Robot 6

College could see funds cut for choice of gay-themed ‘Fun Home’

Fun Home

Fun Home

A South Carolina university that came under fire over the summer for including the gay-themed Fun Home as recommended reading for incoming freshmen now may see its state funding reduced for the decision.

The Charleston Post and Courier 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 the newspaper, the 13-10 vote came after a lengthy debate in which “some House members accused the college of promoting a gay agenda and forcing pornography on its students.”

The University of South Carolina Upstate also faces a loss of more than $17,000 for assigning Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio, about South Carolina’s first gay and lesbian radio show. The figures represent the amount each college spent on the programs.

“One of the things I learned over the years is that if you want to make a point, you have to make it hurt,” state Rep. Garry Smith, a Republican from Greenville, is quoted by The State as saying. “I understand academic freedom, but this is not academic freedom. … This was about promoting one side with no academic debate involved.”

Fun Home, Bechdel’s acclaimed account of her childhood with a closeted gay father, his apparent suicide and her own coming out as a lesbian, was labeled last summer as “pornographic” by a conservative Christian group that proclaimed, “If this book were a magazine it would be wrapped in brown paper.”

State Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, a Democrat from Orangeburg, called the committee’s decision an embarrassment to South Carolina.

“We are now in a posture where individual moral compasses and beliefs are being pushed down on our institutions of higher education,” she said, according to The Associated Press. “Do you think for one minute some companies are going to look seriously at us, when they think about their workforce coming to a state like this, with members of a Legislature who believe their job is to pass judgment on colleges of higher learning to dictate what books people are going to read?”

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49 Comments

At least the legislature left the pitchforks and torches at home.

For now…

“If this book were a magazine it would be wrapped in brown paper.”

Proof that they haven’t even read it.

If anyone wants to set up a drive to replace the $52,000, I’d throw in a few bucks.

Simply disgusting. And yeah, Nick, CLEARLY none of these asshats have read the book, which is one of the most beautiful, moving, literate, and humane pieces of literature I’ve come across in a long while. But there’s ONE panel of implied cunnilingus (which is icky), so it must be filth.

Travis, I donated to the College of Charleston’s Foundation: http://foundation.cofc.edu/

You can designate whether you want it to go to a certain fund or to the area of most need. For extra fun, you can send it as a tribute to Rep. Garry Smith, in honor of his deep understanding of academic freedom.

This is a story on a comic book website, why?

Because it’s about a graphic novel?

Ah, I missed that it was a graphic novel rather than a novel. The connection makes sense, thanks.

I haven’t read it yet. So it doesn’t have just female homosexuality (which many heteros find arousing… yuck) but male homosexuality as well. Brrr… Now I understand how those poor, poor people feel. It probably has kissing in it too. It’s clearly pornographic filth. These gentlemen clearly know their responsibilities. They have to safeguard the innocent minds of college students. They could be perverted by this assault on their senses. Next time someone asks “Won’t somebody please think of the children?!”, I’ll say the South Carolinians will. SC can be proud of having high-minded people guarding their purity.



Too much? :p

You’d have had us if you stopped at “responsibilities.”

Rep. Garry Smith says “I understand academic freedom, but this is not academic freedom. … This was about promoting one side with no academic debate involved.” Clearly he does not understand academic freedom, or how colleges work, for that matter; the whole point of recommending a book for incoming freshmen is to get them to discuss it.

As a graduate of the College of Charleston, I am proud that they included this book in their summer reading program. As a person who grew up and lived most of his life in South Carolina, I am ashamed. But, the political leadership in the state are the worst,and have been for decades.

Maybe the SC legislature will learn their lesson when this turns into a big fundraising boost for the College.

Eh, probably not.

The college should have a Kickstarter to replace the funds.

“the whole point of recommending a book for incoming freshmen is to get them to discuss it.”

Precisely why I’d be against them recommending it. I’m straight, I support gay marriage, I lost a friend to suicide after he came out to his parents who rejected him, and I have not the least bit of interest in reading about the struggle to achieve a gay identity. I would resent being manoeuvered into discussing the topic as part of someone else’s idea of how I needed to be shaped.

It boggles my mind that this is over a COLLEGE level program. If you are in college you are an adult – perhaps barely, but still an adult. So they are talking about what content an adult should be reading. I had a friend from NC who always made sure you knew she was from NC and didn’t mistake her being from SC, and bristled visibly when anyone called them “the Carolina’s” as a generalization. Kind of get it now…

There are so many states that just keep on giving me reasons again and again to avoid them. It’s funny that they’re all clustered in just a couple areas of the country…

Avoiding an entire state based on the actions of a few idiots, is almost as bad as attacking a book you’ve never read.

Jude, it’s recommended reading, not required reading.

There seems to be a perception in the South Carolina legislature that the students are expected to accept whatever is handed out by the college administration as some sort of truth that is not to be argued; otherwise their objections make no sense. That doesn’t speak well for their educational system; when I was in college, we were expected to read the texts critically, not simply assimilate them and move on. Reading a work of literature in college is not the same as learning your times tables in third grade.

