Showing posts with label The Daily Reveille. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Daily Reveille. Show all posts

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Freedom of speech for me, but not for thee

Above is a thing that actually ran Wednesday in the college newspaper for which I wrote and edited more than three decades ago.

The headline: Free speech argument should not be used to justify hate speech. The headline soft-sold the column, actually.

Excuse me while I pick my jaw up off the floor. Obviously, The Daily Reveille at Louisiana State University ain't what it used to be.

Let me put it this way: I read Anjana Nair's column in the Reveille, but I'm having a hard time believing that a piece arguing against freedom of speech and the First Amendment -- and let's be clear, if you're against free speech, no matter how distasteful, you are against the First Amendment -- appeared in a newspaper that would not exist but for the linchpin of our Bill of Rights.

(Trust me. This is Louisiana we're talking about . . . and LSU. Without some serious constitutional badassery covering its 6, the Reveille likely wouldn't have made it past 1934. Actually, the Reveille almost didn't make it past 1934. Interesting story. Anjana Nair probably never heard about it.)

Milo Yiannopoulos
This . . . this because of Donald Trump, Republicans behaving badly and . . . and . . . Milo Yiannopoulos was coming to town! (Cue the panicked population of Tokyo fleeing from Godzilla.)

Apparently, Milo Whocaresopoulos is some sort of ragingly gay, alt-right media whore who specializes in Internet misbehavior and pissing progressives off. And he likes Trump.

And Trumpkins like him because all the right people really, really hate him. The latter group includes Anjana Nair.

So, allow me to throw some quotes at you from this opinion piece that I have a hard time believing actually ran in a newspaper at an institution allegedly devoted to unfettered inquiry and the pursuit of knowledge.

"I once thought I loved free speech. As someone involved in media, the First Amendment was my best friend. That is, until I faced the reality that people, like they do to all good things in the world, abuse it and use it as justification for reckless and hateful behavior."


"Walters says it is unreasonable to limit free speech just because someone is afraid of getting their feelings hurt. In the real world, he says, there are no safe spaces or trigger warnings. 
"Walters is partly right: To stop a message because it might offend someone is not a justification for censorship. What is justification, though, is the fact that the free expression of hateful ideas has led to an environment of tension between the groups who are perpetuating such speech and the groups who are targeted by it. This in turn leads to an atmosphere in which only the ones inflicting the harmful speech feel comfortable.
"Let’s be real: The only people who feel the need to defend their freedom of expression behind the First Amendment are those who are clearly misusing it as a platform to attack censorship in its entirety.
"Even Walters admits that there are limits to free speech, such as not being able to yell 'Fire!' in a movie theatre when there isn’t one. Why does that exception exist? Because it causes a sense of panic and fear when there’s no justified reason for it — just like hate speech."
"When the First Amendment was written, it couldn’t have accounted for Twitter battles and social media showdowns influencing human opinion and behavior. It couldn’t have foreseen the existence of people like Yiannopoulos and Trump, who force us to define what abusive speech is." 

END QUOTE. (Thank God.)

Oh, mercy me. Pass the smelling salts; Generation Y has the vapors.

Really? Loutishness is a modern construct unknown to our forefathers?


Come now. Public reprobates, demagogic invective and "hate speech" hardly were unknown in 1789.

In fact, by Miss Nair's standards, both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams should have been locked up for being mean in public, what with all the "hate speech" flying around during the campaign of 1800:
Negative campaigning in the United States can be traced back to John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Back in 1776, the dynamic duo combined powers to help claim America's independence, and they had nothing but love and respect for one another. But by 1800, party politics had so distanced the pair that, for the first and last time in U.S. history, a president found himself running against his VP.

Things got ugly fast. Jefferson's camp accused President Adams of having a "hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman." In return, Adams' men called Vice President Jefferson "a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father." As the slurs piled on, Adams was labeled a fool, a hypocrite, a criminal, and a tyrant, while Jefferson was branded a weakling, an atheist, a libertine, and a coward. Even Martha Washington succumbed to the propaganda, telling a clergyman that Jefferson was "one of the most detestable of mankind."

AND THEN Adams' people got around to l'affaire Sally Hemmings.

It may be a novel concept to those who cannot remember a time when "social media" didn't exist, but hateful people always have been quite effective at hounding the "vulnerable." Perhaps a bit more slowly than today, but effectively nonetheless.

