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October 23, 2009
Vol. 51 No. 6

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Editor exercises First Amendment rights

Courtesy of The Crusader/Lauren Lamas
Rowdy raiola-- Joe Raiola, senior editor of Mad Magazine, spoke about censorship in the U.S. on Wednesday, Oct. 21.
Mad Magazine Senior Editor Joe Raiola visited Susquehanna on Wednesday, Oct. 21 to deliver the Ottaway-Daily Item lecture in Public Affairs. He spoke in Stretansky Concert Hall about media censorship in the U.S.

"'The worst is not death, but being blind; blind to the fact that everything about life is in the nature of the miraculous,'" Raiola quoted from "The Tropic of Cancer" by Henry Miller.

"We couldn't let something this dangerous be read," Raiola said of the book, "not in the U.S. 'The Tropic of Cancer,' by Henry Miller, was banned in his own country," Raiola said. "It still pisses me off when I think of this. It reminds me of how little we have changed."

Raiola said that he believes that it is "stupid" to ban words in the English language.
"Nuts is the new N-word!" Raiola said.

"This is not censored. I have not submitted my material to the government for review," he said.

The letters that usually represent the rating of a movie--G, M, R, X and NC-17--do not apply to his speech, Raiola said. He carried out his statement by promising the audience he would not say "fricken," "freaking" or "a-hole."

"I reserve my right to speak my mind and use any word in the American dictionary," Raiola said.

He said he believes that censorship is gaining power or control over what people see, hear and say, so that people think what the speaker or controller wants them to think.

"It's about controlling language," Raiola said. "Politicians know it. Politicians know that if you control language, you control the debate."

He added: "It's truly rich to know how the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to keep seven words off of the television. This is a worldwide problem that people are uptight."

Raiola told stories about the censorship in his childhood, stating that he once wrote "hell" ten times for a writing assignment, but changed the words to "hello" when the teacher was about to read it.

He said that even as a child in third grade he was taught to censor himself.

"Are we, as a collective, in the third grade?" Raiola said. "Do we censor ourselves to avoid suffering the consequences?"

Raiola said that people think the banned words are dirty, vulgar and inappropriate and should therefore be censored.

Raiola told his audience a story about his second grade experience in Catholic school.

"Everywhere I looked, he was hanging there. He was hanging in the gymnasium; hanging in the classroom," he said.

"Jesus is not a fun god," he said. "He never says anything funny. I want a fun god."

"Cleanliness is not next to godliness," he said. "Life is dirty and I think that if there is a god, there is a god who loves us and he wants us to celebrate life's gook."

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