Censorship failed!

Anybody here see the story of Martha Payne? 6 weeks ago she started a blog about her school lunch and it’s short comings. It was a minor sensation and I was impressed with her writing and photos. Not bad for a 9 year old girl…

Fast forward to yesterday. Grabbing onto her blog, a newspaper wrote a “Sack the Lunch Ladies” article. Her head teacher pulled her out of math class, into the office and informed her that photography was immediately forbidden in her lunch room.

This mostly gutted the blog she was running and she wrote a “Good Bye” Message on Thursday. Poignantly she pointed out that she only wrote the blog, not the newspaper article… :rolleyes:

One of the causalities she was most upset about was that she had tied her blog to a charitable organization “Mary’s Meals,” which to date she had raised £3,000 for.

Fast forward to today’s firestorm.

Seems Martha is now allowed to take photos at lunch unimpeded and her blog is back in business. Oh yeah… Her charity? Her running total went from £3,000 to £52,834.18 as of right now, in a single day! 750% of her £7,000 goal.

Way to go Martha.

That’s awesome!

You should post more often.

I hope my 9 year old is that awesome!

Is it legal in the over-governed U.K. for some tin-pot council to gag a blogger?

I live by the motto that it’s better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt. I read SDMB several times a day, but rarely pipe in.

Every year my subscription is my birthday gift to myself. Strangely, I feel like many of you are old friends even though I’m sort of a wall flower.

Well, they weren’t gagging her per se, they were forbidding her from taking photographs inside the school of which they are the governing authority. Is that really a problem of the “overgoverned UK”? Wouldn’t a school board in the US have the power to ban photography within its schools?

I think they were probably most upset about the hair count. I was directed to her blog a few weeks ago, what a funny, sweet, great kid.

I saw this too and was happy to see they’ve allowed her to post photos again. What a great kid and what a great way for her to learn to use the internet constructively.

I imagine a school board might, but not any equivalent district council, if there is one, that, I presume in the U.K., also controls trash bins.

I’m in Canada, BTW.

In Scotland the councils are in charge of schools, so they do occupy a position analogous to that of a school board in the US or Canada.

An excellent blog from a kid who will likely go far!

This reminds of the great quote by John Gilmore: "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it. "

People have gotten so used to Net censorship as a bad thing that needs to be overcome, that it’s bleeding over into real life. And, more importantly, some authorities are starting to catch on that any censorship that involves the Net is going to blow up in their face.

In particular, trying to keep something quiet just makes it much more infamous. Maybe they should name this “effect”. Like after a older singer-turned-actress with a funny face.

Indeed. It’s a common enough phenomenon that I would have thought even people who aren’t at all net-savvy would recognize it by now. In this particular case, how oblivious did they have to be to not see this coming? It’s almost too perfect an example of the Effect. You’ve got:

  1. A sweet little girl
  2. with an established following,
  3. who’s doing something for a children’s charity
  4. and guilelessly exposing governmental inadequacies in the process,
  5. versus petty politicians
  6. who are abusing their power.

Seriously, it’s like something you’d make up to illustrate the proper conditions for producing a netstorm.

How about “Payne effect”?


But to have perfect conditions for producing a netstorm, I think you’d have to have some abused animals in there somewhere.

Y’know…is anyone on the council actually *reading *her blog? Admittedly, I haven’t gone all the way back, but I’m seeing comments like, “Lunch was really nice today and it helped cheer me up. Macaroni Cheese at school is so creamy and it’s nice to have it with the crunchy radishes and peppers…”, “In case you can’t tell I had carrot and coriander soup to start which is still my favourite and I would pick it over chocolate cake any day.” and “The fajita was lovely because there was no fat on the chicken and it was covered in salsa.”

Hardly seems to be a “School lunches are horrible!” blog to me. Admittedly, some of the lunches look pretty awful to me, but the actual blogging could be used to promote the lunches themselves!

(And yeah, the pageview ticker is blowing up!)

Well, she did mention wanting to know where the chicken in one of her lunches came from…

Watch out! You start a chicken or egg argument and the other controversy will seem mild.

I think her lunches look great. A lot better than I had when I was in school.