And while I understand that you may not care for a particular type of book, I think that moving outside the boundaries of your own life, and reading the accounts of others who are very different from you, is an important thing to do, whether in college or on your own. I’m also straight, but I found the book fascinating for many reasons.

This is stupid, in my English class they had an excerpt from Fun Home in our text book and nobody cared. Our teacher even had us watch a video of Bechdel discussing Fun Home. We discussed in class how she used the medium to tell her story and things like that.

I spent a week in Charleston last year for vacation and found it to be one of the most open and friendly cities I’ve ever visited. It’s a shame that their state legislature is taking this action of censorship. I hope the CBLDF takes on this case.

Everyone seems to miss this
“I understand academic freedom, but this is not academic freedom. … This was about promoting one side with no academic debate involved.

Exactly why they should have their budget cut. They are promoting views they align with and stifle and censor those that differ. It reeks of liberal college entitlement, when recently a religious leader was invited to speak to student group, other students and college officials started yalling that they are a liberal college and do not have to listen to opposing views.

Why do they not have some books which promote faith?

But hey, in Scotland they instituted a law that lets teachers inform government officials when they deem some children have non homosexual agenda views, so they could take them away from their parents, and restricting the right of parents to introdice their cihildren to faith.

“Everyone seems to miss this
‘I understand academic freedom, but this is not academic freedom. … This was about promoting one side with no academic debate involved.'”

I don’t think anyone “missed” it so much as it’s nonsense. What’s the other “side” of a memoir?

Maybe SC should round up homosexuals and put them in camps, too, where they can light the books on fire in front of them.

Students should stop going to/applying to College of Charleston and ANY college in SC. Surely there are better schools out there.

Opus, got a link to that Scottish law? Didn’t think so.

I teach Medea on a college course. This doesn’t meant that I’m promoting the idea that a woman should slaughter all her children if her husband is unfaithful. How do I know I’m not promoting it? Because I trust 18 year olds to have some critical thinking abilities.

Also, where are you pulling the teaching hours from to double the amount of texts on a college course? What happens when a precious snowflake is offended by To Kill a Mockingbird?

Actually, I think Opus might be referring to this now defunct UK law… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_28

I know in NC, there is a huge community of artists and liberals who are trying to change things. I think it’s more important to effect change than to cut and run from the state all together and leaving it firmly in conservative hands which only strengthens a national polarization that is poisoning this country. I don’t want to make everyone like me but I would like to see a world where people with stark difference of viewpoints can accept each other. Running away from the problem certainly doesn’t accomplish that.

I think these are some pretty stupid arguments all around here.

I’m not against Fun Home by any means, but I don’t think it works very well as recommended reading for incoming freshmen. Not the worst choice in the world, but I don’t see why it should be on the shortlist.

But I think it’s an overreaction for people to say that simply including it would “promote the gay lifestyle” or whatever. It’s an option on a list; doesn’t mean that students would be expected to have infinite sympathy and undying unconditional love for homosexuals after reading it. I mean, come on. From Proust to Woolf to Oscar Wilde, large shares of “homosexual lifestyles” have been read in college for a hundred years now. It’s true that compared to classic gay literature “Fun Home” just seems kind of small-scale and to-the-point, but that doesn’t make it some kind of mantra to promote homosexuality or whatever.

That said, I find the Democrat politician’s views on this to be totally unrealistic as well. Companies won’t come into South Carolina because of this? Oh come on. The very idea that mass business operations are going to be affected by one book that did or didn’t get included on a recommended reading list for incoming freshmen at one college — is just ridiculous. It isn’t even like the book is banned from sale or verboten to read in college; it’s just taken off one OPTIONAL list because the overseeing board just barely — BARELY — decided that they didn’t want to fund it. That’s a far cry from “Wow, let’s get out of scary SC! They hate gays and probably wants to put them in concentration camps.” Seriously, the poster above who even suggested such a thing almost makes the arch right-wing Christian conservatives look sane by comparison.

All in all, it’s a pretty stupid story all around. If anything, a lot of professors will now recommend the book and students will like it for having the aura of something that’s “banned”.

Wait until this older, close-minded generation of bigots fades away/dies out, stuff like this will be a thing of the past…

“HDO – Avoiding an entire state based on the actions of a few idiots, is almost as bad as attacking a book you’ve never read.”

Their legislature voted to cut funding. Their legislature is elected by the state’s population to represent its inhabitants. South Carolina voted these “few idiots” in. They were chosen to be the state’s face to the public, and this is what they do. You classify the state of South Carolina’s electorate as a “few” idiots?

Ian, was it the whole house or the 23 members of ways and means, 13 – 10 at that? And seriously, when do the people we elect do what we ask or wish? I hated traveling abroad during W’s term because everyone assumed we had similar views. Far from it. And there was someone that the majority didn’t even put in office. Granted, SC has some issues, but there are certainly some great places and people there. Hell, CoC recommended that their students read this book! Don’t hate the region based on this. That’s narrow minded and I’d bet your home’s history isn’t infallible.

