On February 7, an article was ripped out of several copies of The Vagus Nerve, a monthly art and literature magazine of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, and then symbolically defaced with Twinkies. The article in question argued that some girls should wear jeans instead of leggings and also "put down the Twinkie." This appears to be the second instance of college newspaper-related mischief so far this month, as 2,000-3,000 copies of The Towerlight, Towson University’s student newspaper, were stolen from various campus locations on February 10.
As we have often stated on The Torch, newspaper vandalism is not only immoral, but usually counterproductive. Instead of suppressing speech, these actions have the opposite effect of piquing people’s interest and increasing readership of the "controversial" article(s)/publication. Peter said it best in his blog post about the recent incident of newspaper theft at Towson University:
Not only is this form of censorship unprincipled and thuggish, it is nonsensical—whatever content in the paper motivated the thefts, it has surely gained increased prominence as the censorship sends viewers to the papers’ websites to learn what was so allegedly controversial.
Peter’s statement underlines another important point. Even if vandals succeed in destroying every printed copy of a campus publication, they can’t prevent people from getting its message if they can simply view its content online. (The current issue of The Vagus Nerve, however, doesn’t seem to be online, at least not yet.) Not only is newspaper theft or vandalism criminal, in the days of the Internet, it’s also likely to be pointless.