Monday, February 03, 2003
Zem had some particularly good stuff today. First up, a follow-up to the recent riot in Cambodia:
A newspaper editor and 42 others were charged yesterday over violent anti-Thai riots sparked by rumours that a Thai actress had insulted Cambodia.
In Chansivutha, 48, editor of Rasmei Angkor, was formally accused of inciting the riots by publishing false information, while 42 others were charged with destruction of property and looting.
The editor is the second journalist to be charged over inciting the riots by publishing false information, after Beehive Radio station owner Mam Sonando appeared in court yesterday and was charged. [...]
In Chansivutha said his report was based on information from three women who came to his office and told him that soap opera star Suvanant Kongying had claimed that Cambodia's world-famous Angkor Wat temples belonged to Thailand.
They said they had seen the actress make the comments on Thai cable television.
The editor admitted that he had not verified their story, but told reporters outside the court: "I only wrote with good intentions to protect the interest of the nation.
"I had no ability to investigate whether she had really said that or not and my aim was to allow the country and the government to investigate."
In the US, meanwhile, it seems some words are so bad you can't even tell students why you're not supposed to say them:
Shannon Schumacher thought she was making things better. Earlier this month, she began a project with her students at a school in St Louis, Missouri, to teach them why the word "nigger" is offensive.
As part of the project, students aged 12 and 13 were given a chapter from the book, Nigger: the Strange Career of a Troublesome Word by the black Harvard professor Randall Kennedy.
The next day when the calls started coming in to the school and the issue became a subject on local radio, Ms Schumacher proved just how troublesome a word it can be.
Parents and other teachers objected, school officials discussed whether Ms Schumacher should be disciplined but she apologised and they decided not to proceed. [...]
On Tuesday, Santa Clara county, California, voted unanimously "in spirit and concept" to denounce the use of the word following a campaign by local black activists who would like to see it banned.
The county, where black people form only 2.8% of the population, had to postpone final approval of the resolution because it could not decide whether to include the word in the resolution's text.
It "carries more violence to it than any other ethnic slur we know", said Lessie James, who campaigned for the resolution and believes the word should be included.
"It is a hate crime. The use of the word is hate," he said.
Does that make it self-hate when a black author uses it, then? Or did someone just not note Randall Kennedy, whose book was at the centre of the incident?
Finally, where would this blog be without pornography?
An author of self-published books about the family, a lecturer, former seminary teacher, Mormon, mother of 8, stepmother of 13 and foster mother of 16, Mrs. Hamilton, 64, has campaigned for years to shield children from pornography. She says that even magazine pictures of models in swimsuits can lead boys to sexual addiction and arrested emotional development.
"She did great work," Mrs. Hamilton said of the former czar, Paula Houston, a former prosecutor who had the only job of its kind in the country. Ms. Houston's official title was obscenity and pornography complaints ombudsman. "I did what I could to help her."
In recent weeks, Mrs. Hamilton has done even more, imploring store owners to hide suggestive magazine covers and getting hundreds of people in her neighborhood to post signs on their lawns that say "Protect Children: Remove Inappropriate Material From View." Here in Bountiful, an upper-income, largely Mormon community of 42,000 north of Salt Lake City, those efforts have made Mrs. Hamilton a heroine to many friends and neighbors. [...]
But Mrs. Hamilton's campaign hit a snag last week, showing that even in a state where 70 percent of residents belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a struggle over standards and sensitivities can be tricky.
One morning, Mrs. Hamilton awoke to find hundreds of her "Protect Children" signs on her lawn. Some had been defaced with a red "X." On one sign, tape hid her message and carried a new one: "Preserve Freedom." She learned later that more than 200 other signs had simply disappeared.
Paul Rapp, the police chief in Bountiful, a town with one of the lowest crime rates in Utah, said he knew of no suspects.