awesome!

March 28th, 2008 | Oddments

pron
I’m a pornographer! Well, in Utah, anyway.

108 Responses to “awesome!”

  1. AG says:

    Congratulations!!!

  2. Jack says:

    “Pornography”? What???

  3. Eli says:

    Good for you!

  4. ksbel6 says:

    That’a way…we must all bow down to your greatness 🙂

  5. shadocat says:

    If you’re banned in Utah, you know you gotta be good.

  6. Ellen O. says:

    I love the name of the protest group, “No More Pornography.” As if some is okay, but no more, at least for now, because we’re full and need time to digest.

  7. JenOnt says:

    From the ksl.com article: Alvord says, “It’s like they’re turning their back and pretending graphics, depiction of oral sex, are not an issue.”

    Goddess forbid we talk about a book with issues gets discussed among adults in a mid-level (or any level) university course! No! These kids were brought up on literary pablum and that’s the diet their delicate systems can handle. Get “The Nanny Diaries” on the curriculum now!

    JenOnt for the group “No More Thinking Then(sic) is Necessary!”

  8. Al et al says:

    I’m particularly amused by all those comments by people who haven’t actually read Fun Home. I think it’s nice that they’ve transcended the need to think for themselves. Sort of a literary lobotomy.

  9. c&s says:

    Yay! Alison! Pornography! Pornography! Pornography! We love you soooo much. You are soooo cool. We can’t contain ourselves. Your hair is so great. Alison for president!

  10. Randee says:

    awesome indeed…

  11. madknits says:

    Congratulations! We all knew you had the potential!

  12. Hammerwoman says:

    A Lambda book award! Time’s “Best Book of the Year”! Banned in Utah! Does a parody in MAD Magazine await?

    I do love that illustration, though. . . the intense focus. . .mmmmmm

  13. DeLandDeLakes says:

    Welcome to the prestigious ranks of such geniuses as Robert Mapplethorpe, James Joyce, Karen Finley, Henry Miller, Valdimir Nabokov, Sally Mann, David Wojnarowicz, and, more recently and true to your field, Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie.

    These students in Utah remind me of Salman Rushdie’s description of Pakistani students in _The Satanic Verses_- he said they were the only students in the world who protested to demand more rules.

  14. meepster says:

    Congratulations! You know you’ve made it when your book gets banned. It’s a good list to be on, too: James Joyce, Voltaire, Aristophanes, Walt Whitman, D.H.Lawrence, Mikhail Bulgakov, Salman Rushdie, and now Alison Bechdel. We’re all very proud of you.

  15. meepster says:

    Hmm – I guess we had the same idea at the same time, but listed slightly different authors. 🙂

  16. Anonymous says:

    LOL to the commenter on the KSL.com site who suggests,

    “Couldn’t they just remove the drawings from the book? Our brains can conjure enough images on their own. I’m curious to read this book, but could probably do without pictures.”

    Yes, that’ll do it! Let’s just take the pictures out of a GRAPHIC NOVEL. I think Alison would consider that a good compromise. ; )

  17. Anonymous says:

    Your book is, “new, it’s interesting, it’s inventive!” Boy, I would not be that kid who held the picket sign. I would be that kid asking, “If this is the kind o’ readin’ they are doing in English classes, screw this psych major! I’m going to talk to my advisor!” It sure beat “The Yellow Wallpaper”!

  18. Saskia says:

    It sounds like the English Department chair and the University of Utah are doing the right thing, though… let’s not tar all Utahans (?) with the same brush!

  19. Ellen O. says:

    Hey Cowboys and Cowgirls, let’s slow down a minute.

    Alison’s book hasn’t been banned in Utah, or even at the University.

    Reread the article–Vincent Pecora, the chair of the English Department says “I think it’s really an obligation to teach this kind of literature. It’s new, it’s interesting, it’s inventive.”

    He’s standing up for the teacher who chose Fun Home for the class. That’s not banning, that’s support.

  20. sunicarus says:

    I heard you were voted “Most likely to succeed” by your high school class. Woo Hoo! Way to go, Alison!!!

  21. nic h wales says:

    http://newsnet.byu.edu/story.cfm/67694

    thomas alvord knows what he’s talking about, he has done lots of research into the porn industry. 🙂

  22. Dr. Empirical says:

    I lived, briefly, outside Salt Lake City years ago. I still remember a very concerned woman in the video store asking the clerk to confirm that there was no bad language in the tape she was renting. She had to protect her children! I don’t recall the exact movie that had her so apprehensive, but it was a Disney cartoon.

