OT: The Streisand Effect

Now, though, given the latest roiling debates over which books can be banned from schools and libraries, the author of the seminal graphic memoir “Maus” appreciates his work’s long cultural tail: “I’m grateful the book has a second life as an anti-fascist tool.” Spiegelman is speaking shortly after learning that a Tennessee school board voted unanimously this month to ban “Maus,” which in 1992 became the first graphic novel to win the Pulitzer Prize.

The two-volume comic biography chronicles his family’s Holocaust history through a frame-tale of ‘70s conversations between Spiegelman and his estranged father, all told with anthropomorphic imagery: The Jewish characters are rendered as mice, for instance, and the Nazis are cats.


Thirty-six years after the first volume was published, “Maus” is currently the #1 bestseller on Amazon in the Literary Graphic Novel and History categories, and #9 bestseller in all books. If you want a copy you’ll have to wait for a bit, it is sold out. Probably not the outcome the Tennessee school board was aiming for.



I think a lot of people are following Stephen King’s (Carrie, It, The Stand, The Shining, …, that Stephen King) advice.

“Censorship and the suppression of reading materials are rarely about family values and almost always about controlabout who is snapping the whip, who is saying no, and who is saying go. Censorship’s bottom line is this: if the novel Christine offends me, I don’t want just to make sure it’s kept from my kid; I want to make sure it’s kept from your kid, as well, and all the kids. This bit of intellectual arrogance, undemocratic and as old as time, is best expressed this way: “If it’s bad for me and my family, it’s bad for everyone’s family.”

Yet when books are run out of school classrooms and even out of school libraries as a result of this idea, I’m never much disturbed not as a citizen, not as a writer, not even as a schoolteacher . . . which I used to be. What I tell kids is, Don’t get mad, get even. Don’t spend time waving signs or carrying petitions around the neighborhood. Instead, run, don’t walk, to the nearest nonschool library or to the local bookstore and get whatever it was that they banned. Read whatever they’re trying to keep out of your eyes and your brain, because that’s exactly what you need to know.”


Book burning is an old and tested method of control

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

The temperature at which books burn.


Nothing good can come from it.

The Captain


Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

The temperature at which books burn.

The book needs an update. What is the temperature at which a Kindle burns?



Probably not the outcome the Tennessee school board was aiming for.

What outcome were they thinking of? Horrible decision.

Circa 35 years ago, back when there were still bookstores in malls, our eldest - about 7 or 8 years old - noticed a “Banned Books” display in front of Borders Bookstore. The side facing us happened to be full of children’s books.

Eldest asked “what does ‘banned books’ mean?”

We explained it to her. “It means somebody demanded that these books be hidden away so people - particularly kids - can’t read them.”

“But I’ve read most of them.”


When I was in Berlin many years ago, I visited a Holocaust memorial. There was a quote that said: “where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people also.” The person quoted? Heinrich Heine, a poet from the late 1700’s. History repeating itself…