Censorship is ███

“What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist,” novelist Salman Rushdie once famously proclaimed. Every time we think about Rushdie’s words, there’s one thing that comes to mind – working for the Manitou Messenger.

Yep, that’s right. There is no place where the freedom to offend is more limited than in a Lutheran, private, liberal arts college newspaper. It’s more important to sound positive and encouraging than it is to tell the objective, harsh truth. It doesn’t matter how many points the football team loses by; it was a “valiant effort.”

The latest student play sucked? What a wonderful opportunity it was for students to display their talents. Half the student body is criminals and thieves who steal property from the Caf in the form of mugs? It’d be really appreciated if you could please bring them back, guys.

You see, everything gets dressed up nicely, rather than the cold, hard truth being put into print. We think it’s high time to break free from political correctness and convey a few of these cold hard truths to our fellow Oles out there.

We’ll be surprised if this article even sees print. Already being in the gender minority on this editorial staff, we’ve had to overcome a lot of obstacles, only to have our voices stifled. Here are a few examples of ideas that have been crushed:

1. We all either know of or have experienced the sensation of defecating slightly whilst passing gas. We would argue that it is a vital and unavoidable part of growing up. However, God forbid we use the socially acceptable term for this aforementioned act. See How Authors Respect Truth?

2. Satire is “the use of humor, irony, exaggeration or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.” While this seems like a straightforward and overarching definition, the tyrants at the newspaper have found a way to redefine the word solely for the sake of extending their tyrannical powers.

Imagine this: a young, aspiring, handsome, cool, hot, talented Variety editor for the Manitou Messenger strides confidently into the office with a great pitch for a satire article.

He describes his idea about writing an article detailing the fictional event of a school administrator, whose initials resemble a public demonstration of love, tweeting a picture of a not-so-flattering part of his body.

Everyone laughs and falls in love with said editor. Then the executive editors come in and rip up his pitch in front of his tear-filled eyes. They hate fun. They hate laughter and good ideas. There is only so much we can do.

3. The censorship isn’t exclusive to printed words; even our office conversations have been attacked. The other day, someone made an observation and said, “he is rocking out.” One of us said, in response, “he is rocking out with his caulking out.” Panic ensued. They told us that “caulking” is the line. What? The simple act of closing up joints and gaps in buildings is now off limits? We need serious help.

4. Every time a male member of the staff tries to speak out in a wonderful embrace of his physical characteristics, he is quickly shut down. If there’s one thing that it’s hard to be in the 21st century, it’s a male who’s proud of what he possesses physically, and this office is a microcosm of wider society.

Can any brothers out there who’ve felt ashamed to boast of their special body parts give me an amen? Don’t be scared; don’t be silenced. You’re bigger than this.

While we joke and kid, we’ve both absolutely loved writing for this newspaper while spending time with all the Beautiful Journalistic Ladies on staff and are glad that articles like this are allowed to be published.

– pelegano@stolaf.edu and nolans@stolaf.edu

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