    That’s Utah.

  23. JenOnt says:

    Could someone please explain how the depiction of the author’s own experiences as a consenting adult in a peice of literature presented to a group of adults for discussion and debate constitutes pornography to mr. alvord? Who here is being debased?

  24. laura says:

    That kid is a genius! Eskewing an assignment by saying “it’s pornography.” WOW!!!!! I wish I had the same idea when they made me read all that Greek literature. In the Iliad, for example, the phrase “tomorrow we’ll sleep with their women” was commonly used to mean “we’re just about to win the war”. If this is not obscene, I wonder what is.

  25. Janet Hurley says:

    Just want to point out that it is only 1 student objecting. Salt Lake City is actually less than 50% LDS and quite politically progressive — and the University tries to be, although it is hard to succeed sometimes with the Utah legislature as it is! Even the legislature has out lesbian representatives and a gay senator!

  26. The Cat Pimp says:

    Words betray me. I guess that’s why we have graphic novels.

  27. Patience says:

    Interesting that the author’s name is never spoken in the TV news report of the “controversy” and never written in the textual account of the story. We just get an image of the book with her name on it.

  28. From Utah says:

    I live in Utah and I’m really embarrassed about how they want to ban the book! it’s a great book, I loved it! I’m hoping U of U will stand tall and not back down! Not all Utahans are crazy, I promise!

  29. laura says:

    But seriously, Allison, you are now in the company of the best thinkers and artists. We are all touched by–and grateful for–your art, sensitiveness, sense of humour, gentleness, and courage.

  30. From Utah says:

    By the way I’m Nikki V. on the KSL.com comment page.

  31. Kate L says:

    We even get that in some of the physical sciences classes that I teach, here in Dorothy’s home state. A student came up to me after class last term, and said, “I don’t believe in all that geologic age of the Earth stuff. Do I have to study it?” When I replied that he’d be tested over it, he said, “Who do I complain to?” (!) And, some students don’t want to hear about global warming, because they’ve been told that it’s all some sort of commie lie. Meanwhile, our governor, Kathleen Sebelius, recently signed an executive order prohibiting discrimination based upon sexual orientation, as well as that based on gender identity and expression, in all state employment (including here at this state university).How’s THAT for irony? : ) BTW, you DO have great hair, A.B.! I’ve been trying to get my hair to look like that! : )

  32. jude says:

    whoohooo!!!!!!

  33. ellen says:

    Fascinating activism on their part…In the group’s earlier attack on Gold’s Gym, they request: “Install blinds on the aerobics room to block the dancing, which is very provocative.” (http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=2502027)

  34. kate mck says:

    Personally I found that drawing exceptionally pornographic. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing depends on your perspective. I loved it, and especially loved how that one frame was able to convey so much, the trepidation, the determination, the firstness of it, it’s very powerful.

    The question is more “does this have a place in the curriculum?” than “is this pornographic?”

  35. capers says:

    It’s like the character Cynthia has broken out of the strip into the real world, and is leading No More Pornography.

    I think this underlines the fact that there is very little for that group to protest there in Salt Lake.

  36. Dr. Empirical says:

    Another Utah memory:

    A caller on local radio (my mom is a talk radio junkie) complained bitterly that gay people had taken a perfectly good English word (“gay”) and made it dirty. He seemed to feel that “the gays” had stolen something valuable from him.

    Upon questioning, he revealed tht he also didn’t use the word “balls,” preferring to say “spheres.” Even by Utah standards, that’s nuts.

    Oops! I bet he didn’t say “nuts” either!

  37. Ellen O. says:

    Also, the age old question: what is the definition of pornography?

    The word pornography is tied to the word “pórné” or harlot, which originally meant “young idler’ or “rogue” before it meant prostitute. “Rogue” originally beggar or vagabond.

    I see a theme of outcast and independence here. In one sense, pornography is writing about or depicting a breaking out from social norms.

    It seems to me that, like anything else, there’s a range of pornography, from that which empowers its subject to excite (it think of this as erotica) to that which degrades, injures or kills in order to excite.

    If I find a drawing of a women’s collar bone sensual, does that make it pornography? How about a roasted red pepper?

