11 April 2007
In the Night Kitchen
Author/Illustrator: Maurice Sendak
In the Night Kitchen, a story about a boy's surreal dreams of being baked into a cake by the fat man from Laurel & Hardy (in triplicate), first caused a storm of controversy because the illustrations featured a fully naked boy. Despite all the brewhaha, Night Kitchen was named a Caldecott Honoree, and eventually assumed its rightful place among the pantheon of picture book classics. (Seriously, a lot of time has passed since In the Night Kitchen was published in 1970, but you would be hard pressed to find better illustrations.)
Sendak's ability to triumph over controversy brings to mind another situation in our recent political history. The year was 1997. A fierce political battle was being waged over one of the most coveted positions in government. The flames of controversy rose to new heights with the circulation of the following underground campaign flyer:
Okay, so it wasn't exactly Watergate... but there were rumors that I was almost suspended for "distributing child pornography". Excuse me?! It's my ass and i'll do what I want with it! (This is logic that has occassionally gotten me into trouble. But that's the risk you take when you put your ass on the line.) For the record, democracy prevailed and I won the election. However, I was never asked to put the aforementioned ass on any actual line... turns out, there is not much ass-on-lining needed when your main job is to type up minutes and take attendance.
Note: Apparently, the success of my campaign started a popular trend:
All I can say is: "You're welcome, America."