[REPOSTED PRO BONO PUBLICO]
[WARNING: The following essay contains irony. If you are allergic or immune to irony, do not read it. Your head could explode.]
The population of the civilized world, by which of course I mean most of the original 48 states (I won’t say which are not included, you know who I mean) is divided into 32 cults, each organized around a team of gladiators who compete regularly in giant arenas. The gladiators’ ferocious combats are attended by tens of thousands of acolytes (they call themselves “fans”) and are watched on television by hundreds of thousands more. They involve the maneuvering of a small oval ball on a field, and frequently feature combatants being carried off with broken bones and scrambled brains. The sect members wear the colors and symbols of their team, venerate its mascot, organize their lives around its combats, bet heavily on the outcomes, and devote their lives to adulation. The high priests of this culture become enormously rich.
But all is not well in this paradise. Of late, another cult has sprung up in the countryside whose values are toxic to those of fandom. Now, to be clear, there are many junior versions of the senior belief system, organized around milder combats around round balls, and even “pucks.” But these augment the 32, without in any way contradicting them. This new wave of political correctness, the PC Cult, is something else again.
The PC people just don’t like football. They think the gladiators should be so heavily padded that they can’t hurt each other. Really. They think the gladiators should be kept in cages under the bleachers between games to protect the general population. Their ideas never got any traction, even among the tiny minority of people who have no sect lives, until they zeroed in on the Washington Redskins.
The name, the PC people proclaimed, is an insult to Native Americans. For some reason, on this one the PCs are being taken seriously. One can ask: How comes it’s perfectly okay to refer to a person with black skin as “black,” but it’s a pejorative to refer to someone with red skin as “redskin?” Save your breath, the PCs already have the momentum.
It looks like the Redskin cult is going to have to do something. But what? Change its name to the universally accepted “Indians?” Perpetuate the stupid mistake of Christopher Columbus when he thought a Caribbean island was India, an obvious, glaring mistake that whiteskin Europeans have been too arrogant to admit for 500 years? That might get past the PC people, but it fails the “too dumb to live” test.
Maybe if we read a history book — wait, hear me out — we could find a suitable replacement name that couldn’t possibly offend anybody. You know, like Iroquois, a real Indian name, so to speak. They weren’t a tribe, you say, they were a confederation of tribes? Who cares? And the name is what? A name their enemies called them, meaning rattlesnake people? Worse than redskin? Oh, for crying out loud.
It’s the same with Mohawk, which means man-eaters, and Sioux, which means little rattlesnakes. It’s just as bad with the Delawares, who had to endure being known by the name of some British noble they never met, and who never met them (at least it wasn’t the Earl of Sandwich). The problem is that whiteskins learned the names of most redskin people by asking their neighbors, who lives over there? And rivalries being common, the answer was, oh, you mean those assholes? And that’s what those people over there came to be called.
So there’s no easy fix for a cult that wants to be identified as somehow Native American, but doesn’t have room on the helmet for all those letters. It doesn’t really make much sense anyway, Washington DC was built on a swamp, no Native Americans in their right minds would have lived there. Usually, NFL cults take their names from some traditional occupation of the area. Maybe they should take a hint from the town’s baseball team, which is called the Senators.
No, you’re right. That’s way too insulting. I guess we’ll just have to go with assholes.