Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 5, 2006
By: Debra Dickerson

George Will, his own worst enemy.....Will is a reluctant liberal's (I'm only one because 'conservative' is the only other viable option. Moderate schmoderate) dream. I viscerally disagree with just about everything he says (the baseball stuff renders me immediately blind and illiterate, so it doesn't count) but it's usually so simultaneously persuasive and so fundamentally amoral, it forces me to think about why he's so dangerously wrong. I read him faithfully because he's a great intellectuo-gut check (I debated him briefly once and he graciously held his tongue after I made a pithy riposte that I know he could have countered. Wouldn't have been right, but he could have silenced me, poised, prepared and confident debater that he is, if he weren't such a gentleman). Ann "the hobglobin of small minds" Coulter you can dismiss without argument since she so rarely makes any, so busy striking poses as she is. But Will....he makes you better and he makes you work for it, a rare commodity in today's "discourse."

His latest column is the perfect example. In it, he calmly rips apart liberals' attacks on school's/team's ethnic mascots such that the litigants' own mothers would disown them.
His latest is a seemingly well trodden take down of lefty attacks on ethnic sports team names and mascots, in this case, Chief Illiniwek of the U of I. After I finished the piece though, I sat there wondering why I had such a bad after taste in my mouth. Then it hit me. His arguments proved the opposite point: it's not that liberals are right in arguing that team names like the Redskins et al are ipso facto offensive. It's that the argument itself is progress. America needed to know that:

This story of progress, as progressives understand that, began during halftime of a football game in 1926, when an undergraduate studying Indian culture performed a dance dressed as a chief. Since then, a student has always served as Chief Illiniwek, who has become the symbol of the university that serves a state named after the Illini confederation of about a half-dozen tribes that were virtually annihilated in the 1760s by rival tribes.

In 1930, the student then portraying Chief Illiniwek traveled to South Dakota to receive authentic raiment from the Oglala Sioux. In 1967 and 1982, representatives of the Sioux, who had not yet discovered that they were supposed to feel abused, came to the Champaign-Urbana campus to augment the outfits Chief Illiniwek wears at football and basketball games.

If true, knowing this makes a world of difference, doesn't it, in deciding how to feel about how we use shorthand for cultural events? Makes a world of difference, no? And if the liberals were too busy nitpicking to trace the history, hat's off to the team effort of setting this particular record straight.

Three cheers for George Will, right? ... anybody? Mrs. Will....?

Debra Dickerson 11:19 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (101)

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Comments

If I recall right, George Will also spoke out in favor of drug legalization a few years ago. Unless, of course, I am confusing him with William Buckley. Having not been a NR subscriber since my mid-teens, I can't remember who is who anymore.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on January 5, 2006 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

FOR GOD'S SAKE KEVIN! TAKE AWAY THIS CHICK'S ACCESS TO BLOG! A THIRTEEN-WORD PARENTHTICAL COMMENT BETWEEN A POSSESSIVE AND ITS NOUN! IN THE FIRST SENTENCE! I HAD TO READ THE SENTENCE THREE TIMES TO UNDERSTAND IT!

If you banish her, I promise to learn how to bold and italicize with HTML.

Posted by: 2.7182818 on January 5, 2006 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

I dunno...I've always found Will's arguments built more around ten-dollar words than solid ideas, and his contempt for those who might not want college kids basically treating them like pets drips from every line.

Posted by: mercury on January 5, 2006 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

uh, am I the only one here who's finding Dickerson's posts mostly incoherent? I can't even make out Will's argument, much less hers, from this mess. And maverick negro cowboys with made-up diseases wha?!? Maybe blogging actually *is* harder than it looks.

Posted by: anonymous regular reader on January 5, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

What?

Posted by: Jack Doolan on January 5, 2006 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

Could be worse. names like "Tarheels", "Knickerbockers", "Dodgers", and "Yankees" were initially intended to be insulting. Names like "Aztecs", "Indians", "Utes", "Fighting Irish" and "Illini" were intended to be respectful.

Posted by: contentious on January 5, 2006 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

The bad taste in your mouth is the after-taste of arrogant hypocracy, something Georgie excells at. Whatever the actions and motovations of the original mascot were and regardless of the intentions of the grossly ill-informed Sioux leadership at the time, none of these excuse in any way the side-show dehumanization that is promoted by the presentation of these mascots. With this type of argument you could justify the tar-heels having cheerleaders in black-face doing a minstrel show at half-time.

Posted by: joe on January 5, 2006 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, I'm sure Native Americans are just flattered to be depicted as tomahawk-chopping cartoons with red faces and names like "Chief Wahoo."

Posted by: Brad R. on January 5, 2006 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

As a liberal and former baseball writer I wish I could say that Will's baseball writing was other than wonderful. Alas.

Posted by: Jim Naughton on January 5, 2006 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

Disclaimer: while I lived in the Washington, DC area, George Will on two separate occasions nearly ran me over. But I am confident that he did not target me, and it is therefore for no reasons of personal spite that I point out that, as a public intellectual, he is simply beneath notice.

Posted by: Frank Wilhoit on January 5, 2006 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

The problem with Chief Illiniwek isn't the Native American thing per se, it's the fact that it's a poor parody of the real thing. There was never any such thing as a chief of the Illiniwek as a whole, he's not wearing Illiniwek dress, and he doesn't do an Illiniwek dance. It's Disney heritage at best.

Posted by: Ginger Yellow on January 6, 2006 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

In the interests of openness I should say I'm related to one of the main anti-Illiniwek protestors.

Posted by: Ginger Yellow on January 6, 2006 at 12:03 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, I agree. She needs to frame her arguments better.

Posted by: Tony Shifflett on January 6, 2006 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

Tony- there was an argument there? What was it?

Posted by: Brad R. on January 6, 2006 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

This was entirely unreadable. Incoherent, poorly written, largely irritating.

Will may be annoying but at least he learned joined up writing.

Posted by: collounsbury on January 6, 2006 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Debby if ypu want to talk about the idiocy of the so-called intellectuals of the right, read the piece by Jonah Goldberg in the LA Times today.

On the day when one of the worst GOP scandals has hit the capital, he goes back 85 years to prove that liberals support killers.

