Life Imitates Bart

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Life imitated art--or at least Bart--with uncanny accuracy recently at a Eugene, Ore., junior-high school.

Officials at the city's Madison Middle School decided not to let students watch an installment of "Channel One," Whittle Communication's in-class news show, because it reported on an attack on Michelangelo's statue "David."

Just the week before, the Fox television network had shown a repeat of an episode of "The Simpsons" in which Marge, after successfully campaigning against violence in cartoons, refused to join a group protesting a touring display of Michelangelo's nude masterpiece in the city museum.

"David" was shown in animated form during the show.

At first blush, it seemed that Madison's principal and media specialist had "a cow" over the frontal nudity exposed in the report.

But those involved in the decision say the timing of the report was what concerned them most, since it was to appear on the first day of school.

"Channel One is really geared for high-school students," said Elna Robinette, the school's media specialist. "We felt that because of the ages of our kids, and it being the first time they would see {the broadcast], we were not going to start with something that would be upsetting to a few of our students."

The school's assistant principal, Carl Ihle, insisted that the schools' administrators have no objection to showing the statue in all its glory to the students, and would like to screen the Channel One segment now that there has been "sufficient context reviewing so {students] could look at it with some degree of sophistication."

Neither Ms. Robinette nor Mr. Ihle was aware of the Simpsons episode, but Mr. Ihle said the media coverage has provided some laughs for the administrators.

Marge and family would probably like that.--W.M.

Vol. 11, Issue 05, Page 2

Published in Print: October 2, 1991, as Life Imitates Bart
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