>>> Casual Misanthropy
By staff writer JD Rebello
July 17, 2005
Sorry for the lack of column these past few weeks, but it’s been a busy time, so let’s set this up point by point.
1. Some of you have asked how I felt about Mikey’s little parody column last week, and I’d love to provide some feedback but I, like the rest of America, don’t read it.
2. Curt Schilling as a closer? Umm…
3. Speaking of which, I’ve started up an everyday sports blog on the AOL Journals, so I’ll be weaning myself off PIC sports columns. If you still need your fix of “Peyton Manning is a giant assbag” quips, you can find it here.
4. Ok, on to the real story. The names have been changed to protect the innocent, the innocent being myself.
“Mr. Poop decided that since my affiliation with a major newspaper and a major university could not co-exist as long as I wrote my tabloid smut, I should suspend my PIC writing until my co-op job is complete in January.”
On July 6, I was informed that my humble little column had been the topic of conversation between a former writer at my school paper and the head of the department, which, for the purposes of this column shall be referred to as Dog Poop McGee.
For those who read my column regularly (thanks, people without internet access!), you know I tend to be slightly hostile when faced with criticism. Only slightly. So I very calmly replied to the issue with an email. My reply:
It has been brought to my attention that a college humor website (www.pointsincase.com) for which I write has recently drawn your ire. I have been informed by various sources that you condemned one particular column as “disparaging”, and that such writings were
irresponsible considering my role at the [school paper].
Because I haven't heard directly from you, I can only go so far as to chalk this matter up as hearsay. However, I am compelled to defend myself. For starters, the [school paper] is an independent paper and therefore its writers have no prerequisite to answer to faculty or staff regarding their outside obligations.
Second, as a journalism student, I am appalled at the idea that the president of journalism would be so opposed to a student's use of free speech on the Internet.
Because I have never spoken with you directly or taken part in your class, I can only assume your best intentions are for the students to grow as writers, and I hope that's true, because I hasten to believe that the president of journalism would go so far as to
discuss a student behind his back, and discourage him from writing.
I sincerely look forward to hearing your views on this matter.
I mean, is that professional or what? Seriously. How professional is that? I bet you didn’t think I had it in me.
Dog Poop McGee then replied with this (my lawyers have advised me to carefully edit the shit out of this, so I did, pretty much leaving in only the stuff that makes him look like a total wank):
Dear JD Rebello:
We received a complaint about your work for the Website Points In Case from a reader not affiliated with our journalism program who saw it and thought it was in poor taste, and who said that it reflected poorly on our program.
In general, we do not concern ourselves with student writing outside of our program. Further, our interest in what you are writing has nothing to do with your work for the [school paper], but is focused solely on the complaint we received about your work for Points In Case. Given your remarks in this and other columns about Asians and other groups, we are looking at a fairly narrow question. Can we allow you to represent this university at the [major metropolitan newspaper] on coop at the same time you are writing this particular column for Points In Case?
You may be thinking, who the bloody hell sent such a damning email? And if you’re not, you should be. Well, I was at first hesitant to publish the emailer’s name, but you see, my secret admirer was silly enough to leave this feedback for my NASCAR column:
I'm glad you hate it. You suck too. Do you really think anyone watching Nascar will take you seriously. Do you think you can change the Nascar popularity explosion going on in the United States right now. Or are you offended by a bunch of white guys and girls going round in circles making millions of dollars for what you call something anyone can do. So big mouth asswhipe, I don't see you going 200mph inches from another car trusting that the 42 others around you have the tallent to not hit you sending you and your car head on into the wall. Remember, people have died doing this. But since you have no real basis for your rant I take comments from arrogant, self important, know nothing assholes like a grain of salt. You mean nothing in this world and never will. I for one will be entertaind for 3 hours and be happy knowing you are sitting in the corner playing with yourself while looking at pictures of Paris Hilton since there is nothing but Nascar on tv.
So my final words are, FUCK OFF
Eric Peterson | Email | Homepage | 06/28/05 – 8:43 pm
I’ve opted to leave in the misspellings, grammatical debaucheries, and (even by my standards), overzealous vulgarity, for two reasons: 1. I want you all to see what a giant tool I was dealing with, and 2. Because our buddy Eric Peterson then sent the head of my journalism department this email:
I found this article and found it quite entertaining. I am sadden to see he is crediting his talents from your program. This is hardly talented writing and if your program teaches this type of journalism, your program will not last long.
I hope you are not teaching student that this type of junk is journalism, there are hundreds of thousands of young people trying to elevate journalist to higher and levels of respect. But if this is what is taught, I see the field falling to the lowest level tabloid smut.
Now let’s break this down. First of all, he classifies my column as “journalism.” I’ve taken journalism classes. Many. More than I care to name. And not once, in one single solitary class did I learn the value of masturbation jokes, fart jokes, and ethnically insensitive remarks. Not once. And do you know why? Because my column is NOT journalism! It’s a college humor column! Look at the other articles here at PIC (except Mikey, because he’s so bankrupt of ideas, he’s turned to ripping off other, more talented writers). Would you expect any of these columns to be the subject of a journalism class? Of course not. Writing is not necessarily journalism. Journalism from an academic perspective is the writing, editing, and compiling of news (see? $30,000 well fucking spent.) Journalism is NOT writing 700-word diatribes on my lusting for lusting for Hilary Duff. There’s a difference.
