Civil Disobedience

Contributors

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Ezra Levant, 37, is the former publisher of the Western Standard, a Canadian conservative magazine turned webzine. Three years ago, he was hauled before a Canadian human rights commission for reprinting controversial cartoons of the prophet Muhammad and thus committing "discrimination." He fought those charges—along with several related lawsuits and complaints—and won. Levant tells that tale in his new book Shakedown: How Our Government is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights (McClelland & Stewart), excerpted on page 48. "I'm pretty conservative on a lot of issues," say Levant, "so the surprise to a lot of people is that the book has been received well by people who would disagree with me ideologically on a lot a other things. They agree with me on the principle of freedom of speech."

In "Mystery Science Reincarnation" (page 60), the Knoxville-based freelancer Clark Stooksbury explains how the cult cable show Mystery Science Theater 3000 was reborn in various guises online. The writer is a "longtime watcher, though not one of the really obsessive ones" who debate the show on the Web. One of the most heated debates: the fight over who was the better host, series creator Joel Hodgson or his replacement, Mike Nelson. Stooksbury, 45, is a Mike fan, whereas his girlfriend prefers Joel. Stooksbury says this causes no strife at home, but goes on to insist rather strenuously that "the ones with Mike are just funnier."

Before Jeff Winkler, this spring's Burton C. Gray Memorial Intern, came to reason, the Arkansas native worked in New Zealand, where he managed to get blacklisted by half the papers in the country by serving as a subeditor at the Wanganui Chronicle—owned by one news conglomerate—while writing a front-page story for a paper owned by a competing conglomerate. Winkler, 23, is a jack-of-all-trades at reason, fact-checking, blogging, and alphabetizing the library. Life at reason is an "obstacle course of learning," he says. His story should bring hope to failed internship applicants everywhere: Rejected last summer, he reapplied and made the cut this spring.