On Monday, Emory University released its inaugural list of approved words, the “Permitted 200.” Starting on January 15, 2019, students will be permitted to use these words, and no others, in all classroom discussions.
The Permitted 200 marks a major step forward in Emory 2030, the school’s visionary campaign to become the most inclusive university in America. The school hopes that the Permitted 200 will be the game changer that allows this once sleepy Southern school to finally vault ahead of its better-known rivals.
As explained by Claire E. Sterk, President of Emory University, “the Permitted 200 is a logical extension of prior policies. For years, we’ve taken steps, important steps, to make Emory a place where all students feel welcome. We were the first school to introduce the Anti-bias curriculum in 1997. We supplemented that with classes on microaggression theory soon after. We followed that up with trigger warnings on all potentially offensive content in 2006. And in 2010 we created safe spaces throughout campus in which certain categories of speech were barred. Despite the fact that these were important steps forward, I think we can all agree with the benefit of hindsight they were half measures. We had failed to address the single most important thing—that a student never feel challenged or unsafe in the classroom. With this one bold stroke, Emory moves itself to the forefront of correct thought.”
Predictably, the Permitted 200 is opposed by several conservative student groups, which seek to stop the school’s efforts to be a welcoming, inclusive space. As explained by Justin Tucker, the President for Emory Students for Free Speech (ESFS): “This is another tragic step towards an Orwellian academy. I came to Emory to participate in the marketplace of ideas. Sure, free speech can be painful—like when those Nazi a-holes marched on Charlottesville. But the bedrock principle of the Bill of Rights is the freedom to engage in political and religious discourse and the Permitted 200 limits my ability to do so. And I want to point out that 6 of the words that President Sterk just used to extol the Permitted 200 aren’t on the Permitted 200. I’m shaking my head at this dangerous attempt to stop free speech. On January 16, 2019, ESFS is going to sue the snot out of Emory! ”
Asked to respond to Tucker’s tired, cliched criticism, Sterk offered the following: “limiting free speech—that old trope? First, I would hope that our students could express themselves in a way that does not intimidate their peers. Second, let me point out to you that there are 200 words in the Permitted 200 and that these 200 words can be used in an almost infinite number of permutations. In fact, 5.713384e+262 different combinations of words can be made using this list. That’s more combinations than there are atoms in the known universe. Far from limiting conversation, we’re enhancing it! And we have done it within a framework in which all students can feel safe. I don’t want to sound smug, but I think Emory has finally out-Ivied the Ivies!”
On Monday, the Cook County school board suspended local student, Patrick Schneider. At issue, Mr. Schneider’s conduct during the October SAT exam.
Mr. Schneider is a straight A student and nationally ranked quiz bowl player. He is also captain of his school’s math team, science bowl team, and chess club. On October 6, 2018, after he had completed the SAT exam, the usually well behaved Mr. Schneider stood up, dropped his pencil, and yelled “that’s how it’s done bitches!” The school’s reaction was swift, and Mr. Schneider was suspended for 3 days and ordered to write a letter of apology to the students that witnessed his outburst.
NGEFTO was able to interview Mr. Schneider, who offered the following: “I’m sorry that I was disruptive during the SAT. But I also view this as another example of how exceptional students are suppressed. When the quarterback throws a touchdown, he celebrates and everyone thinks it’s cool. When the baseball player hits a home run, his teammates mob him at the plate. But when a strong student like myself aces the SATs I’m supposed to walk out of there like it was just another day. And I disagree with that!” When asked whether he had learned his lesson, Mr. Schneider laughed. “The proof is in the pudding. I just got my scores and as expected, I scored a 1600! I’ll take a 3 day walk anytime for a score like that. Just wait until I take the ACT exam in December. After I rock it, I am going to start yelling that it’s time for hookers and blow! So the answer is: ‘no’, I haven’t learned my lesson.”
(Billund, Denmark) As the Christmas buying season approaches, a civil war has erupted within the LEGO Group that will define the company for a generation. At issue, the decision whether to market Lego’s “Build the Wall” kit during Christmas this year.
Earlier this Spring, a group of LEGO executives began conducting US marketing research. They quickly learned that LEGO has gained a cult like following within conservative families because the blocks can be used by their children to practice building the Mexican-American border wall. Seeking to capitalize on the marketing opportunity, LEGO’s North American President Soren Torp Laursen authorized the creation of the LEGO “Build the Wall” kit for Christmas 2018. Internal marketing studies predict that it will be Lego’s first billion dollar project.
It is likely that LEGO would have avoided a corporate civil war but for the fateful decision to put a “MAGA” emblem on the side of the kit’s packaging. In August, Lego’s worldwide CEO, Jorgen Vig Knudstrop, saw a mock up of the Build the Wall box and stopped the project in its tracks. He then sent what has become known internally as LEGO’s “Jerry Maguire memo” in which he stated that as a corporation, LEGO values compassion more than profits and would not sell kits clearly aimed at pandering to President Trump’s base. North American President Laursen fought back, issuing his own competing memo, a copy of which has been obtained by NGEFTO. Laursen’s memo states: “One MAGA emblem on the side of the box doesn’t make the kit political. Children throughout the world have built walls with Lego blocks since 1932. I categorically reject that this is a political kit. Sometimes a wall is just a wall. And there is nothing wrong with making a billion dollars while you are building walls with Lego blocks!” Refusing to fall in line, Laursen plans to move ahead with the project despite Knudstop’s directive.
