The persecution of the butt print artist (updated)

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(Originally posted December 13, 2006; updated on January 10, 2007.)

We live in an age in which public condemnation is based not on consideration of evidence but on the frowns of newscasters and the bluster of talk show hosts; and the pervasive fear that an action or event may draw the Sauronic gaze of Eyewitness News is having a chilling effect on free expression and individual rights. Case in point: Monacan High School in Richmond, Virginia, which has suspended a high school art teacher for his artistic activities outside the classroom.

Elder PoopReporters know this teacher as Stan Murmur, Butt Print Artist.

The problem arose when a four-year-old clip of Murmur from his appearance on Unscrewed with Martin Sargent surfaced on Youtube. In it, Murmur -- clad in towel turban and Groucho glasses so no one from his academic life might recognize him -- gives Sargent a graphic and hilarious demonstration of how butt print art is made.

For this, Chesterfield County Schools have placed Murmur on five day suspension while they "investigate" the video. Says Chesterfield Schools spokesperson Debra Marlow: "The school division has personnel regulations that indicate teachers are expected to set an example for students through their personal conduct. The Supreme Court has also stated that schools must teach by example, and that teachers, like parents, are role models."

By the standards of today's America, in which any action that deviates from the norm causes local news producers to cue up their ominous music, I can see why Murmur's video -- removed by time, space, and fake noses from the school board's jurisdiction though they may be -- would make Superintendent Chesterfield nervous. (That Speedo really flattered the artist's virility!)

But what exactly is the school board worried about? That their students may learn that the male butt exists? These are high school kids -- chances are they discovered Murmur's video on the jailbait cleavage factory that is Myspace. Which means they're exposed daily to a lot more material with the potential to warp them than the comedy stylings and droopy abs of a mild-mannered art teacher. Murmur's students have seen South Park and Family Guy -- they know the butt is there. They know that poop comes out of it. But thanks to Murmur, they now also know that art and creativity can be found in the most unlikely of places. Shame on the Chesterfield Schools for trying to deprive them of that.

Hopefully a five-day suspension will be the end of it. Murmur's art was all in good fun, he took reasonable precautions to separate it from his day job, and the revelation of his secret identity hasn't taught the children anything they didn't already know. But nothing good ever comes when Action News puts you on the front page of their site; I have a feeling that Stan's about to be wrongfully terminated. Which may be for the best -- there will soon be a creative, talented, and charismatic art teacher looking for a job with a school district that will actually appreciate him.


UPDATE: January 10, 2007, 11:06 AM. The news broke last night: the Chesterfield School Board has voted unanimously to terminate Stan Murmur for "conduct unbecoming of a teacher."

"It is not the art," said Chesterfield School Board Chairman Marshall Trammell. "It is the disruption in the classroom." The board deliberated for three hours, Trammell said, before concluding that "it's only reasonable to think that school employees' actions outside school can affect what happens inside schools."

That is reasonable, if the teacher was robbing old ladies or stealing lollipops from children in his off hours. But Murmur's actions outside the school were innocuous; indeed, they probably made him a more effective art teacher. And the students' knowledge of his actions could only result in a wider interest in art education.

To his credit, Murmur remained dignified and composed after the hearing. He told the Richmond Times-Dispatch he wanted his students to know "I very much valued and appreciated being their teacher." Murmur wouldn't comment as to whether he's been contacted about teaching at other schools -- schools that will recognize him for the asset he truly is.


UPDATE: January 18, 2007. Stan Murmur speaks to PoopReport.

42 Comments on "The persecution of the butt print artist (updated)"

Tydirium's picture
k 500+ points

The problem with this country is that people are too stern to understand humor any more. Stan, you sound like an awesome art teacher. This school district is messed up. You could use a better job anyway.

healthy 1's picture
j 1000+ points

Here is another case of the goddy two shoes bible thumping yupies trying to reinvent the wheel.

Today's society irks the hell out me.

As an old John Lennon song states "Whatever Gets you Through the Night", if this teacher wants to practice butt art on the side, so be it. I wonder what skeletons the employees of the Chesterfield County Schoolboard are hiding in their closets?

Also the media is getting into other people's lives more and more, and only we the American public can stop this.

This clip of Murmur was four years old when it made it to Youtube. it is just not fair or ethical to hold someone accountable for such a frivolous thing they did in the past.

I hope Murmur quits his job at the school, and goes on to find a better job, hopefully at a great art school.

The school system has changed for the worse since I was in grade school during the 80's and early 90's.

