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Culture Briefs

- - Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Privacy rules

"The nursing student expelled by her college after she posted a picture of herself holding a placenta to Facebook is suing the school. Twenty-two-year-old Doyle Byrnes posted a picture after a November lab session, in which Byrnes says the instructor did not object to the photographs being taken. After the teacher saw the pictures online, Byrnes removed them. However, the next day Byrnes and three other students were expelled. …

"Byrnes is seeking to reverse the decision, arguing that the pictures were not in violation of any school policy and that the instructor OK'd it; Johnson County Community College, for its part, denies that the instructor knew the photos would be used on Facebook. …

"It will be interesting to see how the case plays out, and of course the wider-ranging implications for social media policies. Byrnes doesn't appear to have broken any explicit confidentiality and the school's reaction seems knee-jerk, but should such a policy exist? The worry, of course, is that the same thing could happen with more sensitive material, remains or something similar."

Sadie Stein, writing on "Nursing Student Expelled For Facebook Placenta Pic," on Jan. 4 at Jezebel

Boy's club

"I have loved every one of [Sofia] Coppola's films, for different reasons — even 'Marie Antoinette.' … But I can't tell you how many times when I mention Coppola's name in casual or even critic-type conversations there's someone there to drain credit away from her. And usually they're guys.

"One male critic assured me that Francis Ford Coppola cut his daughter's early movies. Maybe it's true, but if so, how come they make a lot more sense than 'Tetro' does? (Or at least they're movies I'd much rather watch.) When Sofia won the top prize in Venice, the wagging tongues immediately chalked up her achievement to the fact that her ex-boyfriend, Quentin Tarantino, was the chairman of the jury. 'Lost in Translation' was a good movie — but only because Bill Murray was great in it. Somehow, there's always a man responsible for anything Coppola has achieved.

"Oy, I'm so sick of it. Matt … you noted that while you had mixed feelings about the movie, you found it curious 'that these "nepotism" and "rich girl" complaints pop up every single time Sofia Coppola makes a new movie,' while no one makes the same charge about films by Jason Reitman or Duncan Jones (David Bowie's son, who made 'Moon.') To add another name to the pile #&8212; though his dad wasn't a filmmaker #&8212; what about that slacker, Jean Renoir?"

Stephanie Zacharek, writing on "Somehow, There's Always a Man Responsible for Anything Sofia Coppola Has Achieved," on Jan. 4 at the Movie Club discussion at Slate

Other times …

"Twain scholar Alan Gribben and NewSouth Books plan to release a version of 'Huckleberry Finn,' in a single volume with 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,' that does away with the 'n' word (as well as the 'in' word, 'Injun') by replacing it with the word 'slave.' 'This is not an effort to render Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn colorblind,' said Gribben, speaking from his office at Auburn University at Montgomery, where he's spent most of the past 20 years heading the English department. 'Race matters in these books. It's a matter of how you express that in the 21st century.'

"The idea of a more politically correct Finn came to the 69-year-old English professor over years of teaching and outreach, during which he habitually replaced the word with 'slave' when reading aloud. Gribben grew up without ever hearing the 'n' word ('My mother said it's only useful to identify [those who use it as] the wrong kind of people') and became increasingly aware of its jarring effect as he moved South and started a family. 'My daughter went to a magnet school and one of her best friends was an African-American girl. She loathed the book, could barely read it.' Including the table of contents, the slur appears 219 times in 'Finn.'

Marc Schultz, writing on "Upcoming NewSouth 'Huck Finn' Eliminates the 'N' Word," on Jan. 3 at Publishers Weekly