Darren, did you read the description of the book, Her father run a funeral parlor so that he had access to boys. Do you know what that establishment is, and well what kind of boys are in there? ANd this book has him as a hero?

As for law,

https://www.google.rs/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=8&cad=rja&ved=0CFMQFjAH&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.scotlawcom.gov.uk%2Fdownload_file%2Fview%2F872%2F127%2F&ei=tVwIU6mmHqL9ygP2woDoAg&usg=AFQjCNH6zbrLj46r7idnwdjUmJ3_XifoBg&bvm=bv.61725948,d.Yms

you can read for your self

this the most recent article
though it is from pro government site, so it is biased, as can be gleaned in comments
http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/intrusive-child-guardian-move-faces-court-challenge.23486434

I posted a link but they deleted it. Also deleted my valid comment. Censorship. Robot6 DO not like the truth.

Will try later Darren. You can actualy google it and get the whole law.

Horrendouus Orwelian one.

@ Jude

If you think a book can “shape” you, you have bigger problems than reading it or not, and definitely you have not been educated to critical thinking, probably fault or your family or the school you attended.

“I posted a link but they deleted it. Also deleted my valid comment. Censorship. Robot6 DO not like the truth.”

1. It wasn’t deleted; the spam filter flagged the post because it contained multiple links.

2. It wouldn’t have amounted to “censorship” if we had deeleted it.

“Darren, did you read the description of the book, Her father run a funeral parlor so that he had access to boys. Do you know what that establishment is, and well what kind of boys are in there? ANd this book has him as a hero?”

Clearly you’ve not read, or are even passingly familiar with, Fun Home. It’s a memoir that centers on Bechdel’s complicated relationship with her father, who’s characterized as obsessive, emotionally distant and occasionally abusive, and the author coming to terms with his death. How does that amount to him being the book’s “hero”?

You link to a law about appointing guardians to children under 18 and use a Christian fundamentalist’s “worst case scenario/sky is falling” interpretation of that law and come up with a law that has teachers informing the government about children with ‘non homosexual agenda views’ that restricts ‘the rights of parents to introduce their children to faith’? Nice try.

Not that your opinion is worth much. If you think Bruce Bechdel is supposed to be the hero of Fun Home then you clearly have no knowledge of the text. A brief summary of the book is enough to see he isn’t held up as a hero.

Peddle your wares elsewhere, bigot.

I am assuming you read the articles you posted as sources. The description I noted, comes from them. You do know the hero of a literary piece does not have to be on Santas nice list?

Spam filter held my comment captive for hours? Yes, yes, these are not the droids you are looking for…

Oh Darren, there is a line about the rider and high horse I think is appropriate. if you look to the Herald comment section, one of them has copied the official responese from the governemnt site that explicitly tackles the situation I mention. And it is as horrendous as I interpret it. The law does not appoint guardians. It appoints overseers, who are given absolutistic rights over the life of a child. Note that the moment *guardian* decides to seize the child from parents they are denied any method of appeal.

See coment about heros and Santa.

“Spam filter held my comment captive for hours? Yes, yes, these are not the droids you are looking for…

Yes, Opus, you’ve cracked the conspiracy and learned our secret: The blog administrators frequently sleep at night.

Also you should note that the college put the book to students as required reading, and than latter, when the brouhaha hit the fan, peddaled and said that it is not required. They payed more than 50 000 dollars to promote it, and I am glad that it will be their money and not the governments. If they had any morals and pricniples left, they should just shut up and bear it, but I am afraid it will be collected from students through various fees.

Melrose, this place is not very proffesional blog or its administrators do not earn their paycheck, in my opinion. Might I suggest than this spam filter be tweaked, since it is obviously faulty, though my hot air detector issues warnings whenever you have mentioned it.

He, Melrose place… Those were fun times…

“Also you should note that the college put the book to students as required reading, and than latter, when the brouhaha hit the fan, peddaled and said that it is not required.”

Link?

“Melrose, this place is not very proffesional blog or its administrators do not earn their paycheck, in my opinion.”

Opinion noted.

Link? Yes, like I am going to fall for that *spam filter*, *we sleep on our job* again. Google is your friend. Use it.

Brain,

many has a great man or woman said that book shape him or her. Gorki even said that for everything that is good about him he owe to the books he read. Besides, critical thinking presumes that you are given the alternatives from wich you can base opinion, which here were not the case, meaning – propaganda. So, maybe it is you who should fault his family or education, for whatever, but Jude certainly is not.

I need to find who is it that said that he wished the people were as good as the books, but are mostly boring, uninspired, and lack grace. Oh, wait, t’ was me.

“I need to find who is it that said that he wished the people were as good as the books, but are mostly boring, uninspired, and lack grace. Oh, wait, t’ was me.”

Could you crawl any further up your own ass?

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