Ole Miss Sets Back the South Yet Again
The people without brains are still working to come up with a new mascot. Which brings us to the eleven mascot nominees trotted out early Monday morning. If Faulkner had the Internet, was still alive, had an online column and was still working at the Oxford post office, he might describe these mascots thusly: "The corpulent and mangy lot of them (which being neither august nor mellifluous in either lineal descent or tone has no discernible connection whatsoever to the foredoomed mists of that ancient and woebegone era when Colonel Reb prowled the sideline like a leonine and still extant yet faltering vestige of antediluvian and primeval combat) should all be placed in Miss Rosa Coldfield's attic and left there, bereaved and bereft of all those lost cause relics, soldiers without muskets, imbeciles without faculties, a collection of Benjy Compson's that is not worthy of the right to chose a mascot."
In short, Faulkner would be mad.
And so should any other Southern person who likes to think of Oxford as a profoundly special place in the world of letters. Because, as I'm about to demonstrate, the creativity involved in the selection of the new mascot leaves so much to be desired there is no limit to the amount of ridicule the university is going to receive.
The smart way to select a mascot would have been to design a class around the idea of creating a mascot. Have a professor who is younger than 148 go out to each major social group on campus and request the two funniest, most creative people in each of these campus groups. From the newspaper to the fraternities and sororities to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes to the Ole Miss atheist society (assuming it exists.)
Enroll those kids in the class, teach them trademark, copyright, marketing, all of these elements that could impact the selection of a new mascot and spend the entire semester brainstorming ideas. Often these brainstorming sessions should involve alcohol.
I guarantee you the result would be better than the eleven options we are about to ensure never see the light of day again. Anyway, without further ado, let's dive into this collection of nominees in the order they're listed on the Ole Miss website.
1. Hotty and Toddy
"The pair may be animals or original "muppet-like" characters, but completely unique to Ole Miss," says the website.
So, let me get this straight -- you take two words from a cheer and turn them into muppets?
Or if that doesn't work you name two random animals Hotty and Toddy?
Thank God these characters would be "completely unique" to Ole Miss. Of course that's because no other school in the country would have muppets as mascots, but don't get bogged down in minor details.
2. Rebel the Black Bear
First, why is the bear black?
A year ago I suggested a bear based on Faulkner's short story, so I'm glad to see that, but I didn't select a bear of any particular color.
If you or I go walking in the forest and we stumble upon a bear, do we really describe the color of the bear when we retell the story? Or do we say, "Damn, that's a bear. Let's run." (I know you're not supposed to run when you see a bear in the wild, but news flash, I'm running. You can stay behind if you'd like).
If we saw a bear, at no point in the story would the color of the bear be of major significance. In fact, in my limited bear knowledge, I believe that all bears are either black, brown or white.
So there are only three options anyway.
The key to any bear story, like the key to any bear mascot, is not the color of the bear.
Presumably, the Ole Miss bear would not be white since then it would be a polar bear.
So the Ole Miss bear has to be black or brown.
Why do we need to describe him based on his color?
All this mascot nominee has taught us is that bear racism is never going to end.
3. Rebel Blues Musician
Oh, look, Mississippi replaced an old white man with a cane with an old black man with a banjo.
Man, they're so progressive down there!
And if you don't make the blues musician mascot a black man, you're being racist for making a white man a blues musician right?
Talk about the ultimate can't win situation.
4. Rebel the Cardinal
This is how Ole Miss describes this mascot option:
"The Cardinal Club is a venerable campus organization dating back to the 1930's. This student spirit group is tasked with rallying the Ole Miss Family at athletic events and bringing excitement to the games. Historically, the Cardinal Club members have also served as game day hosts, welcoming the visiting team. The cardinal concept would marry the Ole Miss school color, cardinal red, with the strong Rebel spirit and tradition of our students and fans. The Ole Miss Cardinal would fit in perfectly in the grove on game days, and would reflect the pride and tradition of the Ole Miss Rebels."
So far as I can tell, this mascot would wear cardinal red.
That's it, all we know about it.
Look at it.
Rebel the Cardinal.
On the one hand, it could be a catholic priest who didn't touch young boys. On the other hand, it could ... I have no idea. Once you start thinking about how nonsensical this idea is, it's like trying to figure out what happens when a snake eats his own tail.
How in the world did this option make the list?
