From: glen mccready
To: email@example.com Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 19:55:10 -0500
Forwarded-by: firstname.lastname@example.org (Keith Bostic) Forwarded-by: Peter Langston <email@example.com> Forwarded-by: John Gilmore <firstname.lastname@example.org> =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= From: email@example.com (Barbara L. Krause) Press Release >From Online Freedom Fighters Anarchist Liberation November 26th, 1995 On Thanksgiving Day, 1995, OFFAL mailblasted a bogus, satirical email message (reprinted below) to more 21,132 students, staff and faculty of Cornell University. This message was a protest against recent acts by the sanctimonious hypocrites at that "seat of learning" who think it's more important to be politically correct than free. Background to our Action Earlier this month at Cornell, four male students circulated to a limited number of friends a satirical list of 75 reasons why women should be seen and not heard. Cornell's Judicial Administrator Barbara L. Krause subsequently issued a public response explaining with apparent regret that college regulations would not allow her to discipline the students. But she got around that little problem by getting them to "volunteer" for corrective measures such as sensitivity training and 50 hours of community service. Remember, the only "crime" of these students was to share tasteless jokes with their friends, which is a tradition as old as college itself. The "75 reasons" were not initially posted to Usenet, and were not targeted at anyone likely to be offended by them. They were mailed privately. Yet the students were publicly scolded and made to do penance for their self expression. Why We Chose to Act We've had enough of this oppressive bullshit. The answer to offensive free speech is not "sensitivity training" (which sounds like Marxist rehabilitation to us). The answer is more free speech. Direct or indirect suppression of minority viewpoints is intolerable in a country that claims to be the world's greatest defender of freedom. Our fake letter was written under the name "Barbara L. Krause" because we believe that what we wrote is very close to the views that she and her feminazi cohorts share at Cornell. This, we believe, is what she would have said if she were an honest woman instead of an academic bullshit artist who claims to be in favor of free speech while she attempts to suppress it. Warning OFFAL hereby issues a warning. Our action on Thanksgiving Day was just a first step. If other universities behave like Cornell, condemning unpopular viewpoints because they can't stand the stench of free expression, we'll use the power of the net to ridicule, satirize, humiliate, and embarrass them too. Time for a Counter-Offensive In Congress, a committee is currently hammering out the final version of a "decency amendment" to the Telecommunications Bill. Many observers suspect that Congress is going to try to regulate the Internet via the FCC. Led by loudmouths (such as Bruce Reed of the Christian Coalition) and neanderthals (such as Senator Charles Grassley), the forces of conservative oppression are attempting to eradicate our online freedoms - -- despite opinion polls (such as one last month in USA Today) showing that 8 out of 10 Americans believe we should be free to decide for ourselves what to read on the net. At this time when free speech is under severe attack, our universities should be fighting a counter-offensive, not tut-tutting over four naughty boys who dared to say things in their private correspondence that just happen to violate conformist notions of "good taste." We Are Not Criminals Our action violated no laws and was consistent with netiquette. We could have forged the headers of our email messages to make them look as if they came from the *real* Barbara L. Krause at Cornell -- but we didn't. We did not make any kind of threat, overt or implied. We did not use obscenity or other material that could distress our recipients. We did not spam multiple news groups with our message. We did not circulate untrue facts or malicious lies. We told the truth as we see it, in a manner that any thinking person could identify as satire. The Future We believe that ridicule is a more powerful weapon than bombs or death threats. And we believe that the Internet is the most powerful system ever invented for channeling grass-roots protests and public opinion in the face of petty tyrants who seek to impose their constipated values on everyday citizens who merely want to enjoy their constitutionally protected liberties. Our action on Thanksgiving Day was just a warning shot across the bows of the decency armada. Let them understand that if they don't shut up, fuck off, and leave us alone, we will strike again in our own inimitable fashion -- and next time, we will hit harder. - ------------------------------------------------------------- Reprint of the message that was sent to 21,132 students and faculty at Cornell on Thanksgiving Day, 1995: CONFIDENTIAL I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the many faculty members who advised me regarding the unfortunate matter of the "75 Reasons" letter that was circulated via electronic mail. Your recommendations for dealing with the foul-mouthed "four little pigs" (as I think of them) who circulated this filth was both apposite and prudent. Now that we have had time to evaluate the media response, I think we can congratulate ourselves on a strategy that was not only successful in defusing the scandal, but has actually enhanced the reputation of the university as a sanctuary for those who believe that "free speech" is a relative term that must be understood to imply acceptable limits of decency and restraint--with quick and severe punishment for those who go beyond those limits and disseminate socially unacceptable sexist slurs. I am especially pleased to report that the perpetrators of this disgusting screed have been suitably humiliated and silenced, without any outward indication that they were in fact disciplined by us. Clearly, it is to our advantage to place malefactors in a position where they must CENSOR THEMSELVES, rather than allow the impression that we are censoring them. Personally I wish I could have inflicted a