Saturday, May 4, 2013

"...And After That, Greenpeace Petitions The NFL To Put An End To This Horrific Slander Of Dolphins..."

This issue really isn't about the name.

It's about the name of the game.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- It's been a rough offseason for the Washington Redskins, and not just because of the knee injury to star quarterback Robert Griffin III. 
The team's nickname, which some consider a derogatory term for Native Americans, has faced a barrage of criticism. Local leaders and pundits have called for a name change. Opponents have launched a legal challenge intended to deny the team federal trademark protection. A bill introduced in Congress in March would do the same, though it appears unlikely to pass. 
But a new Associated Press-GfK poll shows that nationally, "Redskins" still enjoys widespread support. Nearly four in five Americans don't think the team should change its name, the survey found.

Only 11 percent think it should be changed, while 8 percent weren't sure and 2 percent didn't answer.
Although 79 percent favor keeping the name, that does represent a 10 percentage point drop from the last national poll on the subject, conducted in 1992 by The Washington Post and ABC News just before the team won its most recent Super Bowl. Then, 89 percent said the name should not be changed, and 7 percent said it should. 
The AP-GfK poll was conducted from April 11-15. It included interviews with 1,004 adults on both land lines and cell phones. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.
Several poll respondents told The AP that they did not consider the name offensive and cited tradition in arguing that it shouldn't change. 
"That's who they've been forever. That's who they're known as," said Sarah Lee, a 36-year-old stay-at-home mom from Osceola, Ind. "I think we as a people make race out to be a bigger issue than it is."
But those who think the name should be changed say the word is obviously derogatory. 
"With everything that Native Americans have gone through in this country, to have a sports team named the Redskins — come on, now. It's bad," said Pamela Rogal, 56, a writer from Boston. "Much farther down the road, we're going to look back on this and say, 'Are you serious? Did they really call them the Washington Redskins?' It's a no-brainer." 
Among football fans, 11 percent said the name should be changed — the same as among non-fans.

Among nonwhite football fans, 18 percent said it should change, about double the percentage of white football fans who oppose the name. 
In Washington, debate over the name has increased in recent months. In February, the National Museum of the American Indian held a daylong symposium on the use of Indian mascots by sports teams. Museum Director Kevin Gover, of the Pawnee Nation, said the word "redskin" was "the equivalent of the n-word." 
District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray, a Democrat, suggested that the team would have to consider changing the name if it wanted to play its home games in the city again. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat who represents the district in Congress, said she's a fan of the team but avoids saying "Redskins." Just this week, a D.C. councilmember introduced a resolution calling for a name change, and it appears to have enough support to pass, although the council has no power over the team. 
"We need to get rid of it," said longtime local news anchor Jim Vance in a commentary that aired in February. Vance, of WRC-TV, revealed that he has avoided using the name on the air for the past few years. 
Other media outlets have done the same. The Washington City Paper substitutes the name "Pigskins," and announced in February that it would avoid using the name in print. The Kansas City Star also has a policy against printing "Redskins." 
In March, a three-judge panel heard arguments from a group of five Native American petitioners that the team shouldn't have federal trademark protection, which could force owner Daniel Snyder into a change by weakening him financially. A decision isn't expected for up to a year, and the Redskins are sure to appeal if it doesn't go their way. A similar case, ultimately won by the team, was filed in 1992 and needed 17 years to go through the legal system before the Supreme Court declined to intervene.
Several poll respondents told AP that they were unaware of the ongoing debate. 
"If we're going to say that 'Redskins' is an offensive term, like the n-word or something like that, I haven't heard that," said David Black, 38, a football fan from Edmond, Okla., who doesn't think a change is necessary. 
George Strange, 52, of Jacksonville, Fla., who feels the name should change, said people might change their minds if they become more educated about the word and its history. 
"My opinion, as I've gotten older, has changed. When I was younger, it was not a big deal. I can't get past the fact that it's a racial slur," Strange said. "I do have friends that are Redskins fans and ... they can't step aside and just look at it from a different perspective." 
There's precedent for a Washington team changing its name because of cultural sensitivities. The late Washington Bullets owner Abe Pollin decided the nickname was inappropriate because of its association with urban violence, and in 1997, the NBA team was rechristened the Wizards. 
Other professional sports teams have Native American nicknames, including the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs and baseball's Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians. But former U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado, who is Native American, said "Redskins" is much worse because of its origins and its use in connection with bounties on Indians. 
"There's a derogatory name for every ethnic group in America, and we shouldn't be using those words," Campbell said, adding that many people don't realize how offensive the word is. "We probably haven't gotten our message out as well as it should be gotten out." 
Numerous colleges and universities have changed names that reference Native Americans. St. John's changed its mascot from the Redmen to the Red Storm, Marquette is now the Golden Eagles instead of the Warriors and Stanford switched from the Indians to the Cardinal. 
Synder, however, has been adamant that the name should not change, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said he supports the team's stance. General Manager Bruce Allen said in March that the team isn't considering a new name. 
Following the symposium at the museum, the team posted a series of articles on its official website that spotlighted some of the 70 U.S. high schools that use the nickname Redskins. 
"There is nothing that we feel is offensive," Allen said. "And we're proud of our history."