The only difference today is that there seems to be a market for professional cranks like Milo Whateveropoulos to get onstage somewhere and say out loud what my generation's halfwits used to scribble in men's room stalls. Yet that so threatens our precious snowflakes on college campuses that they're willing to upend our entire constitutional order to stamp out societal angst.

Yeah, that should work out really well in reducing tension on campus.

The only conclusion I can draw from this column being published in an actual newspaper on an actual college campus is that today's morally preening hand-wringers stand as complete reprobates next to yesteryear's utter libertines. I think the following Oscar Wilde quotation is apt when considering the Trumpkins and Milo Whositsopoulos:
"I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself.”

COME TO think of it, it applies pretty well to this Reveille column, too.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The coach is dead

I was a 20-year-old student journalist at LSU, covering the latest outrage against the long-suffering student body of that august institution.

The athletic department had announced it would begin searching, at the gates of Tiger Stadium, football fans' purses and backpacks for Demon Rum.

And Demon Bourbon.

And Demon Vodka.

And Demon Beer.

The goal was to sober up the student body -- and everybody else -- a little bit in hopes of improving Tiger fans' demeanor at games.

MY JOB was to interview the athletic director, LSU coaching legend Paul Dietzel, about the new policy and come up with a front-page story for The Daily Reveille. As a newspaper reporter, my aim was to get a good story.

As a student, my opinion was that this smacked of an egregious violation of the Fourth Amendment.

As someone who was most appreciative when somebody passed the flask down the aisle so we could put a little zip in our ballgame Coca-Colas, I already was feeling a little dry. Remember, this is Louisiana we're talking about -- not Utah. God Almighty, not Utah.

On the one hand, I was going to have the lead story in the paper. On the other, I was going to meet the Tiger coaching legend, the man who had delivered the school (at that time) its only national championship of the modern era with the undefeated 1958 football team -- the man behind the iconic Go team, White team and the mighty Chinese Bandits defense specialists -- who also happened to be, in this instance, The Enemy.

The Man.

The second coming of Carrie Nation.

SO I GO in there for the interview, I shake the legendary Enemy's hand, sit down on the other side of the desk and we start to talk. It was the best kind of interview . . . a real conversation. Coach Dietzel treated this wet-behind-the-ears reporter with the utmost respect, to the point where it was like solving all the problems of the world with your favorite uncle.

He explained the policy, the reasoning behind it, and then he started asking me questions -- questions about what students were thinking 20-odd years after he had engraved his name onto Tiger fans' souls, forever and ever, amen.

Dietzel was gracious, down to earth and funny. He was a true gentleman. Humble, even. And he allowed that his favorite student-section cheer was the one reserved for hated Alabama -- "Around the bowl and down the hole! Roll, Tide, roll!"

That one really cracked him up.

If I've ever had a more enjoyable interview with someone, I can't remember when, or with whom, it was. I don't know that Coach changed my mind about the Tiger Stadium War on Fun . . . er, Booze, but he did win my respect, and he taught me something about honorable people and honest differences of opinion.

THOUSANDS upon thousands of words will be written in Tigerland -- and across the sports universe -- about Paul Dietzel on the sad occasion of his death today. The vast majority will be about his tenure as coach, and later, AD, and his magical team that conquered all of college football 55 years ago. Some will be reserved for how he became an accomplished watercolor artist later in life. A few might touch on his World War II days as a B-29 crewman in the Pacific theater.

But Coach's greatest accomplishments -- gentleman, husband of 69 years, father, good man -- get short shrift. Those are the ones I'm thinking about right now. Those accomplishments and the graciousness and good humor he showed this young-punk reporter back in 1981.

Godspeed and God bless, Coach. You will be missed tremendously.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What's next? The beer issue?

Despite having been one once, I find that college kids have come to annoy me.

For one thing, they keep reinventing the wheel, then wonder how humanity ever got along before their brilliance burst forth from the primordial muck. Take my old college newspaper, for example --
though you might wish to wear latex gloves when you do. Just in case.

Today's Daily Reveille at LSU is "The Sex Issue." Basically, this is just an excuse for the paper's male staffers to get their big heads and little heads on the same page . . . and get paid for it. Likewise, it's a way for female editors to think, talk and write about sex without some male-chauvinist hypocrite calling them sluts.