I agree with Tydirium. Society needs to lighten up more. People are just getting too stone faced and cold. It is all me me me these days. Life is too short people, lighten up, and enjoy life. We only pass through life once, and don't get a second chance if we screw it up.
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The Big Wiper's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

This reminds me of kids making imprints of their butts on a copier and then mailing them to each other as a joke. Emphasis on the joke. The inherent humor of it all. 'Nuff said.
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Pulling My Pants Down For Peace, Plop and Posterity!

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Dave's picture
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According to my stats, here are the last 10 Google queries that have lead web users to PoopReport:

1. artist stan murmur
2. butt stephen murmur
3. stan murmur
4. baby poop white
5. stan murmur
6. stan murmur
7. butt print art stan Murmu
8. Stan Murmur
9. Stan Murmur
10. ball itch

It turns out that when you Google "Stan Murmur", PoopReport is the #3 hit. And clearly Stan's story is being spread far and wide -- this story about Stan has been read 2600+ times since this morning.

Good luck, Stan. If nothing else, I bet the price of your art will go up.

SamDamnit's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ points

"Baby poop white" is number four? That strikes me as odd.

"Ball itch" I can understand.
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Pantload's picture
m 1+ points - Newb


That's a cool picture, painting, whatever it's refered as. Butt is that his nutsack and wang topping the flowers? If so, I think that's what has those that are, upset.


What's so funny 'bout poop, love, and understanding?

What's so funny 'bout poop, love, and understanding?

Fart Poopie's picture
j 1000+ points

You know, butt prints like those would be fun to do with one's husband/wife/significant other. Spread some plastic on the floor, put a roll of paper on it, get all painted up and make fun designs. If we didn't have a child old enough to remember seeing that (were she to walk in on us), our behinds would blue right now.

Fudgepump's picture
l 100+ points

H1; I don't see this as a case of "the media getting into other people's lives" - it's the exact opposite. Any thought or action that becomes part of an online archive has entered the public domain, and can be read or viewed by anyone with Internet access. A huge (and potentially unintended) audience has to be assumed. Stan clearly understood this: hence the attempt to disguise himself. What can't be assumed or predicted is the reaction of any given member of that audience, and here is where Eyewitness News enters the picture, spinning a harmless act of creativity into a "code red" pervert alert. The school board may have felt that they had no choice but to appear to be addressing the issue, once it became "news". Hopefully, sanity will prevail when they make their final judgement regarding Stan's continuing employment as an art teacher.

KarmaLysing's picture

Stan's problems are just another piece of evidence that the Puritain ethic, in all its hypocritical glory, is as alive and well in the U.S. as when the Puritains invented it. Depictions of the most gratuitous, heinous, repulsive acts of violence - especially against women - are A-OKAY, but if a teacher paints his own heinie and uses it to print pictures in his off-duty hours, he's a "pervert", and will be persecuted accordingly...

James Birkbeck (Mr. Camilla PB)'s picture

I say we ALL do our own butt prints and mail them off to that high school. Ha ha ha.

Recto Magnifico's picture
m 1+ points - Newb

I swear, I did that picture with my privates. That was not done with an elephant's trunk and a pair of coconuts!
(BTW: Does anyone know how to get enamel paint off...er....sensitive skin?)


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GottaGoGirl's picture
i 2000+ points

Don't worry. I'm sure it'll rub off in the course of normal use.

Deja Poo's picture

Recto Magnifico,
Acetone should remove that messy paint problem easily. This should be available at your local hardware store in the paint department.

BTW, do NOT dry your ass immediately afterward, especially with any kind of polyester mix towel. If you do, you will have a permanent ass turbin.

Deja Poo's picture

While I didn't flop my nether regions in bright yellow paint and then press it on construction paper, I did photo-copy them. I then sent the photo-copy along with a not-so-nice note to an errant Systems Analyst. The recipient of my assholegram had demanded that we release his code into production, although he hadn't properly tested it. "Besides," he said, "if the code fails, it will only bring down the training department and not the whole bank."

Hubris knows no bounds.

So, when I discovered the problem at 3 am, I reset the mainframes with the old code and then sent my assterpiece along with a note "Dear Bruce, I told you so."

I too got written up and suspended for five days without pay. And BuckFutt got nothing because I caught his problem and corrected it before anybody could notice.

