The student voice of Midwestern State University The Wichitan page 6 Burger wars page 7 Heartbreaker MT’s crushes local ground beef competition with half-pound heavyweight hamburger Mustangs’ playoff bid ends after a failed attempt at a lastminute rally. WEDNESDAY, November 18, 2009 Porno screening met with naked disapproval Brittany Norman Editor in Chief When Debbie did Midwestern, she left behind a trail of drama. Mass Communication chair Dr. Jim Sernoe has fielded numerous phone calls, e-mails and voicemails from concerned, offended and outraged community members over the pornographic film screening held on campus Friday. A group in his Media Law class came up with the idea to invite the campus to watch Debbie Does Dallas after Sernoe assigned a project to his students. The objective? To push the limits of the First Amendment. Sernoe said the project was intended to put the students in the crosshairs of a First Amendment debate. “It’s easy to sit in the safety of a classroom and discuss cases,” Sernoe said. “It’s a very different experience to be on the front line and know that you’re right, know that you’re doing nothing illegal, know that the First Amendment is on your side, yet encounter firsthand others’ disapproval.” Perhaps disapproval was a bit of an understatement. While Sernoe, who was present on the night of the screening (though he did not view the film himself), said that the event went off without much of a hitch. The backlash didn’t really start until Monday when the calls and e-mails began rolling in. The delay surprised Sernoe. “I expected all kinds of heat on Friday,” he said. “The silence had been deafening.” The feedback wasn’t all negative. “I have gotten e-mails voicing different objections for different reasons,” Sernoe said. “But I have also gotten e-mails praising the event. Someone sent me a link to one of the local news stories and said, ‘Look at all of these comments.’ Some of the comments were negative, but many of them said, ‘What’s the big deal? This is college.” Everyone had a reason for their negative reaction. “I have heard that it was irresponsible of Midwestern to let this happen, that pornography is an addiction or that pornography leads to crime,” Sernoe said. “One of the voicemails I received said that when you hear about all of the child murders, it always starts with pornography. One person in an e-mail tried to tell me that the First Amendment did not protect pornography. “One of them said – and this is a quote – ‘I don’t care about First Amendment Rights.’” Sernoe said he answered all emails with a standard response of “thank you for your comments, which the First Amendment allows you to make.” “My rebuttal is that we have academic freedom and we have the First Amendment,” Sernoe said. “I’m not going to start debating these people. They seem to think they will get somewhere with me by sending all of these things.” A few of the complaints surrounded the presumed use of taxpayer money to show the film. If Dr. James Hoggard were a stage performer, he would be a ventriloquist. The English professor of 43 years has made a career of breathing life into fictional characters: imagined damsels, dirty cowboys and damned souls. But now the tenured writer – who was once the poet laureate of Texas – has given his voice to someone real. In his newest book, Triangles and Light, Hoggard attempts to speak for Edward Hopper, an American modernist artist who died in 1967. The book, which Hoggard will read at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art Thursday at 7 p.m., interprets 51 of Hopper’s paintings. He said he got the idea after he wrote a poem entitled, “Motel,” which he said was describing a painting Hopper could have done. “When I started the project, I decided to tell it through his voice,” Hoggard said. The author said he didn’t Lauren Wood Entertainment Editor Reality TV shows paint a picture of an elaborate audition process, including long lines, anxious contestants and harsh judges. But three MSU students have personally discovered how much of reality TV is really real. Sophomores Renee DuBois, Christopher Carter and Anastasia Reed have each had their nerveracking experience auditioning for TV reality shows “Zoom,” “American Idol” and “America’s Next Top Model.” All were good learning experiences, they admit. Some, however, were disappointing. DuBois said she always dreamed of singing on a TV show. At the early age of 12, she saw an advertisement for an audition on “Zoom” and immediately called and signed up. “Zoom” is a PBS Kids show based in Boston, about an hour and a half outside Brimfield, the small community where she grew up. “This was my last chance to audition since the age limit was 8 through 12 and I had just turned 12,” DuBois said. That cold January morning of the try-outs, DuBois, her mother and her sister made the journey to the See FAMOUS page 4 have any problem working as a mouthpiece of Hopper’s paintings. “I’ve always found it very easy to create different voices,” Hoggard said. He calls the piece an indirect meditation on the American artist. It is also an indirect comment on divinity, he said. “The triangle is the most stable of the geometric forms,” Hoggard said. He said Hopper used the triangle thematically to give structure to a world with no built-in meaning. This is related somewhat to existentialism, he said. “Just as the existentialists were creating their own sense of justice, so too was Hopper creating meaning,” Hoggard said. The English professor said he was introduced to Hopper’s work when he was still in elementary school. “I had the best art teacher of all time,” he said. His instructor opened his eyes to works of the Italian Renaissance and modern American painters. This is probably what See HOGGARD page 4 Eco-conscious changes should earn green back (Clockwise from top) Anastasia Reed auditioned for America’s Next Top Model, Christopher Carter tried out for American Idol and Renee DuBois gave the show ‘Zoom’ a go. (Photos by Julia Raymond) See DEBBIE page 4 Professor and poet finds acute inspiration Chris Colins Managing Editor Braving the critics, several MSU students have the guts to try out for reality TV Sernoe said the only taxpayer money that was spent would be electricity in C111 for a couple of extra hours. The students involved in the project purchased the DVD on their own, got permission from the production company to show it, and bought all refreshments with their own money. Surrounding the complaints, Sernoe said he was not backed up by the university administration. “I was told that if I do this project again, I will have to get permission from the Human Subjects in Research Commit- Chris Collins Managing Editor MSU is working up a head of steam over energy conservation. Alan Goldapp, associate vice president for facilities services, thinks the university could save big bucks by saving steam. Goldapp said he’s considering four separate projects that would change how the natural resource is distributed throughout the school. One idea, he said, involves extensive repairs to the steam distribution system on campus. This would involve reworking steam lines, traps and condensation equipment. It would only take a couple of years to earn the money back from this fix, he said. “It really depends on where we see ourselves long-term,” Goldapp said. Another idea he had was to install boilers in individual build- ing on campus, so that the steam wouldn’t have to travel such a long distance to reach students, staff and faculty. Currently all four of the school’s boilers sit in the central plant. He said this would be a doubly expensive project. It would cost about $3 million and take about 10 years to see any profit. Yet another idea he had was to install a small boiler next to the larger ones, for use when minimal steam is needed. This may not be as productive as the other ideas, he said. Goldapp said if he had to decide on one project to pursue, it would be reworking the current steam distribution system. He said he’s not sure about the cost involved with every project, but he will be meeting with an energy consultant within the next week or two to discuss the possibilities.