Pretty much everything of interest in the Nate Fisher/Eightball case has been said, until Fisher himself speaks, perhaps, but a few late comments are worth noting. We found these through our own trackbacks (Our story got Boing Boinged yesterday, sending our hits and trackbacks through the roof.) but if anyone knows of any other USEFUL commentary, send us a link.
First, Eric Reynolds has his final say on the matter. We encourage everyone to read it for themselves, as its quite thoughtful. Nut kernal:

I appreciate any parent wanting to protect their children, but in this case, would the child be any less protected if a solution that didn’t include a police investigation and/or immediate resignation had been pursued? To me, that’s the fundamental question.

Another interesting perspective is from a blog called Minivan Diaries, which the sidebar tells us, is written by a mother of four who once planned to be a children’s advocate:

However, at what cost and to what extremes do we go to protect our children? Isn’t it also our job to be good role models for our kids, especially when they are teenagers and they judge our behavior so scrupulously? By rushing to the police, and notifying school officials, she denied the teacher any opportunity to explain himself. He was guilty way before he even had a chance to prove his innocence, or at least his poor judgement. This was a perfect opportunity for a Parental Teaching moment — to demonstrate how adults work out differences by gathering facts, communicating, trying to understand both sides of an issue, and in this case, realizing that people, even teachers are human and they make mistakes.

After reading all of the hullabaloo, it’s pretty clear that mistakes were made on every side. I don’t think anyone would question the right or duty of parents to protect their kids. Hopefully the next time something like this happens, more private discussion will occur before the media decides to have its own field day.


  1. “I don’t think anyone would question the right or duty of parents to protect their kids.”

    Look no further than the comments section of your original post on the matter, Heidi. There were plenty of posters who characterized the parents’ motivation to protect their daughter in very negative terms.

  2. “So perhaps the villains are the parents, who created a situation in which their daughter suffers a very real harm, instead of the possible harm of reading the word “pussy,” seeing a breast etc . . .”

    “And the Dad is making it out like Eightball #22 is Mai-Chan’s Daily life. But it isn’t. It isn’t anywhere close to what he makes it out to be.
    He’s a douche.”

    “It’s obvious that people are afraid of the dad – he is intimidating people into submission.”

    “As we grow older the same people who shield thier children also tend to miss the bygone age of ‘purity’.”

    “I think the true depressing thing is the people who wish to harken back to puritan terrirory of a shielded enviorment. Only in America.”

    “I’m just going to throw this out here: Some parents will always freak out when they find anything with nude content in their child’s possession. Period.”

    “Not only that, the school is the great setting to read adult literature because there are knowledgable adults there who can explain the content and explain it’s meaning in context. The father is a fool if he doesn’t understand that.”

    “As a culture we should have moved passed the book burning mindset a long time ago.”

    “Teachers do need to be able to have some choice in what your kids read. Sorry, but it’s true. If you don’t like it, then homeschool.”

    “Danielle, I think what you and your husband did to the teacher was terrible — however you try to rationalize it.”

    “Shame on you….And I feel bad for your girl, at a new school, everyone hates her because her parents flew off the handle and got a popular teacher fired, oh and I forgot to mention that she is 13 …er 14 Isn’t that an age where she would be looking for approval from her peers?”

    “Why can’t the parents fully explain what exactly it is that this “borderline pornography” might threaten? One answer I can think of is that they themselves perceive their value system to be untenable.”

    “I just wanted to point out a quick view that no one’s mentioned. why would the girl let her parents do this?”

  3. Mark, that was a typo, among many I made last night, that should have been “should”. I find your second post to be a perfect example of elevating the thing your fighting by paying too much attention to it. By going in and religiously quoting all the examples of the attitude your against, you have also created a handy guide to all the arguments against what you seem to have been saying here all along.

  4. Mark–

    In the comments you quote people aren’t questioning the parent’s rights to protect their children, but suggesting that they over-reacted. This is a very different thing. Parents do have the right to react–but their reaction may well be overblown, and its the readers right to believe that this is so.

    Personally, I’m still struck by the idea that there should be parental approval for any materials used in a class. But, that’s likely because I’m not a parent and teach at the university level, where this is almost never an issue.

