BE OFFENDED OR ELSE !
Woe to ye who do not heed the admonitions of the professional sign carriers
It is now being pounded into our brains with metronomic regularity that the Washington Redskins? name ought to set off our collective outrage meter and move its needle with terminal velocity towards a state of unrecoverable moral fury, but frankly I?m not having it. To be sure, this message is hardly representative of the concerns of the everyman. Instead, it is just the latest trumped-up effort hyped almost entirely by a snobbish class of east-coast elites ? don?t think I haven?t noticed. Indeed, the great irony here is that 9 out of 10 Indians ? yes, Native Americans, the very people who should feel most vexed ? are opposed to any idea of a name change and, before I salute them, let me point out that, in a divided culture, 90% is about as close to unanimity as you?re going to see in any poll. I would wager that if you took away the lifelong left-wing activists lurking behind the curtain of this cause, the ones who never stop looking for the next bogeyman, that number would be within the margin of error of 100 per cent?s doorstep.
For the unoffended, the callous ogres who actually have to get out of bed on Monday morning and for whom sports teams? nicknames are not at the epicenter of their moral universe, this manufactured outrage about a possible Redskins name change is discussed with comparable frequency to planning that next family vacation to Libya. It is, however, stupefying to see how much attention can be drawn to as truly contrived an offense as this one. I mean, I don?t want to rain on these people?s charade, but the Redskins are hardly an expansion team; their name has been around for close to a century. Forgive me for getting a touch suspicious when I see a man who has made four decades? worth of living covering the NFL in print, radio, or TV suddenly waking up to the intolerable slander inflicted on us all by the Redskins? name. I won?t mention any names here, but one guy?s name rhymes with Bob Costas. My B.S. meter immediately tells me that these people?s eagerness to pander to the forces of political correctness trumps their sense of shame and their breathless disingenousness. Thanks Bob, by the way, for intonating your extremely genuine empathy towards all those who remain brutally held down and oppressed by the existence of the Redskins name, but, uhm, where exactly were you on all of this in, say, 1990 ? So what?s changed ?
Besides, if you stop to think about it ? and I have ? it?s not as if the Redskins? name is theee most offensive nickname in sports by a long shot. Take the Edmonton Oilers, sometimes referred to as just The Oil. Oh, I think you see it, don?t you ? In an age full of righteousness and moral preening of all kinds, I must say that I am gobsmacked that the environmental lobby has not yet mounted a crusade on par with the anti-Redskins forces with the same ultimate goal of getting the Oilers to drop their nickname. There is no shortage of people ? okay, activists ? who view oil as something evil beyond even Hitler?s grasp even if they use it themselves everyday. Ironically, some of the biggest oil haters are plutocrats who, when their grandstanding ends and the cameras are turned off, hop into their private jets and like to fly around, but let?s not get into that at the moment. It has to seriously rankle the green lobby that, in this case, a city in northern Alberta has adopted a substance for its chest logo which is not only a pollutant but responsible, in their view, for a coming climatological cataclysm. Can it really be that Alberta is more Texan than Texas ?
The Oilers? name must be a constant stick in the eye to environmental do-gooders and light their fuse that a city has the gall to exalt oil for the richness it has brought to the entire region beyond just Alberta. The Oilers? name stands as a hockey team?s paean to a fossil fuel responsible for the spewing of CO2 into our atmosphere. Yet, tone deaf to any potential criticism, here is this bunch of hockey players skating around year after year with a giant oil logo seemingly oblivious to our need to reduce greenhouse gases. What ho, how do they get away with this in 2014 ?!! Sure, those who attack oil like to feel righteous, but when are they gonna give up all their modern amenities and go back to live the Amish lifestyle ? When are they gonna go back and live in a cave ? Not soon, I imagine, since iPhones and iPads are, like, way too rad to give up. And if you were to give up every other product that uses oil ? not to mention all the energy, electricity, and heat ? I don?t think you need me to explain how impoverished our lives would become.
So the Edmonton Oilers? name survives ? for now, anyway. If the Redskins cave though, the indignation industry will no doubt feel emboldened to move on to the next item on their checklist ? probably the baseball team from Cleveland, but, who knows, it could be the Seminoles, or perhaps the Jets(both of them) for the sin of endorsing the use of carbon-based energy that produces greenhouse gases and exacerbates . . . wait for it . . . global warming ? let?s face it, you New York Jets: air travel leaves behind a gargantuan carbon footprint.
Eco activists are not in short supply and they aren?t known for their reluctance to engage either, all of which leaves me quite perplexed as to the reasons we have not seen them step up in large numbers yet to demand the Oilers get with the program and stop being accomplices to a human-induced environmental doomsday and change their name already for the good of every planet-loving, CO2-emitting human being who has never heard of hockey.
In 2012, the Frontier League, an independent baseball league, brought a team to my home city of London, Ontario and chose to call it the London Rippers. As far as offensive team names go, I admit I was a little surprised by the brazen choice to run afoul of PC orthodoxy and name the team after Jack the Ripper. PC doctrine be damned, a cartoon Jack the Ripper appeared in the team?s main logo and in the secondary logo as well. While little is know about him, it cannot be debated that Jack the Ripper did murder people. Murder is bad and I remain steadfastly opposed to it, so please don?t picket my house. And, yes, there were the usual voices of opposition to the Rippers? name, but the team brass would not give in to any of it. We will never know whether the London Rippers would have acquiesced in due time because they folded up shop not long after the season began when the team ran out of money.
So how much time do I consume getting worked up about the Washington Redskins or obsessing about the Chicago Blackhawks ? Well, I?ll be sure to let you know at the precise nanosecond that I start giving a damn about any of this flimflam. I think most level-headed people are able to recognize when a real insult is being hurled and in a culture saturated with vile this and vile that, it is telling that the people who have skin thinner than spoiled grapes can have their entire days ruined by the Redskins, but aren?t the slightest bit fazed by racist rappers or obscene displays masquerading as art.
Maybe, in an effort to make the world perfect and unupsetting to everybody, we should outlaw not just the Redskins name, but football itself. Or, here?s an even better idea: how?s about all nicknames be gone, huh ? Even the non-offensive ones. So Sports Center can sound a little something like this: ?The team from Minnesota beat the team from Dallas 24-17.? Whatever happens, at the core, I remain deeply skeptical of a fevered political movement which is doing its darndest to guilt us into believing their message and interested ultimately in political control. After all, whoever is allowed to control expression of this sort will also be allowed to control part of our freedom.