Meep Ban Update

« previous post | next post »

Ethan Forman broke the Danvers High School meep-ban story in the Salem News on 11/10/2009 (See "Meep: Truth or Onion?").   Over the past few days, the story has been picked up by several wire services and other outlets, none of whom provided any information beyond what was in Forman's original story.

Yesterday, NPR's All Things Considered looked into it, and actually added something to the story by interviewing a student, Mike Spiewak ("Principal Tells Students 'Meep' Is Off-Limits"):

According to Spiewak, the source was neither Beaker nor Road Runner, at least not directly:

RAZ: Well, did you pick it up from Beaker or the Road Runner?

Mr. SPIEWAK: No. Actually, my friend Alex, he picked it up on Xbox LIVE. He was in a party with a couple of kids playing Call of Duty last year. One of the kids that were in the party, you know, he said meep and, you know, Alex picked it up and we started using it.

Kudos to NPR for journalistic initiative.


  1. Stephen Nicholson said,

    November 15, 2009 @ 6:54 pm

    Finally, we get to the smurfing bottom of this.

  2. Gregory Marton said,

    November 15, 2009 @ 10:41 pm

    I first heard "meep" used in precisely this sense at MIT's Epsilon Theta fraternity some eight or nine years ago — it was in very common use, so I suspect that it might have spread from there. I'll try to ask around as to any earlier origin.

  3. Alex said,

    November 16, 2009 @ 4:25 am

    Perhaps the school can compromise and provide meeping rooms for students.

  4. David said,

    November 16, 2009 @ 8:14 am

    a lawyer's been stirring things up as well now: . I think this case is fascinating as an example of how a swear-words evolve – the more they try to 'ban' it, the more it gathers momentum.

  5. Amy Stoller said,

    November 16, 2009 @ 1:04 pm

    I've been saying "meep" for over 20 years; picked it up from a friend and her sister. We did not use it as a "swear word" – just something to say when we caught each other's eye unexpectedly. (I graduated from high school in 1976.)

    (I find it odd that this sound is attributed to Road Runner and Beaker. Road Runner's sound has always been rendered orthographically as "beep beep" (although I can hear the "meep meep" quality). And in the example given on NPR, Beaker clearly says "mee," not "meep.")

    I can NOT understand what this principal is going on about. "Because of the confusion and frustration it caused among the faculty"? Get real. If you don't like students interrupting class, deal with students interrupting class. Banning a word on its own is insane.

  6. Dmajor said,

    November 16, 2009 @ 9:21 pm

    And the kid playing Call of Duty with friend Alex? Where did *he* get his "meep" from. It can't be turtles, or meeps, all the way down, can it?

  7. Doug Sundseth said,

    November 17, 2009 @ 12:16 am

    1) Babies are known to be very disruptive.

    2) It's widely known that the first sound that a baby makes is "meep". (Any claim for another sound is obviously just a different transliteration of the same sound; see Amy Stoller, supra.)

    3) Therefore, "meep" is inherently disruptive.

    4) ?

    5) Profit!

    Or something.

  8. Cecily said,

    November 17, 2009 @ 12:34 pm

    Surely the obvious response for Danvers High pupils is to pick another word, ideally one that can't be banned, such as "math" or "the".

  9. rpsms said,

    November 17, 2009 @ 2:43 pm

    How about "Fire the Principal"

RSS feed for comments on this post