How's that for edgy, kids? And I didn't have to say "penis" once . . .
well, crap.

Mostly, though, the stunningly unoriginal sex issue just rehashes stuff most college kids already know, instead of seeking out stuff they don't.
Like today's news, for example. Whoever fancied himself worldly, and just a little naughty, after writing a kick-ass story on university budget cuts?

Nobody, that's who.

STILL . . . a sex issue? Really? That might have been edgy in 1975 -- or even 1981. But now? Yeah, what a news flash: "F***ing is fun. Everybody does it. But you might get the clap. Film at 11."

Let's see what's in this thing. Maybe there are some penetrating articles -- Get it? Penetrating? Wink wink, nudge nudge -- in there about the emotional toll of the hook-up culture, or how to successfully transition from "playa" to marriage and parenthood. Maybe there's something in there about being a married student . . . or navigating the college scene as a single parent.

Maybe it's even edgier than I thought, and there's an article in there about. . . . An article in there about -- Can you say this in the newspaper? On the Internets? What the hell, I'm going for it . . . an article on chastity.

There. I said it. I am so cutting f***in' edge. I da man.

ANYWAY, on to Page 2 of the Reveille's special report on poontang. There, one finds a roundup of famous sex scandals, but not even the best ones. How flaccid of them.

Moving right along:
* Page 3 -- Apparently, the university ranks in the top 50 in sexual health. "LSU is getting it up in the rankings," says the article's lede.

Wow. Just wow. "Getting it up" . . .
get it? Make sure you put that one in the clips you send to prospective employers, kid.

* Page 4 -- Did you know the social acceptance of sex toys is on the rise? And that some foods are aphrodisiacs?

Money quote: "My mom wouldn't let us eat kiwis because they make you horny."
Dadgum, I thought that was baloney what did that.

* Page 5 -- Sexy campus sports figures, with photos. In a shocking development, there are two female gymnasts in the pictorial. Also . . . people think differently about sex in other cultures -- whoa!

Money quote:
"I don't like this concept of dating here. Back home, we just have sex and see what happens from there." Yeah, she's from France.

* Page 6 -- Louisiana law bans sex offenders from social-networking websites. Interracial marriage is more common nowadays.

* Page 7 -- "The Daily Reveille's top 10 songs for getting it on." Also, there's a story about how the Centers for Disease Control recommends that males get the HPV vaccine. By the entertainment writer.

Maybe the male HPV shot is just in case you stumble across one of the top "getting it on" songs and then gotta do what you gotta do.

* Pages 8 and 9 -- The measure of a man. Yes, that concerns what you think it does. Also, the editor wants to "talk about sex, baby." And then . . . just see the picture at right.

Meanwhile, someone's contemplating the sexiest ways to die, and he cites real-life tales of death by diddling among the rich and famous. Or infamous, as the case may be. The phrase "boner pill" was written. It's one of the least distasteful things in the piece.

Speaking of "boner pills," there's a cartoon about a dead man, with one woman, as she gazes upon the sheet-covered corpse, telling another "Your husband sure died a happy man!" And, by God, won't someone just mandate the HPV vaccine for everybody?

* Page 11 -- Did you know a college student can get free or cheap condoms around campus? No word on how to get free or cheap "boner pills." Damn.
AND THAT pretty much does it for the not-so-original, yet "stimulating" sex edition of my old college paper. I don't know why we didn't think of that 30 years ago.

Well, truth be told, we probably did. We also probably thought that we might have better things to cover than the obvious and better journalistic hills to die on than Mount Nookie.

There was one curious thing on the back page of the sex Reveille, though. KLSU, the campus FM station, took out a half-page ad for its Thanksgiving turducken giveaway. I would have though they'd go for the obvious sex-edition tie-in and give away a carton of cigarettes.

For when you're done reading. Or something.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Before it was retro, this once was me

There are places I'll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better

Some have gone and some remain
All t
hese places had their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved the
m all

But of all these friends and lovers
is no one compares with you
these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection

For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

Though I know I'll never lose aff
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more
In my life I love you more

-- The Beatles
(John Lennon/Paul McCartney)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Help! Help! They're being repressed!

I am one of those Catholics who believes in God, not cultural self-identification.

I believe that God exercises a "preferential option for the poor." I believe that's in the Bible -- somewhere toward the back.

