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Max Karson: First Amendment Champion or Fucktard II

YetiNoFeelingsSmall.JPGMax Karson, our favorite First Amendment douchebag, is back in the news this week. Last year, some may recall that — the day after the Virginia Tech shootings — Karson, when asked about how he felt in one of his University of Colorado classes, stated “if anyone in here says that they’ve never been so angry that you wanted to kill 32 people, you’re lying,” and that he was “angry about all kinds of things, from fluorescent light bulbs to the unpainted walls, and it made him angry enough to kill people.” Karson was also reportedly asked: “Would you kill all of us?” His response: “No. Not all of you.”

Karson — who has a history of free speech douchebaggery — was suspended but, apparently, he made it back, because this year he’s a student editor for the college newspaper. This week, he wrote a column for the paper which, once again, prompted an apology from the school’s administration. The piece in question was titled, “If it’s war the Asians want … It’s war they’ll get.”

In his commentary, Karson called for all Asians to be rounded up for a “reformation” that involves forcing them to drink, dance and eat bad sushi.
“They hate us all,” Karson wrote. “And I say it’s time we started hating them back.”

The piece, which was rife with Asian stereotypes, obviously offended a large segment of the student population. It was, as the administration wrote, “a poor attempt at satire.”

I see where Karson is coming from, and I even appreciate his testicle size, to an extent. He has a history, dating all the way back to high school in Massachusetts, of writing or saying horribly offensive things and using the First Amendment to excuse them; his father, an attorney, always saves the day, too. And while I applaud the sentiment, I don’t know why the dude has to be such a tool bag to get his point across. It smacks of sophomorism and that sort of misguided shock wankery that attention whores indulge in (I oughtta know).

But there are better ways to defend the First Amendment without being a racist jackass or terrifying half your classmates. And I’m hoping that Karson eventually uses his obvious writing talent toward something positive, rather than trying to make a stupid point that doesn’t need making in the first place.

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written by a non-journalist

I was walking out of Illegal Pete’s the other day, when I happened to see Max Karson come out of the women’s restroom.

I didn’t say anything. I figured Max Karson has a right to do what he wants. It’s not like he’s violated an actual law. So I decided to do the stereotypical Asian thing, and just keep my opinion to myself.

“Hey, aren’t you Max Karson?” I asked.

“Wow, I’m so glad you recognized me. I’ve worked very hard to get recognized in public,” Max bragged.

“So…where ya headed Max?” Not that I actually cared. Just making polite conversation.

“Well, coincidentally, I’m off to buy a dog,” giving me a little nudge.

“What do you mean, ‘coincidentally’?” I nudged back.

“You’re people are experts on dog, no?”

I was about to say something, but then I decided he had a right to his opinion, and once again, I decided to do the stereotypical thing, and just keep my opinion to myself.

“Why are you getting a dog?” I diverted.

“Well, let me ask you this: do you think if I put peanut butter on my butt, and made the puppy lick me, would that be controversial?”

Did he really ask me that? I couldn’t have heard that correctly. How would one not know if that would be controversial?

“Sure,” I said in my most non-judgmental voice. After all, he’s only talking about it. It’s not like he’s actually going to do this, right? It’s just talk. So, he has the right to say what he is or is not going to do. So I said nothing.

“So you think it would get a lot of attention?” Max asked.

“Definitely. Especially with that recent Arvada dog case,” I said.

“What dog case?”

“You know. Rolo, the German shepherd that might get euthanized?”

It’s been all over the papers. I don’t even own a dog, and I know about it. Hmm. I guess we do know a lot about dogs.

Max just had a blank look on his face. Then his face lit up as if he had just reached enlightenment.com

“That’s perfect!” he exclaimed, “I can say it’s a satire about putting animals down. And it’ll get a lot of press, which means more people will know about me,” he explained.

I was going to tell him that perhaps he should rethink his position, but that would be self-righteous of me, wouldn’t it? I mean, it’s just satire, right? It’s not like he actually DID anything. It’s just talk, right?

Max turned around and went back into the women’s restroom, “I need to think about this more.”

I wanted to stop him, but who am I to tell him what’s right and what’s wrong? He’s entitled to his opinion. It’s not like he actually DID anything. He’s just talking for now, right?

So I decided to do the stereotypical Asian thing, and just keep my opinion to myself.

written by a non-journalist

I have the following questions:
1. Were there any more relevant, Asian/racial/campus stories that Karson could have chosen to write about? YES.
2. Could Karson have written better satire? YES.
3. Is Karson's world view old news? YES.

First, there are many people who want to try to minimize/trivialize this issue. There are people who want to spin this into dozens of other topics. At the end of the day, this is about journalism. The reason why there is so much bad journalism today – constant obsession of mainstream news covering celebrity gossip, for example – can all be traced back to poor journalism at the university level. This why I'm so upset over how this issue is being cover by Campus Press.

This is not about free speech or limiting free speech. That's what the Campus Press wants us to believe. This is about good journalism versus bad journalism. Bad journalism is indefensible, and that's what the Campus Press doesn't want us to focus on.

I don't know if Karson is a racist, and I don't care. He can believe whatever he wants just like the rest of us. Campus Press has the right to print what it wants. That's not what upsets me. What upsets me is when they try to defend bad writing and poor editorial decisions behind the banner of free speech. What upsets me is when they try to pass of Karson's beliefs as showing "a diversity of opinions." There is nothing diverse about his opinion; his view is the mainstream if you ask me. I've heard it all before, except normally there is a burning cross behind him.

Karson's writing is not going to win any awards, and he knows it. And how dare he compare his writing to The Daily Show or The Onion. Not even close bud. Karson's rant is high school diary at best. The editor knows it's not great writing either, yet he/she still gave it a greenlight. This lack of judgment alone is enough to question the editor's journalistic standards.

There is nothing new about Karson's point of view, doesn't really say anything relevant, and, most importantly, it's poorly written. Is this really the best Campus Press could have written that day? Couldn't they have said, "Karson, we think you can write better than this."

So what does Campus Press do? Instead of writing about the so-called racial tension that allegedly sparked Karson's rant, they write an article about the definition of the word "satire." Um. You're on a college campus, I think everyone either has a dictionary, or knows about Google. Again, wasted printed space to defend bad journalism rather than focusing on the actual racial tensions. Hey, can you look up the term "red herring"? Or are you writing too many stories about how you're changing policies at the Campus Press, which should have been there IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Oh, BTW. By defending it as a "satire", they are admitting they found the material funny, or how could you call it a satire? Wow, a newspaper that admits making fun of Asians is funny. Is that good journalism?

Campus Press does not care about journalism. They care about publicity. That's all.

I expect the truth from journalist, as naive as that sounds. I expect them to report something that is true, accurate, and relevant. Karson's article was none of those. I don't care if it comes in the form of a comic strip, a blog, or a story in The Onion, I expect better from the 4th estate. I think The Onion has more integrity than the Campus Press to tell you the truth; talk about good satire and good writing.

It's not about free speech. It's not even about race. And it's not about apologies. Right now, I have a hard time trusting any words that come from the Campus Press. Actions speak louder than words. Until Karson and the editor voluntarily and immediately step down from their position, I'm going to have a hard time trusting any words that come from the Campus Press.