Friday, October 14, 2005

Controversy, You Say?

Well, I must be a real satirist now because somebody is "considering options" in the legal sense, probably either against me, the paper, or the university. Although I personally doubt that it will lead to any actual legal action. Hopefully once apologies are made and everyone understands everyone else's intent things will settle down.

On the other hand, I've officially experience my first chilling effect, because Paulien & Associates' inquiries have spooked my editing staff enough to remove it from the online edition of the paper. It has now been replaced by an apology on behalf of the editors; the paper copy is still circulating all over campus (over 6,000 issues from what I understand). More on this as the story develops, but I must say that I am not happy: My first ammendment rights as a citizen of the United States of America have been harmed today. Not in a big way, it's true, but harmed nonetheless.

I guess the issue is that I used a real guy's name (Daniel K. Paulien of Paulien & Associates) in a work of satire. It is a parody; this fact I think is fairly obvious. I basically attributed fictional quotations to him which portray him, his company, the Kingsbury renovation project, and the entire architectural & college improvement industries in a, well, a pretty negative light.

As a quick background, my column is a two-year-old tradition at the school paper. It's basically a weekly fake news article in the tradition of The Daily Show or The Onion. What I've done in the Kingsbury column is not new; I've attributed false quotations to authority figures in several places before, from the President of the University to (of course) the President of the United States. Although I never heard anything from President Bush on the subject, President Hart was a terrifically good sport about it, and in addition to thanking me personally she seemed to get a kick out of the humor too. (Update: The Lord of Hosts has informed me that I also did it to Him once; He took it in stride as well.)

Again, more on this as I discover more. I have had a meeting with the Dean of the College of Engineering & Physical Sciences in a few minutes just now, though I'm told I'm "not in trouble." (Update: I'll post more on the meeting and such shortly.)

I'll link up all this post later on; no time right now! I've linked up everything I could think of.

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