  38. laura says:

    Although all of this activism is total nonsense and feels totally ideological, I am struck by two potentially positive aspects.

    First, there is something to say for the refusal to be indoctrinated. It is, after all, true that many things we believe about the world are debatable (and indeed debated). Some kids may be just asking to be challenged and to re-think for themselves the process that brought the scientists to those hypoteses.

    This, in turn, may result of either irreflective teaching or of an habit to question what you’re told–I would say more the second, because (on my limited experience) the US education system aims at teaching people a) to observe, think for themselves, and draw conclusions, and b) through observation and independent thinking.

    Second, it is nice to think that kids have some sort of control over what they are taught and that they can complain!

    Then again, I am wishing I had thought of objecting to trigonometry because the Italian word for sine is (embarassingly and excitingly) the same as “breast”.

  39. Hammerwoman says:

    And I am struck by the contrasts between the discussion here and the discussion at ksl.com (follow Alison’s “pornographer” link). . .it’s a full-on, hair-pulling, no-holds-barred culture war over there. They KNOW how miseable gay people really are. They KNOW that we’re all sex criminals. They haven’t read the book, and don’t need to, in order to know that it’s filth (a word that appears many times in the discussion). Those who are defending the instructor, Alison, etc., are deluded and bound for hell.

    BTW- why is it embarrassing- or even surprising- that the word for “sine” in Italian is the same as the word for “breast”? I have a serious suspicion that,ages ago, somewhere in Italy, a distracted student of mathematics was doodling in a notebook on a Friday afternoon such as this and drawing nice rounded curves and wondering if a mathematical equation could be devised for that delicious arc. . .

  40. Kate L says:

    Kate L said

    jude replied:
    March 28th, 2008 at 1:47 pm
    whoohooo!!!!!!

    Oops! : ) I was already walking to lunch at the Student Union when I realized what I had said in my earlier posting to this thread!!! Golly, I feel like I’m naked in front of the entire blog group! Hmmmm…

  41. lb says:

    Sweet. That was actually one of my favorite panels in the book. Good for you!

  42. --MC says:

    Huh, that’s interesting. Who knew that looking at images of intimacy could lead to mass murders, a la Ted Bundy? Because I’ve been reading comics with extreme imagery since I picked up ZAP #4 when I was sixteen. Reading Crumb’s work, for example, didn’t make me want to run out and stab a woman with a fork.
    And the only emotion I could feel when I read the racier parts of “Fun Home” was not horniness, but happiness for Alison that she’d finally found herself.
    Perhaps these moral crusaders are afraid what they would do if they were exposed to this stuff? I have a grip on it, but maybe they don’t have that kind of self-control.

  43. Jeff C says:

    I feel slightly responsible for all this. My good friend is the teacher of that class and she asked me for a good graphic novel to teach. As I’m a huge fan of Fun Home and think it’s an incredible literary text, and having been immensely charmed during Alison Bechdel’s reading/presentation at last year’s San Diego Comicon, I didn’t hesitate to suggest it. I could have said Maus or Persepolis or Jimmy Corrigan, but Fun Home seems like just the right text for an introductory literature course. It’s important, it’s relevant, and it makes great use of literary antecedents. We had a brief discussion about whether it would stir up any controversy in Utah and we decided it was a distinct possibility. All the more reason to teach it, right?

    Nonetheless, we were shocked when someone protested to it as pornography. Not all sex is pornography, I wanted to say. It is part of a life.

    Still, it should be noted that it was one student in this class who protested, not many nor even two. The university is 100% on the side of the instructor. And when I went into the class on Monday to talk comics theory with them, they seemed genuinely excited, not just about Fun Home but about the graphic form.

    So lest we think that Utah is all fundamentalist, know that these protesters are a small, small minority (most of us love us some good pornography!).

    Thanks, Allison, for writing such an amazing (and who knew it: provocative) book. I’ve been thinking for the past year that our English Dept. should invite you to read (your reading at SDCC really was fantastic) in Salt Lake. Maybe now this will make it even more interesting!

    Cheers,

    Jeff

  44. Deena in OR says:

    Hmmm…many reactions to both the post and the comments.

    First of all, it sounds like U of Utah and the English Department have finally grown some brains and hearts…years ago, the woman I work for now was let go by U. of Utah when it was discovered that her then-husband, who was a professor in the department (or maybe he was in the theatre department) was cheating on her with male undergrads and faculty. *He* got to keep his job. She was fired.