I believe that how we govern ourselves, and how our governing structures implement a basic vision of social justice, is a direct reflection on a democracy's citizenry, which grants consent to its agents.

I believe that God does not sleep, that nations come under judgment and that we are in big, big trouble.

I ALSO BELIEVE that Louisiana -- my home state -- is working hard to sink from mere banana republicanism to fascistic banana republicanism, and that this stinking turd some self-righteous collegiate twerp left on the opinion pages of LSU's student newspaper is Exhibit A. From the soiled July 28 edition of my old stomping grounds, The Daily Reveille:
Obama and the Democrats love to paint a picture of the "poor" as innocent people "just trying to stretch every dollar as far as it will go."

I wonder how many Democrats have ever been to a Third World country to see what poor really means. For two weeks I stayed with a family in Costa Rica who had no air conditioning, no hot water, no washer or dryer, and the roof of the house was raised above the walls so that air could circulate in and out. And yet they washed all my clothes, gave me meals every day and never complained about it.

There are definitely some Americans who are truly needy, but it would be ridiculous to think the 47 percent of Americans not paying federal income tax are eating food out of dumpsters.

It's sickening to hear Obama and the Democrats portray the poor as blameless people in dire need of government help when our poor live lives of luxury in comparison to the poor of other countries.

It isn't the rich who are paying less than their fair share in taxes. To the contrary, they're paying much more than everyone else. It's America's poor who get free health care and new SUVs who aren't sharing the sacrifice.

And if we don't start taxing the rich, Obama wants to withhold Social Security checks. How about the government withholds welfare checks from the "poor" instead of Social Security to those who have actually paid their fair share?

It's about time the so-called poor Americans share the sacrifice and pay their fair share of taxes.

BACK IN MY DAY, the "f*** the poor" crowd complained about "welfare Cadillacs" and ghetto dwellers buying bottles of Mad Dog and Colt 45 tall boys with food stamps. Now, apparently, it's "free health care" and "new SUVs" that are the problem.

My assumption, though, is that the faces behind the stereotype are still brown ones.

What I don't understand is why the smug Reveille columnist, Austin Casey, didn't aim lower for whom he considers real poor people. Why not starving Somalians instead of Costa Rican peasants?

That could have made him feel even better -- or worse, depending -- about how rich America's poor are in the grand scheme of things. After all, it doesn't look quite so bad that the richest 1 percent of Americans controls 40 percent of its wealth and takes home a fourth of its annual income if we get to put quotation marks around our poor.

Sorry, make that "poor."

OF COURSE, the whole construct of inequality in the United States is unique to "socialists" like . . . well, me. I actually give a rat's ass about stuff like this. Austin Casey and the rest of Tea Party America don't.

When Austin Casey encountered the poor of Costa Rica, they sheltered him, fed him and wished him well. When Austin Casey encounters the poor -- sorry, "poor" -- of America, he pouts, stamps his feet and screams "Help! Help! I'm being repressed!"

Tea Party America is not the land of e pluribus unum -- out of many, one. Instead, it is the land of ad te sorbet -- it sucks to be you.

Jesus has an opinion on that. It's in the Bible -- somewhere toward the back.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Reporter would've been 'libel' to flunk

Libel law: Love it, learn it, live it.

I realize I am a middle-aged fossil who doesn't know anything. About anything. Anymore. But I do remember -- back when dinosaurs roamed the earth alongside my good friends Adam and Eve (YHWH rest their souls) -- taking Journalism 2151 at Louisiana State.

And I do know that some young whippersnappers today at my old college newspaper would have flunked.

I guess the word never filtered down to The Daily Reveille this semester that we have, in this country, something called "the right to a fair trial" and "the presumption of innocence." That's because -- based just on what campus cops say was a victim ID and a "tip" -- a Reveille reporter and headline writer just convicted some student of simple robbery.

THEY'D BETTER hope the guy gets convicted in a court of law . . . in addition to the pages of the campus daily.

Basically, a suspect can be arrested "in the attack of a student," "in connection with the attack of a student," "for the alleged attack of a student," "on suspicion of robbery in the attack of a student," "on counts of simple robbery in the attack of a student" . . . or he merely might now call jail his new home, "suspected in an attack on" the 18-year-old female student.

But never is someone who still presumably possesses the presumption of innocence "arrested for the attack of a student near the Parade Ground on Saturday."

