School Web filters force Beaver into hibernation

The Beaver, a magazine about Canadian history, is forced to change its name because of its somewhat more modern, rather irreverent connotations.

The Web has such a witty way of bringing the realities of life into the forefront of public thought.

Who can, therefore, not feel a sublime level of sympathy for Canada's National History Society? No, not because Canada's history might seem like a drift from one sleepy century to another. Canada is an exciting place.

No, please feel for your Canadian cousins because the society's magazine, one that celebrates so much that is decent and sensible and, well, Canadian, is being forced by a tsunami of childish smuttiness to change its name.

The magazine, you see, enjoys a masthead that reads "The Beaver." It has enjoyed it since 1920.

This is a beaver, people. CC Paul Stevenson/Flickr

Will you please stop tittering like teens and focus, people? You see, according to the entirely unsmutty New York Times, web and spam filters, especially the robust ones employed by schools to keep their students from reading about naked bodies and manual exercise, are rejecting The Beaver's hardy historical e-mails and other communications.

"It's only been in the last two years or so that it's been a problem," Deborah Morrison, the president and chief executive of the Society, told the Times. I fear it has been a problem for longer than that. But the filters are becoming ever more Mussoliniesque in their rigor.

The Web has become one of the most immediate and powerful means by which teenage humor has taken over civilization. Offices resound every day with the snorts and cackles of human beings being tickled by the sight of copulating cats and other animal japes. Children IM filthy japes before they have learned to spell.

I know one shouldn't sniff at the power of animal instinct. But what does it say about us, about technology, about a future that is to be radically revolutionized by Steve Jobs on Wednesday, when an institution like the Beaver is forced to become, hark that fanfare, Canada's History?

The least we can all do is subscribe. I hear the pictures are very nice.

 

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