Cute, Cuddly, and Remarkably

So, about that fuss up at CSU: when I saw the story about the editorial at the Rocky Mountain Collegian that read “Taser this...fuck Bush!”, I found myself laughing. Not at the sentiment, but at the immature s who thought that they were making some sort of a meaningful statement by pulling together Taser Boy ("Don’t Tase me, Bro!") with a harsh obscenity aimed at President Bush. I don’t expect much from college “journalists”, so I had a hard time understanding the furor.

Honestly, aside from the disconnect (What does Taser Boy have to do with Bush? Do those two incidents really go well together?) and the lack of meaningful message, I just wondered what was the point of being upset? It was just some s being cute and trying to shock us with naughty language. Well, if they find that shocking, they should hear me talking about Michael Moore at one of the Blogger Bashes. Big, bad, scary language just doesn’t bother me much, especially when it can’t be bothered to be backed by a coherent point.

But they got what they wanted: lots of attention and a chance at martyr status. Instead of looking at them and saying, rationally, “Boy, those guys aren’t even close to being ready for a real job,” now they get to play out their fantasies of suffering for their ill-communicated beliefs. Seriously, everybody wants to be a hero, and being persecuted by the Evil Right Wing Conspiracy is more than enough to make these ren feel like heroes.

There is some funny left in the story, though. When I read Bill Scanlon’s piece in CU’s Daily Camera about CSU College Republicans calling for Collegian Editor in Chief David McSwane to be fired, I came across this gem in support of McSwane.

Yes, Ms. Martin, this is the first time that college students across the nation have been talking about freedom of speech. Most of them have never given freedom of speech a spare thought before this controversy.

Aren’t they just so cute?

I was reading Q this week and came across a letter to the editor defending the gargantuan carbon footprint stomped down by the bands at the Live Earth concerts. His point was that (and I’m working from memory here, so forgive the imprecision) sure those bands were putting out far more carbon than the normal human does, but that they were forgiven for raising consciousness of the evils of global warming. Forgive me for thinking that the defender didn’t have an idea of the impressive scale by which the average band outstripped the typical concert goer in greenhouse gas producing fun that day, but is there a person in any developing nation who needed their conscious mind tweaked to be reminded of the global warming debate? That’s like reminding the typical person to breathe: not really an important issue.

Or, it’s like encouraging a college student to think about free speech: it’s probably crossed his or her mind before. Honest. McSwane agrees with her assessment, though.

So, in sum, saying something that made little sense, had no actionable agenda, didn’t really argue a point, and wouldn’t qualify as journalism pretty much anywhere else was his solution to starting a debate on campus that probably didn’t need much prodding at all.

Anyhow, I could care less if McSwane is fired or not. He certainly wasn’t doing his job well (or, at least, I would hope that he was judged on how well his writers communicated meaningful thoughts rather than how well they drummed up controversy), but he does show the activist, progressive left in a wonderfully immature light. Keep it up, buddy, America sometimes needs to be reminded just how useless that political fringe can be.

Others might have a different view, though. The editorial has already cost the paper ad contracts and forced the paper to lay off staff--a reminder that (apologies to the World Police) free speech isn’t free.

If McSwane should be fired, it shouldn’t be over the exercise of free speech, it should be over the exercise of exceptionally poor judgment. His decision put the paper in a bad light, hurt daily operations, and achieved what precisely? On the face of things, it seems that McSwane is more than happy to sacrifice professionalism, the paper’s reputation, and the jobs of others to secure his own, personal martyrdom. Good show!