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Today's word on journalism

May 8, 2009

The Last WORD

The Fat Lady Sings, Off-Key, Drools

At about this time every year, like the swallows to Capistrano or the buzzards to Hinckley, Ohio, the WORD migrates to its summer musing grounds at the sanitarium —St. Mumbles Home for the Terminally Verbose.

The reason is clear, and never moreso than as this season —the WORD's 13th —peters out.

It's been a fraught year of high palaver and eye-popping transition, both good and not-so-much. An interminable presidential campaign saga finally did end, and in extraordinary and historic fashion. Meanwhile, the bottom and everything that's below the bottom fell out of the economy, with families, homes, entire industries and —of particular interest to WORDsters and the civic-minded —dozens of daily newspapers ("I don't so much mind that newspapers are dying--it's watching them commit suicide that pisses me off." --Molly Ivins). . . all evaporating. What replaces them, from the individual to the institutional to the societal? Are we looking at a future of in-depth Tweeting?

As any newsperson or firehorse knows, it's hard to turn your back on day-to-day catastrophe --we just have to look at the car wreck. But even the most deranged and driven need a rest. As philosopher Lilly Tomlin once observed, "No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up."

So this morning, as a near-frost hovered over northern Utah, the unmarked van pulled into the driveway and the gentle, soft-spoken men in the white coats rolled the WORD out of bed and into a straitjacket for the usual summer trip to St. Mumbles, where the blathering one will be assigned a hammock and fed soothing, healthy foods --like tapioca, dog biscuits and salmon --while recharging the essential muscles of cynicism, outrage, sarcasm, social engagement and high-mindedness, in preparation for the next edition.
Summer well, friends.

Speak up! Comment on the WORD at


Feedback and suggestions --printable and otherwise --always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

Photo by Jackson Olsen

Student body president wants to be remembered as tall, non-elitist

By Jackson Olsen

April 3, 2009 | As the snow begins to melt and the school year begins to wind down, there is a noticeably different air up on the third floor of the Taggart Student Center.

The air of change.

The third floor of the TSC has long been the home to the Associated Students of Utah State University, USUís student government. With the elections of new officers three weeks ago and their upcoming inauguration just two weeks away, the old council is preparing to move on, pack up and move out.

Perhaps no one is more aware of this than Grady Brimley, this yearís student body president. Brimley, the unlikely candidate for president who last year made a come from behind victory over two other favored candidates, can hardly believe that his year at the helm of ASUSU is virtually at an end.

ďThis whole yearís gone by and it just feels like a dream,Ē Brimley said. ďI canít believe it went so fast.Ē

Fast as it was, Brimley agreed to sit down with the Hard News Cafť prior to his exodus and tell us more about his year, his experience and his hopes for the future.

HNC: Do you feel like this year was a success?

GB: Yes, because the one thing I wanted to use to measure my success by at the end of the year was having more people wanting to be involved in ASUSU, and the amount of people who ran for ASUSU offices this year showed that. Also, my goals were accomplished. We had more accessibility between officers and student body, bigger turnouts to events, weíll have an internship director next year and weíll also have free parking in the terrace next year after 6:00 p.m. on weekdays.

HNC: What was something that you wanted to accomplish that you didnít?

GB: I was hoping that the web site would be a bigger success, and that more students would have used it to learn about what was going on around campus. We had some problems with the web site and it never really caught on this year. Iíve asked my successor to take it on, and hopefully he will. HNC: If you could go back and do the year all over again, what would you do differently?

GB: I would have played more pingpong. I mean, I like being busy, and being involved in a lot of things, so for me thatís fun. But I probably could have made more time to just relax and play a little pingpong.

HNC: Do you think the Athletic Fee increase will be a black eye on your presidencyl?

GB: No I donít, because for one, I didnít make the decision ≠ the students did. As a council, we decided to turn it over to the students because it was such a big fee being requested. Ten years from now, I think that most people will be happy that the fee was raised and that we have a quality athletic program. HNC: What words of advice did you give your successor?

GB: To fight to keep the student activity fee the same and to not ask for an increase. Itís easy to find reasons to ask for an increase, but itís also totally possible to work things out so that the students donít have to pay more.

HNC: How do you hope to be remembered?

GB: Taller than I am. Good leaders are always known to be tall and Iím really short. Also, that I wasnít cliquey and that I didnít buy in to an ďelitist ASUSUĒ mentality. That I thought like a regular student thinks and that I approached problems like a regular student would approach a problem.


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