"That stuff...made me fall asleep," wrote Missourian reporter Spencer Engel (below right, Maneater photo), responding to this writer's comment that the first three weeks in July have seen at least nine Missourian op-ed columns -- most written by students -- that have nothing whatsoever to do with local issues.
The latest editorial addressed a rape-deterring condom with teethlike barbs made in South Africa and distributed there during the World Cup soccer match. Other op-eds addressed the movie Twilight (twice); the "evils" of lip balm; Harry Potter; and the Spice Girls. Meanwhile, several local summer traditions -- primary elections; Columbia's summer crime wave; local governments taking advantage of the summer lull to sneak through dubious policies -- loom large.
Earlier arguments to keep the taxpayer-funded Missourian in print during difficult budgets have focused on its commitment to local news and its important role in student training.
"I applaud the J-school for opening the op-ed pages to students, and their columns are usually well-written and insightful," I wrote. "But [Missourian professor] George Kennedy -- and to a lesser extent, [Trib publisher] Hank Waters -- are the only columnists writing much about local issues, and that's a shame."
"You have a blog; you can write about that mundane crap," Engel retorted.