Posted by: lib on January 6, 2006 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

Debra Dickerson rocks.

Posted by: Petey on January 6, 2006 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

There was never any such thing as a chief of the Illiniwek as a whole, he's not wearing Illiniwek dress, and he doesn't do an Illiniwek dance.

Splendid! Then no one should be offended. Especially you, Ginger.

...it's a poor parody of the real thing.

Really? Could you let us know what the "real thing" is?

Posted by: U of I liberal boy on January 6, 2006 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

don't worry about the baseball stuff. he's an enormous douchebag whenever he talks about baseball, a pontificating gasbag who pretends to understand the game because he "adopted" it in some intellectual fashion as an adult.

he's never played the game, as a child, or even at the adult whiffle ball level, so his appreciation for it is abstract and contrived. it's easy to imagine that he was always the last guy picked in team selections at the third grade level, so he's making up for all of that now by pretending to know why the Orioles are unique and fascinating. he's never said a thing about baseball that is interesting or original.

and remember, this is an adult man who chooses to wear a bowtie.

Posted by: xbhoff on January 6, 2006 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

Lib- oh shit, I gotta go read that!

Posted by: Brad R. on January 6, 2006 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

In the interests of openness I should say I'm related to one of the main anti-Illiniwek protestors.

Thank you. It all makes sense now.

Posted by: U of I liberal boy on January 6, 2006 at 12:16 AM | PERMALINK

By Will's argument, San Diego County should never have renamed Nigger Nate Grade, formerly the official name of the old dirt road that went up Mount Palomar. It was named after "Nigger Nate" Harrison, a former slave who lived at the bottom of the mountain from around the Civil War until his death in 1920. "Nigger Nate" was his nickname, and he was no doubt proud that the road was named after him (or would have been--I can't remember whether it was named before his death). So when the NAACP later protested the name and managed to get it officially changed to "Nate Harrison Grade" in the late 1950s, were they guilty of "mere identity politics"? More recently, when Squaw Peak in Phoenix was renamed to honor Hopi tribal member Lori Ann Piestewa, killed early in the Iraq invasion, was that "identity politics"?

Will is pigheadedly ignoring the difference between honoring one's own cultural heroes with a nickname, and trumpeting one's victories over cultural enemies by seizing upon their names and images, which is precisely what most American Indian team names and mascots do. They "honor" tribes in precisely the same way that the names picked by real estate developers in California (for example) "honor" the ecosystem they are engaged in ravaging. (If you live in Southern California, you know that a development named "Manzanita Heights" is bound to be an expanse of former chaparral turned into houses-lawns-and-non-native-landscaping with a couple of token surviving manzanita bushes left at the entrance.)

That the NAACP may have erred on the side of sensitivity in a few cases doesn't invalidate the essential justice of what they're doing.

Posted by: DavidSewell on January 6, 2006 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

2.7182818 on January 5, 2006 at 11:43 PM:

If you banish her, I promise to learn how to bold and italicize with HTML.

A brief HTML tutorial from earlier, in case you are interested...

Posted by: grape_crush on January 6, 2006 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

In an ideal world Will would not be pontificating weekly, especially on the shortcomings of others.

Over ten years ago he coached one of the Presidential candidates for a debate and then went on to praise the candidates' performance in the debate on national TV, without even a hint of discolosure of his conflict of interest.

Will is a douchebag of the highest order, his pretensions of being an intellectual notwithstanding.

Posted by: lib on January 6, 2006 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

My thought when reading Will's piece was, Did George just take a trip in the wayback machine to 1985 when political correctness was all the rage? The president has all but declared himself Supreme Ruler, unbound by the Constitution, and team names is the most pressing issue on his mind? Methinks poor George is trying to distract his readership. I think a lesson in how the Patriot Act could be morphed into Enabling Acts would be a better subject for him.

Posted by: angry young man on January 6, 2006 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

Unless the Minnestota Vikings and the Penn Quakers are racist, then Indian Mascots are not.

Posted by: Thinker on January 6, 2006 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

Will has interesting things to say, and can actual write so as to be understood.

Posted by: anon on January 6, 2006 at 12:42 AM | PERMALINK

lib- I just read Jonah's piece. Mother of God.

Posted by: Brad R. on January 6, 2006 at 12:50 AM | PERMALINK

uh, am I the only one here who's finding Dickerson's posts mostly incoherent? I can't even make out Will's argument, much less hers, from this mess. And maverick negro cowboys with made-up diseases wha?!? Maybe blogging actually *is* harder than it looks.

You are not the only one. Reading the post is like viewing a game of Twister, played by a dozen players, in which it is difficult to discern in the end any single, connected human form.

Posted by: Dan Kervick on January 6, 2006 at 12:56 AM | PERMALINK

Well....G. Will has a certain charming tone that sounds natural but his logic, from what I've forced myself to read of his work, is off. He once lambasted Allen Ginsburg for not being a genteel poet like those of say the 1800's, and for attracting crowds of ruffians who spilled out of doorways at his poetry readings because the rooms were jam packed. Then in the very next paragraph he lamented the loss of people enthused enough to attend a poetry reading. I have found him to do this kind of complaining often. It gets a bit grating.

Posted by: Sheila Anderson on January 6, 2006 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

Which Mrs. Will?

Posted by: Brian Boru on January 6, 2006 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

Re your title: Not while I'm alive.

Posted by: CapitalistImperialistPig on January 6, 2006 at 1:06 AM | PERMALINK

I don't get Dickerson's posts, but I have come to enjoy them, and they are educational in unexepected ways.

The reason this is unexceptable is because these are subjugated peoples, who remain subjugated to this day. If we ever conquer Norway and subjugate it's people, then Vikings will also become an inappropriate mascot.

Posted by: Boronx on January 6, 2006 at 1:18 AM | PERMALINK

who cares? we're 15-0 and that's all that really matters.

but i still boo the chief when he dances at halftime. it's really pretty lame.

Posted by: mwl on January 6, 2006 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK

Here's another reader saying, "Wha...?" That was a terrible, terrible piece, and even aside from the awful writing, it's practically content-free.

