Apr 212002

Every once in a while, someone approaches me and tells me I should read The Rocky Mountain Bullhorn because it’s Ft. Collins’ “alternative” newspaper – as if simply being “alternative” was in and of itself a virtue. My standard reply is, “either you work there or you’re friends with someone who does.” The person then frowns and dejectedly walks away.

On occasion I do like to pick up the Bullhorn, but only because I’m a jolly soul who enjoys a good laugh. And trust me /_” few things are funnier than a gaggle of ultrasensitive liberal kooks desperately trying to mask their paranoid hysteria behind flimsy attempts at humor.

Particularly amusing are the lengths the Bullhorn will go in order to foster the impression of edgy, irreverent content. The primary strength of this publication lies not in bold posturing or sound reporting, but rather in its staff’s ability to delude themselves into thinking they’re cool. It’s very similar to the way my dad thinks he’s cool when he punctuates a sarcastic phrase by shouting, “Not!”

Of all the Bullhorn’s pathetic attempts to be hip, the worst is probably the publication’s monthly installment of “Jesper P. Fogbottom,” their conservative strawman.

Real quick: what do you do when you’re incapable of creating your own solid, original idea? Why, steal someone else’s, of course!

Longtime readers of The Onion likely remember the columns of T. Herman Zweibel, fictitious editor. The Onion’s concept was brilliantly simple: an old and laughably out-of-touch curmudgeon records his senile rantings in editorial installments.

The Bullhorn blatantly copied the concept of Zweibel, changed his name to Fogbottom, and made him Republican and racist (y’know … ’cause all Republicans are racist). Also stolen were Zweibel’s over-hyphenated writing style and frequent references to employing a “manservant.” Ironically, about the only thing the Bullhorn failed to filch were any of the droll elements that made the original work funny. Without the humor, “Fogbottom” is tired and flat, reflecting more poorly on his unimaginative puppetmasters than their targeted conservatives.

Utter lack of originality isn’t the only pathetically amusing aspect of the Bullhorn. There’s also the unmistakable stench of self-serving narcissism that seems to permeate nearly every issue. Take for example the current issue’s feature: “Best of 2002.”

It isn’t uncommon for well-regarded newspapers to periodically confer awards of excellence to individuals and businesses within the community. The easiest way to undermine the validity of such an awards system, however, is to carelessly display what might be interpreted as biased judgment. To avoid the appearance of impropriety and thereby maintain the prestige of such accolades, a periodical should simply choose not to nominate or honor anyone actively involved with the organization handing out awards.

I realize that all this is common sense to most everyone (even those of us who don’t claim to be journalists), and the only reason I bring this up is because the Bullhorn awards for “Best Writer” and “Best Professor” go to two of their very own staff writers.

How wonderfully convenient. The question raised by such garish self-aggrandizement is how the Bullhorn failed to award themselves “Bestest Newspaper In The Whole Wide World Forever And Ever.”

The adverse effect of the Bullhorn’s blinding vanity is the doubt cast upon the worthiness of other award recipients. Furthermore, the cheap shots loosely masked as awards manage to achieve the complete opposite of the desired effect. I gained new respect for Mayor Martinez (“Politician You [?] Love To Hate”) and all of KCSU’s DJ’s (“annoying” and “amateur[ish]”).

Hell, I’ll support anything that twists the panties of these prissy and pompous poseurs.

Jon Watkins is a senior majoring in English.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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