My Turn: Sell Hooligan separately and see if it survives

Posted: Thursday, September 07, 2006

Much has been written recently regarding the Hooligan section and I thought I would put in my two cents worth.

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On Aug. 30, the Empire published a non-apology for the piece printed in Hooligan on the 24th. It says, "In the first several weeks of Hooligan's existence, none of us - including me - heard anything but rave reviews not only from the 20- to 35-year-old segment of our readership, but from those considerably older. That's not blue sky in an attempt to convince you of anything. It's the truth."

Well, I don't know about any of the others who have the low regard for this section that I have, but until now, I have not felt it to be worth my time or trouble to write to the paper on the subject. The fact is, though, that I have never read anything in the section that was of any value, so my typical response to getting a Thursday paper has been to just throw that section away. I would, in fact, never have known about that over-the-line article if it weren't for the letters to the editor regarding it.

On Sept. 1, the Juneau Empire published a rather confusing letter that was written by Collette Costa. On the surface it can be taken either as condemning Hooligan or as mocking those who were offended by the recent stories in it. Given that this letter was written by a Hooligan columnist, however, I'm sure that the true intent is to mock those who have high standards and are therefore offended by the sleaze recently found in Hooligan.

Ms. Costa concludes her letter by saying, "I don't have children, mainly because if I did, I wouldn't begin to know how to keep their eyes off of the newspapers, magazines, news shows, bumper stickers, billboards, Bugs Bunny cartoons or random graffiti depicting sex, violence or life. I might have to explain all the stuff we need to keep away from them until they are of an age to get pregnant. Thanks again."

I think I can explain to Ms. Costa how one would do that. It starts with not ignoring offensive articles in newspapers or magazines, by canceling (or not getting) subscriptions to any publications that print offensive material. It is expanded by eliminating television from one's home (as more and more people are doing). City cleanup will deal with the graffiti either by joining a volunteer group that goes out to wash it off or by contributing to the costs of such removal. Boycotting businesses that put up offensive billboards or petitioning for the removal of such will deal with those.

In short, protecting children is done in the same manner that one would protect oneself. I don't have any children either, but I do have myself and I am taking the step of canceling my newspaper subscription so that I won't have to worry about whether Hooligan will have any articles in it that I don't want in my home for even as long as it takes to throw them away.

One of the very first letters regarding the Hooligan issue (by Bea Findlay) proposed having the section separated from the rest of the paper and sold separately. Personally, I think this is a great idea and wonder why none of the pro-Hooligan letters have taken this suggestion up.

If Hooligan were sold separately then it would still be available for those who find bathroom humor amusing, or who would be interested in reading about one woman's pride in her family's history of drinking, "exotic" male dancers, "adult" toys or any of the other numerous articles that the section has published that are not appropriate for a family newspaper.

If Hooligan were sold separately, it would also stand or fall by its own merits.

• Mae Tanner is a Juneau resident.

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