Sunday, February 23, 2014

Fun Home is Not Pornography And That's Not Even the Point

Kevin Melrose over at CBR reports:
The state House Ways and Means committee on Wednesday approved a budget that would cut $52,000 from the College of Charleston’s summer reading program in retaliation for recommending Alison Bechdel’s Eisner Award-winning 2006 memoir as part of “The College Reads!” (Contrary to widespread reports, the graphic novel wasn’t required reading.)
According to Rep. Gary Smith, the graphic novel about out lesbian Alison Bechdel, "graphically shows lesbian acts."  It almost sounds like he read the book or at least a blurb in the NYT.

The Palmetto Family, a "conservative Christian group," labeled the book pornographic last year.  As someone who has read a few other pornographic, autobiographical graphic novels (Bread & Wine, Rent Girl), let me just go ahead and say that Fun Home is definitely not one of them.

There is this brief scene depicting Bechdel going down on her girlfriend.  You a see a teensy bit of bush, and then you move on.  To say that this one scene makes the book pornographic is both insulting to pornography and sure to be disappointing for people who read Fun Home hoping for some hot girl-on-girl action.  Even if it was hard-core erotica, what business does a state legislature have in determining its literary value?  I thought we moved past that 50 years ago with the Howl trials.

Fun Home is one of the greatest graphic novels ever written, and I applaud the College of Charleston's selecting it.  I hope they don't let legislator bullies influence their future choices.


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