Someone stands up in the meeting and says, "What if we just have a person wearing red on the sideline?"
And that passes for brilliance at Ole Miss.
5. Rebel Fanatic
The ultimate cop-out.
The mascot is a fan.
Honestly, someone needs to uncover the finances behind this mascot contest.
I know these suggestions cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Just know it.
6. Rebel the Horse
So you can't have Colonel Reb, but you can have his horse?
Lesson: No, no, no, Colonel Reb is racist. But the horse that Colonel Reb rode during the Civil War will unite us all.
What's the connection to the university's history? "When the University of Mississippi was formed in 1848, the charter was delivered by horse."
Is this really a surprise?
It was 1848, how else was the charter going to arrive?
I'm pretty sure that just about everything, including syphilis, arrived via horse in 1848.
7. Rebel Land Shark
"The Rebel family has already embraced the Land Shark, making it a big part of the football game-day experience."
And by "big part," what the suggesters of this mascot actually mean is, not a part at all.
You know what's actually a big part of the football game-day experience?
Checking out hot chicks in the Grove.
If you're not going to go Faulkner as mascot, you might as well go with the Ole Miss Hotties and elect the hottest girl on campus as the mascot every year.
After all, Ole Miss redshirts Miss Americas.
8. Rebel Lion
Why, why, why must every animal have the Rebel adjective in front of its name?
A Rebel Lion is the exact opposite of an actual lion. The Rebel Lion would be like the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz. He'd be rebelling from what lions are known for: courage, fighting off evil would-be kings of the jungle who have killed our fathers, overwhelming charisma -- honestly, I have no idea what lions are known for.
Ninety-eight percent of my lion knowledge comes from The Lion King.
I just know that a rebel lion would be nothing like what we think an actual lion is like.
Quoth the Ole Miss mascot committee:
"Put the two words "Rebel" and "Lion" together, and our lion could be named "Rebellion," the leader of the Ole Miss Pride. An ancient African proverb reflects the dominance of this leader among animals: 'The Lion does not turn around when a small dog barks.'"
Citing ancient African proverbs now out of nowhere?
And the cuteness of Rebellion -- which I'm convinced was only noticed when someone made a typo -- makes me throw up in my mouth.
Plus, does anyone really trust the Ole Miss mascot people not to accidentally unleash a dangerous animal in the Grove? After seeing this list would it really surprise anyone if eight people were mauled before the Egg Bowl?
9. Rebel Mojo
"But there is a (word) ... with its roots deep in the cultural soil of Mississippi – MOJO. This concept celebrates Mississippi culture and our love for all things Mississippi."
No, it doesn't. That's not what the word does at all.
So now you just claim words from the dictionary and say they are based in your state?
Claiming ownership of people without justification leads to war.
Claiming ownership of words without justification leads to mascots.
Has the state of Mississippi learned nothing?
Okay, okay, sell me on naming your team after a word that is completely not associated with your state any more than any other word.
"The Rebels don't just need a mascot, like any other team. We are here in Mississippi. The Rebels need their Mojo."
The author of these three sentences should be choked to death by the ghost of Larry Brown. The author, not the basketball coach.
10. Rebel Riverboat Pilot
Again, a rebel riverboat pilot is someone who fought for the South in the Civil War.
Colonel Reb becomes Commodore Reb.
Message: Subjugation on the water is different than subjugation on the land.
Here comes the pretty words:
"At the helm of the 'Ole Miss' riverboat (a miniature landroving sternwheeler), the Riverboat Pilot would navigate Vaught Hemingway and incite the crowds to feverish levels."
Really, to feverish levels? Didn't that cause the original Ole Miss at the plantation house to take the vapors?
A man on a fake boat is either going to incite the crowd to feverish levels by driving around on the sideline or he is going to be pelted by whiskey bottles until he is hospitalized.
I think it's the latter.
11. Rebel Titan
Not to be confused, of course, with the NFL's Titans who border your state to the north and send many students to your school.
No, this Titan is a different mythological creature that no one actually knows but everyone pretends they do.
A Rebel Titan is also uncomfortably close to a Great Titan, which is, you know, a person of high status in the Ku Klux Klan.
I'm just going to assume this ends up the selection and Ole Miss is immediately embroiled in a trademark litigation suit with the Ku Klux Klan over who has ownership rights to the Titan term in the state of Mississippi.
Because that's the only thing that could be more ridiculous than these nominees.