Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Best New Weekly Feature, Week Two

My history of The Firearm continues . . .

UPDATE: I'm learning that this might not be obvious to all, but if you click the underlined text (that means it's a link) where it says "Volume One, Issue Two" or "Volume One, Issue Three" your computer will download a .PDF of the issue that I'm talking about, and then this whole series might make a bit more sense.

Volume One, The Issue Two That Never Was

Once Andrew and I had written everything for Issue Two of the Firearm we found ourselves involved in a pretty intense discussion over the issue’s From the Editor before heading off to have our copies made. You see, more than anything, we did not want to cause any serious trouble with the Firearm at BYU because the BYU powers-that-be will come down on you hard for anything that seems out of line. While we were shooting for campus fame, we didn’t want to draw much attention at the same time – something of a paradox, I know. The debated “From the Editor,” which encouraged people to share The Firearm with everyone they knew, ended with some “joke” about being at airport security and saying “I have a whole bunch of Firearms in my bag”, something really weak like that. Since I’m the one writing now, I’ll say that I thought the joke was a little suspect (and may, as it occurs to me now, also not funny?) and Andrew thought I was being a wimp – but it easily could have been the other way around, the memory gets a little fuzzy about some things after three and a half years. Anyway, it was decided that the joke would stay in the paper, we went to Kinkos, copies were made, issues were placed in backpacks for the next day. The next day was September 11th. It was quickly decided that maybe it wasn’t the best time for our dumb fake paper, or its dumb fake joke. So, the secret can now be revealed, there was an issue of the Firearm that was written, printed, and never distributed. I suppose the 200 some copies that may or may not exist in an Kinko’s box that may or may not be in Andrew’s possession would rank among the most valuable issues of the Firearm among collectors.

Volume One, Issue Two

But, fortunately, we just used all the same content from the previous week’s non-issue for the “real” second issue. But there was a new From the Editor, of course. The From the Editor refers to Firearm “I Got Issues” T-shirts. This was the original Firearm marketing scheme, a night or two before the first issue came up we spent a great amount of time ironing letters onto t-shirts for ourselves and our small band of distributors – the T-shirts said “I Got Issues” on the front and “The Firearm” on the back. The idea was that all the distributors would wear their shirts on days when there was a new Firearm and that somehow people would learn to ask for Firearms from these people—it was a little tricky loophole Andrew and I invented. While we never checked to see if it were so, we imagined that BYU had a rule against handing out publications like the Firearm on campus, so we figured that if people were asking us for Firearms instead, then that would be a different thing altogether.

Health Watch/How Firm a Foundation? was my first Oniony “fake news” article for the paper—while I always considered these sorts of pieces “lesser” journalism, they sure were popular and I sure wrote a lot of them. The article was inspired by all the ridiculous super-thick sandals that girls were wearing on campus, you know, those flip-flops with three or four-inch thick soles that may or may not still be incredibly popular around Provo.

Firearm Mailbag/Letters to the Editor. When we started the Firearm we really expected people to actually email us their thoughts and comments. It pretty much never happened. I think Andrew wrote all of these letters, I can’t really remember. It is possible that Willie Deford really wrote that one letter. Wait. Willie did write us a letter that week, but it was a super-serious opinion piece on September 11th that, while good, wasn’t fit for printing with our planned nonsense. Or maybe our nonsense wasn’t fit to print with it? Depends on how you look at it.

At a Glance/Amber vs. Ashley. This was my first bit of real news reporting for the paper, and pretty much the only thing printed in the paper that required actual research. The article explains the purpose the graph is intended to serve and the means by which I collected the data, and “Ashley” and “Amber”, to this day, remain popular first names, if you know what I mean.

Volume One, Issue Three

This Firearm starts off with a very important “From the Editor” dedicating the issue to our new head of distribution, Dave Lund. Dave was a roommate that wound up living in our apartment that just LOVED distributing the Firearm. At first Andrew and I assumed it was some sort of joke where he was pretending to love the Firearm, taking a bunch of issues every week, and then throwing them away – but a little bit of research revealed that he was actually distributing tons and tons of issues throughout campus. A few times we even caught him at work, harassing people into taking the paper from him. He also really wanted his name and phone number to be in the paper, so that was part of what he received for his September Spirit Award. (Perhaps some of you are already familiar with the notion of a “Spirit Award” and to that familiarity all I have to say is “Yes. Exactly.”)

Another thing about Dave was he was a very aggressive cell phone salesman who partly (or was it “entirely”?) inspired my Overheard in the Wilk/Cell Phone Salesmen article (if you don’t know, the Wilk is BYU’s student center). I wrote this dialogue (of which I remain proud to this very day) about 10 months before I even owned my first cell phone, so a lot of what I wrote was just made up stuff that sounded like the cell phone talk I had overheard up to that point. Also, this was written way back when cell phones weren’t in color and didn’t take pictures or go on the internet or anything, so it’s kind of wild to see that all the stuff I made up for cell phones to be able to do to seem extra outrageous has now come true, except for the monkeys.

As for Andrew’s Fashion/The Low-down article, what’s the deal with the Firearm having footwear related jokes one issue after the other? I suppose we were just a brand new paper back then, any content was good content.

If you don’t understand what this post is about, maybe you should read this from last week.

1 comment:

JayMoo and Stephoin said...

Speaking of BYU and their crazy rules, Jenna just made me aware that Julie from the Real World has redone her website which is amazing. She discusses BYU and their dumbness, which I feel U of U advocates would get a kick out of.