    @ Dr. E.– There is a support group on AOL for straight spouses of gays and lesbians. One woman posted…”and *they’ve* even ruined rainbows for me. I can’t even look at one without crying now.”
    I didn’t know whether to feel bad for her obvious pain, or to roll my eyes at her self-centeredness and immaturity.

    @–MC–Maybe that’s the only emotion *you* felt…

  45. Deena in OR says:

    My “naughty grin” bracketed comment got left off of the end of that last bit. MC…I was being funny, in case it didn’t read that way.

  46. Hammerwoman says:

    Much better with the grin. . .

  47. L.A. Steve says:

    Well dang, Alison, if you’re a pornographer, I’m gonna go right out and buy me a pornograph!

  48. DeLandDeLakes says:

    Regarding the definition of pornography, I would like to again bring up Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie, whom I mentioned earlier, and their wonderful pornographic epic _Lost Girls_, which is my favorite book in the entire world. (I think that fans of _Fun Home_ would love it, as it performs a similar melding of literary sources to what Alison does in her book) I bring it up because Moore and Gebbie have been very insistent about the book being classified as porn, because they feel that the difference between “pornography” and “erotica” is a class difference- i.e., people think that “porn” appeals to coarse, uneducated people with warped desires, whereas “erotica” is something for the educated and refined populace, who are capable of discerning fiction from reality.

    “Fiction and fact: only madmen and magistrates cannot discriminate between them.”

  49. Jana C.H. says:

    I beg leave to interrupt this delightful conversation to announce that some of us Seattle-area bloggers are planning a get-together sometime next week at the doomed Sunset Bowl in Ballard. Details to be worked out at Maoist Orange Cake http://maoistorangecake.blogspot.com/ Anyone who can make it is invited.

    We return to our usual filth.

    Jana C.H.
    Seattle
    Saith Floss Forbes: If you don’t know the tune, sing tenor.

  50. Katie says:

    Pornography. My stars. And here I thought I was the only one who got all flustered reading that part… Kidding, don’t worry.

  51. Suz says:

    I love that this group was okay with the theme of the book, just not the depiction.

  52. --MC says:

    Deena, that’s OK, I know what you mean.
    Which Vonnegut book is it where the fisherman says about some nudes that his chums are passing around, “If those are real women then I could just stay home and cut pictures of fish out of magazines”?
    Hey, this thing just called me a cowboy.

  53. Maggie Jochild says:

    I think it’s most interesting that they are equating oral sex (well, in particular, a woman’s mouth coming into contact with a woman’s vulva) with pornography. Reminds of how during the Lewinsky scandal, it turns out a huge percentage of the population didn’t consider oral sex “real” sex. Penis (or penis substitute) into vagina or it’s not real sex. But it is porn.

    Well, every curious kid who hears about this in Utah is now going to find a way to get their hands on this book. Hurrah for our team, and thanks for drawing it the way it happens for us.

  54. KarenE says:

    I’m just reading the comments on KSL.com.I have so much to say that I’m speechless. I do like one sarcastic supporter’s use of the word pornification. Let’s make more porn words! Porneriffic! Pornifictional! Pornifictobiography!

    I loved that part of the book and I’ll certainly never forget when that particular moment happened in my life.

  55. falloch says:

    ‘That’ frame, and ones following convey the sweetness, scariness, awe and exultation of sexuality that is the complete opposite of crap, exploitative, voyeuristic porn. Utah needs to grow up.

  56. Ellen O. says:

    More porn words? Porn on the cob! Porn dog! (On a stick…)

  57. cally chef says:

    …or make a movie about this crazy controversy and call it “Porn Free”…

  58. Sonny says:

    *Vincent Pecora, the chair of the English Department at the U says, “If we try to only choose only the novels that have a moral point of view that we agree with, we might not have a whole lot of literature to teach.”*

    SNAP!

    Can we say a blessing over all of the fabulous teachers of the world? Especially the ones who stand up for a diverse curriculum in our schools?

    Amen.

  59. LondonBoy says:

    Just a quick note to congratulate you on another step towards literary immortality. As a pornographer, you’re in elite company!

    By the way, am I the only person who’s anticipating a news item about young Mr Alvord about thirty years from now… I expect it to feature an FBI agent, an airport bathroom, and a “wide stance”… He and his anti-porn group remind me of several people I knew at college, all of whom have subsequently come out or been outed…

  60. Ginny says:

    Oh how I love the small of Bartholin’s glands in the morning!

