Within the American States which rise up against works judged ” problematic “, because ” obscene », or even « pornographic according to particularly subjective criteria, Missouri is not among the least active. From the end of last year, several books were targeted, in various schools, and removed from the shelves, including All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson (Blue doesn’t suit all boystranslated by Noémie Saint-Gal, De Saxus), Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel (translated by Corinne Julve, Lili Sztajn, Denoël) or even The bluest eye by Toni Morrison (translated by Jean Guiloineau).
Some have since come back, in particular after the legal action of two students, who had contested these withdrawals of books from the libraries. Nevertheless, the censors have following in the ideas, and especially the support of political representatives republicans and conservatives like pressure groups.
To comply with the Senate Bill 775which came into effect in the state of Missouri on August 28, the Rockwood School District has declared 22 books to be outlaws for presenting ” explicit sexual elements “. Among these titles, which will be withdrawn from school libraries as soon as possible, Batman: White Knightby Sean Murphy and Matt Hollingsworth (translated by Benjamin Rivière, Urban Comics), and watch menby Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (translated by Jean-Patrick Manchette, Urban Comics).
Two masterpieces of the genre, no less, which have the common point of questioning the superheroic figure and its implications, particularly in terms of vigilantism and popular justice… Of course, the school district does not specify which elements in particular justify the withdrawals – needless to point out that the two comics are in no way pornographic, not even erotic…
Among the other titles targetedregulars of American neo-censorship, such as Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe (Gender Queertranslated in France by Anne-Charlotte Husson), undoubtedly the most targeted title, but also the comic book adaptation of The Scarlet Maid by Renee Nault, after Margaret Atwood, The sun and its flowers by Rupi Kaur (translated by Sabine Rolland, at Nil) or even The Sacrifice of Darkness by Roxanne Gay.
In the wake of the entry into force of Senate Bill 775, a veritable censorship committee was set up, with the particularly organized actions of the St. Charles County Parents’ Association (SCCPA), a county in the state of Missouri. This group of parents, betrayed by schools that needed to protect their children, according to their website, offers all the tools of good library book censors.
Detailed instructions for making a report, advice for filing a complaint with the local police in the event of non-removal of a book, reading grid for identifying ” sexual elements likely to be singled out… A new “Hays Code”, this censorship manual which dictated the themes and images of Hollywood cinema between the 1930s and 1960s, can be read between the lines.
As soon as the law came into effect on August 28, several school districts in the state rushed to follow up on the complaints of SCCPA members, for fear of filing complaints, on the one hand, but also to consensually conform to the policy goals of the state’s Republican Governor, Mike Parson. Knowing that the State can completely get involved in a counter-publicity with regard to the schools which would stand up to the legislation.
In addition, note that the legislation mentioned was introduced by an amendment by Senator Rick Brattin, with particularly rightist ideas: in the past, he distinguished homosexual people from human beings, advocated the teaching of alternative theories to that of evolution or even the recourse to armed intervention against illegal demonstrations “.
In fact, as the analysis this article from Riverfront Times, the exceptions added to Senate Bill 775 mean that it wouldn’t even pose a threat to genuine pornographic images. However, these effects on the diversity of works offered to pupils and students by qualified librarians are very real…