Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Ann Coulter, you are a racist.

Since I started my internship at The Freeman, I've had the opportunity (ie: I was forced) to read through a couple of Ann Coulter's columns. Coulter's most recent column embraces US Airways for kicking six imams from a flight to Phoenix because witnesses said the imams were chanting "Allah, Allah, Allah" in the terminal before boarding.

I'll admit that if I was in that situation I'd be pretty freaked out. I'm not disagreeing with US Airways' suspicion. I am disagreeing, however, with their decision to bar the imams from their flight and, especially, with Coulter's blatently racist approach in her article.

"If only we could get Muslims to boycott all airlines, we could dispense with airport security altogether," says Coulter in the second sentence of her article. I had to do a double take when I first read that sentence. Just because Coulter is a good writer (I cannot deny that) does not mean that she has the write to print absurdly racist remarks such as this.

"One of the stunt-imams in US Airways' advertising scheme, Omar Shahin, complained about being removed from the plane, saying: 'Six scholars in handcuffs. It's terrible.'

Yes, especially when there was a whole conference of them! Six out of 150 is called "poor law enforcement." How did the other 144 "scholars" get off so easy?"

Wow. I'm really at a loss for words as to how to respond to such ignorance. Read the column here ( and decide for yourself what to make of this pile of bigotry.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Will becoming a journalist destroy my chances of success?

I recently started an internship at the Waukesha daily newspaper, The Freeman, as a copy editor (very exciting, I know). Realizing that this is an excellent opportunity for someone going into the field of journalism, I can't complain too much about how it's been going.

For the most part, I sit around for hours editing dummy pages for grammar and style errors and sifting through the minutia that comprises the bulk of a daily newspaper. Every now and then an interesting story will come my way, and I might even find a few errors that need correcting, but, for the most part, it's actually quite boring. This does not bother me. Such is the life of a lowly intern.

What does bother me is that fact that nearly every employee at The Freeman within a desk's radius from me frequently ask, "Are you sure you want to go into journalism? It's not too late to change your mind."

Actually, yes. It is too late for me to change my mind. Maybe I didn't realize it until recently, but a $25,000 a year salary may seem decent to a poor college student, but it really isn't much money at all when you're pouring 50+ hours a week into your job, especially for such a specialized field. Anyone can learn to crunch numbers if they show enough interest, but not everyone can write well, let alone come up with a semi-creative thought to write about.

So why is it that a good journalist writing for one of the biggest papers in the country can only look forward to making $45-$60k a year? I honestly don't know the answer, but it's one of the reasons why I'm probably not going to be pursuing any job opportunities within print journalism, the major I'm paying $10,000 a year for.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Michael Jackson is still cool with me

Michael Jackson has become somewhat of a taboo subject ever since he was accused of child molestation a while back. People seem to have forgotten the days when the King of Pop dominated nearly every facet of their daily lives: radio, TV, advertisements, etc.

I admit that, for a while, I harbored some less-than-cordial feelings towards Michael when he got off scot-free in his trial, but I figure there's nothing anyone can really do about it now.

My interest was peaked recently when I read that Michael will be performing Thriller to a live audience in Britain, where he will receive the Diamond award, which is an award given to artists who sell more than 100 MILLION ALBUMS... that's a lot of albums. Let's take a short look at the album in discussion: Thriller.

  • "Thriller"
  • "Beat It"
  • "Billie Jean"
Think about that. Three of the greatest pop songs of all time snugly nestled one after another on one album. Forget "Wacko Jacko" for a second, and remember when you were a kid singing along to these songs. This is pre-"Free Willy" Michael at his best. It is not only the best selling album of all time, but one of the greatest albums ever made.

Don't worry, Michael. I still dig you.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Roling Stone, whither hast thou wandered?

The past five years have proved to be quite tumultuous for Rolling Stone, one of the most respected music publications in the world, when compared to its often romanticized past. The magazine had been giving increasingly good reviews to increasingly bad musicians. Mariah Carey? "SHE'S GREAT!" says the Stone. Um... sure, guys.

Recently, Rolling Stone reviewed the new album by folk-songstress Joanna Newsom, entitled Ys. To be blunt, this record is incredible, full of sweeping orchestral gestures and flourishes of brilliant songcraft. However, Rolling Stone music critic Christian Hoard seems to disagree, calling the album:
  • Meandering; dude... IT'S A FOLK RECORD! Of course it's going to meander a bit.
  • He calls it an EP; OK, now this is just unacceptable. Yeah, the album only has five songs, which is typical for an EP. However, EPs usually don't have a running time of over 50 minutes. Have you even listened to this album, bro? This is ridiculous coming from a magazine as reputable as Rolling Stone. Lots of ticked-off fans have already posted on the website pointing out the inaccuracy.

I've had enough. Don't you dare dis Joanna again, got it, Christian? Just look at that face!

-Mike Affholder