  61. TII says:

    The Stranger (http://slog.thestranger.com/2008/03/no_fun_home) has also picked it up…

    This part cracks me up: “Now, I’ve read Fun Home. I liked Fun Home a lot. And there is no way that anybody without an Alison Bechdel fetish would be able to masturbate successfully to Fun Home. …”

    Any takers here? 🙂

  62. Hammerwoman says:

    It smells like. . .victory. Oh, yes it does!

    BTW Ginny, how do you like your eggs?

  63. Duncan says:

    Thanks to falloch for providing an example of Moore and Gebbie’s notion that “people think that ‘porn’ appeals to coarse, uneducated people with warped desires, whereas ‘erotica’ is something for the educated and refined populace, who are capable of discerning fiction from reality.”

    I agree with Ellen O. that folks here seem to be overreacting a bit to this event, and with laura that this conflict could be a good occasion for those students to discuss the issues involved. Still, if I were teaching that class, I’d offer the protesting student the book of Ezekiel as an alternative reading.

  64. Ginny says:

    I’d like to say “with ham-mer” but I’m kosher (grin).

  65. the squealer says:

    ‘atta girl!

  66. Ellen O. says:

    I found this statement from the KSL.com comment section deeply disturbing:

    >

    Once and for all people–don’t use an apostrophe before an “s” when you are turning a singular noun into a plural noun. It’s not only incorrect, it’s unnatural.

  67. diana says:

    I used Fun Home as a text in my Graphic Novel class last spring. Aside from two rather nervous het boys, it went fine. A couple students whose views I respect told me after the class that they thought it could have been paced a bit faster, but that’s the most negative feedback I got.
    We’re using some of Alison’s material from her Gay Comix issue in next week’s readings in my current class on Underground Comix. We’re also using jennifer camper, Robert Triptow, Roberta Gregory, Lee Mars, and a LOT of Howard Cruse. Howard has tentatively agreed to do an online chat with us during class.
    I love my job.

  68. ready2agitate says:

    (Ellen O. – Hee!)

    Well I do hearby pass the crown for delightfully mischevious agitation to Madame AB and her porno-king colluder Jeff C.

    (and Alison once thought that not a lot of people would read the book…)

    >>In the group’s earlier attack on Gold’s Gym, they request: “Install blinds on the aerobics room to block the dancing, which is very provocative.”

    (Kinda like in Persepolis when the gov’t armed guardians demand that young Marjane stop running to class b/c the sight of her rear end is too… whatever, and she snorts, “Then don’t look at my ass!” and runs off to class. 🙂 )

    Quite a month, eh, what with the Daily Distress opening its publication to the masses and Fun Home rising to new heights.

  69. Mothra in NYC says:

    Wow.

    For me, Fun Home transcends categories–it’s not “just” a graphic novel, it’s not “just” a memoir. It’s the most real book of any category I’ve read in a good long while.

    I think the definition of pornography is an important question, one that’s been covered quite clearly above. Perhaps author intent is another way to frame the discussion: I seriously doubt that AB’s intention was to titillate her readers. Presumably pornographers are creating material designed to get people off, and story and characterization, if they happen, are incidental.

    But in a book like Fun Home, sex may happen, and it may even be titillating, but it’s there because it’s integral to the story, and the author’s intent is to tell a story that matters to her with as much integrity as she can.

    In that, AB succeeded brilliantly.

    I am sorry that the student who wanted the book taken off the curriculum was unwilling to engage a text that is so powerful in so many ways. It’s his loss. But also the rest of the community’s, since when one person refuses to grow, it stunts the growth of everyone around him or her, just a little bit.

    Thanks, Alison, for making art that matters.

  70. The Cat Pimp says:

    I thought these days it was spelled Pr0n. Anyhoo, Jeff C, don’t feel bad about telling your friend the teacher about the book. My take? I think it was Oscar Wilde who said, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” Maybe all the prudes will rush to get the book so they can see all the naughty bits.

  71. CC says:

    Ha! That’s insane. I have to say that I love this frame, and I loved it when I first saw it. It captures that moment perfectly. I have to say I could totally relate to that frame and the one following it.

  72. Hey Mothra. Where you bin? You haven’t claimed your prize.

  73. Lisa (Calico) says:

    Felicitations Alison!
    Poor student – wait ’til he joins the real world after College. Ha.

