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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."

Man enough to walk a mile in her shoes

By Amanda Mears

April 10, 2009 | "2-4-6-8 we support the end of rape."

That was the cry that could be heard around campus Wednesday morning from a sea of males sporting hairy ankles and rolled up jeans with one thing in common- they were all wearing women's heels.

In order to raise awareness for victims of sexual abuse, USU group Sexual Assault and Anti-Violence Information (SAAVI) brought the international Walk A Mile In Her Shoes event to campus. According to the Web site,, by donning heels and marching for a cause men can make a difference all over the world. Although Nick Oliverson, a junior majoring in social work said he came out to support a worthy cause, the prizes, which include a $100 gift card for the largest group and another for the most enthusiastic, don't hurt either.

At 9:30 a.m., as most of the student body is waking up and trudging to class, a group of males wait in line for the proper footwear to begin their march calling for the end of rape, sexual assault and gender violence.

After gingerly picking out a pair of heels from a bin marked "Women size 12-13," one participant grimaces as he slips on a pair of hot pink patent stilettos.

"I don't think this is my size," he observes.

Meanwhile, Oliverson walks with ease across the hallway of the TSC in his brown 3-inch wedges.

"I'll admit this isn't my first time wearing heels," said Oliverson, laughing. "I've dressed up for The Rocky Horror Picture Show, so I've done this before."

Despite his experience, Oliverson said he still wasn't prepared when he first slipped his heels on that morning.

"My first thought when I put the shoes on was just 'Wow,'" said Oliverson. "I did not realize all the weight that was going to be on my toes, I guess I just didn't realize how painful walking around all day would be."

Oliverson said he first got involved with SAAVI because he was looking for a service opportunity and felt it was for a good cause. Although it is Oliverson's first time being involved with Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, he said he has done as much as possible to help the event because he believes in the cause.

Despite the whispers and stares from students passing through the TSC, Oliverson said he is not at all uncomfortable with the crowd's reaction.

"It helps that my friends support me," said Oliverson. "My buddy Dan came out and is walking first mile with me."

The dialogue as they walked, said Oliverson, centered mainly around their fear of falling.

"He caught me once when I tripped, so that was nice," Oliverson said. "At one point I just said, 'If I go down, you'll have to come with me.'"

Although the comments heard from those walking the mile ranged from "This just feels right" to "Man, this freaking kills," Oliverson said most "dudes in shoes" should count themselves lucky because their heel-wearing experience ends after the walk.

Hours before even completing the first mile lap, which began at 10:20 a.m., Oliverson said he was hard at work setting up tales, selling T-shirts and directing traffic -- all in his heels.

"If was a girl, I would be wearing tennis shoes all the time," said Oliverson. "All I can say is after this I am definitely going to go home and ice my feet, maybe soak them in Epsom salt."



Copyright 1997-2009 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-3292
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