Saturday, October 4, 2008

Banned Books Week: Other Favorites

Art Spiegelman's graphic novel about the Holocaust and his father's experiences in it is one of the great books of modern times. Not only did it help legitimize graphic novels as a form of literature, it also tells a damn good story. In it, Spiegleman uses different animals to symbolize the different ethnicities/races (Jews are mice, Nazis are cats, Americans are dogs, and so on). In addition to telling the story of his parents' ordeal during the Holocaust and World War II, Spiegelman also addreses his complicated relationship with his father (a tempermental miser), his rivalry with a brother who died during the Holocaust, and his guilt with his mother's suicide. However, Maus has come under fire and was challenged in 2005 for being anti-ethnic and unsuitable for younger readers.

As many have discovered, satire can be a hard sell. George S. Kaufman, playwright and satirist, once famously said that "Satire is what closes on Saturday night." While America (The Book) was very popular, two libraries in Mississippi initially refused to put the book on their shelves because it contained (fake) nude pictures of the justices of the Supreme Court. Wal-Mart also decided not to stock the book because of these pictures. When you consider what Wal-Mart does sell, this is an interesting argument. While fake pictures might destroy America, Wal-Mart is dedicated to providing us with firearms and tobacco products