And on a serious note

Two Northwestern students have been charged with producing and distributing parody copies of the Daily Northwestern critical of NU’s response to pro-Palestinian activities on campus.

I don’t know if this link to the Tribune will work, I’m never sure which of their articles are behind the paywall.

Here is the story in National Review behind a paywall for most

And the part that got cutoff from the NR link:
I’m a free speech absolutist so even though I disagree with their actions/politics I believe at most they should get a “cease and desist”.

They didn’t harm the Daily. They might’ve harmed real businesses if they put faux advertisements in the edition. For example Giordano’s being associated with an antisemitic group is not a good look for a pizza restaurant. Side note: My roommate and I had alternating day Giordano’s charges as they would deliver to campus for free – Small Thin Crust Cheese $5.25, I believe. With all the credit card interest I paid it probably cost me beyond $8 per pizza.

Daily Northwestern editors want the charges dropped.

Here’s the article on the letters:

Story on the fake DN front page:

A lot of politics here, but IMHO, that’s not the lede.

IMHO, the important piece of information here is that the Daily has a long and proud history of being a STUDENT run publication. They were the ones who were celebrated for breaking the news stories that resulted in Fitz being fired.


When a couple of students figured out a clever way to poke fun at the Daily and raise divisive political issues that Northwestern’s administration is sensitive about, the organization that serves as publisher of the daily and is NOT run by students called the cops.

The Student Publishing Company (which has student representation but is run by alums and faculty) basically told the Daily staff that when it comes to issues that the Administration cares about, they adults are going to step in and make the decisions that they feel are the best for the institution.

It will be interesting to see how the Daily staff responds if their publisher decides not to back down.


It sounds like it is the method of distribution (wrapping it around legitimate copies of the DN) that is the crux of the issue, not the question of whether this was a parody.

The history of parodies is full of cases where others reacted strongly to being the objects of parody. Jonathan Swift was an early example, but a much more recent one was the parody of Jerry Falwell in Hustler. MAD magazine got sued frequently, so much so that they listed their lawyers on the masthead as “The usual gang of idiots”.

Not worth getting into a whole discussion of how the law applies here.

IMHO, those who created this FAKE wrapper for the Daily were not attempting to deceive anyone. They also didn’t appear to damage the paper that they wrapped. They wanted to make a political point about an issue that they felt strongly about and devised a clever way to do that.

The students who picked up those papers knew exactly what was going on.

What is more important is that the Daily staff also knew what was going on and didn’t feel that getting law enforcement involved was necessary. Good for them.

The administration in the form of The Student Publishing Company ended up turning this into a much bigger issue than it might have been otherwise by getting law enforcement involved. Hopefully those who have been charged will appreciate that this particular form of peaceful protest turned out to be way more effective than they may have originally anticipated. And that means that it is likely to be repeated, if not at NU, certainly on other campuses.


Freedom of speech and freedom of the press have become pawns in a cultural battle.

I wonder if the ACLU would be willing to defend the Nazis’ right to march in Skokie today?

(Oh, and by Godwin’s Law, I lose in this thread.) :slight_smile:’s_law

Thanks for the reference as I had never heard of it, however I have experienced it.

I had a number of interesting email discussions with Mike Godwin when he was still a University of Texas law student, he was part of a discussion group for email managers and active on USENET. (We had a great plan that might have mitigated how email spam took over the net, but the higher ups in the Internet governance community wouldn’t listen to us.) He was very much on the forefront of how the Internet would affect the law (and vice-versa), and served as staff counsel for the EFF for several years and later for the Wikimedia Foundation.

Another interesting law, one that has not gained as much currency, was formulated by someone I knew at Northwestern – Dave Schuler. (As a student he taught the judo class I took as part of my PE requirement. Gee, do they still have a PE requirement?)

He called it Schuler’s Law of Narrow Attraction: Narrowness attracts other narrowness. Examples: If there’s a car double parked on the north side of the street, it will be opposite the car double parked on the south side of the street. If two people stop to talk, they’ll do it in a doorway.

When I took a course that covered queuing theory, it supported this theory.

Nazi’s don’t need the ACLU to defend them anymore.

They can pretty much march wherever they want, and have been doing so.

Being a Holocaust denier is no longer a disqualification for holding public office either. Rep Gosar (Az) hosted a fundraising event with Nick Fuentes as the featured speaker. Nick also had dinner with Donald Trump a year or so ago at Mar-a-Lago.


You’re probably right, but that wasn’t the question. The question is whether the ACLU would agree to do it these days. I’m not sure what the ACLU stands for these days, and I’m not sure they’re sure what it stand for, either!

Cook County prosecutors have dropped the charges against the two Northwestern students.