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Opening Volley

I was a jock in high school. I was a nerd in high school. Those two statements are equally accurate. It’s just that I was in the lower echelon of each clique, leaving me in the unique position of feeling unaccepted by both classic high school social strata. To use sports parlance (which I understand would have [...]



I was a jock in high school.

I was a nerd in high school.

Those two statements are equally accurate. It’s just that I was in the lower echelon of each clique, leaving me in the unique position of feeling unaccepted by both classic high school social strata.

To use sports parlance (which I understand would have been lost on the traditional nerd), I was a classic ‘tweener: not smart or creative enough to fit in with the nerds, and more intellectually capable than your average jock. But apparently my breathtaking ability to score roughly 2.1 baskets per high school basketball game was enough to fool everyone into thinking I had been categorized properly.

It was only as an adult that I realized I should have picked sides a long time ago and saddled up with the nerds, with whom I truly belonged.

I’m not trying to go all Zooey Deschanel on you here and give you the “adorkable” schtick, retroactively attaching myself to modern nerd culture because I was a vaguely fun-loving, impossibly goofy yet misunderstood oddball. What I’m trying to say is I missed out on the opportunity to acquire better training for what I was destined to be, which was a giant goddamned Nerd.

Bear with me, if you will, and consider my nerd application, via this body of evidence:

  • I was in 4-H. The only person out of roughly 987 students who spent his summers slapping a pig around a ring in shirts that even Garth Brooks would find overly countryfied. (If that sounds more country than nerdy, imagine Chris Gaines for a second).
  • I would proudly exhibit to anyone who wanted to know (which was no one, another quintessential nerd trait) that I could recite the daily and nightly TV lineup from 1985-1990
  • I had an even more extensive encyclopedic knowledge of Saturday Night Live, which meant that when my friends wanted to go outside to toilet paper houses, drink, and party with girls, I would have preferred a debate about the comparative merits of “Weekend Update” anchors
  • At age 12, my favorite movie was Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • That same year, in a jarring collision of my predilections (TV, hogs, writing), I penned a story for my English class about a porcine detective named Magnum P.I.G., who wore a suit (ya know, just like Selleck) and inexplicably ate corn off the floor whenever he got hungry. (There were illustrations).
  • What’s more, the only athletic honor I ever received was something called the “Coaches Award,” which to this day I am convinced was bestowed upon me only because I became a willing ear for my coach, who was going through a tough divorce. (This may not even be “nerdy” per se, but it is the absolute polar opposite of athletic accomplishment, and therefore falls to the latter end of the jock/nerd high school spectrum).

That’s not to mention that right out of college I became a sports writer and a standup comedian, which along with comic book geek and scientist could form some sort of Nerd Voltron. In case you didn’t notice, I just made a Voltron reference like it wasn’t even a big deal.

Which brings us to the present, where the lines of distinction between nerd pursuits and pop culture trends have long since been blurred – how’s your fantasy team doing? – and people have more posters on their wall of DeGrasse Tyson than Mike Tyson.

This issue is dedicated to nerdier pursuits, and moreover is a tribute to the nerd’s ascension into the mainstream. Legos and leather jackets carry the same timeless cool in our new world, a place where we can all live in perfect harmony, jocks, nerds, and everyone else, hand in hand.

Except for people who like The Big Bang Theory.

That show sucks, nerds.


Travis Hoewischer, Editor-in-Chief

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Publisher: We can do better, free speech isn’t easy

Wayne T. Lewis, Publisher



When we started (614) Magazine over a decade ago our focus was on telling stories that helped people enjoy and experience our growing city. It was a simple mission - to focus on all the positive additions that make life more enjoyable here. 

Along the way we’ve written about culture too. From documenting the rise of the local Somali population to the establishment of a proud LGBTQ community and most recently, documenting the contributions made by our immigrant neighbors. The magazine was awarded Best Monthly Magazine by the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists as a result of some of that coverage. It was our 3rd time receiving that honor.

That mission has not changed. (614) is focused on the positive and the good things that our community brings to the table.

In the past few years we’ve added a digital component ( that has added news-style coverage of events we deem “newsworthy” or interesting to our audience. Since we live in very interesting times to say the least, some of this coverage attracts slings and arrows from time to time. From all sides. Our misuse of “their” and “they’re” notwithstanding.

It’s part of the business and we accept that we won’t be perfect nor do we expect our entire audience - hundreds of thousands of you - to laud our every headline.

What we do and will continue to commit to is the principle that free speech and the free press are precious things. We won’t deny your ability to comment in our stories (as long as you keep it civil) as so many other media does, nor will we refuse to publish speech, commentary or interviews that some may find offensive. If the subject matter is relevant to Columbus or events transpiring here, we’ll provide a platform. That said, we’re fairly new to the “news” game and we acknowledge that we could do certain things better. 

This is never more evident than with the current uproar by some over our coverage of the “Proud Boys” episode. For some, including other members of local media, to imply that we are somehow “Nazi sympathizers” because we chose to publish the unedited words of people involved in the march is unfair to the honest, thoughtful people working here. That said, we could have done a few things better... 

Our quick-to-publish style that may suit a story about a new donut shop opening doesn’t serve us as well with serious or controversial topics. We plan to slow down and establish more editorial oversight by and between our content team. We could have added more critical context to the story and worked harder to get an additional point of view. We hear the critics and frankly, appreciate the fact that you care (well, most of you) to see us get it right.

I can assure you our agenda is not about clicks (we removed ads from this story after it became so controversial) nor taking sides in any political or cultural debate - no matter how righteous an opinion may be. It’s about respecting our audience and your ability to make up your own minds after reading the words and deeds of antagonist and protagonist alike. 

We think you’re all smart and capable enough.

