Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Poem that Keeps on Giving...

We do continue to get complaints about the "Fuck the World" Poem. We have to wonder how many meetings the faculty and administrators had to go through to make this decision. One of the local Catholic high schools that is gender specific, but whose name we will not mention except to say that it could rhyme with Magnatius, have stopped the sale of the latest Grapevine because of the poem. It seems an angry poem by a homeless person is too much for the young people to handle (more likely too much for the parents with the large checkbooks). We have heard that the school is smarting from offensive banners that were hung in the gymnasium around race that angered African American students and parents. It seems that the banners were startling when the future Wall Street executives entered the gym for a discussion about race in America. They could not have another incident over offensive language, and so the Grapevine was kicked off campus. We are fairly certain that the future titans of industry and government studying at our local private schools are not aware of words such as fuck, and so therefore would be startled to read it in print.

Many of the catholic schools do a great deal for homeless people in the area with outreach and assistance. One winter we had one of the unnamed schools open up their gymnasium so that homeless people had a warm place to stay during the winter. But on the other hand, we must consider the number of gymnasiums, football fields or practice facilities that were built displacing poor people. I actually remember a few of those low income people saying "Fuck the World" when their homes were bulldozed for expansion of one particular high school.

I thought that it might be a good idea to pass out the Grapevine on the way into the confessional, but Kevin reminded me that using profane language or more accurately, reading profane language is not a sin. The sin is using God's name in vain, reading profanity is not a sin as long as it is not done on campus I guess.

Brian

6 Comments:

Blogger Ed C:\> said...

The other side of the free press coin is that the consumers, i.e. the readers, have the right to be offended. The have the right to complain. It's not about "freedom", it's about courtesy and knowing one's audience. And it's about access - and the limits institutional consumers (i.e. the schools) need to impose on the materials available to their students to make for a good learning environment. In other words, it's their campus and they'll do what they want.
If you display poor taste, you will receive it in turn. It's a funny thing: send out a big "fuck you" to the world and the world responds "ditto, dickhead" (or something vaguely similar).
Not that I'm a literary critic, but context is what counts. It was intended to be in your face, and it was. In fact, it seemed to leap out of nowhere and demand a response such as: "Fuck me? What did I do?"

What exactly did you guys expect here, anyway?

As for Magnatius, you sound like they are only banning this one issue because of content specific material. I have no problem with that, at all.

11:32 PM  
Blogger Clevehomeless said...

It was not that it was the editorial opinion of the Grapevine to Fuck the World. It was one writer who happens to be homeless. So do we throw out the entire paper because of one story? Because we have an editorial policy that allows homeless people to say what they want our Catholic School kids cannot see the paper? The problem here is that the high school students should not be prevented from reading words. The ideas behind the poem need to be debated and dismissed or accepted not the words. Where are we in society when we fear words harming a high school student?

3:44 PM  
Blogger Ed C:\> said...

Ideas are only presented through words. Ever hear the axim "the message _is_ the medium"? Again context is the key. And the Grapevine is represented by the words and pictures contained therein. You may express a philosophy, but how you do it determines how broad you want your audience to be versus how much impact your message can carry. Solution: Pick better words.

Understand, this is a defense to why no one should be _obligated_ to carry the grapevine or provide it to their students. Not a judgment as to the merits of the poem.

7:19 PM  
Blogger Clevehomeless said...

How about pick better homeless people? If we are the uncensored voice of homeless people than we do not have a choice over what they want to publish. We are not saying that you must read everything in the paper and like it. Hell, the editors don't agree with a lot of the stuff in the paper, but we don't throw the whole thing out because one piece is bad. I hate the Gap stores, but I don't avoid shopping at a mall just because they have a Gap store inside. I just don't go into that particular store.

6:31 PM  
Blogger Ed C:\> said...

They don't have 2 neon signs, one of which says "Welcome to the Mall", and the other "Fuck you". Except in New Jersey.

Anyway, if your mission is to be the uncensored voice of the homeless, that is only your secondary mission. Your primary mission is to produce a "Street newspaper distributed and promoted by homeless people".

Your ambitions (and product) are noble. But the homeless already have free speech. What you want to provide is a voice through freedom of the press.

This is not an earth shaking event. However, I do ask you to consider, how you might ultimately be frustrating your vendors ability to sell something. That's just one from the marketing boys. BTW, the paper has some seriously good coverage on issues the MSM doesn't have a clue about.

11:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone has as much of a right to be offended, as they have to free speach, no matter how greatly these things dispute one another.
What this country means to me- nay, what people are (amazingly) still fighting to make this country about, is FREEDOM. Ed C(previous commentor) has as much of a right to ignore the homeless' opinions, as I SHOULD have not to ignore them. Unfortunately, it seems as though Ed C gets to excercise his freedoms, while those of an opposite opinion, do not. I'm a high-school student, and to find another high-school who doesn't know the word "fuck", is practically impossible. I'm not of the opinion that anyone should be 'forced' to show the public a form of media. Neither am I of the opinion, that anyone should be 'forced' NOT to give the public access to a form of media, which is apparently what happened. When I inquired about obtaining a copy of the newspaper, to see for myself what all the commotion was about, (the controversy did nothing but fuel the desire students had to read the poem) after an hour of phone calls, I was told that, I an 18-yr old student would not be "permitted" to see the article, or purchase it, due to a lawyer's advice. This is blatant censorship, and what I believe to be a violation of rights.
So, as the homeless man chose to do, I will speak my mind(, and furthermore dare all who wish to stop me, to try).
"FUCK THE WORLD"
"FUCK THE WORLD THAT WILL TELL A MAN THAT HE WON'T BE CENSORED, UNTIL HE SAYS SOMETHING THEY DON'T WANT TO HEAR"
"FUCK THE VENDOR THAT REFUSED TO SELL ME THE GRAPEVINE"

"FUCK ed c IF HE THINKS THE WORD FUCK MAKES FOR A BAD 'LEARNING ENVIRONMENT', WHEN I'VE NEVER KNOWN OF A 'LEARNING ENVIRONMENT' WHERE THE WORD COULDN'T BE FOUND"

GO AHEAD, ed c, I'M WAITING FOR YOUR 'DITTO DICKHEAD' RESPONSE WHICH I'LL CHOOSE TO IGNORE, AS YOU'VE CHOSEN TO IGNORE THE OPINIONS OF THE HOMELESS.

WITH ALL THE FREEDOM IN THE WORLD, I'LL SAY "CENSORSHIP CAN LICK MY NUTS FROM TOP TO BOTTOM" , AND IF A MAN'S OPINION IS 'FUCK THE WORLD', AND HE WANTS TO EXPRESS HIS OPINION BY SAYING FUCK THE WORLD, HE SHOULDN'T BE PREVENTED FROM DOING SO BECAUSE SOME SIMPLE-MINDED FOOL DOESN'T LIKE THE WAY HE DID IT.

5:04 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home