Thursday, September 3, 2015

Q Toon: Dukes to Watch Out For

This summer, Duke University recommended to its incoming freshmen that they ought to read Fun Home, a graphic memoir by cartoonist Alison Bechdel, eponym of the Bechdel Test. The book is about Bechdel's coming out, and her dad's closeted homosexuality. Duke recommends some summer reading every year to promote discussion when the school year starts, which seems like a reasonable enough thing for a liberal arts institution to do.

Upon learning that the book contains women masturbating and engaging in oral sex, one student, Brian Grasso, posted on Facebook that he refused to read Bechdel's book. Somehow, it turned into such a big deal that the Washington Post printed his explanation for himself.
[I]n the Bible, Jesus forbids his followers from exposing themselves to anything pornographic. “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart,” he says in Matthew 5:28-29. “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away.” This theme is reiterated by Paul who warns, “flee from sexual immorality.” ... 
I will avoid any titillating content and encourage like-minded students to do the same. And I believe professors should warn me about such material...
Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✒Sep 3, 2015
Certainly, Grasso and any others worried about looking lustily at lesbians have every right not to read books they don't want to, and at no point was reading Fun Home required. On the other hand, as has been pointed out by everyone from Jerry Seinfeld to Chris Rock to a growing list of university professors, we seem to be raising a generation of extremely delicate hothouse flowers.

And Grasso should have warned his readers that he was going to use the word "titillate."

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