Yesterday’s news

It’s a little late in coming, but the December issue of The Torch is now available online. The print edition had one of our most attention grabbing covers; you can see the photo that graced it on the front page of the website (some people say that’s W. Bush in the bottom right corner). My column was a pretty standard take on the CAN-SPAM Act and is dated now — the Act hadn’t been signed at the time of writing.

The January issue will be out in a couple weeks and the website will probably be in a new and improved format by then, too.

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Sexter

Today my first non-pseudonymous article of the semester in The Slant comes out. See “Computer science student invents Friendster spin-off” for the satirical history of Sexter,* the latest social networking website. (My apologies to VCS and Tolman, and to non-Vandy people who miss some of the jokes.)

Also in this issue, Robert Saunders continues the tech/sex theme with “Camera phones revolutionize phone sex,” Ceaf Lewis reports on Howard Dean’s outdated foreign policy, Andrew Banecker covers the unsuccessful Middle West peace talks, and Mrs. Claus answers readers’ questions. See the full issue right here.

*Sexter.com does exist. Not surprisingly, it’s a porn site.

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Free Liberal

I have an op-ed supporting the D. C. voucher proposal in the December-January issue of The Free Liberal, a new libertarian magazine available on several college campuses in the D. C. area. In the same issue Court has a piece on the steel tariffs and Tommy has one on decentralizing the forest service. I’ll post links when they’re up on the Web.

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Conscription fiction

There was supposed to be a new Slant out today, but due to a server crash that issue has been delayed/canceled. Since my contribution would be overly dated by the time the next issue comes out, I’ve posted it here instead: Libertarians volunteer for draft boards. It pokes a little fun at my own political affiliation, which may not be a good idea right now in light of the response to my last Torch column.

The story is in response to the Guardian article referenced just a few posts ago. Thanks to Josh Keltner for some last minute formatting of the Hemingway pic.

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Torch is up

The November issue of The Torch is online. It includes the first letter to the editor from a member of the religious right written in response to one of my columns (Good for gays, good for liberty — the September issue). I’m so happy! I’ve always wanted to elicit a letter like this. It’s not worth going into a detailed reply, but I will note that the author misses the point by continuing to frame the debate in terms of “good” and “evil.” Homosexuality is increasingly seen as a morally neutral preference, which is why the Court could strike down the Texas anti-sodomy law on the grounds that the state could give no justification for its restriction of individual liberty.

My column this issue is my first foray into foreign policy, and in it I tackle my uneasiness with the way so many liberals (including libertarians) so stridently oppose(d) military action in Iraq. I argue that we should view the war as an experiment, perhaps a good one at that, and favor at least seeing it through to its conclusion. I’m open to later deciding that it was a terrible idea. For now, though, I’m withholding judgment.

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Hustler comment

Most of my science reading in the past year has been about evolution, particularly evolutionary psychology. So far this interest hasn’t made it into my public writing, but this op-ed from today’s Vanderbilt Hustler intersected well enough with my current reading of Posner’s Sex and Reason for me to put out a test balloon (see the first comment).

I was careful not to word the comment too controversially, but I’m curious if the suggestion of a biological basis for the perceived correlation between male homosexuality and fashion will draw any protest. There’s often a double standard in these kinds of issues, with social contruction explanations getting a free pass. Will this hold true at Vanderbilt? Did I write it too densely for anyone to care?

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October Torch online

The October issue of The Torch is now online. Highlights include Trapper Michael’s “Yes Virginia, we still have an athletics department” defending Chancellor Gee’s restructuring of the athletics program and a debate over the PATRIOT Act (pro: Seth Wilson; con: Brent Dooley).

My own column is on the DC voucher legislation. Two publications from Cato worth reading on the subject are David Salisbury’s policy analysis “What Does a Voucher Buy?” and Casey Lartigue, Jr.’s op-ed “Mayor Williams wants school vouchers for D. C.

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The Slant vs. Kristen Hinson

If Kristen Hinson ever retires from The Hustler, she will do to The Slant what Bill Clinton did to stand-up comedians when his time in office came to an end. She provides such easy material for satire that sometimes the biggest challenge she presents is resisting the urge to devote an entire issue to her. [Note to non-Vandy readers: The Hustler is our campus newspaper and, despite recent articles about such topics as sodomy and nipple licking, it should not be confused with the Larry Flint magazine of similar name.]

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, take a look at her Hustler editorial from a couple weeks ago, “Sodomy is ‘wrong,’ ‘disgusting’ and ‘perverse.’” This is the only piece of writing I’ve seen at Vanderbilt to get people more riled up than Brett Austin’s infamous “Need-based aid cost us all,” published in the premiere issue of The Torch (I would link to the column, but sadly it has been taken off the Web and dropped into the memory hole). Do a search on the Hustler website for “Kristen Hinson” to see the numerous responses.

Meredith Gray did prevent us from doing an all-sodomy issue, but there’s plenty of Hinson-related content nonetheless. Richie Green disagrees with Hinson, arguing that in fact the GBLT is a damn good sandwich. I actually take Kristen’s side, but do I have any idea what I’m talking about?

Around the Loop asks what other students find wrong, disgusting and perverse, the Top Ten lists upcoming Hustler editorials, and the horoscope, poll, and Other News all make a few references to our favorite Hustler columnist.

Just for fun, here is Hinson’s defense of her anti-sodomy column, and here is her Hustler debut, “Evolution is not a trusted theory by all scientists” (ably satirized by Andy Coz’s unpublished “My shoes turned into a rocketship”).

Please, Kristen, don’t ever retire. It would strain our creativity too much.

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First Slant of the year

The first issue of The Slant under new EiC Meredith Gray is online and in print. My contribution is Dining Director Frank Gladu’s welcome letter to incoming freshmen. I have to admit I hate picking on the guy so much (this is my third piece that satirizes him and Vandy Dining). He seems like a really nice guy. But, as the visible head of the dining monopoly that inflicts itself on all freshmen, all Pub-goers, and anyone on campus who just wants a fresh slice of pizza, he’s the guy to be targeted.

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Second Slant summer issue

Our second summer issue is now online, and this time I did write for it. My contribution is a little bit, well, different from what we normally run. Unlike some of my other Slant articles, this one does not have elements of autobiography. So please, don’t infer any secret dreams or fears from this one!

It’s an edited and slightly expanded version of something I scrawled in 5 minutes at a creative writing group I visited while in Spring (the town where I live, not the season). It’s called Creative Stretchers and that’s an apt name: it challenges writers to be creative by giving unusual prompts and just a short time to respond to them. It may be a long time before I can go back, which is unfortunate because it’s good practice.

Also in this issue, Tim Boyd reveals my “unbridled hostility” to Harry Potter. Is it really due to me not getting the role, or is it just my envy of guys with British accents?

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Profiling Chad Wilcox

Continuing my campaign to make Chad Wilcox famous, before leaving Nashville I suggested that the next issue of Tunnel Vision (Vanderbilt Student Communications’ new alumni magazine) include a profile about him. VSC agreed and asked me to write it.

That issue is now online. Unfortunately the article had to be cut down considerably for space considerations, but Wilco fans will still want to take a look. Tunnel Vision is in .pdf format and the story appears on page 7. The cover story reprints a recent article from The Scene about Vanderbilt’s growing student media.

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