by Mike Masnick
Wed, Oct 24th 2007 9:42am
Way back when I was in high school, I wrote for the school newspaper, and occasionally we had some problems with either the paper's "advisors" or the administration not liking something that went into the paper. While we were able to get plenty of stuff published, there were occasional arguments. The best we could do at the time was complain -- and eventually some of us started a non-school-sanctioned paper to allow us to be more free. That, of course, was in the days before the internet was widely available. These days, things work quite differently. Romenesko points us to the somewhat ridiculous story of a principal confiscating the school newspaper and demanding that the students write more "positive and uplifting stories" after he freaked out about a student's attempt to mimic one of the most famous pieces of satire: Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal. Apparently, the principal didn't get the satire of the piece, which proposed executing all of those who score in the bottom 25% on an IQ test. Of course, in censoring the paper, the immediate response is pretty much what should be expected these days. The editor of the paper resigned and posted the whole ordeal to Facebook, where it spread quickly, not only making the principal a laughingstock for not recognizing a clear homage to Swift, but it gave the actual column much more attention -- even to the point that the major newspaper in Atlanta, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, republished the student's modest proposal within its own pages. Now that's a positive and uplifting story.
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