Posted by: sglover on January 6, 2006 at 1:20 AM | PERMALINK

Poor George Will. I hear his ex-wife threw out his copy of Edmund Burke for Beginners when she threw out the rest of his shit.

Posted by: kaleidescope on January 6, 2006 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

Brad R.

Mother of God. Exactly.

Posted by: lib on January 6, 2006 at 2:09 AM | PERMALINK

Something must be done about those damn Indians from the University of Northern Colorado and their hateful 'Fightin' Whities' mascot.

Posted by: hate on January 6, 2006 at 2:19 AM | PERMALINK

When I was at U of I, I sympathized with the anti-chief crowd. Not because I found their PC arguments persuasive (although I think there is some merit), but mostly because I just don't get it. I go to football and basketball games to watch sports, eat hotdogs, and have fun. I don't go to sporting events to celebrate Native Americans. Other Big 10 teams have fun mascots that get to horse around with the crowd. But Cheif Illiniwek is a "symbol", not a mascot. He comes out at halftime, does his dance, and then disappears. How boring. It all seems like such a downer.

In addition, when I was at U of I, the celebration and honor for Native Americans at the university didn't extend beyond the sports arena. They didnt have native American studies program, and classes on Native American culture were few and far between. After looking at the U of I website, though, I see that they established a Native American House in 2003. Good for them. But be sure check out their statement on the chief:

http://www.nah.uiuc.edu/a-mascot.htm

Nice to see that they have true independence and are not puppets of the board of trustees.

Posted by: CKT on January 6, 2006 at 2:24 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone who doesnt consider the term 'Redskins' abhorent should make a point of using the term repeatedly when in the company of Native Americans.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on January 6, 2006 at 3:13 AM | PERMALINK

I'm [a reluctant liberal] because 'conservative' is the only other viable option. Moderate schmoderate[.]

Let me try to get this straight.

You'd rather not be a liberal, for reasons unexplained.

But "moderate" is not a viable option, also for reasons unexplained.

However, unlike "moderate," "conservative" is a viable option, again for reasons unexplained.

Still, you'd rather be a liberal than a conservative, for reasons unexplained.

This leaves us with no idea of what your political views are, and also no idea about what you think the terms "liberal," "moderate," and "conservative" mean.

So, does this remark mean anything at all? It's like listening to the quacking of a postmodernist duck.

Posted by: anonymous on January 6, 2006 at 3:50 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone who doesnt consider the term 'Redskins' abhorent should make a point of using the term repeatedly when in the company of Native Americans.

Oh, Lord, tell me about it. I'm from DC, and my mom, the very nice liberal lady is a rabid 'Skins fan. I'll say to her, "Ma, you could maybe justify something like 'Braves' or a tribe name as some kind of lame tribute, but 'Redskins'? It's a blatantly racist epithet!"

But she won't hear of changing the name of her team. It's so embarassing.

Posted by: hamletta on January 6, 2006 at 4:44 AM | PERMALINK

Ann "the hobglobin of small minds" Coulter....

This is more awful writing.

It looks like a pejorative allusion to Emerson's "Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds."

But what is the point of the allusion?

If we understand the writer to think that Coulter is small-minded, then the allusion implies that it's because Coulter is too consistent, or excessively principled.

On the other hand, if we understand the writer to think that Coulter is unprincipled, the allusion implies that Coulter has thereby escaped small-mindedness.

Unless we also think the writer to disagrees with Emerson, and intends the allusion ironically.

But, of course, the writer hasn't given us a clue whether she intends the allusion ironically or not, nor whether she thinks Coulter is small-minded, unprincipled, both, or neither.

A sentence later, she complains that Coulter never makes arguments, but only "strikes poses." Which doesn't shed any light on why she invited Emerson to the conversation.

Another possibility is that we're meant to take "hobgoblin of small minds" literally -- Coulter is the hobgoblin, afflicting the small-minded.

So much the worse.

First, because the Emerson allusion becomes just a distraction. This is a misdemeanor writing offense.

Second, because it reveals that the writer thinks we will forgive her the distraction because of the cleverness of her word play. A felony writing offense, for a writer so manifestly unclever.

And finally, because setting aside Emerson's meaning and parsing "hobgoblin of small minds" word by word, if Coulter is a hobgoblin to you, then you must be small-minded. This is the opposite of what the writer means to imply, and also the opposite of the truth, which is that Coulter is a hobgoblin to anyone with a brain larger than a pea.

Posted by: anonymous on January 6, 2006 at 5:11 AM | PERMALINK

Finally, why is George Will "his own worst enemy?"

Because his arguments are "simultaneously persuasive and so fundamentally amoral, it forces [you] to think about why he's so dangerously wrong?"

If that's true, it sounds like Will is our worst enemy. It would be a much better world if all "dangerously wrong" arguments were put as unpersuasively as possible.

Consider Michelle Malkin's argument in favor of the Japanese internment. What if she could put it so persuasively that people started talking much more seriously about internment camps for Arab-Americans? Liberals would have to spend precious time and effort countering Malkin's argument, which we could instead on arguing against all the existing "dangerously wrong" arguments floating around out there, which persuade too damn many people as it is.

If you're arguing that Will's special brand of persuasive dangerous wrongness is special, because it winds up a net loss for Will as liberals become so much sharper and more persuasive, you've given a damn poor example.

"Then it hit me. His arguments proved the opposite point: it's not that liberals are right in arguing that team names like the Redskins et al are ipso facto offensive. It's that the argument itself is progress."

So Will's defense the use of (for instance) the racist epithet "Redskin" for an NFL franchise actually proves "the opposite point." Which is that "the argument itself is progress."

In what sense is "the argument itself is progress" the opposite point to a defense of racist epithets used as names for sport franchises? It doesn't seem like you've gotten any sharper at all.

Then you reproduce Will's argument in defense of Chief Illiniwek. Which, strangely, support Will's points, not their opposites.

Your concluding paragraph looks like you've been brought around to Will's way of thinking. Which means we'll be seeing you wearing Redskins attire while registering voters in the rez, I guess.

See? This is what happens when people read persuasive arguments in favor of "dangerously wrong" propositions: they wind up wrong and dangerous things.

