Thursday, March 25, 2004

Misconceptions About My Place in the Universe

March 25, 2004

I usually prefer to use my e-mail account to reply to my readers instead of my actual column, but the number of responses I've received to last week's column and the common misconception contained in so very many of them have led me to use this week's column to explain something to all of you: I am not a journalist.

Oh, sure, I'm bound by the rules of libel and "decency," but when you get down to it, I write an opinion column. I'm not here to present all sides, or be unbiased, or even inform my readers of what's going on; anyone can turn on the news or search the internet for the information I bring you when I write about the big wide world. I'm here to speak my mind, and anyone who thinks that constitutes "poor journalism" misunderstands the reason I write this column in the first place.

I said a lot of mean, rude things about Dustin Floyd (all of which are completely true), and I've been chastised by several of you (from both sides) for so attacking him. Many have pointed out that I may well be doing harm to Mindy McConnell's cause by publishing such a tirade, and I'd point out in response that I don't represent Mindy or her campaign; I represent me.

So, Constant Reader, in the future please keep this in mind: I don't write this column to tell you how things are, I write it to tell you how I think they ought to be. I'm not a journalist, I'm just loud, opinionated, and verbose enough to warrant my own screaming space.

Hey, congratulations to Mindy and Zach! By the time you read this, they should have won already! It's the same old story at

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Censorship & Stupidity

March 16, 2004

I hate Janet Jackson's boob. Thanks to one measly nipple broadcast into thousands of wholesome American homes and millions of homes belonging to the rest of us, the GOP has seen fit to attempt the enactment of some more stupidness. Rep. Fred Upton's Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004, which steeply raises the fines for violating decency standards for both broadcasters and performers from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars, passed in the House recently by a whopping 391-22, heavily backed by the Bush administration. The wording is vague, the purpose unclear and the reactionism so thick you can smell it. Write your senator and ask him or her to vote no on bill S. 2056.

That out of the way, I must protrude my proboscis into local matters, namely the thus far relatively quiet SGA presidential race betwixt Mindy McConnell and Dustin Floyd. Mindy is a nice girl with a heart of gold who's been in several of my classes and somehow managed to stay on top of three semesters of Latin that left me panting in the corner, but what I want to talk about this week is what an idiot this Dustin Floyd guy is, and how I would urge you to vote for whatever the alternative to this self-serving hate-monger might be, even if it's a dead koala that's been packed into a fire extinguisher.

I don't imagine too many of you remember the race between Stacy Cosby and Floyd a couple of years back, but that got rather ugly, with ol' Dustin attacking the Scholars' College and throwing around words like "commie" in the Editorial section of this very student paper. He accused those of us who cared to point out his obvious inadequacies of being "flower-eating hippies."

So, in addition to fighting censorship, I also come to encourage fighting stupidity. Dustin Floyd wants the presidency for his sixth year as an undergraduate at NSU, a move I wouldn't take seriously from anyone I wasn't so sure was so clueless. Vote for Mindy McConnell. Or a lamp post. But not Dustin.

By the way, Mindy wouldn't comment on what a scumbag Dustin is; she's smart enough to avoid an open war of rude words in a public forum immediately before an election, unlike some Young Republicans I (Dustin) won't (Floyd) mention.

You know the drill.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Most of Us Shouldn't Be Here

March 11, 2004

Higher education is not for everyone. This is an idea that is losing popularity these days, and people increasingly believe that everyone has the right to at least some public financial aid with college.

Now, I want to say right at the outset that I have no problem with financial aid whatsoever; I receive TOPS, and it's a large part of the reason I'm still in-state. Most of us, though, are here for the wrong reasons.

There's a belief that employers have a preference for college graduates in the workplace, but a lot of college grads end up in positions that have very little to do with their degrees. The average graduate paper-pusher in a corporate office learns the argot and customs of the business world by being there, and the specifics of the paperwork are not something taught in NSU's Microsoft Contract Processing 101.

To all the Liberal Arts, English and Psychology majors out there, what are you really going to do with your degree? Do you feel like it's going to make you better as a person? Are you enjoying your time here? How many of the other applicants will have the same degree? A better degree? We've become tied up in measuring things exclusively in the terms of the bureaucracy rather than looking at the merits the bureaucracy was designed to foster.

Graduate school is even beginning to lose its luster in the face of Ph.D.s of Underwater Basket Weaving and Masters of Drunken Boxing. So in the face of these dismal facts, why am I here? Because law school won't take me without a bachelor's. So you see why I'm somewhat annoyed with the emphasis on higher education: it doesn't really mean much anymore, and it's getting between me and actually studying a trade. College has become a party culture, a symbol of young adulthood, adventure, freedom, the whole nine yards of mid-life crisis retrospection, and it's just assumed on both sides of the hiring fence that the average college graduate is more prepared for the workplace than the average non-grad.

If you think you should be here, e-mail me at