Obviously, I can't speak for you or your respective generation, but as for me and mine, we were taught, from a pretty early age, to refrain from engaging, or indulging ourselves as the case may be, in name calling.

So, assuming that most of us agree with that childhood teaching, it would seem, like the lady writer from Boston offered, that changing the team name is a no brainer.

Which seems, at the same time, not just a little paradoxical considering that people who are passionately defending the use of the racial slur seem, in fact, to be lacking a brain.

Meanwhile, back on the forty yard line.

Actress Marsha Warfield, a frequent and frisky Facebook contributor, offered up a concise perspective on the matter a day or so ago.

I wonder how people would feel about the "Biloxi Rednecks," "San Francisco Faggots," or the "Detroit Niggers:"

Her point, if I read it correctly, is that the word "Redskins" is, in fact, a racial slur.

Meanwhile, the tempest in a teepee seems to stem from an inability to come to a definitive conclusion.

Is the word a slur?

Or not?

Asking Washington fans is obviously a case of throwing good polling after bad because zealous sports fans see life not so much through a prism of shades and hues as much as through a filter of whatever color their team displays.

And asking those who profess, or feign, sensitivity is probably useless here, as well, given the inevitable accusations that their intentions to be "politically correct" are just one more brick on the pathway to socialism, dictatorship and, of course, the confiscation of all their weapons.

Here's a thought.

To determine whether something is sincerely offensive, why not simply ask the assumed offendee?

Poll only Native Americans as to whether they find the word "Redskins" to, in fact, be the equivalent of the "N" word.

If not, no harm, no foul.

No change-um the name-um.

If so, then common courtesy and graciousness would dictate a retirement of the lavicious labeling and a re-branding of the organization.

Obviously, for the foreseeable, none of this will happen.

First, because those who are in charge of it are those who are least affected by it.

Second, because "cultural sensitivity" remains oxymoronic in our still maturing civilization and, as offered earlier, "political correctness" has become a clarion call among the majority of our less enlightened second only in popularity to that oldie but goodie, "from my cold dead hands".

But, thirdly, and mostly, because of what's really involved in effecting the change.

A lot of expense on the part of those who would bear the expense.

New logos, marketing materials and the myriad of merchandise that bears the current team imagery.

You've just got to know that the question has already been asked and answered behind closed doors in the offices of the Washington Redskins management complex.

Why should we spend what could be millions of dollars for no better reason than a few bleeding heart, do-gooders have their knickers in a twist?

Or loincloths, as the case may be.

Don't count on any retreat on the part of the Redskins any time soon.

Because, as earlier opined, this issue is not about a name.

It's about the name of the game.

Not football.


Not to mention, what's next?

We'll have to get our last minute tickets from an "unliscensed, unauthorized seating appropriation sales person"?

Because, bet the reservation, if we cave on the word "Redskins", it's only a matter of time before those same bleeding hearts come after the word "scalpers".

There's no end to it.

Honest Injun.

Friday, May 3, 2013

"....Shinola Is Kicking Themselves They Didn't Think Of It First..."

Oscar Wilde was a pretty prescient fellow.

It was in the midst of his 1889 essay, The Decay Of Lying, he first offered the witty and wise notion that....

" imitates life."

If Oscar were around these days, I suspect he'd still be firm in that conviction, while, perhaps, feeling the need to contemporize it just a scoche.

Probably just about the time he first channel surfed his way across this particular contribution to creativity.

The reaction to K Mart's shot at satire here has been, to the moment, fairly predictable, tending to fall pretty much into one of two distinct categories.

Those who roll their eyes and/or shake their heads, further lamenting the continuing decline of contemporary morals and/or ethics.

Those who ship themselves with laughter.

I'd offer, though, there is a less definable, less obvious group floating around out there.

Those who publicly roll their eyes and/or shake their heads, further lamenting the continuing decline of contemporary morals and/or ethics.

While privately shipping themselves with laughter.

Comedy, of course, is now and will always be defined by the beholder and what their eye discerns.

My own eye sees this as some pretty funny ship.

But, then, of course, I'm a man so any MRI worth its salt would clearly indicate a large section of brain matter devoted to giggling instinctively at any and all things giggly to the average five year old.

And that giggly five year old thoroughly reacted with ships and grins upon viewing this spot, reminded, almost inevitably, of the various and sundry "mock" commercials that Saturday Night Live has offered through the generations.

Everything from "Colon Blow" to the more contemporary, but always intellectually cutting edge, "Dick In A Box".

The genius at work behind the K-Mart spot, I'm a thinkin', is the narrowing of the gap between sincere and satirical, tweaking the funny bones of those who laugh heartily at the SNL ship in the effort to lure folks into a real life retail environment.

Really, you didn't honestly think there was an actual "All Things Scottish", did you?

Whether this little prebusecent presentation will benefit K-Mart with a surge of sales or create a ship storm remains to be seen.

In the meantime, though, my fellow five year olds and I will continue to giggle.

While assuming that Oscar Wilde would see where his original assertion could use a little adjustment.

Art, it turns out, still imitates life.

But, these day, art also imitates parody.

Ain't that some ship?