It’s not racist now, because it was a black man wearing it to make a cheeky point about sports mascots. Speaking Truth to Power or whatever the usual formula is meaning permissible.
When White people start wearing it? Could be problematic, on three levels:
The Right Sorts of White People wearing it “ironically” or “in solidarity” with Mr. Jones and his point. Probably okay but could be cultural appropriation.
White People of Questionable Sort wearing it “pseudo-ironically”, or pretending to support the point but really taking advantage of the opportunity to express their identity in a sanctioned, not-racist way. This needs to be vigorously questioned and deconstructed. At some point we will decide that all #1 are really #2, and that all #2 are really…
The Wrong Sort of White People un-apologetically inverting the point and snarkily expressing pride in their identity. This is exactly the same as wearing a Klan Robe.
You heard it hear first. Also, I kind of want one. I denounce myself beforehand.
And that puts us in a really good position in ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
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As it turns out, the Patent Office refusing to register the trademarks for the Washington Redskins means less than you might think. Largely it means that the federal government will no longer actively protect the trademark. It doesn’t mean the team can’t use the name or sue to keep its use in its own hands. Read here for how all that’s broken down. (h/t: Ace) So the lively twitter hashtag #NewRedskinsName will probably amount to naught.
But, there may yet come a point when the team’s owner tires of these shenanigans (especially if he reflects on how his stated intent of the use of the name will never be afforded the same courtesy as the stated intent of Liberals in Good Standing like Stephen Colbert), and decides that he wants news reports on his team to concern themselves with their most recent playoff failure instead of the racism-dissociation kabuki de jeur. To that end, I offer these suggestions for a new team name, depending on how Mr. Snyder wants to put an end to the matter:
1. If Mr. Snyder wants to change as little as possible, while flying under the PC radar:
The Washington Potomacs.
Advantages: You can probably keep the same logo and mascot (after all, who is to say that the stately Native American bust on the helmets isn’t a Potomac?). If the University of Florida is allowed to call itself the Seminoles, this should fly. You might get the leadership of the 500 current members of the Patawomeck tribe to sign off on it, just to seal the deal.
If he want to be obnoxious about it: change the team logo to resemble one of the warrior indians from this picture:
Edit the white woman out, of course, just make the guy look as badass as all football mascots are supposed to be. I’d go with the one on the right.
2. If Snyder Wants to Illustrate What it Would Actually Look Like if Football Team Names Were Intended to Disparage Their Subjects:
The Washington Liberals
Advantages: This could be a fun exercise in protest theater. The mascot could be someone dressed up as the College Liberal meme to the left, who could march up and down the field holding “Down With This Sort of Thing”-type signs. The coach should throw out his red flag -regardless of whether he’s used up his challenges – every time he deems the other team has played “insensitively”. Instead of Cheerleaders, they could have Discourse Providers, who would spend halftime lecturing the fans about how horrible they all are, before ritually flagellating themselves for whatever white or cisgendered privilege they happens to be holding onto (differently-gendered Discourse Providers of Color would naturally be excused from this).
If he wants to be obnoxious about it: whenever they make it to the Super Bowl, forfeit “in apology for America.” For bonus points, wait until after the coin toss to do it.
3. If Snyder Wants to Go Full Meta:
The Washington Football Players.
Advantages: Impossible to be officially offensive, yet contains as much gleeful obnoxiousness as the others put together. Grey helmets with no logo. Grey jerseys with darker-grey numbers and names on them. No mascots, no cheerleaders, no fight songs, no team spirit, and the offense should call the same play (up-the-middle play-action pass) every down.
If he wants to be obnoxious about it: Do it for one season, then go back to being the Redskins.
