:: Friday, August 27, 2004 ::
The DI's Friday Forum for today has a good take on the Chief. I want y'all to read the whole thing, as always, but take note of the beginning section.
What makes for a good mascot? Well, a good mascot should say something about the institution it represents. But a good mascot should also be fun and humorous, and include a subtle element of self-mockery. Mascots which take themselves too seriously seem to say that the institution takes itself too seriously. Taking oneself too seriously is very uncool.
So, is Chief Illiniwek a good mascot? Supporters of the Chief can say two things. First, they can say the Chief is comical and fun, and includes the necessary element of self-mockery. If this is the response, though, then critics of the Chief seem to have a valid point about racism. If the Chief is supposed to be humorous and funny, then the Chief seems to imply that American Indians are an appropriate object of ridicule. But if supporters of the Chief deny there is an element of humor or light-heartedness in the Chief, then the Chief fails to meet the criteria for a good mascot. While other universities would have mascots that are comical and fun, the University is stuck with a quasi-religious halftime ceremony in which Illini fans solemnly remember their "tradition" as a white boy, dressed as a Hollywood Indian, does his little dance.
This is very uncool and always will be. Supporters of the Chief should realize this.
:: The Squire 12:47 AM :: email this post :: ::