  5. I was more amused at the folks who seemed to only have a stake in this debate because they read one early issue of Eightball in college and it hurt their feelings. Bitching about the issue of Eightball in question (most who hadn’t read it save for a few panel samples on blogs) was ridiculous since I saw a few conclusions come down to “…well, Dan Clowes world view is so dark anyway, no one should read this art comic! Ugh! Depressing stuff!”.

  6. http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=18856509&BRD=1630&PAG=461&dept_id=7736&rfi=6


    Students defend 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.

  7. “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.”,

    Geez, the guy’s even more of an idiot than I first assumed.

    “Let’s see…..I think I’ll give an edgy graphic novel I haven’t read in a few years to a student I’ve only known for a few days.”

    Sounds to me like his resignation from the school was the right outcome.

  8. I know that Heidi wants us to be moderate in our comments, but the parents’ actions are anything but moderate, so and call for condemnation. Reading the story linked to at the ComicsReporter makes it clear that the parents’ action (according to their own words) are in fact what’s obscene; their desire to ruin this guy’s career (-he must never teach again-) is so out of proportion to the action he took. Is it possible that he can sue them for slander?

  9. And props to the parents and students who are sticking up for reason! – They think he did something wrong, but believe the reactions are unjustified.

  10. OK, I have resisted commenting on Mr. Engblom’s repeated attacks on this teacher (especially since he has as much as admitted that he has not read the offending material himself) but at this point I think I am going to throw civility out the window.

    Mr Engblom, you are a reactionary idiot. Most people have come to the conclusion that the teacher made an error in judgment. I agree with this attitude for the most part. Most people have also come to the conclusion that the girl’s parent overreacted to some degree. The situation has gotten blown out of proportion to the severity of the crime by all parties involved.

    My problem with you is that you will not leave it alone. The man has resigned, he has admitted he made a mistake and yet you still seem to feel that you have some mission that requires you to tear this man down forever. Let it be. Please.

  11. I wonder to what extent the parent’s apparent continued insistence Nate Fisher should never teach again is an emotional reaction to the criticism they’ve received, and the verbal / online (Facebook) attacks on their daughter. I dunno, just a thought. Stick to your guns, justify your past actions, my point of view do or die, etc.

    This flap prompted me to reread Ice Haven and it’s offensive to me that anyone would label it pornographic. Mostly it’s just unbelievable, for example it’s crazy to me that there is apparently still a police investigation involved here.

  12. “Mr Engblom, you are a reactionary idiot. Most people have come to the conclusion that the teacher made an error in judgment. I agree with this attitude for the most part. Most people have also come to the conclusion that the girl’s parent overreacted to some degree. The situation has gotten blown out of proportion to the severity of the crime by all parties involved.”

    Mark Engblom is right. The teacher’s screw up is what brought about this whole mess. Remember, a young girl is getting death threats. If the teacher lacked the common sense to first review an adult comic before assigning it to a 13-year old girl he barely knew, he should have at least adhered to the rules the school already had in place. He didn’t do that.

    The teacher should have known better. I assume he has a degree in education and that he had to pass an exam to get his teaching certificate. He should have known what was appropriate and what wasn’t. He had a professional responsibility. Assigning EIGHTBALL #22 to a 13-year old girl that mistakenly thought it was about playing pool was the wrong thing to do.

    Calling Mark Engblom names isn’t going to change that.

  13. I find it hard to believe the girl thought it was about playing pool.
    She read Ghost World, she prolly knows 8 Ball!

    Ahhhhh… too much bandwith has been wasted on this subject, rather more than necessary. Mark seems to be taking this creepily close for someone who hasn’t read the book, or knows the people involved, or is involved with education, or is a teen/ parent of a teen. Fun.

  14. The original article foo! It may’ve been the movie too, but in any case, she knew quite well Clowes’ world. She also saw Art School Confidential. Its in one of the beat entries too. And please, no snark.

  15. I have been following this very closely, and in none of the newspaper articles did it ever say she saw or read Ghostworld, and no where did it say she saw Art School confidential.

    The mother as well posted on here and said nothing about what here daughter reads or sees.

    I would love to see some quotes backed up with links to the original articles.

    I can still access them all and I have reread them, none of them say anything to what you are alluding to.

  16. Nah, I don’t care enough to prove this. But it *was* in a beat entry, and if you look at the first one, you’ll find it. I’m going to leave this to the actual people involved now. Peace!

