What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
If you ever needed proof that this silly bit of censorship-meets-McCarthyism called “political correctness” has gone too far, the following story from the Salt Lake City Tribune should give you all you need. Just read the first sentence.
Some people in Utah’s Canyons School District apparently believe BYU’s mascot (“Cougars”) is offensive to middle-aged women.
Re-read that sentence again and let it sink in a bit. Wrap as much duct-tape around your head as needed to keep your skull from exploding. For me, it was six full rolls. Literally, I had to re-read this whole story at least five times before I ever figured out what was really happening here.
As reported in this story by the state’s Fox-TV affiliate, Ch. 13, the Canyons’ board rejected the mascot “Cougars” for the new high school in Draper that will be known as Corner Canyon High School. The new school will draw students that currently attend Alta High and will open in 2013.
They will call themselves the Corner Canyon Chargers. Apparently, prospective students were polled and the majority chose Cougars, but the board went in a different direction. According to this news release on the district’s website, Diamondbacks, Falcons and Raptors were also mascot candidates. The release does not acknowledge that the students wanted to be the Cougars.
This whole thing is an exercise in both stupidity and hypocrisy. The key is in the last sentence above. Let’s walk through this to understand what I mean.
For starters, Corner Canyon High School is a school that will open in the fall of 2013, and it needed a mascot. The powers that be decided to allow the schools’ future students to vote for a symbol for its sports teams. Apparently ”Cougars” was the winner. Being in Utah, the proximity of Brigham Young University, and the general lameness of the other ballot choices, this really shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anybody.
However, that pesky bit of democracy in action wouldn’t do for the Corner Canyon school board. They arbitrarily vetoed the results of the students election because they were worried “it might be offensive to middle-aged women.”
Let’s break that down, shall we?
First of all, if the term is so damn offensive, then why was it on the ballot in the first place? If I were one of the future students who voted in this election, I would be incredibly insulted to think the school board thinks a) I have no ability to make a reasoned and/or valid decision or b) the collective student body would really elect a mascot representing an exclusively sexual connotation.
Think about that for a minute. How uptight do you have to be to honestly believe that anytime anybody said the word “Cougar” the first thing that would spring to mind is a middle-aged woman who still has the gall to have sex appeal?
Do you want to know what I think happened? Nobody on that board ever even knew “Cougar” had another meaning, until one day one of them tuned in the Dan Patrick Show and discovered Fritzy’s “Cougar of the Week” bit. Then they panicked.
Secondly, who decided that the new use of the term “cougar” is demeaning? According to Urban Dictionary, “cougar” (in the non-wild feline sense) is defined as:
Hot and sexy older woman, usually in her 40s or 50s, single or married, who is sick of her same-age counterparts which are usually hairless, have big guts, who only talk about their insurance premiums and have the TV remote control attached to their hands. Cougars are attractive, in their sexual prime, who know what they want and aren’t afraid to go after it. BIG misconception is that they dress cheap, wear hot pink nail polish, animal skin prints and are not-so-attractive old-looking hags with bleached hair (Yeah those women exist, but they are NOT cougars). True cougars are classy, beautiful creatures who have made their successes on their own, have real brains, usually with expensive cars/homes, and are real head turners. Cougars seek younger men, and don’t have to sneak up and attack…they know their younger mates are eager to get an experienced woman who won’t ask if they’ll call them the next day. Being a cougar is a positive thing.
This leaves the question still hanging: Just who the hell are these people to say that labeling someone a “cougar” is an insult? I’ll bet you ten dollars I can guess the make-up of this board. I’ll bet it is an eclectic mix of white-haired white guys whose dicks quit working sometime during the Clinton administration. If there are women on this board, they are either white-hairs of their own whose gardens dried up and blew away about the same time their male counterparts started gulping Viagra like they were Tic-Tacs, or they are that spiky-haired, thick-ankled golf coach who hates any woman who attracts the men they wish they could be.
If we were to stick with the conventional wisdom as to who can either be offended by an issue and/or determines the offending matter and it’s severity (this is the same conventional wisdom which allows black people to drop more N-bombs than the Eighth Air Force, yet anybody else who says it once gets flayed), then it can only be women who are offended by the “cougar” label.
Except there’s one problem. Being a middle-aged guy myself, the vast majority of women my age that I know would absolutely love to be seen by 20-something males as still worthy of salacious intent. That leads me to believe there was no rush of hot older women calling the school board to notify them that they were pissed off by the students’ selection of “cougars.”
Lastly, what will the sportsters of Corner Canyon High School be known as since “cougars” is out of the question? It seems the choice is “Chargers.”
So Chargers it is. They say a Charger is a war horse (not a lightning bolt, San Diego football fans). By the way, Kearns High, Union High (Roosevelt) and Monument Valley High are among the high schools in Utah which use the Cougars mascot.
Taking another page from the Dan Patrick playbook, I hope there’s several things we’ve all learned from this sordid tale.
I hope future students learn something from the old adage about sticks and stone breaking bones, but words never hurt anybody. Of course, I don’t care about “feelings,” as there is no Constitutional right not to be offended; but there is such a right to free speech.
I hope the school board learns that their actions set an example for the youth they ultimately purport to lead. They really need to understand taking one’s self too seriously is the express train to becoming those buffoonish adults we all hated as teenagers. A school board should be spending its time dealing with issues germaine to the quality of the education they provide rather than ducking crucial issues by making mountains out of molehills.
But most importantly, I hope nobody has turned the Corner Canyon school board on to Urban Dictionary; I don’t think they would like some of the definitions of “Charger.”
Regardless, I hope we all have learned that there is a point where even the best of intentions lead to the ridiculous. Moreover, I hope we’ve learned that whenever somebody starts issuing edicts in the name of “knowing what is best,” they are simply projecting their myopic values or personal shortcomings onto all of us. But most importantly, I hope we’ve learned that it is a complete waste of time to make a “critical issue” out of something that ultimately doesn’t matter.
Sadly, I don’t think collectively we’ve learned a damn thing. I think the only people who did learn anything out of this situation are the kids in the Corner Canyon school district who discovered the power of adults to act petty and stupid in the face of the exceptionally meaningless.