Censored Video: Law of Unintended Consequences


Derrick Popple, Features Editor

In today’s progressive society many people are obsessed with the notion of being politically correct, but has it gone too far?

I experienced this in December when I submitted the Rio Americano Sports Center video to the administration, which I had spent over 20 hours editing, to be played at a rally. It was rejected because they deemed several scenes “inappropriate.” However, their claims are riddled with double standards

The administration had qualms about the Muscle Milk commercial scene, saying that Wes Plumley shirtless was inappropriate, but they had no problems with senior

Jordan Vinson. If their motive was to prevent men from being shirtless in the video, why single out Wes Plumley? The next issue was regarding the scene with the two Jesuit students philandering by a wall on their campus. Most people who viewed the video realized the true intention was to show them flirting, but the administration saw it and drew the conclusion that they were engaging in “inappropriate” activities.

It seems that the administration is looking for excuses to deem things inappropriate. They see a normal scene and assume the worst, giving it sinister new meanings that no one else saw before. Another complaint against the video was the scene showing seniors Madeline Arnett and Alex Engleburt playing basketball in Jesuit jerseys. They purposely missed the shots in an attempt to poke fun at the ability of Jesuit athletes. It was denied on the grounds that it furthers the stereotype that girls cannot play sports. This is ridiculous because the administration viewed girls blatantly and purposefully missing shots and decided it was derogatory towards women Even though I helped film and create the concepts for the video, I was shocked by the accusation that I was making fun of women. The scene was so satirical, it couldn’t possibly be misconstrued for a slam against women, but the administration took it a step further and decided it conveyed that women are bad athletes. I find this especially funny, because Alex Engleburt played basketball for Rio her freshman and sophomore year. She would have played her junior year as well, but she had to recover from a surgery. If I was truly seeking to portray women as bad athletes, why would I have used one of the best female athletes at Rio? Finally, Principal Ginter said that “the use of a teacher in the video was not appropriate,” regarding physics teacher Dean Baird’s appearance at the end of the video. Why would it be inappropriate to use one of

Rio’s finest teachers, a man who won the Presidential Award for Math and Science Teachers when he agreed to be featured in my video?

My intent was to bring the teachers and student body closer together through cooperation in projects like these as well as to excite the students of Rio with a humorous display that incorporated curriculum into the comedy. Many people would be upset if their video was censored by an overly conservative administration, but I am not.

The rejection of the video made it an online sensation in high schools across Sacramento and gave it over 3,500 hits on YouTube, which are much better results than I ever could have hoped for.

In today’s society, when something is held down, it draws much more attention than it ever would have received. This is evident across society, but also here at Rio when Darren Miller’s article “A Modest Proposal” received so much attention it made the national news.

The administration may continue to censor content that is deemed “inappropriate”, but Muscle Milk will live forever.