  74. Michelle says:

    I thought you said some where that you took a photograph of yourself or someone else posing then used that photograph to draw the cartoon; did you do that this time?

  75. Ian says:

    I’m completely outraged, and having read the book I now feel violated.

    I’ve alerted my friends in Furious Women Avenging Pornography, so you can expect a visit from them and some red paint to be sprayed liberally over your studio … 😉

  76. Joe Code says:

    When it’s all said and done it sounds like it’ll mostly be good news all around. For one thing, the university doesn’t appear to be backing down on the issue. For another, there’s nothing like the threat of banning a book to increase its sales, especially in a sexually repressed state Utah.

    Congrats!

    The only bad news is the “student in question”. It’s always sad to read that someone so young is following in the repressive footsteps of their forebears.

  77. tas says:

    As they say in academe, “it’s a line on your CV!”

  78. Dale says:

    It’s something we all aspire to. High-five! And just think of all that free publicity. Thank you, Right-Wing America!

  79. Jennifer says:

    God bless free publicity.

  80. Crotalus says:

    Utah???!!! Gimme a break! They still party like it’s 1699 there. They’re still struggling with race & gender issues, I’m surprised their heads didn’t explode when confronted with the issue of sexuality.

  81. Crotalus says:

    BTW, love your comic. Good work, and thanks for the free entertainment. I truly appreciate it.

  82. brooke says:

    someone above said ‘lets not tar all utahns’ here. or mormons. personally i think the student has gone to the wrong university – they probably should have just gone about an hour south to BYU – Fun Home is probably not read down there. Lovely university and I have dear friends who are graduates, but a bit on the conservative side in many aspects (but I will say – it was on a visit with a friend at BYU that I picked up my Obama ’08) sticker.

    But all, I just wanted to point out that we’re all not a like here. I’m LDS, but believe in gay rights and am actually putting on a Trans 101 workshop at Utah State on Friday. I’m a pacifist and human rights activist. Some of my heros? Leslie Feinberg, & bell hooks among many others of the same ilk. So – please don’t blame Utah for this. It’s just one student who happened to get some publicity.

  83. public service announcement says:

    I was very pleased to see the English dept chair, Vincent Pecora, standing up for the right of a faculty member to assign Fun Home and thereby standing up for academic freedom. To my fellow academics out there who read this blog: Remember that Academic Freedom Isn’t Free. One organization out there advocates for and educates about academic freedom (as well as shared governance), and that’s the AAUP — The American Association of University Professors. Check out their website at http://www.aaup.org If you teach at a college or university you should join today.

    These are the folks who would be raising hell if the university in question here did the wrong thing. And they’ll help you, too, if you’re in a similar bind.

  84. chriso says:

    Ellen O. your comment made me laugh out loud for real. I totally thought a similar thing when I read the name of the group. I pictured them at some dinner table full of porn and pushing their plates away while they patted their full tummies. Hah!

    And it’s true, once you’re hated in Utah you truly have arrived!

  85. Minnie says:

    Crotalus, it isn’t free to have a blog, to pay the bills for food, ink, paper, nibs, and battery recharges. We can help support Ms. Bechdel in her long, lonesome hours that culminate in literography that enriches, entertains and educates us so.

    Help Alison get a solar battery recharger!
    Support this Site! The link is in the top-right corner of this page.

  86. Lauren Zito says:

    The troubling thing is that these fuckwads (sorry, its true) just lump ALL sex, ALL nudity, and anything slightly beyond the missionary position as pornography. They obviously don’t understand what REAL porn is and how different it is from ALL of real life. Poor things. I actually feel sorry for them.

  87. coffeegyrl says:

    If *pornography* was changed to *understanding that gays and lesbians are normal humans* we might be getting to the actual issue here.

  88. Wax Lion says:

    Mazel tov, Alison. You know you’ve arrived, in a literary sense, when you’ve been banned in Utah. I wonder what their prior target, the “music videos shown in a gym in Provo” were… The mind reels.

  89. Jennilyn says:

    It’s my class at the University of Utah that started this ruckus. I’d love to get in touch with you personally–working on a documentary about ex-polygamist teens and an outline for a graphic novel. Also, the U would like to get you for a speaking engagement. We are having fantastic discussions in my course and all the profs and deans are supportive and intrigued.Think you just found a new fan base.

    j.merten@utah.edu

  90. ready2agitate says:

    Kudos, Jennilyn, for selecting such an excellent book for your students – wonderful. And solidarity, too, for the situation you are now in, with the one student’s uproar and all.