  17. Alex,

    I don’t understand. You care enough to state your opinion that you think the girl is lying, based on some information you say is out there, but then when asked to reference that information, you say you don’t care enough to reference it.

    Why don’t you just keep your mouth shut if you you don’t care. There are people who do care about this topic, on both sides of the fence and they come here to state their opinions.

  18. Oh no. I do care. But here’s the thing, Ice Haven could have been a copy of Marvel Adventures, and still the detractors would find something wrong with it. In the end, it doesn’t matter. I gots me a life, and 250 comments later, what else is there to say. Hell, if I post the Ghost World thing I’ll just repeat. This is more than a waste of bandwith now. I just have to respond to hatas.

  19. Alex: “…here’s the thing, Ice Haven could have been a copy of Marvel Adventures, and still the detractors would find something wrong with it.”

    This morning I found myself wondering, what if instead of Ice Haven it had been a copy of that DC Identity Crisis. What if.

  20. Now if you give ‘Identity Crisis’ to a kid… then you’re silly.

    Wow, a superhero comic is dirtier than an indie comic. Who would see the day…

  21. Frank Cho’s Avengers book has 356% more bare asses than Ice Haven. That would’ve been a funny story in the press; “Iron Man, seen here beating up a silver nude woman with enormous tits, is at the center of a school controversy involving a 13 year old and a teacher who some think is a hunchbacked perverted peeping tom with the clap…”

  22. I think the sad thing is that the Daughter who is the one truly innocent person in this whole thing is the one being punished severly.
    i hope this teacher is able to continue with his life even if hes not teaching it would be a shame for one stupid mistake to ruin a persons whole life.

  23. I think this case reflects the hypocrisis of our western society, ‘cos the same parents that reacts like this over a comic book, let their kids watch several films with “disguised” sex scenes or insinuation, drugs, deaths, rape, etc. Not only films, but also sitcoms, tv shows, reality show and even some cartoons who use violence. This, in my opinion, is a distortion of values, people that only see bad things where they want to see. Does she really thinks that her 13 years old daughter don’t know what sex is? Does she think that her daughetrs and her friends at school do not know more about today sexlife than she does? Well, unless her daughter was created in a bubble, she must come to the 21th century and study the behavior of our youth in the new decade. Even if a teenager do not follow their friends path, she will surely know more about sex, drugs, crimes and bad things than her parents… She should have talked to the teacher first before taking that attitude.

  24. I live in Japan and even here this fact became a news.
    I can see in Brazil too!

    good way to protect your kid….
    the problem about stupid people is usually they make the another close from them to feel shame,but themselves can not even realize .

  25. I hate to keep beating a dead horse. What is frustrating is that there have been individuals who have been hurt badly as a result of this. I write from the perspective of a parent of teens, most people here seem to have arrived here from their passion for comics, there’s also the perspective from someone in education at http://region19.blogspot.com who has written about his interest and gives his passionate feelings about this case. The hard truth is that it happened and people suffered. We can continue to talk about it, but it seems essentially over. Nate Fisher resigned he wasn’t fired.

    Shouldn’t the focus be on where to go from here? Is the student doing better at school? Is Nate Fisher able to recover? It is all so quiet – nobody is talking about it anymore at the school. Or at least not publicly. Nobody really stood up in anyone’s defense. And life goes on. And the bottom line in all of this, is the parties could at the very least look at what happened, admit all their errors, and walk away feeling like they have all learned some valuable lessons — not even sure that something as basic as that has come from this. It just appears to be over – and that’s the shame of it.

  26. mini, one reason I keep returning to this story is my impression is Nate Fisher is still subject to some sort of police investigation, and I want to know the outcome of that

  27. When misunderstood, you can always spout a pair of balls (see the video) and sue…

    Art Teacher Fired for ‘Butt Painting’ in Groucho Mask Sues School District

    Dateline: Chesterfield County, VA – Source: WWBT-TV

    “Now that he has been fired, it certainly is important for him to do everything he can to try and sell his artwork. But what he really wanted was to be an art teacher in Chesterfield County.”

  28. scales, I can’t disagree with you. There probably is more going on this case than the public knows about — Nate Fisher himself could be seeking some sort of legal remedy. He potentially lost his career over this. I just wonder how much more the public will hear about it because nobody is asking anymore. I guess that’s really my point — there’s no resolution, it’s just like “poof” and he’s gone.

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