“Books with Gay Themes”

Given that this past week was a little disjointed in terms of the material we covered (comic theory and then our  webcomics), I thought for my reflection entry I would look to the future and discuss the readings that we completed for this coming week. I was very intrigued by the NPR article “Books with Gay Themes Put S.C. Colleges’ Funding At Risk.” I find it troubling  to begin with that an institution of higher learning could be at risk of losing funding because of the content of its curriculum- this is something I think we all could agree upon. But what I also found troubling was the connection of politics to higher education and the way that Bechdel’s book simply became an impetus for this political struggle to come to the forefront.

NPR’s article about the issue was significantly more dedicated to the politics of the situation than the actual merit of the curriculum that caused the controversy. Very little is mentioned about Fun Home in the article at all, aside from the fact that the book contains “illustrations of lesbian sex.” To me it would seem that the controversy involving College of Charleston and University of South Carolina Upstate has very little to do with Fun Home itself as a work and everything in the world to do with politics and an undercurrent of homophobia still very alive in the south.

Ultimately, I’m saddened to see an academic curriculum be challenged on the grounds of politics. I have always understood academia as a place that is meant to challenge beliefs of students and encourage them to think critically; it would seem that the lawmakers in South Carolina are more concerned with pushing a GOP agenda and “traditional family values.” I hope that our discussions of Fun Home in class will bring to light the complexities of the book that make it worth an academic read.