more severe response such as suspension or perhaps a public "debate" in which we would have paraded the little pigs in public, for their humiliation. But in some cases (and this is one of them) a subtler approach yields higher dividends on the broad stage of public opinion, even though it provides less gratification for those of us who enjoy the vigorous application of punishment. Once again, my thanks to you all for participating in this highly successful public-relations exercise, which has kept Cornell safe for those who wish to live in a nurturing environment free from offensive speech and degenerate behavior of all kinds. Yours sincerely Barbara L. Krause Judicial Administrator - ------------------------------------------------------------- Reprint of selected responses recieved from bewildered students and faculty: From STEVE SHUMWAY Subject: Confidential Memo -Reply X-Status: Did you really intend for me to receive this? Like the :four little pigs", you might want to be careful who you send your e-mails to. I happen to support your actions and the resolution of this incident, but put into the wrong hands, this memo could perhaps be used against you. From THERESE OCONNOR Subject: Confidential Memo -Reply ** High Priority ** Thank god you sent this memo--something with a little anger and fire--something that speaks to the emotion and not just the legalities. I hope you are right in stating that what went on behind the scenes was truly humiliating for "them". I was in San Fran. a week ago and the morning paper held an article about this scandal whose title read "No discipline for Cornell students in e-mail scandal". It made me very angry. Thank you for your memo. From frank w. young X-Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Confidential Memo Dear: Ms. Krause: thank you for this public copy of your decision, but I don't think your language is appropriate for a judicial administrator. Frank W. Young,, Professor, Rural Sociology From Douglas E. Milton, Sr. X-Sender: email@example.com Subject: Re: Confidential Memo X-Status: Sorry, wasn't responsible, but I am glad things were taken care of anyway. Regards, From Richie Patrick Subject: Re: Confidential Memo X-Status: Reply to: RE>Confidential Memo I agree with what your memo states about the "four little pigs" (students who embarrassed the entire Cornell community), but I don't think I was one of the people really intended for your confidential memo. To my knowledge I took no part in, nor made any statements (or gave advice) concerning this terrible incident, nor do I know any of the names involved in this memo (I am not faculty, I am a graphic designer at Publications Services). If you send confidential e-mail you should triple check the persons address for your own safety. As we have learned well from these students what can happen when e-mail's slippery written words relay into mailboxes we never intended! From Dick Blood X-Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Confidential Memo Barbara, Remember me, I'm the one from N.H. whose accent you could understand. I'm Dick Blood, we met at an orientation meeting. Welcome and Great Job in the handling of a most sensitive issue. I appreciate your discretion in a situation which might have called out " Behead them!". I understand how difficult it all must have been. Thank you for your professional attitude. The university is lucky to have you on its side. Yours from New England, Dick Blood Head Coach of Softball From Elizabeth A. Oltenacu X-Sender: email@example.com Subject: Re: Confidential Memo I am not quite sure why I am a recipient of this memo, as I had no involvement in the "four little pigs" episode. Perhaps my name is on your list because of my previous position as Associate Director of Academic Programs in CALS. I stepped down from this position in July 1995. I hope that steps are being taken to trace and censure the individual(s) who made this shameful list, intended for a group of immature friends, into a national issue. To my mind, this was the source of Cornell's embarrassment. The authors of the list have received richly-deserved humiliation, but the disseminator(s) should not escape censure. From Kathleen P. Long X-NUPop-Charset: English Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Subject: RE: Confidential Memo I believe that I am not the Kathy Long with whom you consulted concerning the "four little pigs," although I am interested in issues of sexual harassment. In fact, as the daughter of two constitutional lawyers, I am wary of any limits placed on free speech that are not themselves limited in some reasonable way. However, I believe that attendance at a particular University is not a right, but a privilege that can be suspended if the students do not abide by the social code of that University. This particular use of e-mail strikes me as being a form of harassment, even though it was generalized to many women, most unknown to the "little pigs." Perhaps, as we devise a University policy concerning sexual harassment, we should think about a broader definition that includes cyberspace. We should also think about the general atmosphere at Cornell itself, which in many ways still leads male students to believe that they can get away with this sort of thing (although I think that the current Administration is determined to change that atmosphere). I suspect that if you looked at faculty salaries, for example, you would find that women are still less valued than men. You would find some male faculty members who devalue the work of women, or who, themselves, harass routinely and are not punished for lack of a coherent policy or enforcement of that policy. I can guarantee you from personal experience that Cornell does not particularly appreciate faculty women going off and having children...although no one seems to mind if the men do. These problems are typical at any academic institution, and are certainly less severe at Cornell than they were at my previous place of employment, but they still foster an atmosphere that encourages many of my students to call me "Miss Long" even while they call the male graduate students I supervise "Professor So-and-so." Oh dear, sorry to mouth off like this; you probably don't need more of this to deal with.