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LAST HURRAH: Jaycee Carroll high-fives fans as he leaves the Spectrum court after what was likely his last home game. Click Arts&Life for a link to photos. / Photo by Tyler Larson

Today's word on journalism

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Grammatically Speaking:

"We owe much to our mother tongue. It is through speech and writing that we understand each other and can attend to our needs and differences. If we don't respect and honor the rules of English, we lose our ability to communicate clearly and well. In short, we invite mayhem, misery, madness, and inevitably even more bad things that start with letters other than M."

--Martha Brockenbrough, grammarian and founder, National Grammar Day

SPEAK UP! Diss the Word at


Strange musings from the bakery:
One nation, under God, indivisible, with hypocrisy and justice for all

By David Baker

January 31, 2008 | I saw perfection this week.

The perfect story -- funny, with the appropriate jab of painful commentary.

I've flipped, rotated, handled this perfection in my head, trying to ascertain any possible way to make this story funnier or pointed than it already is. With this sort of perfection, the pinnacle has already been reached, no need to ascend any further -- it will get no more awe-inspiring.

So here it is, a retelling of what newsies across Northern Utah have reported as the facts, in their perfect, hilarious and biting simplicity:

The former owners -- Daniel Thompson, 31, and co-owner, Isaac Lifferth, 24 -- of a business profiting off the sanitizing of movies to make them pious -- no sex, nudity, profanity or anything deemed inappropriate for religious eyes -- were arrested and booked on charges alleging they paid $20 to get hummers from 14-year-old girls in the back room of their "family friendly," Orem establishment.

If the accusations are to be believed, you can edit out the debauchery, gross sexual perversion and partial nudity from the celluloid world, but it's much harder to rid one's own life of such deviance.

The story actually gets better, though. According to the police reports, one of the owners told the girls the movie-editing business was just a front for the production and distribution of pornography. Police even found porn-making material, such as cameras hooked to TVs, computers, large stockpiles of dirty movies, a keg of beer and Lortab pills.

Let's get this straight, Halle Berry's tasteful, emotional -- but fake -- sex scene with Billy Bob Thornton in Academy-Award nominee, Monster's Ball, is morally reprehensible, but sleazy, narcotic-and-beer-fueled XXX action is kosher?

Or were they actually just editing the porn down as well? Making it a family-friendly XXX cinematic experience?

That's not likely because the movie sanitizing business was defunct, shut down by threats from Hollywood lawyers about copyrights and artistic license. But maybe, just maybe, these guardians of moral sensibilities were soldiering on and taking out all the explicit sex and profanity-laced dirty talk so the righteous could watch 35 second clips of piss-poor acting.

You know, the part where the pizza boy or plumber or pool boy asks for payment and the faux-busty actress says in a seductive voice, "I don't have money right now." Licks cherry-red lips. "Can I pay you with these?" Starts to rip off the pink tank top. . . .

Then it would fade to black before the Kama Sutra comes alive in vivid, 1080i HD.

Edited pornography is a funny concept, but still, it's not as funny as the heart of the situation.

Hypocrisy. Unbridled, hilarious hypocrisy.

It's not OK for the public to be subjected to the theatrical version of cinematic masterpieces, such as The Departed, American Beauty or Knocked Up, but it is OK to make/distribute amateur skin flicks in the back of our shop, which also doubles as a place to solicit prostitution and perform statutory rape.

I'm of the mind that hypocrisy is like a fart joke: it's always funny, unless the audience is too uppity to see the obvious humor in the situation.

So for me, this whole clean-video-rental, filthy-real-life thing is the perfect fart joke. That's dumbing the situation down to about the nth degree, but I said before, this thing is so towering in it's hilarity that you can really only go downhill from the crux of the thing.

Why am I still writing then? Well, if I can ever get over the sheer magnitude of the story -- which still has me doubled over in laughter three days after hearing about it -- and out of my own damn way, I'm going to make a point about hypocrisy.

And that point is, hypocrisy is as interwoven into the American tapestry as McDonald's, apple pie and reality TV gems such as Scott Baio is 46 and Pregnant and Father Hood -- starring rapper Snoop Dogg.

Recently, we've had Larry Craig and Gay Bathroom Code. I don't want to get too far off-track, but the Craig situation was very close to the perfection of this whole Clean Flix business.

With Craig, there was a dual purpose. We got a good, hard laugh and a much-needed lesson on the intricate nature of homosexual encounters in airport bathrooms. What to do. Where to touch. Proper hand positioning. A veritable "Gay Bathroom Code For Dummies."

Looking back, there have been many hypocrites, and for the most part, they all at least produce a smile, if not hysterical laughter.

Marion Barry, mayor of Washington, D.C., dealing with the city's drug problem by smoking crack in a hotel room. In an ironic twist, the son of a bitch got re-elected mayor.

Televangelist Jim Bakker in a scandal involving extramarital sex and the possible payoff of Jessica Hahn. Bakker's situation may be understandable on a basic level when you take into consideration that he was married to Tammy Faye.

This could go on forever, but I think it's time to get to the root of American hypocrisy.

To really dive to the bottom of this bastard and reach for the origin of it, we need to look no further than the Founding Fathers and the scribe of our Declaration of Independence.

Thomas Jefferson wrote that "all men are created equal," but had no qualms about owning slaves. Apparently, all men may not have been created equal, but Jefferson was, in the least, an equal-opportunity lady's man, fornicating with slaves and aristocrats alike.

I wonder what Tom would think of the Clean Flix predicament. He'd probably be too perplexed by the existence of Utah, video technology and the freedoms granted to women and minorities to speak to the humor of the situation.

So the real question becomes, would Jefferson take his erotica edited or straight?


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