That's just wrong.

And Bob Sheldon, long-ago drill sergeant of the J 2151 army, would have kicked certain news-writing and copy-editing scofflaws' asses to Kingdom Come. And back. Before flunking them.

Friday, February 26, 2010

A modern Stone Age media?

This is college newspapering. OK . . . was college newspapering, circa the fall of 1981.

It was analog and hard copy. As were we all back then at The Daily Reveille, premier news source for Louisiana State University.

What we have here are some photos I shot when I was a reporter there. They called me "Scoop" back then. No . . . really.

Well, Howard here (at right) looks like he's about to call me something else entirely. It's probably because I liked to do to deadlines back then what the Army liked to do to Iraqis at Abu Ghraib.

But that's not important now.

WHAT'S IMPORTANT is that these scenes from almost 29 years ago are glimpses into an era long gone, both on the campuses of larger universities and in the newsrooms of America's barely surviving newspapers.

There's a Facebook group devoted to the "Slow Media Movement." This right here -- this glimpse of something three decades past -- was about as slow-media as you can get. The news got to us at the speed of 66 words per minute on the wire and, locally, however fast a reporter could get back to the office to write something up for the morning paper.

No Internet. A few really, really primitive VDTs -- video display terminals. Today, we'd call them . . . actually, we wouldn't call them at all. They're obsolete.

They were glorified word processors with dumb terminals hooked up to a backshop rack filled with primitive computer hardware, which in turn connected to a typesetter.

But let's zoom in on part of that picture above. Let's zip past Howard and take a look at what the lovely, talented and very, very Greek (in the Izod and pledge-pin sense of the word) Carol is checking out.

THAT, my peeps, is a teletype machine. It brought us the world, via The Associated Press, at the aforementioned 66 words per minute.

No Web, no Twitter, no mobile news alert on your smart phone. Back then, you just had smart reporters who kept plenty of change on hand for plugging the nearest pay phone.

And the smartest reporters knew where the nearest pay phone was at all times and -- if the competition was around -- already had pocketed the mouthpiece.

Think of it. All the news fit to print trickling at a not-so-blistering 66 wpm into a news organization so primitive as to be effectively deaf, dumb and blind by today's standards.

THIS IS HOW that looked back then:

HERE'S SOMETHING for us to consider. By all standards of technological progress, all forms of media are immeasurably more capable and "plugged in" than they were in 1981. In many cases, college newspapers today have technological capabilities big-city newspapers couldn't have dreamed of more than two years before Michael Jackson did his first "moonwalk."

And college radio stations -- not to mention local commercial stations -- now sport facilities that would have been the envy of the networks three decades ago.

But that's not important now, either.

WHAT'S IMPORTANT is whether you're orders of magnitude better informed today than people were in 1981. This doesn't mean having a head stuffed with useless trivia, celebrity gossip and "Mafia Wars" and "Farmville" strategies.

It means this: Do you better understand the forces shaping your civic life -- better grasp the newsworthy events swirling around us, and hear of them appreciably sooner -- than you would have in 1981?

Has the quantity and quality of the information you receive -- the stuff you really, really need to know -- increased at anything approximating the rate at which information technology has advanced since the days of Walter Cronkite's "That's the way it is" and a brand-new IBM gizmo called the "PC"?

If not, why not?

THE CAPABILITY is there. Virtual mountains of information are a mouse click away.

Are you taking full advantage, however? Can you fully? And can you still get the news you need to know about where you live?

How is this possible when profit-challenged newspapers -- and radio and TV stations -- are shedding newsgatherers and editors at an alarming rate? What has replaced the "old media"? Has anything replaced the "old media" where you are?

If so, is it as good as what you've lost?

Is this an information revolution, or is it just sound and fury signifying . . . nothing?

Me, I'm still waiting to hear those five bells -- BULLETIN! -- on the AP teletype. I'll let you know what the big news is.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

We were journalists once, and young

There are many ways to tell our stories . . . and the stories of others like us.

For me, this is a new way of doing what I've been doing for most of my life. In other words, video is not my native language.

"Tough," says the new-media universe. Learn some new languages.

OK, I think I will. And, in a roundabout manner, that's one of the points of this video -- the awful costs of a tragic failure of imagination . . . and adaptation.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The most ironic website comment ever

My old college newspaper, The Daily Reveille at Louisiana State, has just captured first-place in the ongoing race for the most ironic comment-box posting ever.

