Keeping Readers Safe From Toland Polk

Been wishing you had a handy list of every dirty word and naughty drawing in Stuck Rubber Baby? Are you frustrated that there aren’t enough minutes in the day to compile such a list yourself?

Well, I’m happy to report that the heavy lifting has already been done by the industrious worker bees of the Library Patrons of Texas Inc., a non-profit agency dedicated to keeping their fellow citizens apprised of what’s on the library shelves of Montgomery County, Texas.

The results of the LPT’s research on my book can be found online here.

My pal John Gillick clued me in yesterday to the aforementioned list of dubious passages to be found in my graphic novel. Not that the LPT is itself condemning anything I’ve done. In the fair and balanced spirit made famous by the Fox News Network, the FPT’s attitude is: We Report. You Decide.
Naturally I love knowing that folks in Texas are giving my work such a close read, but I do have one complaint about the LPT’s mode of presentation. Those little black boxes they use on their web site to obscure examples of my novel’s dirtiness aren’t attractive in the least. Give me interesting polygons, please. Or maybe decorative pasties with tassels.

Alright, that might be going overboard. I myself opted for an understated fig leaf in my own rendition of the very same panel, seen below as it appears in a special revised edition of SRB that I’ve whipped up expressly for residents of Montgomery County.

Why a special edition of a book that’s been published in five countries and won literary awards in four of them? Because I love my readers and never want any of them to feel uncomfortable. Hence the many days and nights I’ve spent chipping away at any parts of my brainchild that might cause distress to the LPT’s constituency.
That’s not a plea for gratitude. I’m delighted to go the extra mile in an effort to avoid running roughshod over the delicate sensibilies that Texans are famous for.

Below: A second excerpt from Stuck Rubber Baby: The Montgomery County Edition, available soon at Christian bookstores everywhere.

And don’t lump the LPT in with the narrow-minded book-burners of the world. According to its mission statement, the LPT emphasizes with dramatic capitalization that it DOES NOT advocate censorship "as traditionally defined." What the LPT does advocate is "local control of taxpayer-funded libraries and responsible age-appropriate selection, classification and access policies sensitive to local community standards and values." Who could argue with that?

I’m sure that local gay people, sexually comfortable heterosexuals, and fans of literature that questions the received wisdom of majority culture were among those polled by the LPT to determine exactly what the community standards and values being applied might be.

And the powerful Fig-Leaf Lobby must surely have been consulted as well.

About Howard

I'm a cartoonist and writer, best known for my graphic novel, Stuck Rubber Baby, and my comic strip from the 1980s, Wendel.
This entry was posted in Life & Art, Me, Me, Me!, Soapbox Break. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Keeping Readers Safe From Toland Polk

  1. elle bee says:

    in response to the original subject matter at hand, i share in the distress, mayhap not as much as the original author. i, myself, though younger than cruse, am of southern origin, attended a university (in fact even more southern) in the same state as did the author, and consider myself liberal, christian, and bisexual.

    crisis of identity? love/hate situation? why, yes.

    my parents came of age during the civil rights era, and in memphis at that. they changed churches because of civil rights issues (and we wonder, to this day, why churches must be “denominational”? really? i can tell you: some progress and accept in the name of jesus; some don’t). my mother, officer of a sorority at UT, ultimately rejected her organization because of other women’s reactions at a meeting during which the MLK assassination was first televised. she was the only one in the meeting who was upset/saddened at the news release.

    in a class on what’re called “comics” at worst, and “graphic novels” at best, i’ve chosen to do a panel presentation on “stuck rubber baby.”

    i will present information from the emmett till case, as well as emote, in the most doctoral manner possible, my knowledge of the south and its relation to rights in general.

  2. Jakob says:

    This is exactly what I expected to find out after reading the title Keeping Readers Safe From Toland Polk. Thanks for informative article

  3. Those black boxes ARE tacky. Fooey indeed! How will the LPT make censorship hip for a whole new generation if they edit with such a lack of style and grace?

  4. …and you know…that entire sequence where they find Sammy’s body, and then Toland’s imagining of him being lynched, didn’t seem to bother their delicate sensibilities all that much either. Well…except for the cuss words.

    “Please Ollie…not the Lord’s name in vain…”

  5. It’d be a handy list all right if they actually printed the words in question, but they couldn’t even do that. It’s all S**t and D**m and F**k. Except for ‘faggot’ They could bring themselves to print ‘faggot’. And…’nigger’. They didn’t have a problem printing that one in full in their little list either. Looks like every single one of both of those in the book made it into their printed list in full. But they just couldn’t bring themselves to print ‘D**m’ Well…one ‘damn’ did sneak through on the page 60 item

    Fig leafs won’t help Howard. The character of my libido has been wearing one all through my coming out cartoon series and my web site still got blocked for being “pornographic”. I found this out out the other day when a friend of mine tried to access my web site via a local sandwich shop’s wireless access point and got the blocking message. I strongly suspect that by now yours is being blocked too.

  6. I shudder to think what these people would think of the Sistine Chapel.
    They’d write an encyclopaedia about all the naughty bits!

  7. First off, thanks for the shoutout, HC. As well you know, ALL publicity is GOOD publicity. Just ask Paris Hilton (or Michael Richards?).

    Second on, while I support you in your Sisyphean endeavor to shed light unto the darkness – and to accommodate the multifarious quirks, blocks, twitches and shudders that may overwhelm random passersby exposed to your work in all its unfettered Nekkid With The Angels original glory – I have to take issue with your literally fig-leafing SRB. Of course that is the TRADITIONAL approach – and as such is to be rightly revered. But context is all, Muchacho – so consider where and for whom you are doing this.

    As you yourself took care to note, the Texican’s Guild for Godliness Through Cleanliness down there in Montgomery County ‘… emphasizes with dramatic capitalization that it DOES NOT advocate censorship “as traditionally defined.”’ Does this not suggest – nay DEMAND of you – a rather more NON-traditional form of SELF-censorship? Of course it does.

    So allow me to suggest that while in such a case a fig-leaf may indeed cover it – it just doesn’t cut it. Instead, let me offer this idea (100% royalty-free) …

    As a supremely skilled net-artist, adept in all forms of creative digitalis, why don’t you whip out a little Flash animation – a Winking Jesus (America’s Own Imaginary Friend!) – to cover the nasty-nasties with which you feel compelled (by THE DEVIL!?) to sully The Sacred Eyes of Texas (which clearly ARE upon you).

    Alternatives, should Flashification prove too troublesome, could include, instead of mere leaves, selected fully ripe fruits themselves. Or perhaps some clip-art Victorian illustrations of Fairies. I mean, why not go with the sort of imagery this audience is likely to grasp.

    What do you think?


  8. Rob Kirby says:

    Ok, maybe this is sad but I found this very funny. “Delicate sensibilities,” indeed;
    Oh, Fooey!