Meghan Fitch '09 is ecstatic.
Two weeks ago, Fitch was interviewed for a feature in the College Hill Independent. When she read the resultant story four days later, she discovered to her great delight that she had been grossly misquoted.
"They didn't actually change much," Fitch explained. "Technically, I said almost everything they wrote. But they threw in a word here and omitted a word there, and it completely changed my meaning. Is that good journalism? Hell [yes]!"
Fitch's completely positive experience is another in a long string of negligibly slight misquotations that have appeared recently in campus literature. The latest edition of the Brown Critical Review includes several modified student comments, such as one which reads, "Professor Mathis did a great job of making the material easy to understand. I highly recommend this class. [Take it from me, the vengeful ghost of Robert Penn Warren.]"
While particularly prominent at Brown, the phenomenon is by no means limited to College Hill. Featured in such popular publications as the Chicago Tribune, "Quotoshopping" is an honorable, well-meaning practice used to jazz up statements made by the hopelessly dull, and to correct the viewpoints of people who are clearly wrong.
"What?!" said Chicago Tribune editor Ann Marie Lipinski in a recent interview with the Noser. "We have. [totally]. altered quotations for any reason whatsoever. Your newspaper and those like it are [not] unethical, wretched monsters that must be destroyed before they can commit any more atrocities against both individuals and the very institution of objective reporting."
Despite its sheer, unbridled goodness, Quotoshopping has met with resistance from the Undergraduate Council of Students. UCS president Michael Glassman '09 issued a statement yesterday, decrying the use of Quotoshopping as "offensive [like my face]" and "despicable [again, like my face]." He went on to demand a course of action against the practice:
"Members of the Brown community, we must do everything we can to stop Quotoshopping. We will hold an open meeting on the subject next [Tuesday night] in [that sketchy alley behind Andreas. The blood of our enemies] will be provided."
University officials have chosen not to comment on the issue-or anything else for that matter-for fear of being misquoted.
"As long as we remain silent, those damned newspapers can't twist our words to their own sick devices," said Associate Dean of the College James Valles when he thought he was alone. "Hey, who the hell are you? Shit, what have I done? Off the record! OFF THE RECORD! [The university officially defends all actions taken by the Brown Noser, and we will actively hunt down anyone who opposes it. Go Patriots!]"