On Tuesday, November 13th, Laursen and Knudstrop will face off and present their competing corporate visions to the Lego Board. At issue, the soul of this Danish company–will it choose profits or compassion this Christmas?
On Monday, Fred Curnutte admitted to his wife and the world that in fact, he never had herpes.
“I came of age in the 70’s” said Curnutte. “Everyone except me had herpes. How could I admit to my wife that I was so uncool that no woman had ever given me an STD?” For 38 years Curnutte faked an outbreak once a year to bolster his story. “I pretended to start having an outbreak right before my golf trip and when I came home I would say that I had recovered. I even had my doctor prescribe acyclovir, for God’s sake. I’m not proud of my behavior—but at least I had the courage to finally come clean.”
Fred’s wife, Brenda Curnutte, had this to say: “I won’t lie—it’s going to be hard to recover from this serial dishonesty. But we’ve been married for almost 40 years so I will probably give him a second chance. I’m just pissed at myself for being so naïve.”
NGEFTO contacted John Weber, head of Epidemiology at the CDC, who confirms this is not an isolated incident. “We only know about the tip of the iceberg. We believe that as many as 1 in 10 baby boomers falsely claim that they have been infected with an STD or hepatitis C. The best policy is to trust–but also verify. My advice is to insist on a letter from a doctor that confirms the alleged diagnosis.”
On Monday, Quentin St. Hilaire, Baltimore’s Director of Tourism announced that the city plans to erect a monument to Santiago Luis Polanco-Rodríguez (Yayo) at the corner of Baker and McKean in West Baltimore.
“We’ve had a tremendous influx of tourists in response to the Murder Tour (here) and this is the natural extension of that success. As the first person to sell crack in the United States, Yayo has had a huge impact on the Charm City and we want to recognize his unique contribution” said Hilaire in a recent interview. “And we understand that there are some haters that want to only point to the negative side of the crack industry. But we choose to emphasize the positives, including, the entrepreneurship embodied by West Baltimore’s most important industry. If you can show me someone that has had a larger impact on the economy of West Baltimore, I’ll build a monument to him or her too!”
Local soccer mom, Geneva Hall, says that you can mark her down as one of the haters. “This is even dumber than the Murder Tour!” exclaimed Hall. “What mom is going to take her kids to see a statute of the first person to sell crack in the United States? I’m shaking my head at how dumb this idea is—thank God I can still take my kids to the Aquarium.”
Mr. St. Hilaire provided the following comment on this negative reaction: “Clearly, she still doesn’t see the big picture. Our Murder Tour is now more popular than the Inner Harbor. And I get that she doesn’t like crack—most soccer moms don’t. But putting aside her implicit racism, it’s important that we take ownership of Yayo’s contribution to our local economy. Particularly, before New York wakes up and tries to claim Yayo as one of their own. I’m very pleased that we beat them to the punch.”
On Monday, Liberty University announced the creation of 8 new full-tuition scholarships that will be awarded to incoming students beginning with the class of 2020. These students will be known as the “Matthew 28:18-20 Scholars.”
According to Liberty University’s President, Jerry Falwell, Jr., these are the first scholarships in America reserved exclusively for first generation Christians. “Other schools give scholarships based on athletics or academics. But that is not what we are all about at Liberty—although we do have a really good football team. The Matthew 28:18-20 Scholarships are reserved solely for children who were raised by non-Christians. And the sole criterion will be—how much do these young men and women love Jesus!”
The creation of these scholarships has sharply divided Liberty’s campus. Many of the faculty, students, and alumni believe that it is unfair for the University to give preference to first generation Christians. “My ancestors were Christians for more than 80 generations” stated Fred Tweedy, a sophomore. “Why should a first-generation Christian get preferential treatment as opposed to me? That’s just not fair.”
However, Falwell vigorously defended the new program. “It’s easy to be a Christian if you have been raised by Christians. However, these kids have been raised by atheists. Instead of worshipping the Lord, their parents worshipped false idols. Some of them were even raised by Unitarians. But despite the fact the deck was stacked against them, these students overcame the odds and found Jesus. That’s what we are all about at Liberty—finding Jesus. Engaging in this kind of affirmative action is the only way we are going to have a level religious playing field in this country.”
However, the strongest challenge to the new program may come from without, as Edward Blum of Students for Fair Admissions has announced that the group will challenge the new scholarships as unfair to multi-generational Christians. Falwell is undeterred: “Bring it brother. I’ll walk into that court room, look them in the eye and say ‘Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world’ and then I am going to drop the mic and say ‘Amen.’ Think about that, Brother Blum.”