understand and approve the liberties taken.

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I would bet Mein Kampf is not banned in Tennessee. It’s probably required reading.

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I have been buying the books that I haven’t read since I was a teen, and Maus is one of them. It fits the theme of my recent purchases of Slaughterhouse Five and Im Westen nichts neues (All Quiet on the Western Front). The latter also fits because it was one of the first books banned by the Nazis when they took over the German government.

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Along with the “The Secret Diary of Earl Turner, Aged 14/88”.

When I was a junior in college, I took a course on the literature of the Holocaust (the course fit in nicely with the focus of my history degree), so we were mostly reading autobiographies from Holocaust survivors.

Then we got to Maus, and I thought we were in for something a bit lighter. Boy, was I wrong. Even with anthropomorphic mice, the story hit just as hard as the works of Elie Wiesel and Primo Levi. And because it’s so accessible, there is literally no reason why anyone shouldn’t read it. Hell, everyone should read it. And I’m glad to see the Streisand Effect kicking into gear here.

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Too subtle. I suspect we might just see this used unironically in a tweet by the Right.

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Just leaving this here, because the other topics on the matter are already closed:

Rob Shamblin- I don’t think that there is really any retribution that we would face for removing eight
words in full and a graphic or two in full, if that permits us to use that book. 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.

Scott Bennett- There’s an option that we had discussed and it’s a little unusual. We could contact the
author and ask for permission to do further redaction. If the author gives us permission, then we can do
whatever we want with it
. That would be unusual, but it’s not unheard of.

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