Theory Of Nothing

or Just Theory

Say no to cartoon boobies and micro willy, children.

US publisher, Boyds Mills Press, has decided not to publish the latest book by one of Germany’s best-selling children’s book author, Rotraut Susanne Berner, because it contains cartoon sketches of an art gallery with works depicting naked bodies.

To be exact, Berner’s cartoon illustration shows adults and children in an art gallery which displays a portrait of a naked woman on a wall and a tiny 7-milimetre-high scuplture of a naked man on a pedestal.

berner.jpg

According to Berner, Boyds Mills Press had informed her that she could either agree to have the offending images removed or the book would be withdrawn.

While Berner admitted that staff at Boyds Mills Press appeared to be acutely embarrassed about their objections, she also said that they feared being confronted by hundreds of scandalized parents if they went ahead and published the book in its existing form.

In fact, besides the cartoon boobies and micro willy, Boyds Mills Press had also earlier on requested that Berner removed smokers from her cartoon illustrations.

In response, Berner said, “This was a joke. The man’s penis is about half a millimetre in length and the naked woman is clearly part of a work of art and not a real person.”

nude1.jpg micropenis.jpg

For the author, any form of self-censorhip was out of the question. She added, “If you’re going to censor something, then the reader should be aware of it.”

However, while Berner was ready to accept recognizable censorship, Boyds Mills Press was not going to settle for anything less than the complete removal of the offending images.

So when Berner asked the US publisher to black out the spots they deemed problematic, it stuck to its gun and refused Berner’s condition.

Thus, it is almost certain that Berner’s latest book will not be published in America. American children will neither have to handle depictions of naked human bodies, nor be endangered by shocking German sensibilities.

The 59-year-old author’s illustrated Wimmel books, which playfully follow the daily lives of adults and children through the four seasons, have won international acclaim and are best-sellers in 13 countries from Japan to the Faroe Islands. According to Berner, no other country has been overly concerned about the cartoon boobies and micro penis so far.

(Link, link)

Berner’s Wimmel books don’t seem to be available in Singapore either – please correct me if I’m wrong.

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Thursday, 19 July 2007 - Posted by | Comic, Literature, News

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