IT COMES amid the feedback to's story on the Tigers' crushing 31-30, last-minute loss to Arkansas on Friday:
Les needs to issue IQ tests before he signs players to a scholarship. The moronic penalties from stupid, undisciplined players is what cost LSU this game. LSU players have made dumb choices all year. If they can't play under control maybe we need a coaching change. I've backed Miles ever since he came to LSU, but consoling a player who makes a personal foul when the next down would have been 4th from deep in their territory shows me there are no consequences for their actions. Players don't have respect for Miles any longer and fans are quickly losing their respect for players who can't control their emotions.
AN LSU FAN left that comment. An. LSU. Fan. Left. That. Comment.

LSU fans "are quickly losing their respect for players who can't control their emotions." I cannot adequately express to you how rich that is.

Oh, Lordy. That is so rich that one bite of that baloney sandwich would give an anorexic a real lard-ass problem.

I wonder how Tiger fans might express that disappointment and lack of respect? By tumping over the team bus?

Lord God Almighty!

Of course, at this writing, the lead comment on that Reveille story goes like this:

This comes down to the pure moral difference between white and black people. These blacks on the football team have no discipline and no moral compass. They're a bunch of ghetto thugs who don't know how to behave. I'd rather have an LSU team with great character that loses games with integrity than even having this gang of thugs winning a title.
SOMEWHERE IN LOUISIANA, it's always 1959.

Or, as my wife said after I told her about that comment, "I'm never going down there again." Frankly, I'm half inclined to follow her lead.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Snopes is as Snopes tries to justify

From the comments on the white riot preceding Louisiana State home football games:

At least we dont [sic] riot and kill people like Euro-trash soccer fans. Everything that goes on is in good fun. No one is forced to come out and experiance [sic] SEC football.
OH, WELL . . . that's different, then. Assault, sexual assault, indecent exposure, public drunkenness and disorderly conduct all "in good fun" is so much better than your run-of-the-mill assault, sexual assault, indecent exposure, public drunkenness and disorderly conduct.

Tonight, I think I'll call Mrs. Favog a c*** and a bitch -- all in good fun, of course. Then, I expect her to respond -- in equally good fun -- by smashing a cast-iron skillet into my cranium. That would precede her channeling the Ginsu-y spirit of Lorena Bobbitt.

All, once again, "in good fun." Just like at LSU.

IF ONLY Adolf Hitler had had more LSU football fans on his general staff, perhaps the world could have seen the Holocaust in a much more benevolent light. Because, frankly, there isn't any foolishness -- or worse -- these folks can't justify.

Or, at least, whose justification they won't give the ol' college try.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dear LSU: Take out the (white) trash

Click on the frat boy's butt for video.

I wonder what Noël Coward -- famous for noting "Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun" -- would have made of Saturday nights in Tiger Stadium?

If he had happened upon the LSU gridiron scene today (or, really, any time in the last 40 years), bon mots about how "white trash and drunken men come out on a football night" would have been flowing from his pen.

It's come to this. A state known for feeding on the bottom of every index of societal success manages to find world-class acclaim in the field of loutish behavior by sports fans.

Even the English football hooligans are starting to get nervous.

THE LATEST DOCUMENTATION of some very, very bad behavior on the part of Tiger fans comes from . . . Louisiana State's student newspaper (and my old stomping grounds), The Daily Reveille. The student paper did quite an ingenious thing -- two female staffers went tailgating Nov. 8 for the Alabama game in Baton Rouge.

With a video camera.

Dressed as Crimson Tide fans.

What they could show on a website not run by Larry Flynt, Al Goldstein or Hugh Hefner is not a pretty sight. What they couldn't show was exponentially worse.

But one of the brave -- and calling her "brave" isn't just whistlin' "Dixie" here -- student journalists who posed as 'Bama fans did write about it in a Reveille editorial Nov. 11. Editorial board member Gerri Sax didn't shy away from recounting some of the language she was subjected to, either.

I shall. When you see asterisks in this excerpt, assume the worst:

The final video of our experiences on is an accurate depiction of what we encountered, but it was only the tip of the iceberg. Here are a few things we couldn’t fit in the video.