Or maybe they can resist, in which case they can congratulate themselves on how much they've sharpened their wits, actualized their mental potential, and grown as people. The fact that the world has more people believing dangerous and wrong ideas that could get people hurt and killed be damned.

And then other people have got to go clean up afterward.

Posted by: anonymous on January 6, 2006 at 6:05 AM | PERMALINK

George Will generally writes three types of columns (or perhaps uses three different voices). First is the partisan type, full of weak, ideological arguments. Second is baseball, full of nothing in particular, except a love for the game. Thirdly, there are the columns in which he writes as a conservartive, but without the partisan hat. These most often criticize conservatives, but not always, as in the linked-to piece. I find both his and Debra's pieces here cogent and useful. And she is, I think, right about Will: it's hard to be honest and always critical of him at the same time.

Posted by: Tom Ellis on January 6, 2006 at 7:44 AM | PERMALINK

My answer to the Redskins controversy is to rename the franchise the "DC Darkies." They could use a Zulu mascot. I mean, they'd just be honoring a proud tribe, right? Nothing racist about calling Africans darkies, can't we agree?

(WARNING: Above post was bitter, angry sarcasm leveled against the entire 'skins organization.)

The original name for the Reskins franchise was "Duluth Eskimos." I guess they couldn't find, in 1900, or whenever, a sufficiently demeaning epithet for Eskimo.

As for Will, a friend saw him sitting at a baseball game in Camden Yards years ago. Some other guy a few rows over pointed at Will and said, "I know you! I've seen you on television! You're that writer guy! Yeah! You're Tom Clancy!"

"No. I'm George Will."

Silence...other than the sound of my friends howling laughter. Or, so he says.

Posted by: Brian C.B. on January 6, 2006 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

The funny thing about all this elimination of Native American mascots and team names and of place names with the word "Squaw" in them is that you would expect it to be the KKK or similar groups advocating getting rid of these things. Instead it's the left.

Bizarre.

Posted by: Michael Friedman on January 6, 2006 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

Will could have addressed some real problems in his home state such as agricultural subsidies, the overhyped promise of making ethanol from corn, development of prime farmland, the inflated price of farmland and cash rents, etc. But that would probably piss off ADM and the Farm Bureau -- staunch conservative allies.

Posted by: lou on January 6, 2006 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

Do not forget this smear we do to the Jews, dressing up in their old time clothes and mimicing their religious traditions every Christmas. Even borrowing one of their prophets for a ridiculous religious fantasy.

Then we smear the poor Appalachian Mountain societies when we mock there tragic involvement in the Civil War with the term Reb, used often as a mascot.

But the people who really should be offended are those Italians, for we have taken the name of their hero, Columbus, and plastered it everywhere, naming towns after the guy, and dressing up in ridiculous, in-authentic Italian costuems and calling ourselves Columbus fanatics.

I did not even get to the Mexicans and the mockery we make of Pancho VIlla, or that ridiculous Chiwawa that we laghed at on cartoons during our chilhood.

It is everywhere. Maybe we should freeze the ethnic cultures and give them this universal government trademark on all the particular ethnic peculiarities. I guess it is only 17th century English culture that is in the public domain.

Posted by: Matt on January 6, 2006 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

Debra's posts are among the most interesting on the site. Not everyone makes the same points the same way you do--I know that means they're not as good as you, but someone you must stoop to understand.

The only questions are these: Do a sizeable number of Indians find this objectionable? And, aren't there more important crises to cover, at the moment?

Posted by: adam on January 6, 2006 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know where the reference to the Duluth Eskimos came from, but I do know a something about the Washington Redskins, and the origin of their name.

The Redskins were founded by George Preston Marshall (who, by the way was a raving rascist of the first order) in Boston. They originally played their games at Braves Field, and where known as the Braves. It was common practice then to "borrow" the name of a local baseball team for the NFL team, which is why the New York Giants are still referered to as the "football Giants".

Anyway, the team later moved to Fenway Park. Obviously, the "Braves" nickname wouldn't work and "Red Sox" would sound stupid, so "Redskins" was adopted. Nothing more sinister than that.

I find it interesting that the Redskins have never used the cartoon indian logo like the (baseball) Braves or Indians. Back in the days before NFL Properties each team printed its own game programs, and the Redskins programs alway featured a noted Native American on the cover, with a story.

George Preston Marshall didn't have Native Americans, but he sure hated African Americans.

Posted by: Heater on January 6, 2006 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

...but he could have silenced me

Really, George Will never seemed to silence Sam Donaldson, whom never let Will pull any fast ones and probably the reason why Sam's not on This Week show anymore. Can have any one showing up George Will but as far as I recall Sam Donaldson was no heavy weight "intellectuo-gut" man, just a serious journalist that was to dangerous for the NEW worthless MSN weakly show at ABC.

Debra Dickerson, do us all a favor and stop publicly drooling over George Will. Mr. Will really isn't that smart dear, maybe he just appears that way because ABC team him up with that fucking stupid moron George Stephanopoulos.

Posted by: Cheryl on January 6, 2006 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

"This leaves us with no idea of what your political views are, and also no idea about what you think the terms "liberal," "moderate," and "conservative" mean."

Reading Ms. Dickerson's autobiography, "An American Story" would well worth your time, despite the blandish title.

I'd summarize her politics as "a conservative mugged by reality," which I'm pretty sure is a quote form someone, but I can't remember who.

I didn't have any trouble following her argument. I don't necessarily agree, for instance, why I care what the views of the Sioux on Illnois are. If they've got something to say, in 1926, but preferably after on the University of North Dakota.

My rule would be, if the tribes object, change it. If they don't, don't. Redskins has to go, immediately. I went to a school that was 35 percent Ojibwa and you wouldn't call anyone that. Although, just on a note of complexity, one Ojibwa friend was a Redskins' fan because he liked the kicker, at the time Ali Haji-Sheik. The cultural melange there has got to make you feel good.

I like Gregg Easterbrook's suggestion to call the team the Naticokes, but the wholesale ditching of Native American team names ought to at least foster creativity. I went to school in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and we had some good team names, besides the Watersmeet Nimrods made famous by ESPN. I played football against the Bessemmer Speedboys, the Houghton Gremlins, the Lake Linden Lakes, the North Dickinson Nordics and the Ispheming Hematites. Others around included the Calument Copper Kings, the Gwin Modeltowners and the Kingsford Flivvers.

