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Grow Up Kent State Mag Staff –Cagle

June 2011

Bits and Pieces

Ah, there is nothing quite as pious as a college student who uses those precious moments at school not spent inebriated or asleep to rail against social injustice. Their voices are loud, their beliefs misguided and the facts, well, they're usually inaccurate.

The students at Kent State were up in arms just as the spring semester and scholastic year came to a plodding halt. Well, some of them were. The staff at Fusion magazine, the school's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) publication, were apparently angry and frustrated that a trio of printers refused to print their spring edition due to the use of language and a rather graphic image of a student wearing a leotard, leaving nothing to the imagination.

The student newspaper, Campus Progress, attempted to portray the request by the three printers to adjust content as censorship and homophobia (actually, one of the three printers couldn't schedule the job in time for Fusion). The Progress also quoted the executive director of the Student Law Press Center as saying that while printers are allowed to have any standards they want, it would be a "very anomalous policy in the publishing business."

That's an interesting take on the matter. The great fictional character Ed Earl, from "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," gives us this gem that seems to aptly sum up the aforementioned situation: "Boys, I got myself a pretty good bullsh*t detector, and I can tell when somebody's peeing on my boots and telling me it's a rainstorm."

I'm here to tell you those kids are full of themselves, not to mention crap. Let's break it down and take a closer look at this apparent perversion of free speech.

• Student publications are frequently asked to tone down their content. Much of the time, it's the adults who are trying to save the students from making fools of themselves. That is generally a losing battle. Casual and frequent use of the F-bomb only marks you as an immature amateur and distracts from the point you're trying to make.

Frankly, it is nearly impossible to thumb through the pages of a university magazine—especially one with a liberal leaning like Kent State—and not find the prose littered with F bombs. It's a byproduct of a new-found media voice combined with the desire to shock readers. That desire generally wears off around graduation.

• Referring to this as an example of censorship is an insult to the plight of journalists around the world. These kids were asked to alter the content and apparently walked away in a huff. Just a wee bit different from those people who lose their lives or are jailed for promoting a free press.

• I don't think it is out of the ordinary for a printer to exercise his/her discretion in deciding whether content is objectionable. It's a free country, and if you don't like what you hear from vendor A, another one is right around the corner.

• I feel bad for the printer that did the job, Printing Concepts of Stow, OH, which was portrayed by the student newspaper (and aggregated by our Website, unfortunately) as charging a $2,200 premium over the other printers for rush charges.

Ron Taggart, Printing Concepts' president, doesn't believe in sitting in judgment over literature that some may find offensive, yet the company still got portrayed as a bad guy. Inaccurate reporting is the primary culprit, a case of an overzealous reporter trying to blow the lid off of the biggest cover-up since Watergate.

• Lastly, I never cease to be amazed by the youth of today who are adept at being able to find fault in the world when they haven't even found themselves yet. It is certainly not a knock against the LGBT community, as I am 100 percent behind people being comfortable in their own skin and celebrating who they are inside and out.

Let's just say that much of today's youth has a difficult time committing to many things, particularly adulthood. These perceived injustices are just that—perceptions—and not reality. In time, these students will know this to be true.

As for the LGBT magazine, it will undoubtably end up going back to Printing Concepts for a future job, and Ron Taggart will be happy to accommodate the kids.

NEWS FLASH: As if the printed word doesn't have enough to worry about, a story out of the San Francisco area makes a new argument as to why people should opt for electronic devices instead of dead trees to deliver the news.

An 85-year-old Vacaville, CA, man, Jose Sanchez-Zarco, suffered wounds to his arm, leg and side, and barely avoided having the pinky finger blown completely off his right hand after a pipe bomb detonated in his morning newspaper. Sanchez-Zarco survived the blast and subsequent surgery that saved his finger.

Local police, along with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms investigated the incident. According to the Associated Press, the authorities were playing it close to the vest with their information.It was not clear whether the bomb was intended for Sanchez-Zarco, a neighbor or whether it was random. You can be certain that residents will be checking their paper carefully before taking it inside. PI

—Erik Cagle


 

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