Vulgar language has never really bothered me, and the incessant “Tiger-baiting” and “Around the bowl and down the hole, Roll Tide, Roll” mocking were the least of my worries.

Almost every tailgate spot we visited greeted us with the same expressions. The women called us “bitches,” and the men called us “c***s” followed by the traditional “Rip. Rip. Rip. Rap. Rap. Rap. You ‘Bama girls got the clap, clap, clap!” cheer.

And if that wasn’t enough, the amount of times we were spit on also struck a nerve.

Spitting on someone is one of the most degrading things a human being can do to another.

Verbal abuse is powerful, but when things get physical, that’s a little more effective.

The most significant physical encounters were from male Tiger fans. And they all involved some kind of inappropriate gestures. We were groped and squeezed by just about every guy we interviewed.

Not only did things get physical for us personally, our camera equipment also has some bruises as well. I can’t even count the number of times a Tiger fan ran up to the camera and shouted expletives or just yelled at the lens.

LET'S SEE. In a pregame afternoon and evening of seeing "how the other half lives," the two young ladies from the Reveille were witness to -- or victim of -- disturbing the peace, assault, public drunkenness, drunk and disorderly conduct, terroristic threats, lewd conduct and sexual assault. And I may have missed a few.

That's entertainment.

That's also the kind of behavior Louisiana's "flagship" university puts up with -- on its property, in its name, by its students and football fans. It's particularly disheartening to see a state's "best and brightest" reveling in acting like anything but.

Note to LSU's Greek community: Dressing like preppies for the big game is no prophylactic against "common" if you get drunk, become even more obnoxious than usual, then proceed to act like . . . white trash. Snopes is as Snopes does.

And if "family night at the Snopeses" is what visitors to a major state university can expect amid its "stately oaks and broad magnolias," the scene inside the halls they shade must be something less than inspiring these days. You are what you tolerate. Six or seven Saturdays every autumn, the top university in Louisiana tolerates behavior that will land you in jail in Nebraska.

Or in Louisiana, if you do it at the mall, instead of on the LSU campus.

THIS KIND of loutish, criminal foolishness not only is met with grudging acceptance in Louisiana -- in the shadow of what passes for an ivory tower in the Gret Stet -- it's become a perverse source of pride. It's the pride of the ignorant redneck who knows he's doomed to lose at schoolin', and at work, and pretty much at life, but is satisfied if he can win the fistfight.

It's likewise the pride of the 'hood, where hopelessness and death is to be accepted, and even embraced . . . but never, ever "disrespect."

But respect cannot be gained at the point of a gun. Or by a right cross to the eye.

Or by a bunch of foul-mouthed drunks who think a good time on a Saturday night is to go out in public and let their Id hang out. Among other things.

And woe unto the school -- or the state -- of which this is the best that can be expected when company comes calling, because you're making a horrible first (second, third and fourth) impression. That, people don't easily forget.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Masters of the Internets

I wish we had the Internets when I was at Louisiana State, working on The Daily Reveille. Instead, we had four much-fought-over (and astoundingly primitive by contemporary standards) computer terminals.

What we had more of was ancient manual typewriters and yellow newsprint to type on. Oh yeah . . . and a slow-speed Associated Press teletype machine.

ANYWAY, the young'uns have the Internets nowadays, and it would appear that my old paper is mastering its (their?) use. I wish the Omaha World-Herald could say the same.

Here's the Reveille's award-winning tale,
from the pages of The (Baton Rouge) Advocate:
The Daily Reveille Web site,, won a 2008 Eppy Award from Editor & Publisher magazine Thursday as the nation’s best collegiate Web site, said James E. Shelledy, a professor at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication.

The other two finalists were the student news Web sites at the University of Arizona and the University of Indiana, he said in an e-mail message.

Reveille Editor Justin Fritscher, of Mandeville, and Managing Editor Kyle Whitfield, of Metairie, oversaw the push this year to add breaking news and video to the Web site’s content mix, Shelledy said.
ABOVE . . . us, at the Reveille, in 1981. I think we may have been drinking. Ah, college. . . .

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

No roomah in the ummah . . . alhamdulillah

The trouble with Islam is that an infidel just can't catch a break.

If you trash the Prophet and his followers, you're going to catch hell.
If you compliment a Muslim when she makes a valid point, then point out the commonalities with the Catholic Church's theology of the body, you are called weird.