Posted by: Dan P. on January 6, 2006 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

Heater: You're right. The Duluth Eskimos folded in 1928. I thought I read of some connection between the Eskimos and the Redskins.

Posted by: Brian C.B. on January 6, 2006 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

High school nicknames are always colorful. A few of my favorites: Itasca (TX) Wampus Cats, Man (WV) Hillbillies, Logan (WV) Coaldiggers; Yuma (AZ) Jailbirds, Hutto (TX)Hippos and the best of all: Poca (WV) Dots.

Posted by: Heater on January 6, 2006 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Who is Debra Dickerson? And why does she write so poorly?

Posted by: GOPGregory on January 6, 2006 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

George Will is a useful idiot for the ogre in the Oval Office and the conservative orclings in Congress.
He is all about turning America into a one party state, the Republican Party State.

If he had any integrity he would have disavowed these unconstitutional facists a long time ago. Instead he rationalizes and explains their dismantling of the Republic.

A fool. May he pass on soon, unburdening the earth and making way for new men with new ideas. Amen.

Posted by: Nemesis on January 6, 2006 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

Poor George Will. I hear his ex-wife threw out his copy of Edmund Burke for Beginners when she threw out the rest of his shit.

Good one. I love the stories about his wife throwing his seersucker suits and spare toupees out on the lawn after catching him cheating. How he got two women to sleep with him is an enduring enigma. I think I know who was on top, though.

Posted by: shortstop on January 6, 2006 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

I just view him as a shameless shill for the Republican party. And a contestent with Bob Novak for the title of "Most Pompous Man Alive".

Posted by: Heater on January 6, 2006 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Debra, this...

His latest column is the perfect example. In it, he calmly rips apart liberals' attacks on school's/team's ethnic mascots such that the litigants' own mothers would disown them. His latest is a seemingly well trodden take down of lefty attacks on ethnic sports team names and mascots, in this case, Chief Illiniwek of the U of I. After I finished the piece though, I sat there wondering why I had such a bad after taste in my mouth. Then it hit me. His arguments proved the opposite point: it's not that liberals are right in arguing that team names like the Redskins et al are ipso facto offensive. It's that the argument itself is progress.

is flat out illogical.

You note that Will is objectively arguing against the urge to "correctness" of liberals who police the names of sports teams and mascots. The you say that his argument is "that liberals are right in arguing that team names like the Redskins et al are ipso facto offensive."

Which is it?

It's only possible to make sense out of your overarching premise, that Will says one thing and proves another if you also accept that your two ways of saying what Will is arguing are in conflict. Which doesn't prove your more proximate premise--that in this case, it's the fact of the argument itself that is significant. What we are left with is muddledness. Those who say they see your point are charitably filling in the gaps for you. I can do that too, but it's not my job as a reader.

Also, I'm quite sure that in the quoted paragraph, you really didn't mean both of the first two sentences to remain. I imagine you were reworking that sentence and then left both in.

This is a jumbled, jumbled mess. Please, slow down a mite.

Posted by: Nash on January 6, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

I like Debra Dickerson. She's written good stuff for the New Republic, etc. This post was easy to understand.

Having said that, for me the interesting thing about the specific Will column discussed is how long are he and other conservatives going to get away with constantly focusing on minor liberal obsessions, such as sports team mascots, while conservative leaders like Pat Robertson, who is consulted on Supreme Court picks, run around sounding like the crazy Iranian president when commenting on Ariel Sharon. In other words, the extremes on the conservative side are more important and more worthy of commentary than searching out minor liberal goofiness, which Will and other conservatives sometimes seem obsessed with.

Posted by: LimoLiberal on January 6, 2006 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Here is the body of a letter I wrote to Mr. Will in response to his editorial:

From: Elizabeth Hinkle
To: georgewill@washpost.com
Date: 1/5/2006 8:52:27 AM
Subject: Fighting Illini

Hello there,

As a proud fighting Illini (Masters of Music '88, Doctorate of Musical Arts '91) - I am in complete agreement with you about the foolishness of the ruling on the Chief who I always thought of as a proud symbol of Native Americanism at its finest rather than something that was 'not politically correct'. I am so sad to see him go.

However, your column is, unfortunately, simply a thinly disguised attempt to once again - like the majority of conservatives - attack the intellectual community. As one of those 'academic liberals' who you blame for the whole Illini mess and as someone who - as an alum - has received countless letters and updates from both sides of the Illini debate, I can tell you that 'academic liberalism' has nothing to do with this. This whole fight was brought up by a bunch of folks who wanted to grab power, see their name in lights, and get lots of publicity. I put these folks in the same category as Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O'Reilly...and dismiss them like I do these aforementioned celebrities.

Do not lay the 'death' of the Chief at the feet of 'academic liberals' and I promise not to lay the 'death of government integrity, honesty, and decency' at the feet of all conservative Republicans such as yourself. I will lay THAT blame squarely on the shoulders of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Jack Abramoff, and Tom DeLay and the host of other slime that infest our halls of political power. Because I know that one's educational and political background and beliefs are truly unique and should never be generalized into a single group for an editorial purpose.

It is always a pleasure to read your column as it continuously restores my faith that not all folks in your party are as awful as they seem on the surface! Don't fail me now!

Sincerely,

Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner

Dr. Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner
Student Computing Services Manager
UNT Computing Center
ISB 129 940-565-4808 ehinkle@unt.edu

Posted by: Elizabeth on January 6, 2006 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

I met George Will in the Memorial Stadium (Baltimore) press box about 20 years ago, and he was nice enough to let me use the phone to call my paper when I was on deadline. (That said, Will was long opposed to the return of baseball in Washington, so I frankly have little use for him.)

Perhaps Cosmo Kramer had the best description of Will on a "Seinfeld" episode: a handsome man, but not particularly bright.

