Thursday, September 22, 2005

Offensive College Mascots

If you are offended by college mascots then I have no other choice except to call you stupid. I've tried to understand and I've weighed all of the arguments and after all of the information has been distilled in the tiny pressure cooker that is my brain, I'm reduced to calling you stupid. Stupid.

You must first understand that this whole subject started for me at a younger age. I attended the now defunct Tolt High School in Carnation, WA. Our mascot was the Demon. Yes, we were the Tolt Demons. Did we think much of it? No. Did we make a big deal about it? No. Were we proud to have an original mascot? I don't think "proud" was a word used very frequently when describing our school, but we pretty much thought it was okay.

We had some Christians in our neck of the woods who petitioned for a long time to have the name changed. Apparently having Demons as the mascot was offensive to their spiritual sensibilities. I wasn't a Christian at the time, but looking back at it through the eyes of one all I can say is "stupid." My school's memory now is found in a display case maintained by a local historical society.

Now Native Americans (um...Indians to most people) are expressing their offense to the use of college mascots that use tribe names or wink in the direction of their fragile culture. It would appear that names like Redskins, Warriors, Braves, Indians, Seminoles, et al seem to negatively overshadow the new legacy to which they are aspiring, namely casinos and roadside trinket stands.

Because they can't continue to be angry about everything they just attack soft targets such as mascots in the name of protecting their culture.

Before you think that I can't possibly understand what the Native Americans are complaining about, allow me to give you a true illustration. Much of my family comes from Ireland and were Protestant. There is a heritage in my family that has experienced persecution because they would not bow to the Roman Catholic Church. They were Orangemen. Syracuse University uses the Orangemen as their mascot. In short the heritage that I admire and respect so much is reduced to this:

Am I offended? No.

Do you know why? Because it would be stupid.

Is the heritage of my family who were persecuted and finally moved to North America from Ireland properly represented by a giant orange with arms and legs? Um, probably not.

Everyone fundamentally forgets what mascots are for. You don't adopt a mascot because you hate it or want to demean it, you do it to get inspiration from the symbol you've adopted. It's true that it isn't always properly represented but that doesn't mean it is disrespected. Most of all, it doesn't mean YOU are disrespected.

I haven't heard a single person who cares that the Idaho mascot (Vandals) is now purely associated with the destruction and defacing of property instead of a Germanic Tribe that existed during the time of the Roman Empire. Because of this disparity it just exposes what we are truly being told is the only truth: Native American cultures must never be touched because they are more sacred than others...everyone else is up for grabs. Stupid.

Please, quit being stupid. Enjoy your heritage and culture and stop being so easily offended. Otherwise your new heritage will be that you're a bunch of crybabies.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Evidence I'm getting old

Several people in the last few weeks have shown me pictures of their kids...and I was actually interested in seeing them.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Disarming New Orleans Citizens

Apparently to restore order no one will be allowed to carry a weapon in New Orleans...unless you are a security guard hired to protect life and property. In other words if you're wealthy enough to hire someone to carry a gun for you then you can have as much protection as you can afford. If you're poor then I'm afraid you'll have to depend on the police...police who have already conceded that protecting life and property is a secondary responsibility in the face of the overall relief effort.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Feds failed New Orleans?

During the great Tsunami everyone complained that there was not sufficient warning time for people to escape. In New Orleans there was debate as to whether the call for the evacuation was equal to crying "wolf." I don't watch television as a general rule because it wastes my time. My housemate asked me, "You want to watch TV and see the hurricane come in?" There was enough warning that you could watch it come in with anticipation similar to the droves of idiots who can't wait to see who the next American Idol will be.

New Orleans now claims that the Feds failed them because despite having unprecedented warning of a category 5 hurricane that was coming right at their city, they also want immediate evacuation and help to get there for the citizens who stayed...stayed in their city that sits under sea level.

Now I know not everyone can leave. Especially people who are so used to urban living that they don't even own a car. I was sickened to see that no serious attempt was made to remove the sick, infirmed, and nursing home residents. Everyone I've seen asked about why they didn't leave had the same reply: "I had nowhere to go." So I guess that's the Feds fault too.

I'm not going to be in too many situations to defend the Federal government, but this wasn't anyone's fault. The blame belongs squarely on anyone who could've left, but didn't bother.