By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Sounds like a pretty good deal to us.
Last week, Buzz gave you the down and dirty on the "obscene" ads that D magazine refused to publish--or something close to it anyway. We're still not sure about the contents of one of the ads, but the other definitely involved a wiener. This week, Buzz's duty is to fill in the blanks from The Dallas Morning News, which reported that Gov. George W. Bush, unaware that he was standing before an open microphone in Illinois, referred to a New York Times reporter as a "major league a--." No need to buy a vowel. The word you're looking for is "asshole."
This being 2000, you might think that the Morning News would just go ahead and spell it out for you. It's not like Bush called the reporter an m-- or a c--, but the Morning News is a "family newspaper," which means the operative year for its staff is 1955, so the reporters there must contend with a fair amount of b--. They're not alone. Buzz once worked for a newspaper that allowed us to use only the first and last letter of a quoted obscenity, plus a hyphen for each letter in between, as if anyone couldn't figure out f- -k on his or her own. Our goal then was to work a completely obscure combination of letters and hyphens into a story and really puzzle 'em. P- - - - - - - r, for instance.
Have things changed much since the late Pleistocene, when Buzz was a reporter? We checked the news databank Lexis-Nexis to see how other publications handled Bush's gaffe. The London papers spelled it out. The New York Times didn't. The Washington Post and USA Today did. Our favorite was The Washington Times, which deleted the offensive word and reported that Bush used "a vulgar euphemism for a rectal aperture."
How helpful, but then what would you expect? The Washington Times is owned by the Unification Church, also known as the Moonies.
Name game: Mr. Pottymouth may be down in the polls lately in his race for the White House, but the Bush name still carries a certain cachet--among convicted criminals anyway.
Henry Billingsley, son-in-law of real estate developer and Republican party contributor extraordinaire Trammell Crow, distinguished himself a few years ago when he pleaded guilty to smuggling a Libyan government official across the Mexican border in 1992 so the dignitary could look over some land Billingsley wanted to sell. A U.S. law drafted after the terrorist bombing of a jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, barred the Libyan from entering this country, but nothing stands between a Dallas real estate dealer and a closing, except, on occasion, jail.
These days, Billingsley, who was sentenced to a halfway house, has adopted an alternative marketing technique. He has renamed a huge field near Coit Road and Plano Parkway "Bush Business Park," to make it more attractive to prospective buyers. True, the George H. W. Bush Expressway is nearby, but it's fairly obvious Billingsley is trying to capitalize on any windfall that might come from a George W. victory. Of course, if Bush loses, Billingsley might end up looking like a major league a--.
American Atheists Inc. won its short-lived battle late last month over whether the group would be allowed to distribute atheist-themed book covers in Grand Prairie schools. Now they're taking the fight on to Chicago.
The atheist organization went to Grand Prairie after the district agreed to permit distribution of book covers bearing a version of the Ten Commandments. School officials briefly resisted before allowing the atheist organization to distribute 3,000 of its covers, which bear freethinking quotes from American presidents and patriots. Buzz imagines the choice must just thrill the little rugrats in Grand Prairie. Picture the scene: "But M-o-o-m, I don't want the X-Men book cover. I want the one with the pithy commentary of James Madison."
Now public schools in Chicago are prepared to allow distribution of Ten Commandment book covers, too, and American Atheists is close behind.
"Wherever the Christians go, we will be there," organization spokesman Ron Barrier says.
This time, they've turned the covers over to an artist in hopes of designing a cover more appealing to kids. Barrier couldn't describe the new design, "but I can tell you it's going to be great...it's going to be a Where's Waldo for the kids." (In hell, if Christians are correct.)
Buzz has a better idea for an anti-religious icon that will appeal to the youngsters, and we can describe it in two words: Marilyn Manson.
--Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams
Think Buzz is a b-- or a d--? Tell us why, you m--, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone (214) 757-8439 or fax (214) 757-8593