P+J will admit that a few years ago we were really concerned about the future. The denizens of American Idol just didn’t seem capable of world domination. But Jersey Shore? The rest of the world can’t touch this shit with a 12-foot plunger.

MORE MEANING AND IMPORTANCE

As we said in the previous item, P&J apologize for neglecting to keep our eye on the ball. We had to laugh when we read that Zsa Zsa Gabor was having a “hip replacement.” We just don’t believe it . . . it can’t be true because no one’s hipper than Zsa Zsa. Unless it’s Bristol and Levi.

First, we have to give Ms. Palin’s mom some credit for naming her eldest daughter after the home of America’s greatest annual patriotic celebration. A political genius, that Sarah.

And Levi seems to have mastered the essence of celebrity in America, circa 2010: getting famous for doing, well, nothing (see: Swiss Family Kardashian).

Next week we hope to look into a number of other pressing issues that we’ve neglected over the previous months: Where is Jennifer Aniston’s shirt? Where is Lindsay Lohan’s blood alcohol level and where is Mel Gibson’s brain?

OUR KIND OF FREE SPEECH

USA Today had an article in its commentary section on Tuesday that took P+J by surprise. The headline read “Sophomoric speech is free speech, too” and, as regular readers of the Cool, Cool World will readily understand, this is something we can really get behind. But after reading the first paragraph, we found ourselves in the midst of a shocking revelation.

Rather than concerning itself with bad sitcom writing or the lyrics of the vast majority of popular songs written since the end of the 19th century (Digression: no, we don’t refer to the work of Cole Porter, Ira Gershwin, Johnny Mercer, Randy Newman, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, etc., we mean songs like “My Little Bimbo Down On the Bimbo Isle,” “Wang Wang Blues,” “Chili Bean,” or “I’ve Got My Captain Working For Me Now,” all top 20 hits in the 1920s), the essay focused on how today’s students are having their First Amendment rights challenged.

The article, by Ken Paulson, a former USA Today editor, notes the landmark case in 1969 concerning public school students who wore black armbands to protest the war in Vietnam. The Supreme Court upheld the students’ First Amendment rights and asserted that “it can hardly be argued that students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” This would seem to be “settled law,” as they say, but the unprecedented opportunity to share views on the Internet seems to have clouded some folks’ minds.

A few of the incidents mentioned in the article: a Florida high school senior suspended from school for complaining on her Facebook page about “the worst teacher I’ve ever met,” another Florida high school senior who was voted out of the National Honor Society by a panel of teachers for criticizing his school’s low academic standing, and two separate cases involving Pennsylvania students who were suspended for creating fake MySpace profiles that featured photographs of their school principals featuring profane epithets and sexual innuendo.

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