Persepolis, if you’ve never read it, is author Marjane Satrapi’s affecting account of growing up in Iran before and after the Islamic revolution, delineating her emerging rebellion as she struggles to exist in an increasingly repressive society. Apart from winning a bunch of awards, it was also turned into an Oscar-nominated animated movie and is generally accepted as one of those eminently worthwhile comics to know for anyone getting into the medium—for anyone who’s interested in history, really. For some reason, the Chicago public school system disagrees: Reports emerged today of the graphic novel being pulled from the library of at least two schools, with the theory that it’s a systemwide policy. The CPS promised an explanation, whatever it could entail.
It’s unsettling, not just because Persepolis is a wonderful comic but because it’s hard to see what would merit its removal from the type of environment where it should be read because it presents an intimate view of an important historical period that’s often glossed over by mainstream fiction. (Take Ben Affleck’s Argo, for example: a gripping thriller about the Iranian revolution that somehow says nothing about the Iranian people.) Apart from that, it’s chilling to imagine how and why a piece of art could be banned from an educational setting, especially something that doesn’t raise any red flags on the outrage detecting machine—it’s not like we’re talking about Piss Christ or something. Pending that hopefully reasonable explanation and swift reinstatement, a protest has been planned for today outside one of the first schools reported to have banned it. (If you have a lot of time, you can watch the entire movie below.)