Hence, (1) ass prints of any type (whether as art or communication) are generally frowned up by management of all types and (2) diligence and good deeds will not go unpunished.

that guy in a turd suit's picture

I feel so honored that this guy is from my home town. he was on the news tonight as they took away his Chesterfield County teaching job. Murmur's lawyer was talking about a civil suit. He was once teacher of the year, now he's thrown out on his ass.
any butt prints he makes in the future will have the indent of a boot mark on his backside.
Seriously, If I can track him down I'll link to where you can buy his butt prints on turdzilla.com
--or maybe even poopreport would carry his art. ;)

aloewy's picture

My response to Stan's (now) dismissal:
It's a real shame that they (the school board), let Stan go. My daughter is in his 3D Design class and adores him as do many of her classmates and friends. She's told me on more than one occasion that he really teaches to the kids and works at their level. She's also stated that he never discussed his artwork in class.

Regarding the comment that teachers are to be held at a 'higher standard', maybe the parents should be a little more aware of the role models that their children are looking to now..... Sports athletes, actors, singers, that have really had a negative impact on our youth. Or maybe parents should monitor a little more closely what they (their children) are looking at on the Internet or television because it seems to me that in the grand scheme of things... they just don't want to know, or maybe the school board should check a little more closely into who they hire for teaching positions... seems to me that there have been an increasing number of child pornography cases involving teachers lately.....To dismiss one teacher because he chose to creatively express himself (outside the classroom), to me, is very poor judgment on the school board's part.

Whether or not I agree with his expression of art, he is entitled under the Constitution to that expression. I certainly hope that he will not let this issue rest, and indeed make an example of the school board.

Dave's picture
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Update: Stan Murmur has been terminated. This is an outrage!

Anonymous Coward's picture

I too agree that our society today is moronic, at best. They let a perfectly talented art teacher go, while other teachers are off banging in the broom closets. I hope he finds an incredibly good lawyer!

Fudgepump's picture
l 100+ points

Outrageous and depressing. The board chairman cites clasroom disruption as part of the reason for Stan's termination. That makes as much sense as the decision to terminate - none.

Anomalous Coward's picture
k 500+ points

Recto Magnifico - That enamel paint comes right off with one of those wire brush attachments in an electric drill.
As far as the persecuted artist goes, if he didn't break a law in making those paintings the school should but out. Butt out??!! Ha ha ...okay that wasn't so good. Seriously I don't give a crap if he has intimate relations with dead parakeets and weed whackers when he's off school grounds. Its simply not their right to terminate him. IMHO, of course.

Deja Poo's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ points

Okay, although I don't agree with the decision of the schoolboard, would it be any different if the guy made gay porn films and called it "performance art?"

By the same stretch of the imagination, if I were to make the same kind of ass prints with my 7 y.o.s behind and display them in public, would the D.A.'s office be able to file a complaint against me?

Yo quiero Taco Bell.

healthy 1's picture
j 1000+ points

Wether or not Stan's peers stand behind him, will prove the character and integrity of today's society.

His peers should all band togehter, in his support. If they don't, things like this will happen more and more.

My intuition tells me that in the long run, this decision will work out much in Stan's favor. This guy has alot of potential, and I think that this will mark a new beginning for him.

He is too good for the school board, and they will find that out, when it is too late.
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The Dumpster's picture
i 2000+ points

May I address the legalities of this situation? In most states, if employment isn't guaranteed for a specific period by contract, it is "at will"; that is it can be terminated at the will of either party, as long as it is not for a reason that has been declared illegal (such as race). In other words, the teacher can quit at any time, and the school board can fire him at any time, if either of them decides things aren't working out

Most governmental entities, however, give their employees basic due process rights, which include the right not to be terminated except "for cause," although those "causes" are generally pretty vague--such as "conduct unbecoming a teacher," which was at issue here.

Legally, however, the school board/employer is granted considerable discretion in interpreting these provisions. The teacher must be given an opportunity to be heard and to present evidence. As long as the Board's final decision is rationally related to a legitimate governmental objective, they are within their rights to terminate.

I think the board acted within these legal constraints here. Absent some peculiarity in Virginia law, Stan will have to go without a murmur, although the attendant publicity probably greatly inflates the demand for his "art."

The Big Wiper's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

This just in from the Anal Retentive Fashion Police: Designer Vera Wang has been arrested on public indecency charges for not changing her name long ago.

Pulling My Pants Down For Peace, Plop and Posterity!

Pulling My Pants Down For Peace, Plop and Posterity!

