At an appearance at the University of Richmond’s Modlin Center for the Arts underground comix grand master R. Crumb demonstrated that he still has the power to stir up a good controversy.  Last week the Modlin Center sponsored an event, “Genesis: A Conversation with R. Crumb and Francoise Mouly," but it wasn’t any comments about Crumb’s adaptation of the first book of The Bible that stirred the pot.  In an article in the University of Richmond’s student newspaper, The Collegian, reporter Ryan Clark cited a complaint from Richmond Senior Timothy Patterson, who reported that during his speech Crumb said “Every woman has a rape fantasy.  Every man deep down…hates women.” 


Patterson appeared to be loaded for bear, citing not just Crumb’s comments at the Modlin Center Event, but also the content of Crumb’s 1989 graphic novel My Troubles With Women, which Richmond Professor Bertram Ashe had assigned for his “American Misfit: Geek Literature and Culture” course.


When contacted by the The Collegian, Professor Ashe responded that if Patterson had attempted to contact him directly, “I would have showed him where and how Crumb grapples with feminist critiques of his work right there inside his work.  I would have demonstrated for him how well the text fits into our semester-long discussion of geeks and nerds.”  Ashe said that he finds some aspects of Crumb’s work offensive, but “Edgy and provocative is what I do.”


Crumb now lives in France, a country where bold categorical statements that initiate controversy are commonplace.  He may not have realized how “PC” his home country has become, even in the halls of Academia, where students complain about being exposed to ideas they don’t agree with, and the Dean of the school of arts and sciences feels compelled to circulate a campus-wide email stating that “although the university made Crumb’s dialogue possible, that doesn’t mean it condoned the dialogue’s content.”