Author and artist Artwork Spiegelman, shown in his New York studio on September 17, 2004, who turned the agony of the Holocaust into a Pulitzer Prize winning comedian e-book novel. REUTERS/Henny Ray Abrams

Jan 27 (Reuters) – A school board in Tennessee has voted to remove the Holocaust-themed graphic novel “Maus” from its eighth-grade language arts curriculum, citing profanity and nudity contained in the Pulitzer Prize-winning get the job done by cartoonist Artwork Spiegelman.

The 10- vote by the McMinn County Board of Training in Athens, Tennessee, situated about 150 miles (240 km) southeast of Nashville, came on Jan. 10 but attained vast U.S. media attention on Thursday, ironically coinciding with International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The board vote overrode a state-level curriculum review that experienced authorized the educating of “Maus,” primarily based on the genuine-lifetime Holocaust encounters of Spiegelman’s mother and father in Poland, with Jewish characters depicted as mice and their Nazi persecutors as cats.

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The title of the two-volume publication, which became the 1st graphic novel to be awarded a Pulitzer, in 1992, is the German term for mouse.

In a CNN job interview on Thursday, the author explained his preliminary reaction to the ban as “overall bafflement” and called the school board’s motion “daffily myopic.”

Spiegelman, 73, mentioned the board appeared from transcripts of its meeting to have “absolutely focused on some negative words and phrases that are in the book.”

The board, in a statement posted on its website on Thursday, said the novel was removed “simply because of its needless use of profanity and nudity and its depiction of violence and suicide,” which the panel located was “merely too grownup-oriented for use in our schools.”

“We do not diminish the benefit of ‘Maus’ as an impactful and meaningful piece of literature, nor do we dispute the relevance of educating our kids the historical and ethical lessons and realities of the Holocaust,” the board reported. It added that directors would search for other performs that are appropriate in a “far more age-suitable vogue.”

The faculty board president could not be attained by Reuters for even more comment.

The ban will come as Republican politicians all over the country have seized on the teaching of “significant race principle” – placing the historical past of institutionalized racism into a bigger educational context – as anathema to public education, when contacting for higher parental manage in faculties.


Spiegelman explained the McMinn board meeting transcript gave no “trace” of anti-Semitic motivations. But he stated the ban “has the breath of autocracy and fascism about it,” and instructed board users were “so afraid of what is actually implied and obtaining to defend the choice to train ‘Maus.'”

Spiegelman, who declined to remark even more to Reuters, mentioned the only nudity in the guide is a one, little illustration depicting his mom as she was identified just after having her individual lifetime by “obtaining slashed her wrists in the bathtub” about two many years following the war. “It is really a little image,” he claimed.

In accordance to the Jan. 10 minutes, printed online by the Washington Put up, some school board associates explained that in addition to vulgarity, they were being troubled with references to premarital intercourse, suicide and violence normally.

“It displays folks hanging, it displays them killing little ones. Why does the instructional technique endorse this variety of stuff? It is not clever or healthful,” board member Tony Allman claimed.

Allman also pointed to Spiegelman’s past cartoon get the job done for Playboy journal.

Board member John Cochran stated he liked elements of the ebook but objected to a passage in which the father talks to his son about dropping his virginity.

“It was not specific but it was in there. You see the naked photographs, you see the razor, the blade where by the mom is reducing herself. You see her laying in a pool of her individual blood,” Cochran said.

A former heritage instructor who spoke at the conference, Julie Goodin, sought to protect the graphic novel, stating in the transcript, “There is absolutely nothing very about the Holocaust, and for me this was a fantastic way to depict a horrific time in record.”

General public universities director Lee Parkison, also existing, recommended just redacting “the 8 curse terms” and the offending graphic of the mother, but some board members raised copyright problems with that solution. The board eventually voted unanimously to exclude the novel.

Reacting to the information, the U.S. Holocaust Museum hailed “Maus” on Twitter for enjoying “a critical purpose” Holocaust schooling as a result of “sharing thorough and private encounters of victims and survivors.”

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Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles Further reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru Enhancing by Leslie Adler

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