Justice Louis Brandeis observed, “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” While a commentary on government corruption at the time, it held that evil lurks and grows in the darkness and that a free society depends on the open-airing of all views, no matter how distasteful. This axiom was also long held as an operating principle within journalism. I still believe this to be true and the right thing to do. 

We choose to maintain, even cherish, our freedom to publish all relevant sides to the many debates that are sure to follow. You are likewise free to leave your opinion below these stories. We also welcome longer-form opinions, even ones critical of us, at [email protected]

We only ask that you keep it civil and remember that the people creating our content are doing their best to be fair and open-minded. Oh, and none of us are Nazi sympathizers so there’s that too.

Wayne T. Lewis

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Govt & Politics

Op-Ed: We won battle with Heartbeat Bill block, war continues

Caitlin Horwatt



Ohio’s controversial “Heartbeat Bill” has been ​blocked by a federal court​, just days before it was slated to go into enforcement on July 11. The ruling is a temporary win for pro-reproductive rights activists and Planned Parenthood, ensuring that abortion clinics in the state of Ohio can stay open. But, the war over a woman’s right to her bodily autonomy is only ramping up.

The law would have banned abortions in the state of Ohio after six weeks, the earliest time in a pregnancy when a fetal heartbeat may be detected and well before many women know they are pregnant. There were to be no exceptions for rape or incest, although there would be exceptions when the life of the mother was in danger. The law would have classified violations as fifth-degree felonies, carrying up to one year in jail time and up to $2,500 in fines as a sentence.

The ​halt was ordered ​by Judge Michael Barrett of the Southern District of Ohio U.S. District Court. Barrett pointed out that the bill placed an “undue burden” on a woman seeking to terminate a pre-viability pregnancy. The law was on its face unconstitutional, a blatant attempt to overturn the federal government’s long standing decision to give women the right to the decisions regarding their bodies. Conservatives have tried to limit bodily autonomy well before women had the right to abortions; however, they fail to attack problems like infant poverty and child hunger with the same veracity.

The bill was part of a larger strategy that’s occurred nationwide at the hands of Republican lawmakers. The right to an abortion will stand nationally as long as Supreme Court rulings, including ​Roe v. Wade,​ remain in effect. By hammering out heartbeat bills nationwide, conservatives increase their chances of getting a ruling appealed up to the Supreme Court and from there the conservative-leaning court overturning ​Roe​.

Abortions are not only justified in the case of rape or incest, which has been a clickbait-inducing theme around this controversy. Abortion is a part of reproductive healthcare, a procedure nearly one in four women​ have before the age of 45. If lawmakers are so concerned about decreasing abortion rates, presumably because of a concern for the lives of the fetuses, they should fund comprehensize sex education ​and support for impoverished children already in this country.

The right to an abortion goes further than an outright ban. Strict regulations are a backdoor way to limit abortions, claiming to regulate the abortion providers for safety purposes. The state of Missouri​ famously has just one embattled abortion clinic ​still open and providing procedures, with the fight to keep the clinic licensed and running regularly boiling down to the wire in the past several months.

It is easy to move on from this debate when a new shocking headline runs about the state of politics or the crisis at the border. Wins like this, though important, cannot be accepted as permanent. As long as conservative lawmakers are proposing bills and regulations that limit abortion care, there is a battle to be fought, because we won’t go back.

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Govt & Politics

OP-ED: Heartbeat Bill will likely affect 11yo Ohio rape victim

Caitlin Horwatt



The passage of Ohio’s recent “heartbeat bill,” signed by Governor DeWine, marks a massive and distressing win in the conservative quest to outright ban abortion. All parties supporting the bill—from DeWine to legislators and lobbyists—are well aware that the action will be blocked by courts as they uphold Roe v. Wade, which protects the right to abortion until 24 weeks gestation. We should be frightened as we explore whether their big picture goal is to get Roe v. Wade overturned by the decidedly conservative Court.

By banning abortion after a heartbeat is detected, the law prohibits abortion as early as eight weeks, well before many women know they are pregnant. Add in the already mandatory twenty-four hour waiting period between first appointment and procedure, and the likelihood of legal abortion for even a pregnancy detected early seems slim. The law is an blatant attempt to ban women’s right to choose.

The Guttmacher Institute found that ​1 in 4 women​ has had an abortion before age 45. The Pew Research Center found that ​58% of Americans support legal abortion ​in all or most cases, with polarizing views against abortion coming mostly from Republican and religious Americans. These statistics fail to depict, though, how traumatic the impact can be for women forced to carry a child to term when she does not have the means or support to do so. The law is meant to protect the fetus at a term that is far earlier than the 22 to 24 weeks at which it is viable, all at the cost of the mother.

The bill notably does not give exceptions for cases of rape and incest, only allowing exceptions for medical necessity to save the mother’s life. This means an ​11 year-old rape victim from Massillon​ will likely have to carry her rapist’s baby to term.

Heartbeat bills do not ban abortion; they ban legal abortion. I think of a sign I saw during the 2017 Women’s March: a metal coat hanger with the words “WE WON’T GO BACK” scrawled below. The passage of this recent law achingly raises questions of whether or not we will go back.

Women who now find themselves pregnant could have their lives forever changed. Even if they choose to surrender the baby after birth, the cost of a pregnancy is astronomical and healthcare is far from a certainty in this country. If the pregnancy was caused by rape, the potential for trauma only escalates. Women will have few places to turn, with the most vulnerable unable to seek safe healthcare and the potential high for maternal deaths as part of botched abortions.

The ACLU and other organizations are already moving to challenge the ban in court. I can’t shake the looming feeling that these challenges will only play into the hands of those anti-abortion supporters, and that we may be entering the most important fight of our generation in this fight for a woman’s right to choose.

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