According to the children’s book, if you give a mouse a cookie, he’ll ask for a glass of milk, then a straw, then a napkin, etc. One thing leads to another.
This past week, the book Maus, the only graphic novel to ever win a Pulitzer Prize, was banned in Tennessee schools because of language and nudity. Mausi tells the story of the author’s father’s experiences through the Holocaust. It has received widespread acclaim since it was published in 1980.
The Tennessee school board said the book, part of a curriculum focused on the Holocaust, contained “unhealthy and unwise” content. Well, yes, the Holocaust was a pretty unhealthy and unwise situation–given that nearly 11 million people (six million of whom were Jews) were killed.
Here’s the problem: Many of the most important lessons we need to learn from history don’t involve nice, neat, healthy, and happy content. That doesn’t mean we should ban them. On the contrary, those are the areas we need to focus on more deeply–so people understand what happened and we ensure those things don’t happen again.
And here’s what happens when you try to avoid unpleasant history…If you give a Maus a ban, then he’ll get much more attention, people will start to wonder what all the fuss in about, and the book will become the #3 selling book on Amazon today (out of more than 48 million books!).
After all, one thing leads to another.
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