Brickbat: Make America [Redacted] Again


When a North Carolina teenager opened his yearbook, he found a photo taken of a friend and him during Littlestown High School's spirit week had made the book. But someone had blurred out the pro-Trump logo on their hats. Jeremy Gebhart says he thinks his First Amendment rights have been violated. In a statement to a local TV station, school district officials said, "The mistake was not noticed during the editorial preview process prior to print. We apologize on behalf of the yearbook club. It is not the policy or practice of the district to improperly censor speech." No word on who made the "mistake" or if they will receive any punishment.

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  1. Is it their speech, though, once it’s part of a photograph that is the school’s?

    1. I think it’s well-known that copyright belongs to the photographer and not the subject. Nor does the copyright belong to the owner of the camera in the case of monkeys taking selfies.

    2. I don’t think this is really a first amendment thing. It’s a totally inappropriate censorship of certain political views. If there were a general prohibition of political stuff in yearbook photos, I don’t think that would be a problem.

  2. They should have digitally altered the color, too. I was still triggered.

    1. I could still tell it was a white male.

      1. I could tell it was a cis male.

  3. Well, at least they didn’t put a picture on his yearbook page of some totally unrelated random guys in blackface and a KKK outfit.

    1. Not a problem for Virginia governor who is a Democrat. You, different story.

  4. “Jeremy Gebhart says he thinks his First Amendment rights have been violated.”

    Jeremy spoke in class today.
    Clearly [the school] remembers picking on the boy.

    1. …seemed a harmless little fvck…

  5. It was not a mistake,
    The apology is total bullshit.
    They know who did it, who approved it.
    No one will be punished.
    The politicization of the school system is complete.

    1. Are the walls in your room nice and soft?

      1. Ceiling and floor, too.
        And the staff is very kind and caring, I get to bathe every other day.
        Some of the food tastes funny, but I feel all nice and safe.

        1. Progressive paradise.

          1. 3 hots and a cot.

    2. +100

    3. It’s snowflakes all the way down.

  6. “Blurred out” is a nice euphemism for what should happen to POO*.

    *President Orange Obstruction

    1. POO

      Poor Ordinary Old TROLL (Blowhard Woodchip).

      1. That would be POOT

        You’re welcome. Glad I could help.

  7. While I have little sympathy for the people at the yearbook, whether they were motivated by woke-ness or just plain timorousness, I’m equally unsympathetic toward young Jeremy and his profound incomprehension of the First Amendment. He seems to think that his right of free expression includes a guarantee of access to the medium of his choice. This puts him on the same level as the people who whine that their free-speech rights are being violated because their comment got deleted, or because the newspaper didn’t run their letter to the editor.

    1. It might not be a 1A issue, but it probably isn’t good if schools are taking it into their own hands to sensor partisan political content.

    2. Actually, a public school has a lot of restrictions, being a government entity. If any pro-Democrat messages were allowed but his hat was not, then he has a case.

      In addition, if their policies are similar to my district growing up, this action probably violates a number of district policies for free speech as well, both in allowed messaging and notification requirements.

    3. I agree that Jeremy doesn’t understand that his 1st amendment rights were not violated. He got to wear his hat to school and was not forced to remove it — free speech rights satisfied in that instance. Whatever policy yearbook staff has on censorship is entirely different matter. Maybe the staff hates Trump. Perhaps they were concerned about triggering somebody who hates Trump. I was triggered by Jeremy’s red flannel shirt in the video, if we’re being open and honest.

  8. “The mistake was not noticed during the editorial preview process prior to print.”

    Bullshit — given any interpretation of “mistake”.

    1. High-School yearbooks are generally put together by a committee of students, under the supervision of a teacher. Unless the faculty directed that all political messages were to be edited, it was probably done by a student on the committee who didn’t like the message. Once blurred, the teacher/editor had no way of knowing what the original pic showed.

  9. Having worked on the high school yearbook, such editing is done all the time. The yearbook team decides on the photos to be used, and the photos (at least in the B&W days) were sometimes touched up and fixed.

  10. I guess other people have brought this up – but isn’t the yearbook actually the *school’s* speech?

    Of course, the school doesn’t have the right to defame anyone in its yearbook, but blurring over “triggering” words – though it’s not what *I* would do – sounds like an exercise of the schools 1st Amendment rights, at least to the extent a govt entity has such rights.

    1. They could have photoshopped the hat to say “Make (name of sports team) not suck” (assuming the sports team in fact sucks, but this is purely a hypothetical proposition).

    2. If a political slogan is “triggering” words to you, that’s a reason for you to get therapy or withdraw from public, NOT to censor it.

      And we all know that a Democratic or liberal slogan would not be censored as “triggering” words – and they’d laugh at any conservative who objected to it.

  11. Folks do realize that if blurring out “offensive” text (in the eyes of the editor, not you) is unacceptable, the alternative isn’t normally going to be “leave the picture unedited”, it’s going to be “leave the picture out”, right?

    1. ‘Leaving the picture out’ would have been an entirely defensible and routine editorial decision. It’s the equivalent of choosing not to publish your particular letter to the editor. Editing the picture without consent or prior notice, however, is the equivalent of rewriting your letter before publishing it under your byline.

      Blurring the “offensive” part of the picture is equivalent of marking a big chunk of your letter “REDACTED” and leaving the reader to speculate about what horrors you really wrote. In most cases, readers are going to assume that what was redacted was a whole lot worse than some political speech. So, yeah, leaving the picture out is less-bad than editing it.

      Even better, of course, would be to acknowledge that political speech is not automatically “offensive” just because it is in favor of the other party.

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