    Here’s AB’s contact info from the upper right hand corner:

    If you’re interested in booking me for a speaking engagement, please contact Erica Langston at The Agency Group, Speaker’s Department, ericalangston@theagencygroup.com (PLEASE ONLY contact her about speaking gigs, like to come to a college or something, not about interviews or other stuff!) Their phone number is 310-385-2800.

    For Fun Home related things, please contact the publicity department at Houghton Mifflin, Megan_Wilson@hmco.com. (PLEASE don’t bother her with non-Fun Home related stuff.)

    And she also lists dyke at dykestowatchoutfor dot com as an e-addy.

  91. bean says:

    just thought i’d mention that some of those “furious women who avenge pornography” do read this list.

    the thing is, we’re not religious fanatics, we’re feminists. we don’t think that whether you can masturbate to it or not is the measure, whether it’s hot, or sexy, or naked, weather it involves male/female penis/vagina intercourse, none of these things have to do with what makes pornography pornography.

    the problem is that some literature does hurt classes of women.

    you can prove hurt. you can prove women.

    literature that hurts the class of people called women (or any other class, for that matter) is a problem.

    now, you can yell at me, no louder, NO LOUDER, that no literature is capable of hurting a class of people.

    but you’d be wrong.

    I loved “Fun Home.”

    And incidentally, it doesn’t fall into that class of literature that is created for profit, because sexual degradation and humiliation is addictive for some people, and just coincidentally supports the status quo that is patriarchy, male supremacy, and epidemic violence against women and girls.

    So, i’m in favor of saying that literature that doesn’t do this isn’t pornography.

    But if pornography is, as the common definition says, any sexually explicit and/or erotic literature, then what should be the name, how SHOULD we distinguish that class of literature that many people, most men, many on this list, are so fond of, that class of literature that DOES hurt women? What should we call it?

    And how can we stop making pariahs out of those who point it out?

  92. Maggie Jochild says:

    Great questions, Bean. One I’ve been asking for decades.

    I once was followed into a Walgreen’s type of store by a gay man in leather (in San Fran, 1982 or thereabouts) who saw the bumper sticker on my Honda about pornography and violence. He literally began screaming at me about “dykes” who wanted to stop him from having access to child porn, saying that he himself had been molested as a boy and it was a great experience, and he had a right in America to see images of similar experiences. Turns out, of course, he was a member of NAMBLA and also lived on my block. The store called security but he left before they arrived.

    It’s hard to take this stand. Liberals, especially males, go twitchy about “censorship”, although of course we already have it — certain images are illegal. And it is not market regulated (another neomyth we can’t quite seem to get rid of), it’s market driven. And the confusion of sex with power is at the heart of what America defines as “desire”, so people feel as if their self-satisfaction is on the line with talk of limitation.

    I find the image above evocative (as I said) but not even necessarily erotic. But, my definition of erotic is a feminist one I’ve worked hard to scrub clean of dependence on a power imbalance (real or pretend). One way I’ve gotten around the conditioning (and that’s all it is, it is NOT inherent) is to take any scenario which purports to be erotic or “hot” and see if it the charge remains when I change the characters around, so whoever is being done to is now the doer. If it alters substantially, it’s about power and the implicit potential for abusing it, not about an intimate connection, certainly not about equal, nonconditioned consent.

  93. Danyell says:

    That is so great. I’m a little surprised when the students are more offended by reading material than teachers. But I like this quote:

    Vincent Pecora, the chair of the English Department at the U says, “If we try to only choose only the novels that have a moral point of view that we agree with, we might not have a whole lot of literature to teach.”

    It’s good that though the University is trying to teach open-minded classes, even if the students aren’t quite ready for it.

  94. University of Utah student says:

    Hey Alison,

    I am a student in the class at the University of Utah that has received a bit of media attention recently. I just wanted you to know that the whole class (minus one..ha) enjoyed your book thoroughly and we spent three days talking about it. Don’t let a few weirdos here make you think that all of Utah is crazy.

    Ironically enough, I’m actually from the bay area born and raised all the way through high school. It’s been interesting to see the way people treat certain topics outside of California. I think we sometimes take for granted how amazing life is in our little corner of the country.