Cracked has a good article (how many blog posts have started with those five words, I wonder?) about how awful nerds/geeks are as human beings. Read the whole thing, obviously, but in brief:
We Feel Like We’re Owed Our Favorite Things … Forever
We Secretly Hope Our Favorite Artists Aren’t Successful
We Think We Have to Protect Our Favorite Stuff from Outsiders
We Think Our Knowledge Makes Us Important
Why are we this way? For the same reason otherwise sane people engage in borderline (or even non-borderline) criminal behavior over sports games: because of a tribal need to exercise dominance. The modern world gives us opportunity to do so over trivial matters.
And while it’s bound to be something of a similar behavior for me to say this, but I work very hard at not doing this. Actually, I don’t work that hard, because I tend to find such things…well, boring. Baseball is interesting, and gets more interesting as I get older. Talking about baseball? Boring as hell. Football is fun to watch. A bunch of dimwits in purple ties talking about football? Not so much.
So that’s why I’ve made a consistent effort to tone down my opinions on inconsequential matters. Take, for example, the Kings of Leon. I liked them when they first came out, and their first three albums are pretty solid. Since then, they’ve gone a more radio-ready style, and I just haven’t been feeling it. My wife, on the other hand, loves the arena-rock boomers of their fourth album, and now I only buy those records for her.
What does this mean? Does it mean that my wife hates good music? That she doesn’t know when a band has sold out? No. It just means that she likes different stuff than I do.
So I find the solution to this kind of petty childishness is a healthy does of indifference. Indifference gets a bad rap these days, with some declaring it the opposite of love and worse than hate. And in one sense, that’s true. But it’s an act of pure fantasy to pretend that you can have a considered, thoughtful opinion about everyone and everything. It’s simply not possible.
When I was in my 20’s, I had lots of opinions, and most of them were emotionally-driven, snarky prejudices dressed up in common rhetoric. Back then I found the whole idea of Harry Potter offensive. Why anyone would feel compelled to rush out and buy a series of stories in which a teenage wizard confronts enemies with teenage wizardry was not just a mystery, but a condemnation of popular culture. I laughed at all these idjits going all Black Friday over the literary equivalent of a Beanie Baby.
Now, I still haven’t read them, because the central premise — teenage wizardry — still doesn’t interest me. But that’s just me. Other people — most people, in fact — love these stories with a deep and abiding passion. I am told they are well-written. So, I assume that I’m one of the outliers here, and say Peace Be Upon the Potterheads, and I hope the next Rowling book wins a Pulitzer.
Saying that costs me nothing and doesn’t entail a commitment to spend my time reading or doing anything I don’t want to. It’s all a free world, and a candle loses nothing of its light by lighting another candle, and I’m better than yoooooooouuuuu…
Every technological advance contains cost; functionality does not always transfer. Some time over the holidays, after wrestling with Verizon FiOS, I finally pulled the plug on the cable. Verizon still provides my internet and phone, but I watch TV on the Roku box. Between Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime Instant Video, I had everything I needed as far as content for the idiot screen.
Until I had to watch the Super Bowl. The game was on CBS, and live streaming at cbsports.com, but the Roku does not live stream. So that means that I needed to supplement my up-to-the-minute tech with a throwback to my pre-digital youth: a set of rabbit ears for an HDTV.
So after church, mother, baby and I rolled into Target, seeking the digital equivalent of the old signal-diviners I used to scan UHF channels back in the 80’s. There are several models, all of which use a coaxial jack, which information prompted an arduous attempt by both of us to remember if our TV even has a coaxial jack. We conclude that it must, because we used to have cable. We then rummage around the store to collect items for our Target co-pay (it is not possible to get out of Target for under $50. That’s what the security guard is really checking for). Since we’re watching the game, we I want football-watching-type food: high-fat, high-calorie, high-chance-of-morning-regret little bits of fried yumminess. Also, some sheets.