Recto Magnifico's picture
m 1+ points - Newb

I love when people give legal opinions without having examined transcripts or attended hearings. Instead, based on the slimmest recitation of facts and with no specific reference to the laws of the jurisdiction where the case arose, we're given a pronouncement that leaves enough wiggle room to avoid being a categorical statement of the likely legal resolution of the dispute.

This is about as valid as the well-intended medical advice or diagnoses that some people are comfortable putting forth when someone "asks Motherload" but provides only a scanty account of symptoms.

The range of possibilities of the ultimate resolution of the Case of the Tortured Art Teacher is probably quite broad. It may well be that a school board decision is merely a necessary administrative hearing the decision of which either the school district or a discharged school district employee may later challenge in court. I have no doubt that a state such as Virginia would have a long history of cases involving the discharge of a teacher on grounds unrelated to the teacher's classroom performance, and specific guidance in this case might be better found through an examination of those cases, state statutes, administrative codes, etc. (Where I live the school teachers are unionized. I imagine that when a union is involved there are even more legal hoops to jump through to get rid of a teacher. I saw no mention of there being a union in this teacher's county.)

If the teacher wants to pursue it further, I'm sure we'll hear more about it. At this point, based on the limited facts known in the case, particularly regarding any testimony or evidence presented before the school board, I think it's premature to hand out an opinion of the merits of either side's case, irrespective of where one's sympathies might lie.


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daphne's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardSite AdminComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatore 6000+ points

Know what I think is behavior unbecoming of a teacher? Treating your students poorly. Not teaching the material well. Belittling your students. I'd rather have a teacher with paint on his wang than a shitty teacher with a clean one.


_______
.....hugging bunnies since 1969
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The Dumpster's picture
i 2000+ points

Damn, Recto. Your comment was so testy I at first thought it had been written by Bunga!

Having spent 21 years as a school board attorney, however, I stand by my comments, and congratulate you, sir, on your ability to tergiversate.

Anonymous Coward's picture

We need more people like Stan, to make society a more open and accepting place. We're all with you
Stan !

babeagain's picture

You go Steve!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Fight for your rights. I feel the Chesterfild County School Administrators are singling you out perhaps because you were brave enough to challange thier "policy". I have witnessed numerous examples of this county picking and choosing which policies they will procecute. FIGHT!!!

shitwit's picture
k 500+ points

Absolutely shameful. Leave the poor man alone. Has anyone found a link with addresses or names of the school board members? Sorry if there is one and I'm just too sleep-deprived to notice it. I'd like to send my thoughts their way.


_______
Rock-n-roll! Poopy-poo!

Rock-n-roll! Poopy-poo!

Bunga Din's picture
j 1000+ points

This story just made the back page of our National Newspaper in Canada (a very popular reading area). As all you people know Canadians don't take this kind of stuff lying down, we stand up and fight to be the first to get that paper in the government approved blue recycling bin, carefully making sure that our papers are sorted according to type, should a mistake be made a small apology card from Hallmark is usually the best to keep those hard working Post Consumer Newsprint Handling Technicians happy.

As far as Stan goes, this is probably going to lead to a few art shows, maybe an appearance on Letterman or Leno and most likely a lawsuit that will scare the hell out of the county as this thing is now big news on the net. Usually an insurer will recommend cutting the losses rather than dragging something like this out.

I think that Stan was doing what a lot of people do, expressing himself and having fun, only he works for people who have no sense of humour. How many of us PoopReporters would be villified if our employer was aware of our alter ego on this site??? I would guess a few.

I think it's important to have decent teachers in school, I have a 14 year old in high school and I would not be troubled in the least to have an art teacher like this teaching her. He's a free spirit and this is something so lacking in todays education system. We are grinding kids up and expecting them to behave like automatons, these are some of the reasons education systems outside North America are producing some of the best students. They are encouraging them to find their space or place, not forcing them into a rigid mold to serve some provincial/state created test which awards regurgitation. My hope is Stan turns the tables on these jerks and makes them regret this assinine decision.

The Dumpster's picture
i 2000+ points

As a school board attorney, I can assure you that every decision is taken with an eye to a lawsuit. In this situation, a suit by the teacher would be a far less expensive proposition than would the series of negligent retention suits by parents/students which would be brought against the school from now on every time this guy looks at a kid the wrong way.

I know that nobody likes this decision, but I understand perfectly why the Board felt like it had to do what it did.

