This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
To paraphrase the great journalist H. L. Mencken, nobody ever failed to attract widespread attention to a political or social cause by tossing a little sex appeal into their message and waiting for someone in a position of authority to burst an artery and get the whole thing onto the front page of newspapers all across the country.
For the Keep a Breast Foundation, it is mission accomplished.
If anything, the purveyors of the popular "I [heart] boobies" bracelets might be sorry that they won their fight in West Valley City a little too easily.
In a knee-jerk pushback, an assistant principal moved to ban the bracelets on the grounds that the phrase containing a common slang term for the female breast is offensive even though, for teenage boys, it is the linguistic equivalent of "I have a pulse." But a little friendly advice from the local office of the American Civil Liberties Union convinced the Granite School District that the ban ran afoul of the students' First Amendment rights to free expression.
Thus, the bracelets being worn by increasing numbers of teenage boys and girls at schools across the country will now be a tolerated fashion accessory at Hunter High School.
But, before the controversy fades altogether, the campaign to raise awareness of, and money for, breast cancer screening and research earned itself some serious ink in The Salt Lake Tribune. The same fuss has also been playing out prominently in other newspapers, news programs and websites across the country as school districts have banned the bracelets and issued suspensions and other punishments for students who insisted on wearing them.
Maximum news value is being earned in Pennsylvania. There, a 12-year-old girl defending her right to wear the bracelet showed at least as much maturity as the authority figures on the other side of the issue when she told a federal judge that some people, especially the males among her peer group, might indeed find the message lewd and an invitation to act improperly.
But, she correctly noted, those would be boys who "act like they are 2."
Educators worthy of the name are always on the lookout for the proverbial teachable moment. And any student who chooses to react to the message "I love boobies" with anything more aggressive than a knowing nod is in need of a little remedial education concerning the millions of women, and some men, who suffer horribly from breast cancer.
And that's the point.