Back when J. Edgar Hoover, that infallible defender of our constitutional rights, was playing dictator and spying on Americans as head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Daily’s editorial page handed out the Edgar Awards annually to individuals and institutions best embodying his many admirable characteristics. Of necessity, we revived the tradition in recent years.

Sarah Royce
Sarah Royce
Illustration by Sam Butler

Over the past four years, the antics of the Bush Administration have tempted us to rename the awards. Why not call them the Bushies, the Cheneys, the Johnny Ashcrofties or perhaps the “global warming is a mythies”? This year they almost became the Albertos, but who are we to judge when history will do so much more justice?

And so we present the fourth annual Edgar Awards:

The Keith Richards Edgar for so thoughtfully honoring the past goes to the University Board of Regents for approving the addition of luxury boxes to Michigan Stadium. If completed as proposed, the luxury boxes would be higher than Keith, and that can’t be good for anyone.

The Mark Foley Edgar for improper use of adolescents goes to BAMN. Although the intention was honorable, bringing high school kids to the Diag to cause chaos and confusion is best left to the professionals in yellow windbreakers: campus tour leaders.

The “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” Edgar for botched PR stunt goes to the Young Americans for Freedom for Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day. The event may have been xenophobic, but at least it didn’t nearly shut down an entire city – just the Diag.

The Anna Nicole Smith Edgar for too much publicity for all the wrong reasons goes to Ryan Fantuzzi. The always outspoken campus conservative has yet to lose the clothing, but we call dibs on those pictures.

The Mike Nifong Edgar for rush to judgment goes to LSA junior Justin Zatkoff, recently named chair of the Michigan Federation of College Republicans. Nifong is the prosecutor who falsely hounded the Duke Lacrosse team; Zatkoff claimed to have been beaten up by “liberal thugs” who turned out to be his drunken friends. Moral: Falsifying information may get you the attention you crave, but often it just makes you the prick who gets beat up by his own friends.

The West Bank/Gaza Checkpoint Edgar for inconvenience in travel goes to the construction project between the University Museum of Art and Angell Hall. Getting to the Diag shouldn’t be harder than getting through it.

The “I Know What You Did Last Summer” Edgar goes to Facebook.com. As an added bonus, the student networking site also picks up the Edgars for “I know what you’re doing now,” “I know what event you’re ‘maybe attending’ next week” and “most likely to delude students into thinking clicking a mouse can bring social change.”

“The Godfather: Part III” Edgar for the sequel not living up to the original goes to the new Students for a Democratic Society. We know it’s only been a few months, but not even one riot or violent splinter group? The original SDS founders would be ashamed. At least it doesn’t feature any incestuous cousin-loving. That’s just creepy.

The Chicago Cubs Wait Until Next Year Edgar goes to Michigan football. And if not next year, then the year after that, or the year after that. You’re not really in trouble until you go 99 years without a championship.

The Jason Z. Pesick/Donn M. Fresard Edgar for pretentious use of an initial goes to University Vice President for Student Affairs E. Royster Harper. Hillary Swank’s got nothing on Eunice; this makes four Edgars in a row for her.

The Ralph Nader Edgar for hopeless idealism goes to LSA senior and former Socialist Party candidate for state representative Matt Erard. You go for it all, you come up empty and you like it. This is the life of third-party candidates.

The frat house masturbator Edgar for having no grasp on reality goes to a 2006 Republican candidate for University Regent, Susan Brown. The scariest part is that her money almost bought her the election.

The You Are Not Smarter Than A Fifth Grader Edgar goes to Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) for fondly comparing a marketplace in Baghdad favorably with his local market at home. That must be one bad hood out there in Columbus, Ind.

The Artist Formerly Known As Prince Edgar goes to the Michigan Action Party. The Artist is once again known as Prince, and MAP is once again a dominant party of no ideology, little action and gigantic electoral victories.

The Rosie O’Donnell/Donald Trump Edgar for obnoxious mudslinging goes to student activists on either side of the Israel/Palestine debate. Never have facts bent so far both ways, snapped and been taped back together so cleanly to spell “we just want dialogue.”

The Sheriff Bull Connor/Kent State University Edgar for the mishandling of a protest goes to University President Mary Sue Coleman. No one on SOLE got hosed, but the incident did inspire lots of “Ask Me Why I Was Arrested” sandwich boards. You just can’t buy that kind of publicity.

The Iraqi Baath Party Lack of Competitive Elections Edgar goes to the Michigan Student Assembly. We do have to admit that it got interesting for a minute there when Defend Affirmative Action Party cracked double digits.

The FEMA “Heckuva Job, Brownie” Edgar goes to the University administration for their response to Proposal 2. Clearly, they were prepared, took the necessary steps, and the results speak for themselves.

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