What are they teaching kids today? Apparently not the Streisand effect; otherwise, a school board in Tennessee would know that attempting to censor Maus would only increase awareness for Art Spiegelman‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel.
MSNBC reports that the McMinn County board removed Maus, which chronicles Spiegelman’s parents’ time in Nazi death camps during the Holocaust, from “an eighth grade language arts curriculum due to concerns about profanity and an image of female nudity in its depiction of Polish Jews who survived the Holocaust.” Spiegelman called the school board “Orwellian” for the ban, and added, “I also understand that Tennessee is obviously demented. There’s something going on very, very haywire there.”
The school board’s plan also backfired: The Complete Maus is currently at the top of Amazon’s best-sellers list, while Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History is #3 and Maus II: A Survivor’s Tale: And Here My Troubles Began is #9. None of the books were in the top 1,000 at the beginning of last week.
The book’s author told CNBC in an email: “I’m heartened by reader responses… The schoolboard could’ve checked with their book-banning predecessor, [Russia President] Vladimir Putin: he made the Russian edition of Maus illegal in 2015 (also with good intentions—banning swastikas) and the small publisher sold out immediately and has had to reprint repeatedly,” Spiegelman wrote.
If you want to support Maus and not give money to Amazon, a bookseller in Knoxville, Tennesse, about 15 miles from McMinn County, started a GoFundMe to buy copies of the graphic novel and loan them to students across the country. You can donate here.