By the way, I’m truly amazed at Peterson’s ability to compose an email; anyone who would assume I’ve been taught PIC writing by an accredited university in Boston probably shouldn’t be able to spell.
The last part I liked: “Tabloid smut.” If you think that’s not going on my resume at some point, you’re crazy.
POINTS IN CASE, October 2003 – Present
Duties include: Peddling tabloid smut
Now I’m pissed, because anyone who would leave such inane feedback and write such a sorely misguided, crying-because-the-granddad-on-Full-House-bought-the-farm-and Uncle-Jesse-couldn’t-handle-it mentality should not have aroused such a stink.
But it stunk. It stunk like Lindsay Lohan’s dress on prom night.
Dog Poop McGee has decided we’re negotiating. Negotiating what exactly? Free speech, apparently. Bear in mind, we’re less than two weeks removed from the Fourth of July. It’s worth mentioning.
Mr. Poop decided that since my affiliation with a major metropolitan newspaper and my representing a major metropolitan university could not co-exist as long as I wrote my tabloid smut, I should suspend my PIC writing until my co-op job is complete in January. Since that would certainly screw over both my fans, I rejected his proposal with an iron fist.
Dear Professor Dog Poop McGee:
Allow me to preface this email by acknowledging that your behavior regarding this matter has been horribly unprofessional. For starters, when a student comes to you with an issue, that issue should be kept between the student and the director, and is not some form of chain mail to be shared amongst the upper rungs of bureaucracy. Conversely, when you take issue with a student, might I suggest contacting the student directly, and not forcing the student to become aware of the situation through his or her colleagues.
Second, perhaps I interpreted the email wrong, but it appears as though you are threatening my co-op position, based solely on the “insights” of one dissatisfied reader. While I understand it's in the best interest of the university to put its image ahead of its paying students, I feel as thought my obligations to [my co-op job] are between myself and my bosses, and that it is their decision, not yours, to terminate me.
Finally, I am dumbfounded that the director of journalism would actually discourage a student from writing. Granted, you may disagree with my column, and you have every right to do so, just as I have every right to publish. I have always viewed my PIC column as a writing exercise, something to ensure I can write a 500-word column every week.
My attitude regarding the column is that it's designed with a college audience in mind, and if someone is offended by its material, well, there are millions of other web pages at their disposal.
P.S. I have opted to share this communication with several other students in the journalism program. I can only hope they learn as much from this incident as I have about the values of censorship and the negatives of free speech.
I mean, how professional am I? Seriously. I even amazed myself on this one. (By the way, you should all be getting real angry just reading this. Like when you’re watching Schindler’s List and you’re all: “How could someone have let this happened?!” That’s the mentality I want from you, dear reader.)
The adventure continues…
I was planning to have a chat with you regarding the special nature of co-op, which is quite different from what you say and write on your own. Naturally, I was curious to see what you had written for Points In Case once the writer pointed us in that direction. I have my own thoughts now that I have seen the material, and will share them later with you.
In any event, I am going to leave it there for now. Good luck with the remainder of the co-op. I would like to meet with you and talk when you come to campus. Please give me some dates and times that are good for you late this summer or early fall.
I had won! I HAD WON! It was Game 4 of the World Series all over again. The best part, since I had forwarded the email conversation to 20 or so others: were the congratulations rolling in. I had beaten the system. I had taken down The Man. If I were black, they’d give me a holiday. That’s how revolutionary this was.
But oh, the Russian may have been cut, but he wasn’t dead yet. Nope, just when I think I’m out, they REEL me back in!
Come to think of it, it would be good for us to talk sooner rather than later. Please give me a few dates and times in the next couple of weeks when it would be convenient for you to come to my office during business hours.
Also, to address the concern you raised with me in your recent e-mail about professionalism, what I think about what you have written for Points in Case is the part I am keeping confidential until I have a chance to sit down with you. And I also would like the opportunity to question you – again in a private setting – about the views you express there. Please remember, it is you, not I as director of the program, who has drawn attention to this matter by circulating your views on the web.
Right. While I’m entitled to circulating my views on the web, apparently I’m also obligated to go “Crossfire” against an administrator at the unholy hour of 10 a.m.
10 A.M. – Wednesday Morning
I woke up at 9:54, looking, smelling, and tasting like shit run over twice. I don’t care. Dog Poop isn’t even getting me to put deodorant on. I throw on an old polo and saunter over there like a drunk guy doing a calisthenics routine.
Now, here is the gist of what he told me: “Blah blah blah: the [major metropolitan newspaper] would not appreciate your offensive statements…blah blah blah… I’m your friend in all this….blah blah blah, I’ll be reading your column very intently….and so on and so forth.”
I was prepared to leave it at that, and certainly use a much kinder alias for my new friend than Dog Poop McGee, but alas, he then unleashed the quote of the century. Here it is (and keep in mind, I’m paraphrasing):
“Suppose the sports section sends you to cover a shuffleboard tournament, how will the athletes feel about your comments on Points in Case directed at old people?”
Now that’s a quote!
And if you’ll excuse me, I have a shuffleboard tournament to cover.