Illinois School Suspends Teacher For Playing “Daily Show” Clips

Jon Stewart: Banned in Eureka.<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago/5129842068/sizes/l/in/photostream/">Cliff1066</a>/Flickr

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Just imagine if he’d shown Two and a Half Men.

An Illinois school district suspended a high school civics teacher for two weeks after parents complained that he had forced kids to watch The Daily Show in class. According to the Bloomington (Ill.) Pantagraph, Rhett Felix showed Eureka students several recent segments from the Emmy-winning show, which resulted in a slew of complaints from offended parents:

School Superintendent Randy Crump suspended first-year teacher Rhett Felix on Tuesday morning following a two-hour executive session of the Eureka-based District 140 school board Monday night. During the public portion of the meeting, parents complained about bleeped obscenities and some sexual content of the segments and about a perception that Felix appears to have a liberal political bias. 

So what were the offensive segments students were shown? The paper helpfully identifies the specific clips from the October 31 and November 2 episodes. From there, it’s not hard to see where things went wrong: One of the segments, which you can see below, begins with Jon Stewart discussing the then-breaking news of Herman Cain’s sexual harassment complaint, and offering his own euphemistic pizza phrases: “You want sausage on your pie?”; “Want me to stuff your crust?”; “I told you, I guarantee, I will come in 30 minutes or less”:

Felix, who could not be immediately reached for comment, also took heat for (as the paper puts it), “warning students against an Internet search that yields results deemed to be pornographic.” As it turns out, that’s a reference to another Daily Show clip, in which Stewart discusses Rick Santorum’s Google problem.

Although the Daily Show is in fact a trusted source of news for many American teens, frothy fecal matter is not exactly the kind of subject you’d expect your kids’ civics teacher to be discussing in class—especially not in conservative Eureka, Illinois, where Ronald Reagan spent his formative years.

Still, this quote, from a concerned parent, seems a bit much: “I look at what happened out at Penn State. Even though this doesn’t rise to that particular level, I would ask that this board look at these allegations and respond with appropriate resolve.”

It’s exactly like Penn State. Except nothing at all like Penn State.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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