Former Brigham Young University student Steven Greenstreet has been ripping some elements in Utah Valley as well as people at his former school for years now.
He gained some national attention for his documentary film, "This Divided State," about the balkanizing visits of Michael Moore and Sean Hannity to Utah Valley State Collegein 2004. He took aim at some BYU administrators during and after Vice President Dick Cheney's visit to Provo last year.
Greenstreet's latest broadside came last Saturday, when he posted a blog entry titled, "Utah County is America's Rectum."
In the past, he has made fun of ultra-conservative folks who were angry that UVSC invited the liberal Moore to campus, with some justification. Then last year he manipulatively edited some film to cast an innacurate light on BYU President Cecil Samuelson.
Now he's taken aim at a much larger group: The 45,000 of you who celebrated the Fourth of July at the Stadium of Fire.
Greenstreet's blog entry pointed to a column in the Philadelphia Inquirer in which Chris Satullo argued that America shouldn't have celebrated its birthday this year. He argued the Founding Fathers would be sad to see the U.S. torture prisoners, or imprison them for years without charge or hearing, or ship them to foreign lands knowing they might be tortured there.
"This is the creed of July 4," Satullo wrote. "No matter what it costs us, no matter how it scares us, no matter how foolish it seems to a cynical world, America should stand up for human rights."
The column raised legitimate questions important to all Americans. Especially this week, when Congress passed and President Bush signed a revised law on the use of government wiretaps.
But Greenstreet's blog didn't carry any of Satullo's gravitas. He used the 'f' word, the 's' word and a few others that don't belong in a family-friendly newspaper. He called the Freedom Festival's baby contest a horror show because parents dress the kids in red, white and blue.
And now he must be nursing a case of whiplash for jumping to the conclusion that a few of those flag-waving Americans at the Stadium of Fire were stupid numbskulls for booing when an American soldier in Iraq, while speaking with his family via satellite during the show, picked up a University of Utah flag and said, "Go, Utes!" in the very heart of Cougartown, yes, even LaVell Edwards Stadium.
"To recap," Greenstreet wrote, "the crowd started booing an American soldier while he stood in the hot desert of Iraq. They supported him serving his country. They supported the flag he wore. They supported his sacrifice. And then he said he liked a football team that they didn't like and so they told him to go (expletive deleted) himself."
That conclusion calls into question all other conclusions Greenstreet makes. What he should have written is: "They supported him serving his country. They supported the flag he wore. They supported his sacrifice. And then he had some fun with them when he said he liked a football team that they didn't like, and they had some fun with him by booing. Both he and they laughed together, happy to enjoy a moment of comic relief over a subject far less weighty than God, Country and Family."
He even could have issued three cheers for freedom of speech.
Instead, Greenstreet finished with this clever turn of phrase: "I tell ya, when the line between being a patriot or a traitor depends on what football team you like, we are all seriously screwed."
Huh? People I spoke with thought the moment was a funny highlight, nothing more. How does Greenstreet make the (il)logical leap that some boos over a really good regional football rivalry actually were meant to smear the soldier as a traitor? Really? A traitor?
That's wild-eyed hyperbole running irresponsibly amok.
Maybe this is a slick, reverse-psychology marketing ploy to get Utahns south of the Point of the Mountain to go see his latest documentary on obesity, "Killer at Large."No, thanks.
Utah County Bureau Chief Tad Walch lives with his wife and five children in Provo, their home of 21 years. E-mail twalch @desnews.com.