And when you leave a comment on Tokyo
Cairo Rose's blog to ask what's so weird about standard Catholic theology and cultural criticism . . .

The Mighty Favog Says:
May 6th, 2008 at 1:45 am

lol you’ve been edited. no anti-Islamic sediment on my blog. I had enough of that on the daily reveille. I can actually CONTROL comments here. you said somethign about wahhabis, etc. yeah not here go find someone else to spam

- Shirien

p.s. i also edited your URL, no music here either K? Thaaanks
NOW, I FULLY EXPECT that my response to being mendaciously tarred as "anti-Islamic" for politely asking some questions (and restating the Catholic position which seemingly agrees with the Muslim take on modesty) will be short-lived in Shirien Elamawy's (her real name) dawahland.

So, I'm posting it here . . . for posterity:

The Mighty Favog Says:
May 6th, 2008 at 6:02 am
Excuse me, but what was anti-Islamic about asking questions? Or are you incapable of defending your assertions . . . and your faith?

An honest question deserves an honest answer. Responding to an honest question — and an attempt at some form of dialogue — with disingenuous statements and rank hostility is both dishonorable and doesn’t exactly cover Islam in glory.

In other words, child, it would appear that you can dish it out, but you can’t take it. It likewise would appear that would be the modus operandi of your faith as well — if you are a truly representative witness to it.

Furthermore, if you are not Wahhabi (the no-music thing, I seem to remember, is a Wahhabi thing), what are you? I know not all stripes of Islam are anti-music, what others besides the Wahhabi movement among Sunnis are?

Or is asking that inherently anti-Muslim?

In the peace of Issa the Christ.

OH . . . AND WHILE I'm thinking of it, would you like to hear the story of how Ms. Elamawy came to be a columnist for The Daily Reveille and the explicit purpose of her column?

I knew that you would.

Again, straight from the ummah's mouth:

Anyway, fast-forwarding to the end of my freshman year at LSU. Everyone read and still reads The Daily Reveille on campus everyday. One day, I picked up the paper and saw a cartoon drawn on the op-ed page that not only caught my attention, it infuriated me. This wasn’t the first time The Daily Reveille printed something bigoted and completely offensive to Muslims. I decided to head over to the newsroom to have a little talk with the cartoonist but to my dismay he wasn’t there. Surely, I wasn’t going to leave without complaining. After all, I had to defend Islam. And I’m a girl, complaining is in our nature.

So, I requested to speak to the editor-in-chief at the time. It turned out I wasn’t the only one offended by a cartoon which depicted the Iranian President sitting at a laundry mat waiting for his brain to be finished being “washed” with “Quran Detergent;” other people had apparently been complaining all day.

After complaining about how unacceptable it was for him to print the cartoon, he sincerely apologized and told me he “wants to make sure that it doesn’t happen again in the future,” even though he was graduating only week later. He told me that at that very moment they were holding a forum for people who wanted to apply for being on the opinon staff for the next semester. He highly recommended I apply for a position after knowing I was a mass communication major. Subhanallah, it really was the Qadr of Allah that I went to complain at that very moment, because next thing I knew he led me into the room in which I was to apply. And I did. And so did about 100 other people who wanted one of 12 spots.

Anyway, I applied, got called for an interview and then alhamdulillah I got the job. And that started my work in mass dawah. Which wallahi has been such a blessing from the very beginning. However, you have to have a strong heart when speaking the truth about Islam. Don’t sugar coat things, don’t fall under the pressure of those around you.

Wallahi I can’t tell you all how many times I got people saying “Write about something else!” and subhanallah for a brief moment you think about it… then you realize that you are doing this purely for the sake of Allah and I figured if they fire me for not wanting to write about anything other than Islam, then so be it. But they actually loved the readers I would bring and the hits I would bring to the website too, alhamdulillah.
I HAVE just a single question.

If I were to return to LSU as a grad student, could I get a regular column in the Reveille for the explicit purpose of Catholic evangelization? No, I don't want to be just the token non-traditional student who's a "religious nut" but writes about all kinds of stuff.

What I want is the deal Ms. Elamawy got. I want a column "speaking the truth about Catholicism and the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Don’t sugar coat things, don’t fall under the pressure of those around you."

That's the deal I want. Fair is fair. Because I would be doing it purely for the sake of Issa the Christ, alhamdulillah.