Monthly Archives: September 2012

community bathroom moments

I found the below sign posted inside one of our campus bathrooms. I posted it on facebook and titled it “Funny campus bathroom moment. Why is the word “finished” in quotes?”

This sign falls in the proud tradition of signs posted in public places (bathrooms of bars are of particular note). There is even an excellent  website and magazine devoted to found notes.

But these campus signs often have appended notes to them.  Some view a sign as a conversation starter.

I have found that colleges have a natural tendency to produce such  colorful signs as the sign must serve a community, and a community is always having a conversation with itself.  A community is an evolving beast.
As to this particular sign, the quotes intrigued me.  Why is “finished” in quotes.

One facebook friend, on seeing my post, offered this explanation of the quoted word.

It’s a “euphemism”

Another colleague noted that our campus is full of little signs, with one word inexplicably in quotes. The following day I arrived to my 9:30 class and found a note scribbled on the whiteboard.  BE “KIND” it said.  Since
“KIND” was in quotes I thought…Be KIND of what?




One Hidden Peril of Being a Writer

When I posed the question to my media class this semester of “what is one peril of being a writer” hoping to engage in a discussion about the public domain, citizen Journalism and criticism,  I received a mumbled response from the front row.

“What was that” I asked. “Can you tell me one peril of being a writer?”

“Unemployment,” he replied.

The Spiderman Lunchbox Controversy, or the Perils of Being a Writer

Last week we discussed the PERILS of being a writer, not just any writer, but a writer for the media. I am the faculty supervisor for our college newspaper as well as a professor of media, and this question organically arose one day.  One true peril of being a journalist is that our words are out there in the public domain, available for consumption and scrutiny.  I use an example of a “harmless” article written by a staffer at our local paper, the Asheville Citizen Times, over 2 years ago.  The article can be found here and is titled innocuously, “As schools reopen in Asheville area, think outside the lunchbox”

The article’s premise is simple and can be found in the 1st two paragraphs.

“Before you have children, the thought of packing a kid’s lunchbox may seem like a no-brainer. But when you’re trying to feed your child in a healthy way day after day, week after week, year after year, the allure of PB&J quickly diminishes, and the risk of trading for Twinkies increases.With a little creativity and a system of rotating favorite foods so they never get boring, it’s possible to pack the lunchbox or brown bag with nutritious offerings that will keep your child fortified throughout the school day.”

Yet, the comments from this article range from the the commercial: “So now you’re promoting lunchboxes? A lot of parents can’t afford them.”  to the highly political: “A lot of parents can’t afford their children anyways. The kids should be taken away and given to people who can afford them. Mandatory birth control should be given to poor people so they don’t reproduce and create additional problems for those that do provide.”

I dub this “the Spiderman Lunchbox Conspiracy” and it serves a cautionary tale to my undergraduates. Thick skin, I preach…Thick skin.

Oh, and here is a link to some of the more colorful comments.spiderman comments