We loved Maurice Sendak's work, so it wasn't without a little cringing that we read this excerpt from his soon-to-be-published interview with Gary Groth in The Comics Journal in which he fantasized about killing George W. Bush. Sure, Sendak was known to be a cranky old guy, but this is downright nasty stuff. From the interview:
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."
Yikes. And then there's this:
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.
It's hard to gauge Sendak's exact tone, but it's still pretty unpleasant to read a widely-regarded author saying such things. And let's not forget, even as Bush has his critics, many people don't take very kindly to this kind of thing. Look no further than the bad press HBO got after revealing that Game of Thrones producers put a replica of Bush's head on a pike in an episode of the series, or the critical lashing given to Nicholson Baker's 2004 novel Checkpoint, with its Bush-murder fantasy. (Leon Wieseltier, for example, called it a "scummy little book" in The New York Times.)
Before giving us the excerpt of the interview, Groth describes an unconventional afternoon spent with Sendak, all with the tape rolling, and we imagine the rest of it is going to be fun read if you're a fan of the Where The Wild Things Are author. If his Bush fantasy leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth, revisit this account of the time he sent a young fan a letter, as recently highlighted by FlavorWire. It's a much happier tale and no one is threatened to be blown up by a "love hug."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.