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March 20, 2015

Did Buzzfeed Get the One-in-Five Ban Story Wrong?

Robby Soave says that the teacher in question is known to be an ardent defender of free speech, so he's not certain that the Buzzfeed account (which comes chiefly from the mouth of Jonathan True, which, by the way, has got to be a made-up name) is true. Or even True.

He asked Jonathan True for an interview, and True said yes, conditional on Soave's promise to make "N*gger" the first word of the story.

Soave declined. I imagine more on journalistic principle -- you can't have a subject dictate the form your story will take -- than on aversion to the word, because he prints the word (in the context of relaying True's odd demand) in the article.

Eh, that could be the move of a silly college kid who's really determined to show he's a First Amendment absolutist. I know people who are determined to rob this word of its taboo quality. Blacks did that by "taking back" the word, and now some libertarian-minded whites want to render the word non-taboo, not to make the world safe for racism, but to make the world safer for speech.

But it could also mean, as Soave things, that his account should not be taken as necessarily entirely true.

Because let's face it: That's weird.*

Yet the teacher in question has not really offered his side of the story yet. I don't know where things will end up landing here.

* To be honest, I'm surprised a Reason writer would find it all that weird. Reason seems to do a lot of Performative Button-Pushing, so I'm surprised this is as much an issue to this writer as it might be to a conservative.

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posted by Ace at 01:59 PM

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