Showing a good deal more investigative depth and tact than some of the other news outlets covering this story, The Shore Line Times talks to not just the parent of the girl who received the comic book in question but also many of the other students and their parents, most of whom show an almost unwaivering support for the beleagured teacher:
According to several parents, Fisher, a former journalist who was at the start of his second year teaching at Guilford High School, sent them an E-mail in which he admitted he made a mistake in giving Eightball #22 to the girl. But he said he had not read it in several years and had not recalled the salacious material. His error, he said, was in not reviewing the book before giving it to her.None of this made sense to a number of students and parents, who agreed Fisher had made a mistake but praised him as an excellent, caring teacher. They all argued, with some passion, that he should not have had to pay for that single mistake with a forced resignation after the school administration led by Superintendent of Schools Thomas Forcella had completed an investigation of the entire matter.
The New Haven Advocate, meanwhile, has an interesting and surprisingly informed look at the brouhaha:
Register reporter Rachael Scarborough King shorthanded Clowes’ complexities by reporting that the comic “includes references to rape, various sex acts and murder, as well as images of a naked woman, and a peeping tom watching a woman in the shower.” Shocking stuff—though the sex and bloodshed aren’t in fact depicted, just talked about, and the nudity is part of a poignant and decidedly non-titillating scene in which a sensitive young woman is afraid her lover will leave her because of an unsightly birthmark. In any case, graphic acts of sex, murder and voyeurism can be found in countless classic works of literature, by such acclaimed writers as Charles Bukowski, Truman Capote, Allen Ginsberg, Ayn Rand, Leo Tolstoy, Gore Vidal, Nick Hornby, Theodore Dreiser, Sam Shepard, Alice Walker, Cormac McCarthy, Jack Kerouac, D.H. Lawrence, John Cheever, Thomas Hardy and Sylvia Plath.
All those writers, as it happens, appear on the official list of 2007 Summer Reading suggestions presented to students by the Guilford High School English department. So do disgraced sex-and-drugs-addled memoirist Augustyn Burroughs and bestselling erotic mystery novelist Janet Evanovich, most of whose books have a hot sex scene within the first few pages. It’s an enlightened, engrossing, wide-ranging list that might actually attract more young people to read.