Wednesday, April 30, 2008

When These Students Check In, Watch Out

I’d use that line “Their parents must be so proud.”

Trouble is, they probably are.

Because this is how these animals were raised.

From the WFAA report on how a group of 1,000 doctors staying in the Intercontinental Hotel in North Dallas encountered our fine university students partying:

On all 15 floors, [one doctor] wrote, SMU students "urinated in hallways," "came close to physical confrontations with other guests," kicked in doors and walked in on other guests in their rooms. He also said yelling and profane language went on until dawn.

The second complaint [came] from a family taking a spring break vacation in Mexico.

"SMU students attacked the resort like a swarm of locusts," the complaint read.

The mother said she had "never experienced... such arrogance... a total lack of respect" for everyone else at the hotel.

Mark my words: Nothing will be done to any of these idiots, by their parents or by the university. Nothing.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Ph.D. Goes Crazy and Sues Her Students

A Dartmouth lecturer is suing the students in her writing class for discrimination. She sent a series of bizarre emails to them. Read and weep on Dartmouth blogs.

Priya Venkatesan (Dartmouth '90, M.S. in Genetics, Ph.D. in literature) emailed members of her Winter '08 Writing 5 class Saturday night to announce her intention to seek damages from them for their being mean to her. In one instance she expressed an opinion about something, a student spoke up to disagree and the class applauded his side of it. She was offended. So she's bringing a class action suit.

Academia gets kuh-razier every year.

Gawker has more of it here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Chicken**** Reporting

Just happened to pick up a Daily Campus when I stopped at my local salad emporium tonight. There on the front page, a piece of reportage about changes in cafeteria food.

Now there's an original story idea for a college paper.

I can always tell when a reporter doesn't know what she is doing when I read a quote from a source that clearly screams chicken**** and isn't challenged.

The reporter in this case included several statements from the campus' new food services chief, Tim Schaub, who was touting the "spa cuisine" in his dining hall.

Think about that for a sec. Spa cuisine in a college refectory. Egad.

In the story the reporter wrote that Schaub switched to serving Tyson-brand chicken because Tyson "treats animals humanely." (Those are my quotes around three words from the story. The reporter did not put those words in quotes to indicate Schaub saying them.)

Using Tyson chicken is, typed this reporter, part of Schaub's effort to be "as eco-friendly as possible."

Look, I'm no animal rights freak. I'll eat a Whatachicken sandwich whenever I can get my mitts on one. But how dumb do you have to be not to know that Tyson, a company that's lower than whale shit on the scale of eco-friendly food suppliers, has been a PETA target for years? It is, after all, the supplier of all the chicken for KFC. They're about as friendly to their birds as the Manson Family was to the houseguests on Cielo Drive.

A PETA investigation of two Tyson Foods slaughterhouses last year exposed disgusting conditions including abuse, mutilation, decapitation and urination. (Check out for all the inspiration you need to become a vegan for life.)

In another PETA initiative, an undercover investigator got a job on the slaughter line of a Tyson Foods chicken processing plant in Heflin, Alabama. Using a hidden camera, he got footage of horrific treatment of the more than 100,000 chickens killed daily in the plant. Birds were mutilated by throat-cutting machines that malfunctioned. One hen had skin torn entirely off her chest before she was killed.

Workers were told to rip the heads off chickens that had missed the throat-cutting machines, and the PETA investigator was told not to stop the line for missed birds. Plant employees threw dead and dying birds around just for fun.

PETA's investigator also saw birds scalded alive in the feather-removal tank. Plant managers told him that it was acceptable for 40 animals per shift to be scalded alive.

Chowing on a Tyson drumstick is about as eco- and animal-friendly as eating a Big Mac.

As a journalist, remember this: Don't take what anyone says as fact. Check everything for yourself to find out what is true and correct. Accept nothing in an interview at face value. That includes an interview with your mother.

I know this was a dumb story in a student paper--one that has columns for fashion, food and decorating, mind you--but even young journos should know the rules.

Never assume. Don't be lazy. Listen, question, challenge. Get the truth. That's what readers should expect and deserve.

If you don't, you're just chickening out.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The tragic saga of Meaghan Bosch

The construction site sat 9 miles south of Waco, a couple miles west of Interstate 35, in the small town of Hewitt. The workmen had been hitting it hard since sunrise. By 10 o’clock that Monday morning, with humidity high from weekend rains and the temperature climbing into the high 80s, they had sweat through their t-shirts. Taking a break, one of the workers headed toward the portable toilet at the edge of the lot. When he opened the door, he found something on the blue plastic floor covered with a blanket. Pulling it back, he saw a spill of long, wavy, highlighted hair. From what little he could see in the dark stall, she almost looked comfortable, the way she was curled up on the floor.

“Miss? Esta bien?”

He thought she was sleeping. He grabbed his supervisor, who pulled the blanket fully away. It was a barefoot girl, weighing barely more than 100 pounds, wearing a blue skirt and white top. The heat and humidity had done their work. The men realized she was dead.

So begins the sad saga of Meaghan Bosch, a 21-year-old SMU student whose "ignoble end" is chronicled in the current D Magazine.

Rest of the story here.

Friday, February 22, 2008

School Makes It Official

The $200 million Bush Library and Wingnut Policy Center will sit smackdab on the west side of campus where all those nice people used to live in the condos they thought they'd own for life (ha!).

Presumably the main building will include a porch where the ex-prez and his pals Heckuvajob Brownie and Trent Lott can sit in rockers, waving at the car-cars.

Next year's newest undergrad majors: Self-Delusion and Extreme Narcissism.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Could the on-campus whorehouse/abortion clinic/handbag-boutique be next?

Comes today the news that our university on the hill has come up with the PERFECT solution to the campus intoxication problem. This in reaction to three on-campus deaths last year by students who over-served themselves.

A "task force created in the aftermath of three students death related to drugs or alcohol has recommended opening a campus bar and allowing parties at campus fraternity houses."

Professional bartenders will be part of the party, too, according to the task force!

Story yet to come: The boozeries of Lower Greenville Avenue consider how to make up lost revenue when students can get shitfaced without leaving "the bubble."

Friday, January 25, 2008

Toots and Filmettes

So I've been away for a couple of months. Away from here anyway. Blogging elsewhere (for money). And becoming obsessed with the music of Belgian jazz virtuoso Toots Thielemans and with the Flip camera I bought myself for Christmas.

I'm making short films about things that I like. Here's my latest, about the final dress rehearsal of a musical about Billie Holiday starring one of my favorite local actresses, Denise Lee.

I'll be back soon with more college-related stuff. I'm teaching again this semester (film history) and was a guest lecturer at another college the other day.

Why is it that I get older and students are always the same age? Reminds me of the old line from Hugh Hefner, about how he ages but his girlfriends stay 25.

Anyway, watch the film if you can. It's 6 minutes. With songs by Lady Day. And a cameo by Ruby, the cutest Chihuahua ever.

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