And Chief Illiniwek was the topic of discussion at dinner. I made a remark about the DIA being the same bit of the University that has the offensive mascot, and Brian and Anatoly sprung to his defense.
What, may you ask, is my beef with the chief?
As mascots go, he is in poor taste. Let’s say, hypothetically, that you conquer and pretty much destroy a people. Then you decide to honor that people by taking a symbol of leadership and spirituality, and have one of your own people dress in that manner to dance around at a football game. Honor? That seems disrespectful. I tried to make an argument, what if we were to use Jesus as a mascot? the pope? A rabbi? I implored of ‘toly that if the mascot were Jesus Christ dancing the Macarena and the majority of the 80% Christian population of our country were left a little offended if that might not be grounds for changing our mascot. He conceded that point. My next rhetorical argument was that why then did the same standard not apply when the offended group was an underrepresented racial minority … and he started to sound eerily Libertarian … the sort of attitude that if people can not defend their own, then there is nothing wrong with them getting fucked over.
That is not a positive attitude, might does not make right.
Anyway, I did not dissuade either of them, but I do believe given the food for thought, that our argument may have an effect on them. I was once in their shoes too, thinking that all this Chief-bashing was counterproductive and inspired by over-zealous political-correctness. But as I asked Goth Dan, how he felt about the Chief, he said “I think it’s dumb.” – It’s a mascot, er, a “symbol” in poor taste, that is kept around in large part due to institutional inertia.
And I have a fetish for fighting institutional inertia.