News

Letters from the issue of Thursday, February 21, 2008

A VOTE FOR B-ROCK

An earnest, honest shake: I've been talking to a lot of people who have taken this attitude: "I can't believe Barack has the audacity to think he can win!"

Oh, The Audacity of Hope! Why not Obama? He is an intelligent man who acquired his juris doctorate in 1990 at Harvard and has proved to the people of Illinois that he can fulfill his promises ("Presidential Contender Barack Obama Rocks Veterans Memorial Coliseum," Feathered Bastard blog, Stephen Lemons).

And he is honest and nonjudgmental toward people who have made mistakes, because he has had to go public with his own [drug use as a young person]. Obama fought his way through a crowd (perhaps because I was wearing a funny shirt, which he referred to) to shake my hand — a hand that never handles more than $800 a month. And his handshake was firm and earnest and personal as we made eye contact. I looked quite disheveled, so I was taken aback when this man chose to shake my hand.

At first, a lot of people thought Obama was too young, and I admit I was one who did. I had this attitude that if you're too young to recall the JFK assassination, then you're too young. But then, eventually, [I] realized that what we need is not just another old cougar. Obama isn't white; Obama isn't black. Obama is true blue (he represents blue, liberal states) and is truly honest when he promises us a better tomorrow.

Obama made me feel like someone special. Maybe he can do that for everyone in America.
Melanie Bulseco, Phoenix

SPEECH IMPEDED

Demise of a good paper: Congratulations. You opened an ugly can of worms that has been brewing for some time at Globe High School ("Whudafxup With That?" Sarah Fenske, February 7). As a 3A school, Globe used to have a terrific journalism department. Both the yearbook and newspaper won many awards at Journalism Education Association conventions.

Your article exposed a tiny bit of an iceberg of wrongdoing. Students aren't stupid. They want and have a right to be heard. My only fear is that innocent students will be punished. They had no adviser. They wanted to publish their school paper. The adviser is at fault. The administration is most definitely at fault. You hit the target on the head.


Sue Brown, Globe

Bureaucracy over freedom of speech: This type of censorship isn't anything new. I grew up in Globe/Miami and served as editor-in-chief of Miami High School's Vandal War Cry and Northern Arizona University's Lumberjack. In both cases, my staff's articles and editorials were reviewed and censored (and removed, at times) by administration.

Sad but true: Bureaucracy reigns over true freedom of speech.
Sonia Yanez, Flagstaff

No regrets at Globe High: The readers of New Times have not been served well. I was part of the decision to pull the December 7 issue of the Papoose, and it had nothing to do with the well-known term "Whudafxup."

Rather, the reason to pull the newspaper was because of an article describing how to build and use a hookah, a front-page picture of a person smoking tobacco, meth, or marijuana from a hookah, and quotes by children known to be under 18 talking about using tobacco.

Hookahs have another name in modern culture: bong, the possession of which could be a felony.

It is the duty of the school administration to protect children and not to expose them to articles about how to use and build bongs. And although we can't be certain that the article was a thinly veiled reference to the use of marijuana, in today's anti-drug culture, we could not risk that liability.

Even if the article was merely about the use of tobacco products, quotes by high school students using such products illegally could have exposed them and their parents to unnecessary and embarrassing scrutiny.

This is not a case of simple censorship based on the word Whudafxup. And to suggest such a reason is absurd.

Additionally, in the coming weeks, the administration will be sponsoring a public student debate on the administration's efforts with educational reform. In that debate, scheduled well before this article appeared, students will be able to publicly call into question the wisdom of the administration's decisions and initiatives. That hardly seems like the act of an administration that demands homogeneity of opinion and stifles debate.

The most disappointing thing to me is that the students who were quoted knew the truth and decided not to share it with Ms. Fenske. Had facts been checked in more detail, and had more people been interviewed, and had we known Ms. Fenske was looking to discover such facts, we would have gladly cooperated.

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