Posted by: Vincent on January 6, 2006 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

So, if I'm from Peloponnesus and view Spartans as evil oppressors, how do I look at the Michigan State Spartans? Does a giant foam head make him any easier to tolerate? Yet somehow, Greeks don't give a damn about mascots. So, please, turn all your tortured mascots into Ancient Greeks. Heck we could turn the Big Ten and the Pac Ten into the Peloponnesian and Delian League.

Posted by: Greek Guy on January 6, 2006 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

The idea that you can celebrate a long dead group of Native Americans, through the use of garment and ritual circumscribed by a group of Native Americans who live hundreds of miles away, at events invented and played by a those of European descent, is nothing short of preposterous.

Posted by: ack ack ack on January 6, 2006 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

George Will, like a stopped clock. may get it right--rarely.

The cheers would have to be on the second Mrs. Will. He ran out on the first one.

Perhaps a more up to date team name for indians, braves, etc. would be "Exploited Suckers" re Abramoff.

Posted by: Wombat on January 6, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

uh, am I the only one here who's finding Dickerson's posts mostly incoherent?
I'm not having any trouble. But then again, I've noticed that I frequently need to look up simple definitions for the moonbats here.

I've also noticed that you lefties aren't prone to understanding what you take in. It's easy to give information, it's hard to give understanding.

Maybe that's why y'all have trouble with Will.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 6, 2006 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Way to show us an example of that elusive "understanding," conspiracy nut. After all the understanding of culture is primarily a conservative academic institution, right?

Posted by: ack ack ack on January 6, 2006 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

One problem with Will and others like him is that they rant and rave about intrusive government and political correctness on the left and they want to replace that with... themselves. The NCAA has the right to get into a funk about anything they want to. If their member institutions object, they can vote with their feet.

Will's arguements always come down to "Don't do what the liberals say, do what I say."

Posted by: tomeck on January 6, 2006 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

Dickerson needs to learn to discipline herself when writing. She writes like a speed freak talks. She may be boiling over with good ideas but can't seem to create an easily readible flow. Will often does the same thing. Each word he writes seems to trigger new ideas in his head and he can't keep from being diverted by those enticing new avenues.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on January 6, 2006 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Don't kid yourself--Will is an idiot when it comes to baseball. He's stuck back in Tinkers to Evers to Chance as a metric of evaluating the game, instead of some modicum of the quantitative understanding one needs to reject so much of the wrong-headed received wisdom like minded clowns espouse.

Posted by: KevStar on January 6, 2006 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

George Will's actual knowledege of baseball today can be written on a grain of rice with room left over.

Posted by: Heater on January 6, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Heater,

George Will's official title, as bestowed by the Economist magazine, is "the most pedantic man in America." (I think. It's been a several years and I'm not young). And those folks know a thing or two about pedantry. Please try to keep up.

Thank you.

Posted by: jussumbody on January 6, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Damn, Greek Guy beat me to it. On the other hand, what if the Turks started a soccer team called, say, the "Konya Romii," and had a guy dressed up as a Greek Orthodox bishop do a little dance/procession at halftime (2/3rds time?) and the fans would chant, "Kristis Ansti" at games? Then maybe I'd be creeped out.

Posted by: Constantine on January 6, 2006 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

damn, conspiracy nut, who pissed in your cornflakes this morning? Trust me, you're the only person who has to "look up" definitions of words here. Most everyone has a pretty solid hold on vocabulary.

liberals tend to put a higher premium on good writing, and thus they have little use for the endless incoherent rants of right-wing blowhards like Steven Des Beste and other vanguards of the anti-intellectual right. Even Dickerson's main praise for Will is that he is a good writer. At issue is that Dickerson's writing style isn't particularly tight.

Posted by: Constantine on January 6, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a graduate of UIUC (BSc, 1983), and I think chief Illiniwek is an embarrassment. I live and work in Urbana-Champaign. Ginger Yellow was spot on with her comment. It's Disney heritage. I have a native American colleague at work here. I asked him about the chief one day. He became spitting mad. So the Sioux like Chief Illiniwek dancing around in an ad-hoc costume never worn by the Illini. How is this relevant?

Besides, it's all about money. Scuttlebutt around town says some of the fat-cat donors who give big bucks to the U of I athletic programs like him. This has nothing to do with native American heritage, nothing that makes any sense from an historical academic viewpoint.

Many Jews live here in Illinois. Many attend the University. We could honor them by having a Rabbi Illiniwitz come out dressed as an Imam and do the cha-cha to klezmer. I wonder if anyone would be offended? How about a Thai warrior break-dancing to Indonesian music to honor our oriental citizens here? The possibilities are endless!

BTW Will is a hometown boy. He was born in Champaign.

Posted by: John P on January 6, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

I spent several years at U of I in the 1990s. The Chief's little routine always struck me as something of a low-class blackface caricature, but that's just me. Many students seemed to take genuine pride in the school nickname and mascot.

Neither the name "Illiniwek" nor the costume nor dance have any relationship to the Illini tribe, who were wiped off the face of the earth by the students' forefathers. It is, however, true that the symbol was intended to be one of respect, and the school did make an honest effort to get input from American Indians and incorporate some authentic traditional elements.

Like so many aspects of the PC wars, this issue boils down to the simple fact that perceptions matter more than intent in public relations. School officials and students are angry that their own traditions and efforts at respectful representation are being perceived as "racist". But they need to accept that no amount of explanation and rationalization can control how others will interpret their speech and actions. If it looks offensive on TV, it's going to cost them respect in the eyes of others. If they want to stick to their guns anyway, that's up to them. But they're going to pay a price.

I never really cared much either way during the intra-campus arguments about the mascot. But it always seemed to me that allowing your school to be publicly represented by an icon that 30% of your own students dislike is just plain stupid. The alleged purposes of participating in intercollegiate sports (cough, cough) are to build school unity and achieve broad public recognition. Does the Illiniwek mascot advance those goals? Quite the opposite. Now the NCAA is going to start cutting into the real reason for college sports-- money.

It's time for a dignified retirement for the Chief and the Illini nickname.