    This University of Utah English major loves your work Alison!

  95. C.H. says:

    capers: I’ve never figured out whether Cynthia only represents fiscal conservatives (with a streak of -neo) or “whole package” conservatives. Will she join the Libertarian Party, and if not, is she in Log Cabin?

  96. Kevin Moore says:

    Congrats, Alison! It’s a great book and deserves to be taught in college literature classes. And it certainly deserves the unintended compliment given by fundies protesting a book they haven’t even read.

  97. U of U student, too. says:

    Hey Alison!
    I am also a student in the class that is involved in this “controversy”. While I must say that I adored your book, and that I think this whole thing is ludicrous, I must also say I think it’s ludicrous the way all University of Utah students (and Utah citizens) are being lumped into one big, conservative, Mormon, posse. I for one am not Mormon, but that has nothing to do with me loving the book. I know for a fact we have some Mormon kids in our class that also loved it. So please, people, don’t assume that this is happening here because we live in the “Mormon State”. Not everyone here is so uptight.
    And congratulations once again, Alison, on your brilliant, groundbreaking, “tragicomic”!
    PS You should definitely come speak at our school!

  98. Jimmi says:

    where to start….. (huge sigh) well I’m taking time out of my BFA finals crunch to make this response so I better make it count. First of all Alison I think you are absolutely amazing, even though your DTWOF comic is about queer women I find that it has a universal appeal and speaks to all sorts of people. Personally I know it helped me out a lot as a queer kid, to be able to have something empowering and humorous that I could look to for inspiration and strength in my difficult adolescent years. As for the graphic novel I must confess that I haven’t had an opportunity to read it entirely as I’m up to my ears in art crap to do but I have skimmed it in the past and what I read I did very much like. The whole controversy is rather sad actually, to think that something as silly as whether or not something is pornographic should enter into mind of someone when analyzing something for a class is beyond me. I mean to protest reading anything is ridiculous but to not read something because you disagree with its morals is to take away your own power of understanding and close off yourself to half the argument. I suppose that is the whole point for them but how do you expect to grow if you don’t inspect your own limitations and occasionally break them? Is heteronormativity so much more important than self growth? I’ve read to bible, front to back, cover to cover and guess what? While I understand the belief system I reject the mainstream judeo christian understanding of christ and that was only from learning my scriptures like a good little catholic. Maybe examining your repulsion to something will only strengthen your bond in christ or maybe you will make some different choices, just learn to think for yourself. I know I’m preaching to the choir here but maybe some of those turkeys will read this!

  99. tls says:

    Congrats Alison,

    Hope this increases book sales astronomically! Fun House is one of my all-time favorites. I’m gonna go read it again right now…especially the ‘good’ parts!

  100. Mo says:

    It would be wonderful to send these folks some real pornography. Pornography is all about substituting people’s sexuality for their totality. Kind of the opposite of “Fun Home” IMO.

  101. Jeanne says:

    I’m just thrilled that Fun Home is already being taught at the university level. That it is being called pornagraphy makes me giddy in knowing how many I personally sold out of my comic book store! Does that make me an official smut peddler now? Woo!

  102. Andrea says:

    My first thought after reading this book was “Beautiful. Wish there were more like it.”

  103. Les says:

    I want to register a complaint! My copy of the book did not contain any centerfolds and was clearly missing several pages. Where’s my pron?

  104. HULK says:

    I’m buying this TOMORROW. Just ’cause I live in Canada and nobody can stop me. And I’m leaving it around where my son can read it, too. And after that I’m buying up Judy Blume and will leave THAT around for my son to read! I feel positively giddy at the thought of all this subversive material!

    I’m spoiling for a fight…

  105. JaymeBright says:

    Yeah, controversy works well for Ann Coulter, undeservably so, seething plagarist that she is, and now I hope and imagine that your successes will increase as well. It’s only fair. I know I’m intrigued.

  106. Robert Triptow says:

    Hi, Alison– I hope no one minds me saying here that I’m astonished by this post. I’m dying laughing! Because, you know, I am from Yewtahr myself. Not only that, but the very first cartoons I ever drew were in my notebooks while attending classes in that exact same English department of the University of Utah. They’re criticizing you when they produced ME?! Oh, the tales I could tell…!

  107. Marcia says:

    Pronography. They keep using that word. I don’t think it means what they think it means.