Friday, February 16, 2007
So Long, Chief Illiniwek
I am a proud graduate of the University of Illinois and as such can speak with some personal experience to the "racist" and "offensive" display that is Chief Illiniwek's appearance at UofI home games.

As you may recall, I've ranted on this topic before at least twice.

Today, the Crack Young Staff, some of which are named "Chip", at the Hatemonger's Quarterly, are of a similar mind on the subject. And now, comes news that the UofI has basically killed Chief Illiniwek. He will no longer be present so that we can appease the knuckle-dragging PC-idiots at the NCAA.

My issues with this controversy are many. First, however, is the distinct hypocrisy of it all. For some unknown reason, it is only the mascots who revere or portray images from Native American culture that are being targeted. If one where to take a long look at a list of University Mascots, one would find more to be offended by than a handful of Indians.

Right off the bat, one can see how PETA would be angry with the denigration of proud and noble animals who have been placed in servitude to some Universities. The animals so enslaved run the gamut of the animal kingdom: alligators, wolves, eagles, ducks, tigers, jayhawks (some sort of breeding experiment between a bluejay and a sparrowhawk), bearcats, bears, bulldogs, beavers (what will the womyn say?!?), steers, elephants (haven't Barnum and Bailey done enough harm to this noble beast?), razorbacks, goats, bison, dragons, huskeys, bobcats, the Blue Devil (surely this is offensive to devil worshippers and wiccans?), badgers, horses, cougars, sheep, camels, cardinals, buffalo, gamecock, mastadon, dolphin, falcon, gopher, gorilla, hawk, hokie bird, owl (with all the birds listed here, one might expect that the Audubon Society should be up in arms about the vilification of so many of their feathered friends), jaguar, kangaroo, pegasus, cat, mule (an animal that already carries a considerable burden), lion, osprey, penguin, anteater, polar bear, panther, redbird, pelican, bull, roadrunner, seahawk, saluki, mockingbird, ibis, shark, stag, horned toad, and the hen.

And need I point out the real life animals who are so indentured? Servitude. Slavery. Filthy universities who whore out living and breathing animals for the amusement of the public - like a common circus act. REPREHENSIBLE! A non-comprehensive list of real-life animal slavers includes the following:

University of Kentucky (live bobcat)
Oklahoma State (a living American Quarterhorse)
Mississippi State (live bulldog)
Colorado State (live big horn ram)
SUNY New Paltz (live goshawk)
Yale (live bulldog)
Georgetown (live bulldog)
Baylor University (live black bear)
Loyola - Chicago (live wolf)
Colorado (live bison)
North Carolina (live Ram)
Texas A&M (live collie)
Southern Illinois (live saluki dog)
Tennessee (live bluetick coonhound)
University of Memphis (live tiger)
University of Southern California (live horse)
University of Arkansas (live razorback)
Georgia (live bulldog)

The insect world isn't spared the indignity either, with bees and spiders carrying the weight. Why, even the lowly slug is singled out for humiliation at the hands of UC Santa Cruz. The plant world's victims include the buckeye, the orange, the chili pepper, conifer, and wheat.

In terms of other groups, this time people who are made laughingstocks by their portrayal include: colonels, commodores, rebels, miners, vandals, knights, people of Irish descent (really, they aren't all violent and "fighting"), little boys, lumberjacks, Aztecs, Scotsmen, pioneers, the Norse, pirates, cowboys (insulting to cowboys and a rude and offensive reminder to American Indians everywhere), Quakers, Minutemen (surely an insult to Viagra patients), spartans, friar boys, and Vikings.

And, in the category of over-the-top-insult and injury: the bear forced to wear a tartan at UC Riverside.

Perhaps the most appropriate and least offensive mascot: Keggy the Keg of Dartmouth.

So, with all of that tongue firmly in cheek listing behind us, I think it important to boil down my point.

And that is: offense is in the eye of the beholder. Offense may be taken where it was not intended to be given. And, offense is not limited to the politically correct identified groups of victims. Sure, American Indians are in today, but the Irish and Scots are deserving of equal respect and have feelings as well. And, just because our feathered and furred friends can not speak, does not mean they can not be victimized.

Clearly, pretty much all mascots are images which depict the denigration or subjugation of some entity. Interesting that so many universities and colleges have chosen to use some poor dismal creature to belittle and then represent themselves.

Or, maybe just maybe, not offense was intended.

ya think?

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posted by Phoenix | 10:41 AM


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