Posted by: Violet on January 6, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Trust me, you're the only person who has to "look up" definitions of words here.
The reason I have to look them up is for the benefit of the moonbats. But thanks for playing.

liberals tend to put a higher premium on good writing
Oh yes, the illustrious educated left. Everyone that toes the lefty line is a good writer, everyone that deviates cannot be understood. Are we talking writing correctness here, or political correctness?

who pissed in your cornflakes this morning?
I sincerely apologize if I'm being any more obnoxious than usual. I don't feel any more obnoxious than usual.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 6, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK
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IT 办公外设 Posted by: IT 办公外设 on January 6, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

You're not paying attention, cn. Bad writing is little tolerated among liberals, particularly in the blogosphere. By contrast, bad writing has metasticized amongst the right because there is no institutional prejudice against it (in addition, the right wing suffers from a bit of "monkey-see, monkey-do" when it comes to admiration of George W. Bush-- they all want to imitate his poor, stumbling style in addition to the fact that no one wants to come across as trying to seem better informed than their Dear Leader is). What you're seeing is the liberals here turning against a mediocre writer that they might even otherwise agree with, because good writing is an end in and of itself.

For the record, the problem liberals have with Will is that his decent writing (a rarity amongst the conservative punditry) is that it's coherent prose bereft of intellectual thought. In short, it's shallow writing for conservatives (and "liberal" WaPo readers) who want to think they're reading something deep.

But then, why am I explaining this to you, cn? You either won't understand a word I'm saying, or you'll break off into an unhinged rant about how much you can't stand the "moonbats" here.

Posted by: Constantine on January 6, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Jussombody

I'm ahead of you. "Pedantic" and "pompous" are different words. Just 'cause Mr. Will is the most pedantic man on earth doesn't mean he can compete for title of "most pompous" as well.

Posted by: Heater on January 6, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Constantine,

For the record, the problem liberals have with Will is that his decent writing (a rarity amongst the conservative punditry) is that it's coherent prose bereft of intellectual thought.

I hope that is not a sample of what you yourself think "decent writing." Yikes.

Posted by: waterfowl on January 6, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

You either won't understand a word I'm saying, or you'll break off into an unhinged rant about how much you can't stand the "moonbats" here.
You forgot option 3: I won't take anything you say seriously because you're obviously just spouting off.

Bad writing is little tolerated among liberals, shit, you forget I hang out here and read lefty writing. I also spend some time at Kos, and for a real dive into the deep end of illiteracy I spend a little time at DU.

Like I said, good writing to a lefty is political correct sentiments; it has nothing to do with grammar and structure.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 6, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Well if the chief is retireing then I want all ad's, shows and movies that have Italian roles in them to stop insutling us by portraying us as thugs and killers. You can't stop insulting one group and continue to with another. It's a double standard. And the bottom line is this is a minor, very minor issue facing America today. Quite trival if you ask me. Respect is importent but so is humor and freedom of expression.

Posted by: Joseph on January 6, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Well, at least little Georgie isn't bashing us over the head with some nonsense about how wonderful the inert sport of baseball is.

Posted by: Pechorin on January 6, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Touche', waterfowl.

Posted by: Constantine on January 6, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

yes, cn, I know what you said, it's simply untrue. Liberal blogs simply have less tolerance for poor writing. Right-wing blogs are morasse of unhinged rage where right-wing lunatics call for the hanging of liberals. I mean, let's face it-- you hang around here because it's simply more enjoyable to read Kevin's writing than to put up with the dopes on freerepublic. You hate everyone here, personally, but yet it's the only place you can find good writing, so you return again and again.

That the discussion and criticism of Dickerson writing even comes up is proof against your baseless assertions.

Posted by: Constantine on January 6, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

yes, cn, I know what you said, it's simply untrue. Liberal blogs simply have less tolerance for poor writing. Right-wing blogs are morasse of unhinged rage where right-wing lunatics call for the hanging of liberals. I mean, let's face it-- you hang around here because it's simply more enjoyable to read Kevin's writing than to put up with the dopes on freerepublic. You hate everyone here, personally, but yet it's the only place you can find good writing, so you return again and again.

That the discussion and criticism of Dickerson writing even comes up is proof against your baseless assertions.

Posted by: Constantine on January 6, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Constantine,

yes, cn, I know what you said, it's simply untrue. Liberal blogs simply have less tolerance for poor writing. Right-wing blogs are [a?] morasse [morass?] of unhinged rage where right-wing lunatics call for the hanging of liberals. I mean, let's face it-- you hang around here because it's simply more enjoyable to read Kevin's writing than to put up with the dopes on freerepublic. You hate everyone here, personally, but yet it's the only place you can find good writing, so you return again and again.

Constantine, I suppose it depends on what you consider a "right-wing blog." I certainly wouldn't judge the left side of the blogosphere by DU in the way that you are apparently willing to do by freerepublic.

I can't speak for conspiracy nut, of course, but I do come here because the posts are by and large well-written and the commenters by and large civil. That said, there are a lot of right-of-center blogs that are exceedingly well written. Asymmetrical Information, Volokh Conspiracy, Ann Althouse, Dean Esmay, Stuart Buck, Big Arm Woman, Discriminations all come to mind. Do you find these all poorly-written? If so, how?

Posted by: waterfowl on January 6, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Right-wing blogs are morasse of unhinged rage where right-wing lunatics call for the hanging of liberals
Now that took some stones. Allow me to reproduce some of the stuff I get here:

ignorant, racist, facist, homophobic, xenophobic, misogynist, knuckle-dragging, gun-totin', sister-lovin', bad-mannered, brain-dead redneck moron.

moronic brownshirt fuck

right-wing bukkake spawn

I only keep the ones that tickle me, or I'd paralyze you with all the stuff. You can't be actually reading this comment section and discriminate unhinged rage. Nor can you read this comment section and tell me that lefties can write. They simply applaud whatever they agree with and shit on whatever they don't.

And you're wrong about me hating everyone here, I love lefties. Y'all are simply too much fun. Reading here is exactly like watching cartoons, the old style ones, when they were funny.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on January 6, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

John P: Many Jews live here in Illinois. Many attend the University. We could honor them by having a Rabbi Illiniwitz come out dressed as an Imam and do the cha-cha to klezmer. I wonder if anyone would be offended? How about a Thai warrior break-dancing to Indonesian music to honor our oriental citizens here? The possibilities are endless!