Dave's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content Moderatora 10000+ points - Super Pooperb 9000+ pointsc 8000+ pointsd 7000+ pointse 6000+ pointsf 5000+ pointsg 4000+ pointsh 3000+ pointsi 2000+ pointsj 1000+ pointsk 500+ pointsl 100+ pointsm 1+ points - Newb

But if parents don't want their kids to be warped by something they find on the internet, the solution isn't to fire the teacher -- it's for the parents to take responsibility for their kids. Any warping that has taken place (and, as I said before, in an era of South Park, the amount of probable warping is ZERO) took place off school grounds, where parents are in charge of their kids' fate.

The Dumpster's picture
i 2000+ points

Dave, I wouldn't argue with that at all. I'm just saying that this whole situation is a no-winner for the school board, because somebody is going to get mad whatever they do. The confusion in a lot of the comments above is between what is wrong and what is illegal. Many folks seem to be assuming that because the school board made a morally objectionable choice, it has therefore incurred legal liability. I am trying to point out that the two are not the same. It is perfectly fine for folks to call the school board every name in the book if they disagree with the morality of what it did, but, absent some breach of contract, I doubt very much if the termination was legally actionable.

I think a lot of the trouble with the legal system in America today is that very mindset, that wrong=illegal. As the old saying goes, "you can't legislate morality," and for the most part, you can't litigate it, either.

daphne's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardSite AdminComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatore 6000+ points

I wonder if he would have still been fired if his pictures didn't have "wang prints" on them. What do you think? Was it the butt print or the fact that his genitals made a print?

Would like to hear opinions....


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Mary Dailey's picture

Just because society has changed, it doesn't mean we have to accept everything. The guy can't paint without using his butt, balls, and penis? Why would anyone who teaches kids take a chance on posting a picture of himself in a thong? At some point you have to answer for your stupidity. I went all through life making choices and it wasn't too hard making the right ones.

The Dumpster's picture
i 2000+ points

Damn. Hermione has discovered PR at last!

daphne's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardSite AdminComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatore 6000+ points

How do you know they were right? Because they were the ones that kept you out of trouble? Some of the hardest right decisions I've made in my life were lots of trouble, but they were right for me. Besides, well-behaved women rarely make history. We all have our paths to take.


_______
.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

Bunga Din's picture
j 1000+ points

Mary, you ignorant misguided non-slut!

Teachers are not required after teaching hours to be the moral guide posts to our children, that is your job along with you husband Chad. If we start expecting everyone in a position dealing with children to be a paragon of virtue I'm afraid we will have no one left to man the daycare centers while you get your beehive done and Chad has his Oldsmobile waxed.

What sort of expectations then do you have for the mailman that your little Jimmy might wish to emulate, should he start refusing to deliver any mail wrapped in a brown manilla envelope with a box number as a return address? What about his barber Floyd the town drunk, are you now going to take away the solace of his quart of Nikoff Vodka just because Jimmy might some day want to style hair????

And what about the mayor of your town? Are you going to march into his office and ask for detailed expenses uncovering his six trips to the Barbados over the last eight months with his personal assistants Trixie, Charlene, Juanita, LaFwanda, Mercedes and Quentin and then demand an explanation so poor Jimmy can rest easy knowing the man in charge of your town is free of taint (actually....nevermind)??????

This is the sort of slippery slope we are on if we are going to dig into everyones personal life and ask for explanations about ever little detail, just the other day I was paying my connection for three bags of smack and I started thinking "Is LT gonna start asking me about why I got that bondage rack for the addition to my basement and how am I going to explain it away if he does?"

We live in a free society Madame and I think it's high time people like you realized that not everything is covered in pastel coloured Formica.

Over to you Jane.

Deja Poo's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ points

Damn Straight, BD. I'm with you. My work life is my work life and my personal life is nobody's business but my own. I can keep my life compartmentalized with the best of them, just like any professional can.

What difference does it make to the government? Why should they care whether or not I'm under the care of shrink, drink myself into a coma every night, can't seem to remember how much money I have in my checking account and have family living in the former Soviet Union? Why should anyone give a fuck that I sold reefer to school kids more than 30 years ago and was a member of the National Socialist White People's Party? I mean, they seem to think that just because the machines I work on handle classified material that they have some kind of need to know about all of the dirt on me for the last 15+ years.

The next time they ask me to take a poly, I'm going to tell them to stuff it and then point them to this post!

The nerve of some people.

Yo quiero Taco Bell.

daphne's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardSite AdminComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatore 6000+ points

Bunga, that post made me want to throw my underwear at you. Nice.


_______
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Bunga Din's picture
j 1000+ points

double post , wireless problem, please delete