Maybe Ole Miss should have gone with happy face for its new mascot
Back during the French Revolution, the radical Robespierre tried to create the “New Man.” He decreed a new calendar, new days of the week and a new God he called the “Supreme Being.”
Then Mao tried to reshape man during the Cultural Revolution and turn him into a being of the state, devoid of tradition or self-interest.
This whole movement of “political correctness” is just a milder, more innocuous aspect of the same slop Mao and Robespierre tried to dole out. I guess the Ole Miss (excuse me, University of Mississippi) officials think retiring the colonel will turn us into New Age Mississippians and help us better love our fellow man.
Mississippians are noted for their love of tradition, which makes the Ole Miss makeover even harder to swallow.
That being said, most Mississippians are friendly, hospitable people. Any mascot that offends anybody - no matter how few or for what reason - will begrudgingly be let go.
I would beg to argue that it is not the loss of Colonel Reb that most offends the die-hard Colonel Reb fans. It is the paternalistic, top-down forcing of vapid political correctness that gets their goat.
Remember when Ole Miss officials sued students in federal court to prevent them from waving the rebel flag? Their insipid argument was the flags represented a physical threat because of their pointy ends.
Whatever your opinion may be of the rebel flag, free people in a free country are allowed to wave whatever flag they so choose. Millions have died for that right. It was a sad day when university officials tried to use our court system to repress such a basic freedom.
The attempt to copyright and permanently ban Colonel Reb follows right along in this totalitarian type of thought control. I seriously doubt the university can copyright the image of an elderly man in an old confederate uniform.
Adding to the irony is that Colonel Reb is, if anything, a caricature of an old man who is still living in the past. Colonel Reb pokes fun at diehards. Nobody seriously perceives Colonel Reb as an endorsement of slavery. Get real.
Nor does anybody seem to recall that Colonel Reb is based on old blind Jim Ivy, a black man who was a lifelong Ole Miss football fan and beloved by students for years.
Along those lines, I suppose it also doesn’t matter that the confederate flag is based on the St. Andrew cross. Andrew was one of the disciples of Jesus. Andrew was later crucified. Legend has it Andrew felt unworthy to be crucified on the same type of cross as Jesus. So he requested that the cross be mounted as an “X.”
No doubt, there are some who are offended by anything linked to the old Confederacy. That is understandable. But it is not quite so black and white. History is more complex than one event.
It seems clear that the next to go is “Ole Miss” and “Rebels.” It is just a matter of time before the Ole Miss Rebels become the University of Mississippi Bears.
This is a bit sad. There is only one school in our entire nation that is universally referred to by an endearing nickname - Ole Miss. Tennessee is Tennessee. Texas is Texas. Mississippi State is Mississippi State. And so on for every college in the country save one - Ole Miss. Ole Miss is just Ole Miss. This is special and it is sad to see our university officials throw this away.
This is just one more aspect of our state’s inferiority complex. Instead of taking pride in our cultural uniqueness, we throw our time-honored traditions away to embrace the sameness of everywhere suburbia. So sad.
I have not read of any actual evidence that Colonel Reb was offensive to African American students at Ole Miss. This is all about university officials “perceiving.” When the students “voted” on a new mascot, Colonel Reb was not allowed on the ballot.
Of all the proposals regarding this totemic controversy, I like my wife Ginny’s the best. She proposes replacing our flag with a big happy face. That way, no one could possibly be offended. Too bad a happy face didn’t make the list of proposed mascots.