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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Banned Words In a Disgusting, Upsetting Test

And now for some news from the common senseless. The New York City Department of Education  is waging a war on words and is seeking to have certain words they deem "upsetting" removed from standardized tests. The department fears that these words, and even these topics, can make students feel unpleasant. The officials are requesting 50 or so words be removed from city-issued tests.

For example, the word “dinosaur” made the list because dinosaurs suggest evolution which creationists might not like. And, “Halloween” is targeted because it suggests paganism. Of course, a “birthday” might not be happy to all because it isn’t celebrated by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Wouldn't you know that references to “divorce” and “disease” are taboo because kids taking the tests may have relatives who split from spouses or are ill.

Here is the complete list of words that could be banned:

Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological)
Alcohol (beer and liquor), tobacco, or drugs
Birthday celebrations (and birthdays)
Bodily functions
Cancer (and other diseases)
Catastrophes/disasters (tsunamis and hurricanes)
Children dealing with serious issues
Cigarettes (and other smoking paraphernalia)
Computers in the home (acceptable in a school or library setting)
Death and disease
Expensive gifts, vacations, and prizes
Gambling involving money
Homes with swimming pools
Junk food
In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge
Loss of employment
Nuclear weapons
Occult topics (i.e. fortune-telling)
Rap Music
Religious holidays and festivals (including but not limited to Christmas, Yom Kippur, and Ramadan)
Rock-and-Roll music
Running away
Television and video games (excessive use)
Traumatic material (including material that may be particularly upsetting such as animal shelters)
Vermin (rats and roaches)
War and bloodshed
Weapons (guns, knives, etc.)
Witchcraft, sorcery, etc.

The Upsetting Thompson Test of Unpleasantness

I have decided to compose my own multiple-choice  test for the students of New York. This test contains many of the proposed "banned words and topics." This sub-standardized test of patience is designed to elicit thoughtless answers and encourage cynical thinking. At least, I think... oh well, just take the test.

1. ___  The Department of Education is abusing children by sheltering them from terms they think might be "upsetting" such as the word politics. What do you think is the probable cause of their doing this?

a. They are drunk.
b. They are terrorists.
c. They believe in witchcraft
d. They are running away from their responsibilities to foster critical thinking.

2. ___  Children love a festive birthday party, but the Department of Education doesn't want kids to even read words that describe birthday celebrations because

a. some children get so excited at parties that they do the "technicolor yawn."
b. the Department thinks children at parties would listen to potentially dangerous rap music.
c. an evil parent once held a birthday party to lure children and find references to begin a child  slavery enterprise.
d. cake and ice cream traditionally served at birthday parties are examples of harmful junk food.

3. ___  The Department of Ed doesn't want students to read any references about people who live in poverty since

a. poor people usually have a huge arsenal of weapons.
b. poor people spend too much of their assistance money on video games and big screen TVs.
c. poor people have lost too many jobs because of poor skills and insufficient education.
d. poor people may resort to crimes such as stealing to pay their utility bills.

4. ___  An obsession with sex can lead to

a. exhibiting violent behaviors.
b. prolonging spousal "cut off the goods" wars.
c. using dating services on the PC.
d. casting love spells and seeking fortune tellers.

5. ___  Read this sentence and draw the most logical conclusion: "Daddy went hunting with his sons early Thanksgiving morning."

a. Daddy has children who are dealing with some very serious issues.
b. Daddy is building nuclear weapons in the basement.
c. Daddy is exposing his children to traumatic behaviors that could lead to their interest in mutilating animals.
d. Daddy views rabbits as eatable vermin.

6. ___ A swimming pool is a(n)

a. instrument of death.
b. cesspool of disease.
c. needless trapping of an egotistical celebrity.
d. passion pit for sexual water-based activities.

7. ___ Students shouldn't read references to evolution because

a. evolution is a theory held by witches and sorcerers.
b. teaching evolutionary theory promotes secret, state-sponsored terrorism,
b. evolution is a political construct used to encourage religious genocide,
d. students should never be encouraged to think about scientific theory.

8. ___ The stressed-out Hendersons took a week-long family vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. What best describes the folly of their decision to use their valuable time in this manner?

a. No vacation can help eliminate the parents' thoughts of filing for divorce.
b. The family is running away from their work responsibilities that help eliminate their sizable debts.
c. If their children view the vacation as an expensive gift, they may grow up as victims of the abuse of materialism.
d. Myrtle Beach is a haven of youth seeking sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll music.

9. ___  Halloween parties at school encourage

a. paganism,
b. pumpkin fixation and other strange celebratory behaviors,
c. a dangerous obsession with fantasy,
d. vampire modeling behaviors and covens of deadly satanic killers.

10. ___ Listening to rock-and-roll music makes children

a. start bands and become poor musicians.
b. alcoholics and drug addicts.
c. lovers of pornography.
d. worthless celebrity politicians.


Any answer is acceptable for any test item. This unpleasant test has been designed to allow maximum scores for all students requied to take standardized exams. In addition, all schools may now report superior scores of student achievement on their required State reports.

Just one caution, in case some unfortunate students forget to answer an item (or more), schools must score this as a miss and deduct the unanswered question from their score. However, the mistake or the poorer score must not be shared in any manner with those students. Using the word mistake or the phrase missed answer could be deemed "upsetting" to the individuals and cause permanent damage to their faculties of reasoning. Remember, no offense is good offense.
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