Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Maurice Sendak: Wannabe Terrorist and Presidential Assassin

Wannabe Terrorist Maurice Sendak
Well, here's an excellent way for a man to ruin his literary reputation just months before he dies.  (I realize this strays into the political arena but I am so appalled by what this jackass had to say that I'm going to take a chance and post his comments here.)

In an October interview being previewed at a site called The Comics Journal right now, the formerly beloved children's author had this to say about a fantasy of his, a dream he longed to turn into reality:
SENDAK: Bush was president, I thought, “Be brave. Tie a bomb to your shirt. Insist on going to the White House. And I wanna have a big hug with the vice president, definitely. And his wife, and the president, and his wife, and anybody else that can fit into the love hug.”
GROTH: A group hug.
SENDAK: And then we’ll blow ourselves up, and I’d be a hero. [Groth laughs.] To hell with the kiddie books. He killed Bush. He killed the vice president. Oh my God.
GROTH: I would have been willing to forgo this interview. [Sendak laughs.]
SENDAK: You would have forgotten about it. It would have been a very brave and wonderful thing. But I didn’t do it; I didn’t do it.
Yes, you were a wonderful man, Mr. Sendak.  I'm sure you're family is going to be very proud to read this insanity.  The man was sick.  My copy of Where the Wild Things Are is going out with the rest of the trash tonight.


  1. I'd like to read the context from which this quote was taken. Do you believe in all sincerity that he was serious when he said this? If so, that is awful and I certainly don't condone terrorism of any form. I wouldn't agree with these politics; however, his children's books are wonderfully creative pieces of writing that I recall reading with my kids when they were little. His politics, if this is what he truly believes, do not change the fact that he was a brilliant author.

    You may not agree with this, in fact a lot of you may not, but we are all entitled to our opinion and freedom of speech. We shall just agree to disagree.

  2. Shirley, follow that link and you'll get a better idea of the context of that quote, I think. I do believe that he was serious because no one could possibly think this would be something to lightly joke about. Even the interviewer appears to have been a little shocked at what the man said.

    His books were family favorites here for two generations but I will never be able to look at one again without thinking of the real man who wrote them. That's why I want them out of my house. I think there's one other one here someplace but I haven't found it yet. I don't want to be reminded of the man's hatred...life is too short to be upset by a fool.

  3. I think he was a depressed man. The things I read about him as a person made him not so appealing. But this could probably be true of many writers. I'm likely one of a very few who wasn't all that wild (couldn't resist the word) about his books. My kids liked them alright, but I have no memory of them wanting to read them over and over like some others.

  4. I just don't know what Sendak's problem was, Nan, but it still angers me to think about the stupidity he expressed and then seemed so proud of. I try to understand the far left, but I am constantly shocked by the level of behavior they find so amusing and acceptable. There are a handful of writers I can never read again because of their extreme lack of character.

  5. I watched a documentary about Mr. Sendak a few years ago. He had a very hard upbringing with quite a bit of personal tragedy, so I was touched (to the point of misty eyes) at the love and loyalty he displayed to the people in his life. The quote you cited was quite shocking! I know the last several years of his life were filled with ill health, including some strokes. I can only hope that the sentiment came from a bit of scrambled brain rather than from the heart.


  6. TLK, I would like to believe that you're correct about Sendak...really would. But he sounds completely coherent and self-aware in this interview and I have to believe he was being sincere in expressing his fantasy here. The more I think about it, he seems like a man wanting to get it all out before he passed away...and everyone could take it or leave it.

  7. Not just the far left but the far right, too. :<)

  8. Right you are, Nan. I think the key word in the conversation is "far." Always a bad sign to find yourself the extreme fringe edge of any group...