While reading opinion columns in The Daily Cougar over lunch, Jason Ginsburg decided he'd had enough. There
was no doubt in the sophomores mind he could do better. "I thought, these guys are a couple of bozos. I went down to
the Cougar and told the editor, 1 could pull a better column out of my ass,'" said Ginsburg. So in Spring 1995, one of the
Cougars most controversial columnists hit the opinion page.
Ginsburg got his first taste of journalism while writing for the Lamar High School Lantern as a sports reporter. An
avid sports fan , he enjoyed the assignments and also the attention. With a chuckle, Ginsburg recalls, "The athletes
would try to bribe me to mention their name in the paper." After graduation he briefly attended New York University before
transferring to UH in 1994.
From the beginning, it was obvious that Ginsburg was going to create a stir. In a column titled "Black History
Month a hindrance, not a help" the Cougar's newest columnist protested the "barrage of fanfare about the many virtues of
black culture." The piece established Ginsburg's opposition to affirmative action and the 'so called' civil rights
movement of the 1990s. "Total equality is a pipe dream, and it is up to the individual, be he black, white or plaid, to
achieve — not the government, not the white majority and not the black minority," Ginsburg wrote.
Reaction to the article was incredible. "Like any petulant child, you want people to write you," says Ginsburg. But even
he admits to being greatly surprised by what followed. Six weeks of letters poured in attacking Ginsburg as a "racist,"
"shallow," and "biased." "Like so many European-American males, Ginsburg gets caught in his Eurocentric mentality and
believes he knows what is best for all," wrote Morris Graves, director
of the Urban Experience Program.
Phone calls came into the Cougar office as well as his parents
home where he officially listed his address. "People were calling with
death threats. In fact, my parents actually had to change
their phone number," said Ginsburg. Not long after being hired,
Ginsburg was fired — the first time.
Another editor brought the controversial columnist back. Since
then, he has continued to write on many taboo topics. According to
Ginsburg, a columnist has to be controversial to survive. "People
would much rather read fiery political rhetoric and insults at the
basketball team than puppy dogs." So in November 1997 he created
the "Christian Fundamentalist Day Planner,
which included the following schedule:
8:00 a.m. - Awake, thank the Good Lord Jesus, brush teeth.
9:00 a.m. - Go to work at Denny's. Ignore black customers.
5:00 p.m. - Go to UH and set up speakers in front of the UC Satellite. Denounce sex, drugs, evolutionary theory.
8:00 p.m. - Return to trailer and continue letter-writing campaigns against Howard Stern and Sesame Street.
11:00 p.m. - Clean guns (for tomorrow may be Judgment Day).
Students, faculty and alumni alike flooded the Letters to the Editor section of the Cougar's opinion page for
over two weeks following this column's publication. At first, Ginsburg admitted to being troubled by the constant criticism. It
wasn't until a fellow columnist at the paper told him, "at least you know people are reading you," that he began to revel in
the attention . "Sometimes I do things specifically to get mail," Ginsburg admitted.
After graduating in Fall 1998, Ginsburg hoped to become a screenwriter, and had worked for over a year on a screen
play which was currently in development. He remained cautiously optimistic about the prospects of 'making it.' As for his
time spent writing for the Cougar, Ginsburg is proud of his work. With a laugh he recalls, "I stirred up a tremendous
amount of trouble.
While Ginsburg enjoys
writing about topics
happening off campus,
he often takes on many
UH institutions. Sports
often fell victim to his
biting humor whether
the issue was coaches,
players or new logos.
Photo By Patrick