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For the meep shall inherit the earth
(a followup to this)

Clarifications and updates

I've been having a blast reading everyone's comments and emails. Now that the internet seems to have moved on to other things, I thought I'd post a few final comments and answer some FAQs before saying goodbye to my 15 minutes of meep.

For the sake of clarity, I'd like to point out that some commenters overstated the level of police involvement. I was never "in trouble" with the police, or contacted by the police. I don't even know if the school officials actually sent my email to the police, only that they said they did. According to this followup article in the Salem News, police are not investigating. (Whew! I'm tired of being on the lam.)

I was somewhat surprised by the unanimity of public opinion on this -- a near-100% consensus that the school officials acted like fools.

There was a minute percentage of people (two of whom emailed me) saying they supported the ban on meep, claiming that students had been using it to intimidate or harass a particular individual (variously claimed to be either a student or a staff member). As neither they nor the press have provided any details whatsoever, I still don't know what prompted the ban on meep. Again for the sake of clarity, I'll just point out that -- especially having been bullied myself when I was in school -- I'm completely in favor of sensible efforts to crack down on bullying. Banning meep is not one of them.

From an email sent me by "JN" of Danvers, "'meep' was being used as a substitute for the other disruptive and harassing words that were previously being used." (While the principal and assistant principal embarrassed themselves publicly, JN's email was sent to me alone, so I'm not posting JN's real name and email.) If true, this is a perfect example of why banning meep won't work: substitutes would arise quickly, just as they did for the "other disruptive and harassing words." I'm completely certain that when I was in school, if the teachers had banned students from taunting me with specific insults, I would have been taunted with innumerable synonymous insults. If they'd banned hitting me with a right hand, they would have hit me with a left, or kicked me. There's no easy solution to the problem of bullying, as much as people might want one. I have more thoughts on this, but I'll save them for another time. Suffice it to say that anyone who thinks I'm not opposed to bullying is barking up the wrong tree.

Many people are wondering why the students wanted to say "meep." From what I can gather, it's for the same reasons anyone else would want to say meep. For (slightly) more detail, check out this interview NPR did with student Mike Spiewak, audio and transcript here.

If you have time, check out the entertaining comments (many of which include copies of emails sent to school officials) on Fark, Reddit, Digg, and numerous other websites around the world. (I'm linking to a Google search for Meep Michaels because it seems to bring up more recent stories/comments than a search for Meep Danvers.)

Comments TL;DR? Here are some highlights:


There was a bit of criticism (or at least confusion) regarding me and my website, which I'll address here as FAQ's:

Q. This Mr. Michaels . . .
A. This Mr. Mrs. Michaels

Q. said LOLwut! LOLwut?
A. An attorney? Using internet memes? It's more likely than you think!

Q. But I wouldn't hire an attorney who writes LOLwut!
A. Well heck, it's not like I'm putting that into legal documents. Usually I write more like "Comment in the matter of exemption to prohibition on circumvention of copyright protection systems for access control technologies."

Q. And I wouldn't hire an attorney with flowers on her website!
A. Does it say anywhere on my website that I'm looking for new clients? No? So there's no problem then. I like flowers. Shouldn't you be at CuteOverload criticizing the kittens or something?

Q. "Impliedly"? Is that the new "meep"?
A. It's the adverb form of "implied," but thanks for playing.


My only disappointment is that we haven't heard more from the students about whether all our meeping had any effect. (Any Danvers HS students reading this: how about a blog post or something?) Clearly the school was inundated with meeps; did this have any effect on their day-to-day operations? Did the staff blame the students for non-student meeping? Most importantly, did the staff give any indication that they'd back down from their "no meep" policy? That they'd made a mistake?

Can it be -- dare I hope? -- that their silence in the face of all this meeping shows they've actually learned something?

So, what's the moral of the story? Mainly, don't make me mad, or I'll sic the internet on you! No, I'm kidding, this isn't about me. It's about freedom of speech, and the power of public ridicule to stamp out stupidity, if only a little at a time.

And . . . oh yeah . . . meep. :-)