After I purchased the first volume of Sex Criminals for my library, it was requested that I prepare a “letter of defense” in the event that it was challenged.
Dear Library Patron or Trustee,
Hello! I see that you disagree with my choice to purchase Sex Criminals Volume One : One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky, published by Image Comics in the year of our lord two-thousand-and-fourteen. I have prepared this letter in advance, in anticipation of just such an occasion. Let’s begin:
Reason For Complaint, Please Check All That Apply:
□ I don’t like those funny picture books!
□ I don’t like when people have sex.
□ I don’t like when women have sex.
□ It has the word S-E-X in the title so it must be pornography, now where do you keep your copies of 50 Shades of Grey
□ I am uncomfortable with my own sexuality/I am in a miserable and sexless marriage, and this book reminds me of that, causing me to fall into a pit of ennui.
□ All of the above plus I don’t like when my library carries materials other than John Grisham novels.
Great! All valid reasons. Let me try to address them point by point:
I don’t like those funny picture books!
Understandable. They aren’t real books, after all. They don’t deal with issues of race, gender, sexuality, friendship, conflict, growth and loss in an accessible way. They definitely aren’t created by a diverse selection of writers and artists working together collaboratively from around the globe. Plus, aren’t they often used to encourage reading for those who struggle with literacy? Libraries are for literate people only! If you can’t read, don’t come in here, buddy!
I don’t like when people have sex
Hey, me neither. Expressions of physical affection between two people in love is exactly the kind of pornographic smut that needs to be left at home, am I right? And don’t get me started on casual sex or, god forbid, non-monogamous relationships! How dare people live their lives however they want when it makes me feel personally uncomfortable?
I don’t like when women have sex
I get it. Women’s sexuality is terrifying. What if they start thinking they have ownership over their own bodies and decisions? What kind of world is that?
It has the word S-E-X in the title so it must be pornography, now where do you keep your copies of 50 Shades of Grey
Agreed! My favorite part about 50 Shades of Grey is how it misrepresents an entire sexual community and continues the trend of abusive male-female relationships in popular media.
I am uncomfortable with my own sexuality/I am in a miserable and sexless marriage, and this book reminds me of that, causing me to fall into a pit of ennui
I suffer the same! Sex is no laughing matter. Engaging with it on your own through reading, writing, and healthy self-exploration is a sin, after all, so definitely don’t try that. Being too comfortable with your own sexuality is like a do-not-pass-go straight to hell.
All of the above plus I don’t like when my library carries materials other than John Grisham novels
Well, good news: 90% of this library is still dedicated to John Grisham novels.
This is, of course, all ignoring the fact that Sex Criminals is one of the most tender, realistic, believably fantastic, and hilarious works of fiction in recent memory. That it has a huge fan base, routinely sells out at comic shops and bookstores, and is a multi-award-winning New York Times Bestseller. Or, that is has a pair of creators who regularly engage with their fans, take critique to heart, and bring their work to the public in a unique and engaging way. That it brings communities of fans together with organized meetups in cities around the world.
But, I mean, all of that doesn’t matter, right? Because there’s boobs in there.
Thank you for your patronage and for bringing this matter to my attention!
Have a great day.
Ivy Noelle Weir
Librarian & Purveyor of Pornographic Filth.