And we take all this swag into the house, and we feed the baby, and we the missus futzes with the wall mount to get the coaxial plugged in, and . . . we get FOX. We fart around with the antennae. We get FOX and PBS. We try some more. We get FOX, PBS, and ABC. We give up and watch a few episodes of Parks and Recreation while Nora naps. We try some more. We get nothing. I complain on Facebook:
21 hours ago via mobile
So I buys a digital antenna so’s I can watch the game, having no cable as I do. And we have to futz with the mount on our TV to install it. And we get Fox, UPN, and PBS. Lame.
This prompts my aunt to come to my rescue, as she lives around the corner and has the game on hi-def, big screen. We head on over, pick up the family platter from Famous Daves right before kickoff. The rest, you know.
My favorite commercial.
And then, the lights went out, and for 34 minutes on Facebook, we all became wits:
Even electricity thinks this game is over.
Is FEMA running the super bowl?
Previously on superbowl
If I were in the Superdome right now, I’d be on the lookout for Bane.
Buffalo Wild Wings strikes again
Lots of things in New Orleans are half lit…what’s the big deal?!
Yeah we all needed to lose another 34 minutes of sleep before a Monday morning of work, right?
Some of those are mine, most aren’t. And then there were the visuals:
And this social media outlet saved me from having to emit to my host and hostess my usual whine about football commentators being the dumbest form of fauna in our ecosystem.
So when the game started again, I had to say:
I hope the Ravens win, because if the 49ers come back and win after all that, the City of Baltimore will be complaining about it until the end of time.
There are men of a certain age who still remember the Colts sneaking out of the city in the dead of night without warning, and can speak of it only with bitterness. My hope was that the current crop of Ravens fans would be spared that. But as it turns out, the 49ers belonged in the Super Bowl, and my prophecy nearly came true. But only nearly. As it turns out, the Ravens’ defense had just enough backbone to keep Kaepernick et al. from taking the lead. And that may be the first time I’ve ever seen a team deliberately give the other team points.
So what have we learned?
That Facebook Save My Super Bowl twice. Once by allowing me to watch it, and once by giving me something to do when it stopped.
I don’t get anything about what I’ve been watching for the last few days. Maybe for the past few Olympics. Things were simpler when I was a kid, when the Olympics were nothing more than the Cold War in athletic form. It seemed to matter then; I seemed to care. But every passing of the torch leaves me sitting in blinking bemusement on my couch, asking a series of snarky questions that all amount to “what the hell is going on?”
So am I drunk, or did I actually watch the Queen of England pretend to parachute from a plane with the actor who plays James Bond? And is it no more than a sign of creeping age that I can not help but wonder if her father was even asked to do anything remotely theatrical at the last London Olympics in ’48?
And could Danny Boyle really come up with no better way to illustrate the change from an industrial to a digital Britain than an ersatz After-School Special set to every last hit song from the 1960’s forward, the message of which seemed to be that cell phones lead to house party sex? And why did the one song NBC had to cut off for station identification have to be “Pretty Vacant”, which would seem to be the theme of the whole exercise?
But more important, do we really need all of that to interest us in the Olympics? Must every opening ceremony be a three-hour multimedia infomercial for the host country? Can’t they just run the torch in and make with the volleyball?
Of course, if everything just started with the Parade of Nations, I’d still find myself crabbing about, of all things, clothes. I don’t know why the Russian team was wearing cowboy hats and the American team was wearing berets. I don’t know who told the German team that they looked good dressed as Teletubbies. I don’t know why the British team went with the Gay Astronaut look. All I know is that the dishdashas worn by Arab athletes looked stately and dignified by comparison. Clearly the terrorists’ mind control experiments are a success.
And then, two weeks of gymnastics, the figure skating of the Summer games. Every four years I have to re-learn the difference between a lutz and a salchow, and every four years I feel the compulsion to yell at a group of teenage tumblers regarding their failure to Stick The Landing. Meanwhile, a 33-year-old skeet shooter from El Monte, CA, just became the first American athlete to win five individual medals in five consecutive Olympics. They couldn’t show that instead of the Men’s Semifinal Qualifying Non-medal Heat?