Most excellent. I'd show it to my otherwise bright but pro-Illiniwek friends, but they get so freaking touchy about that idiotic mascot. They find it necessary to sigh and explain patiently that it doesn't matter what the portrayed group thinks; what's important is that the portrayers meant no offense. Kee-rist.

Posted by: shortstop on January 6, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Wills arguments are absurd on every level, and it stuns me that this fact isn't more obvious to everyone who read such things.

And I'm hoping Ms. Dickerson has her tongue firmly planted in her cheek here with this post, otherwise her critical thinking skills are unaccountably missing in action.

Let's just take two examples of Wills reasoning:

1. Chief Illiniwek wears authentic Lakota regalia (not Oglala by the way)
2. Some Native Americans support or have in the past supported this mascot.

Therefore, presumably, there is nothing wrong with it, and people who object to such things are just being whiny and overly PC.

Now these might perhaps be persuasive arguments if one is able to overlook the glaringly obvious facts that:

a. Chief Illiniwek ostensibly represents the Illini, not the Lakota (or Oglala), neither of which ever lived in Illinois, so it doesn't matter how 'authentic' his outfit is if it's from the wrong Nation altogether.

One might as well dress in a Kilt and tote around some bagpipes and proclaim to represent France, as try to claim that wearing Lakota regalia is representative of someone from the Illini Confederation. '

b. There are white people who like to be tied up and beaten while having sex. Does this mean that all white people enjoy such things or, for that matter, that these activities are therefore acceptable to do to any white person you happen to see?

One aspect of racist thinking is the dehumanization of people from other races, which comes about when you assume that what's true for one person of a particular race, is ipso facto true for all the other people of that same race.

Both of the assumptions above are essentially racist in that they lump all Indians together and assign a 'group identity' to them.

The problem with Native American mascots is that they are all versions of the same Hollywood Indian that we've seen time and again in movies, on TV, and read about in books for years. They only work for you as long as you buy into the stereotype that they represent.

Posted by: mrgarza on January 6, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

I went to the Naval Adademy, where we have Bill the Goat as a mascot. Is PETA going to get involved with that? What next?
Also, what about the "Fighting Irish" of Notre Dame, and the Augustana "Vikings" (actually 2 schools, IL and SD), the Penn "Quakers"? What about the Wyoming "Cowboys"? Aren't they controversial as well.
Another factoid: The Redskins were originally the Boston Redskins. They played in the same park as the Boston Braves (who later moved to Milwaukee and eventually Atlanta) and were owned by the same owner. He chose Redskins, as it mirrored the Braves. There were also pro teams called the NY Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers.

Posted by: Uffda on January 6, 2006 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

Uffda

Thanks for a rambling rant full of non-sequiturs. Please try to keep up with the smarter children, and read my earlier post on the backround of the Redskins nickname.

Posted by: Heater on January 6, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Great post, mrgarza.

Posted by: ack ack ack on January 6, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

>>>

Only if you're having relations with that goat.

I'd like to reiterate the point that the issue many Native American groups have with Chief Illiniwek is the idea that U of I is honoring and respecting the Illini confederation.

First, as already mentioned, U of I dresses Chief Illiniwek in ostensibly authentic outfit of the Sioux nation , who live hundreds of miles away. Further, as a Lakota friend of mine informed me, the headdress Chief Illiniwek wears is sacred; wearing it is sacrilege.

One of the other isses is Chief Illiniwek's dance. It's some ridiculous amalgamation of ceremonial and sacred function with acrobatics.

Most Native American groups would rather be parodied than insulted with a thoroughly innaccurate Westernized portrayal.

Posted by: ack ack ack on January 6, 2006 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, I have no dog in the mascot fight. I'm not a sports guy and consider many aspects of group behavior at sporting events to be, well, patently ridiculous.

Will's not a bad writer, but I agree that his ideas are either shallow or boilerplate he leared from William F. Buckley. He hasn't had a new idea in some time.

As for Debra's posts -- I'm sorry, they're awful. There's not enough time in the day to stop and try to de-snarl her sentences so I just skim them and try to glean the point from the larger context.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 6, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Heater,

Most pompous is like Miss Congeniality. You don't give out most pompous to someone who already won the tiara and scholarship and ruined her mascarra 10 years ago.

Posted by: jussumbody on January 6, 2006 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

I've never understood one thing. How can you defend, say, the Washington Redskins, when you wouldn't like to see a team called the Washington Niggers or the Green Bay Honkies? Why is it that one group only gets in the same category as Tigers and Lions and Bears?

Posted by: Steve on January 6, 2006 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

"Many Jews live here in Illinois. Many attend the University. We could honor them by having a Rabbi Illiniwitz come out dressed as an "Imam and do the cha-cha to klezmer. I wonder if anyone would be offended?
Posted by: John P on January 6, 2006 at 1:04 PM |"
I think it was Stanely Crouch who formalized this thought experiment, calling it "The Switch Test." That is, if you plug your OWN group's identity into the labelling, stereotyping, or other equation, are you going to be offended? If so, clearly you shouldn't be engaging in or supporting the behavior yourself.
Took me a while to figure out what I thought about all this -- was this PC overreaction? Or was there really a grievance here?
Re-imagining the Jeep Cherokee as the Jeep Jew answered the question for me pretty solidly as far as car names went -- and John P's post above makes it clear that U of I is in the wrong. Is this a world-shattering issue? No, but it is AN issue.

Posted by: smartalek on January 6, 2006 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

I'll tell you what. Native Americans such as myself don't get all that offended over this until we here white people talking about how waving a ridiculous foam tomahawk at a game is "honoring" Native Americans. It's like saying "Yes we obliterated your culture, nearly exterminated you, and spent 100 years trying to make you like us...but hey, we can swing one like you so hats off to you chief!" The FIRST time a group of Natives brings up an issue with a team mascot, that team should immediately shut it down and get something new, as there's absolutely no moral integrity in trying to defend the name "Redskins" or "Braves" based on "tradition" or some other nonsense. If you liked the name and are going to miss it...well, too effing bad. Native Americans miss roaming a free country sometimes, but we deal with it.

Posted by: Alexander Wolfe on January 7, 2006 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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