Maybe you have head by now that a Colorado State University student, David McSwane, ran an editorial column only four words in length: “Taser this: F*** Bush.” It has been heating up debates and discussion around the country on the issue of free speech. I don’t think free speech is the issue. The issue is, what a lousy piece of journalism and a waste of editorial space. Since when did editorials become personal ejaculations capable of being made by a ten-year old? I've head high school students sum up Hitler's reign by calling him a "douche bag, commie, Nazi, prig." That might be an accurate description, but it does not suffice as an answer on a test. Likewise, "Taser this: F*** Bush" should not suffice as journalism.
Traditionally editorials are meant to be thought provoking, insightful, or to calling attention to an issue. However, the only thing this editorial leaves me thinking is how much smarter my 9th grade students I taught in a Louisiana public school are than McSwane. My 9th graders, though it took several months to get this across, knew that an argument has no weight if it cannot be supported, that the use of slang can often lead to more confusion in writing, and that it is always important to clarify and be concise.
What does “Taser this: F*** Bush” really say. Taser what, McSwane? Your arm? Your backpack? Your pet dog? The failure to qualify the pronoun leaves the reader guessing.
“F*** Bush.” I don’t follow McSwane. He again fails to qualify which Bush. Is it Jeb Bush? Is it the President Bush? Is it the President’s Father? Maybe he means the burning bush from Exodus? I just can’t decided. McSwane fails to clarify his opinion.
“F***” here is a word that has been bastardized beyond belief. It can be used in any number of ways. Maybe he means it in a affirmative manner like “F*** Yeah!” Is he agreeing and affirming the said Bush in his editorial? I can’t tell. Maybe he is using it in a more tradition manner as in “I want to have mindless carnal sex with Bush.” If Bush is a person that would be morally wrong. If Bush is a plant that would be sick. Perhaps McSwane intends “F***” to be used as an adjective where it modifies “Bush.” That would be a silly and strange use of the word. Plus I've never seen a "F*** Bush" on sale at the local garden and plant nursery. Maybe McSwane is using it as a term meaning that he does not agree with “Bush” in some way. That is, maybe Bush did something that he does not agree with. But this interpretation begs the question, for no one knows what it is McSwane is irate about.
In the end, McSwane wrote an editorial with no journalistic merit. To be honest, it is an editorial that should not have been run for its failure to say anything, and it is an editorial that should have been ignored. Now McSwane and the CSU student paper only has more reasons to run such mind numbing ignorant editorials that proclaim that the editorial staff has poor judgement and intellects less than a 9th grader in a Louisiana public school. Because McSwane says not what he means and probably means not what he says, he might have well just said, “Walruses and seals: Tea and crumpets Bush."