Friday, July 13, 2007

Eenie Weenie Banned in US-

[or, size really doesn't matter according to a US publisher...]

US Publisher Turns away from Cartoon Nudity

SPIEGEL ONLINE, July 11, 2007
By Franziska Bossy and Elke Schmitter

The drawings are harmless really. But a US publisher has decided not to publish a series by children's book author Rotraut Susanne Berner. The problem? Cartoon breasts and a half-millimeter-long willy.

It is rare that a German book generates any interest in the United States. And children's books are usually completely off the radar. The delight was thus all the greater at the Hildesheimer Gerstenberg publishing house when a query came in from the American children's book purveyor Boyds Mills Press for a series by Rotraut Susanne Berner.

"It was really a sensation," Berner told SPIEGEL ONLINE. At first. As it turned out, there were a couple of changes that had to be made before the books could be unleashed on the America public. First off, smokers had to be removed from the illustrations. But that wasn't all. One image shows a scene from an art gallery -- and for realism's sake, there is a cartoonish nude hanging on the wall along with a tiny, seven-millimeter-tall statue of a naked man on a pedestal.

American kiddies, obviously, could never be expected to handle such a depiction of the human body. The US publisher, somewhat awkwardly, asked if they could be removed.

The author, not surprisingly, considers the request to be absurd. The statue's mini-willy, the author points out, is hardly even a half-millimeter long. And the naked woman hanging on the wall? Hardly a realistic depiction of the female anatomy. The US publisher, says Berner, was embarrassed to ask for the changes, but they were even more afraid of how American mommies and daddies might react if junior were exposed to such pornography.

For the author, any kind of self-censorship was completely out of the question. She said she could maybe have lived with putting black bars in front of the problem spots, but "invisible censorship" was out. "If you're going to censor something, then the reader should be aware of it," she told SPIEGEL ONLINE.

But the US publisher would have none of it -- after all, one hardly wants to call attention to one's own deletions. Meaning, that the Hildesheimer publishing house will have to forego the honor of being published in the US -- and American children are safe from shocking German sensibilities.

Many children in the rest of the world, however, have already been exposed. Berner is one of the best-known contemporary children's book authors. And the series, which playfully follows the daily life of children and adults through the four seasons, is already a bestseller in 13 countries from Japan to the Faroe Islands. So far, no other country has been overly concerned about the cartoon boobies and mini-penis, Berner said.

- - - - -

ok, fellow campers, let's take one more look at the enormous dick that's causing all the problems-


oops, sorry, wrong dick. But you knew I wasn't going to be able to resist that joke, didn't you? Here it is-

Oh. My. God. Somebody wrap up the women and children and send them into hiding lest their souls be warped by such gutter porn.


Joey Polanski said...

I agree a hunnert percent wif th authr.

Aftr all, I woont want my willy evr to be deletd.

And I guess I woont mind having a black bar down there instead.

Mike said...

God, we are a mess. As if there are not more important things in the world to worry about than a tiny cartoon penis.

Colonel Colonel said...

Joey- given the fact that all the stories are foicusing on how, er, eeny he is down there, I'd think a big black bar would be much better.

Mike- true. Just look at the troubles the real ones bring us- George Bush, Don Rumsfeld, the Big Dikkster Hisself...

Phoebe Fay said...

We are the most fucked up country. We can't stand the thought of a cartoon representation of what any kid would see in any art museum, but we use sex to sell beer at every all-American sporting event every day of the week. And we know the kids are watching the sports. Not so many are getting to see museums.

And the guys screaming loudest about all this terrible stuff are the ones getting busted with prostitutes.

They're sick in the head.

Colonel Colonel said...

Phoebe- you bring up an excellent point. The problem isn't cartoons- it's ART MUSEUMS!!!

I need more beer...

Sara Sue said...

Colonel - Trust me, there isn't enough beer.

Colonel Colonel said...

Sara- probably not, but trying is the important thing.

anaglyph said...

That's terribly sad.

I can't even think of anything funny to say - I am just so appalled.

Boyds Mill Press proclaims on its site "Boyds Mills Press publishes picture books that celebrate the wonder of childhood as well as its challenges"

One is forced to conclude 'except if those challenges include anything to do with growing up'. I suppose that in itself is illuminating - the United States is a country FULL of people who have never grown up.

Present company excepted of course.

Cissy Strutt said...

That one illustraion looks so delightful - I'm going to order the book. I love the two children sniggering at the painting of the nude woman, because isn't that just what they'd do? And the viewer of the nude statue is having a fine time.

Mybrid said...

I'm with Cissy Strutt, and I'd also recommend censoring the woman's blushed cheeks and keen look. She's the one who's bound to give kids the wrong idea.

And while we're on the topic of censorship on book covers, are they going to censor all the weapons and gang-like figures on game covers and magazines? Because if they don't obviously the message to our kids - nudity is wrong, violence is right.

Mike said...

See Mybrid, that is where you are all wrong. In America it is quite alright to kill, murder, and maim, but you better not look at a penis or a vagina or breasts. That would be just plain freaking wrong.

Colonel Colonel said...

Reverend- it is sad. I can't decide if the problem is that these people are not grown up, or that they are too grown up.

Cissy- I love the expression on that woman's face. It's a brilliant picture.

Mybrid- The thing is, violence is American, but Sex is French, and well, you know the problem with that.

Mike- even having such things is a problem some places. Of course, having all of them at once can be a career. Just ask Ann Coulter.

Lynn Wienck said...

You know, I've looked at that illustration several times, and I can't see anything except a little man who may or may not be clothed and a grinning woman.

Do I need new bifocals?