The Junk Drawer: Doritos Conspiracy Edition

If you stare into this mess long enough, you’ll see the message to the followers of QAnon… Unless, of course, you’re in on the conspiracy…

Welcome to this edition of the junk drawer. As we have outlined in previous junk drawer posts, this is a random collection of stuff that is important but didn’t fit anywhere else, much like that drawer in the kitchen of most of our homes.

Without further ado, here’s a mix of the good, the bad and the truly weird…

Update on the Indiana Daily Student

Last week, we talked about the financial problems associated with the Indiana Daily Student, the student publication at Indiana University. The staff published a letter-from-the-editor, explaining how the paper was likely to run out of money at the end of the semester and its future was tenuous at best.

As the editors gear up for another semester, there appears to be some potential good news, as IU has made it clear it knows the paper is hurting and that this media outlet has too much value to let it die on the vine.  According to the joint statement from the IDS, the School of Media and the provost’s office, the paper can operate at a deficit for three years, starting in the 2021 fiscal year. During that time, the three groups will work together to find a viable long-term solution to make the paper financially stable.

This shows some great forethought on the part of the school and it provides the student journalists the opportunity to breathe a bit while this gets sorted out. It’s truly one of the best possible outcomes anyone had the right to expect, so congratulations to all parties involved.

Speaking of dealing with tough times as a journalist…


Reporting: Come for the insurrection, stay for the threats

The riot on Jan. 6 demonstrated a number of things, not the least of which was a general disdain for journalists and journalism. Consider what happened to several reporters during the scrum when they had to abandon their gear:

Just in case you weren’t entirely clear of how these people felt about journalists, here’s another tidbit from that scene…


The one that got me the most, however, was a shot of the door inside the Capitol. Someone had found the time (and the spelling acumen) to express their dissatisfaction with how journalists operate in this country through graffiti:

(Side note: He might have pretended to be a writer, but he sure as hell couldn’t have passed as a photog, given that no photojournalist I know would EVER do a posed shot let alone one with the “thumbs up” approach.)

I find it interesting that the people who want to “murder the media” probably couldn’t adequately define the media, outline what areas of it are most dissatisfying to them or explain what it is they dislike about it. Because to do that, hey, they’d need to be educated or at least aware of things going on around them… and that might require MEDIA!

Speaking of life-and-death issues…


One professor is releasing more posthumous material than Tupac

Students often wonder to what degree professors pay attention to their emails, questions, discussion board posts and other forms of interaction. In at least one case, the professor has a pretty good reason for being less-than-responsive to their inquiries this semester.

He’s been dead for almost two years.

During one of those recent lectures, a question occurred to Ansuini that he wanted to follow-up on with the professor. He was eager to learn more about a particular example the professor had used.

So he paused the video on his laptop and Googled the professor’s name in order to find his email — that seemed quicker than hunting around for the syllabus on his desktop. What he found instead was an obituary. At first he assumed it must be for someone else with the same name.

In fact, no: François-Marc Gagnon, an art-history professor at Montreal’s Concordia University, had passed away in 2019 at age 83. Turns out Ansuini’s favorite new professor was dead.

Turns out, there had been another professor “ghost teaching” the course at the direction of the university. While people debate property rights of his lectures, I’d have a real hard time sticking with this class. It was weird for me watching the final episodes of “Jeopardy!” with Alex Trebek, knowing he was dead already. I also haven’t been able to listen to my Bill Cosby records for years, now that I know he was a sexual predator.

Speaking of other awkward collections…


That’s a pretty nice ass. you’re trying to sell

In editing, we joke about how headline abbreviations need to avoid causing more problems than they solve. (The best one was about an interstate murder investigation which states, “Ill. man accused of Mass. murder”) In working through some Marketplace listings, I came across an offer I almost couldn’t refuse:


And, finally, speaking of things that you can’t make up, no matter how hard you try…


Doritos: Illuminati and Sea Salt Flavor

I always appreciate honesty and thoroughness in all of the corrections I read, but I have to admit, I wondered how in the world the content in this one ever saw the light of day:

I’m only imagining the conversation that led up to this:

Editor: “You sure on this QAnon pin thing?”

Writer: “Well, it was orange and triangle shaped… I mean what else could it be?”

Editor: “All right, let’s run it!”

As always, this comes with a valuable lesson, which is, “If you don’t want to be accused of being part of a conspiracy-theory group with ties to all sorts of unsavory people and actions, don’t eat Doritos.”

UPDATE: Turns out, I got smoked. This was apparently debunked, as a friend told me after this ran:

The content in that one never did see the light of day.

Dammit. I hate when this happens. Goes to show that I’m going to need to work on being a bit more careful.


(a.k.a. The Doctor of Paper)

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