Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Louisiana State Uncouth-ity

At the risk of offending some of my readers, I have to say this: screw LSU!

Okay, maybe that's a little strong. I'm not irritated by the fact that the school exists, and I do have numerous friends and family members with ties to the school, some of whom don't fit the stereotype I'm about to cast.

But come on, must virtually every LSU person cut down the University of Louisiana at Lafayette? With such a bitter rivalry, you'd think the schools were on equal footing. That, of course, isn't true by a long shot. LSU receives fully half of the state funding for education, while every other state school divides the other half. Part of what pisses off the LSU community so much about UL Lafayette is that, in 1999, it decided to change its name from USL (University of Southwestern Louisiana) to a less-regional moniker. The University of Louisiana is the name my alma mater really wants, though that is an unlikely scenario given that the UL board is governed by much of the same members of the board responsible for LSU's half-jacking of state funds. So, in essence, LSU picking on UL is like Shaquille O'Neal challenging a paralyzed Richard Simmons to a dunk-off. Literally, because those are basically the top two names to come out of those respective schools.

But still, I rarely run into an LSU student who doesn't have all kinds of trash to talk about the school I attended for seven years. And while I have plenty of nasty things to say about both UL and Lafayette, I can't hold a candle to incredible arrogance and condescension that emanates from letters like the following from this father-son double-team, that appeared in yesterday's edition of The Independent:

A reorganization of the LSU system might not be a bad thing — if it were done with a clear and attainable goal in sight that would ultimately benefit LSU and the state. However, I believe it is absolutely impossible for any changes made to the LSU system to happen with the faith of the public, if Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Coach Raymond Blanco are involved.

Quick note: Raymond Blanco is basically second-in-charge at UL, and is married to Gov. Kathleen Blanco (UL class of 1964). They are being accused of favoritism for UL based on the Governor's refusal to paint her face purple and gold during press conferences.

We all know that the supporters of Southwestern (call it ULL all you want, but changing the name changes nothing)--

How smug can you get? New rule: neither you nor your fellow snobs at LSU can continue debating us when you don't even care to get our name right. I've heard this time and again from LSU people. It's not a matter of ignorance with you guys; it's deliberate condescension. Your officials in power deny us a legit name change, and then you ruin the complicated name you allow us to have. All the while, you ignore the fact that your school's actual name is Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge Agricultural and Mechanical College. Or something like that.

--have always envied LSU’s flagship status and wanted a piece of the spotlight.

The flagship model is not something to be envied, and in fact Louisiana is one of the few states to still use it. That speaks volumes, if you ask me.

The problem is that they have never done anything to deserve it except to whine incessantly!

Well, evidently it worked for LSU...

Does Southwestern [?!!] have entrance requirements? No!

Um, yes it does, actually. They're not high, but they're working on that.

Does Southwestern have intentions of having any? No!

Do you even listen to yourself?

Does Southwestern have a research school worth mentioning? No!

Yes it has some of the top-rated computer-science and engineering colleges in the country, and is one of three universities in the world to offer a degree in Francophone Studies. Even not considering those, the fact that LSU snorts up half of the state's money doesn't help things in this regard.

Does Southwestern bring tourism dollars to the state by virtue of their athletic teams? No!

Whereas that's about all Linebacker State University is known for. And with the massive amount of money LSU's athletics generate, their teams should be AT LEAST as good as they are. You guys are like the Yankees of Louisiana. Yeah, I know, that's ironic.

Is Southwestern simply a “good” school that opens its doors to students who couldn’t cut the entrance requirements for LSU and La. Tech? Yes!

This is the part I had to write about three times before it passed the parameters of free speech. Suffice to say, I didn't go to UL because I couldn't hack it at LSU! I went to UL because I wanted to attend college in a city that wasn't packed with urban blight and Southern Baptists. I spent a lot of time in Baton Rouge as a child, and nothing about it ever screamed to me, "the best years of your life belong right here!" But mainly, I went to UL because I didn't want to be associated with the arrogant bastards who populate LSU.

And Louisiana Tech rejects? Someone like me would have been burned in Ruston. With actual flames and everything.

Until we see a lot more answers in the yes column, then USL needs to stay what it is — a “good” alternative school to LSU and Louisiana Tech.

We're not USL anymore, and haven't been since 1999. You should know that, being that you're such a smarty and all. And we are definitely not an alternative school, given that many of our academic programs regularly kick your sacred school's fat ass.

At least LSU and Louisiana Tech earned their reputations and the pride in their names; they didn’t try to steal them!

LSU did steal its name, and the resources that could allow for much better academic competition. Anyway, last I chacked, Tech isn't on your side any more than we are.

Gov. Blanco and her husband are the acknowledged champions of Southwestern, and their involvement in this process makes it immediately suspect to all LSU supporters!

That's news to me. In 2004, Blanco betrayed us by endorsing the LSU flagship system and calling her alma mater a "minor school." If UL has earned any benefit from her reign as governor, then it must be visible only on Friday afternoons, when UL shuts down because of budget cuts.

Having said all of this, it’s time for someone to tell Gov. Blanco to stick to mismanaging the state and tell her husband to manage his own school better and stop trying to steal the hard earned name and reputation of Louisiana’s true flagship school — LSU!

Don Antie Jr., Baton Rouge

Hard-earned by Louisiana politics. It's quite a merit system, as we've seen.

I thought I was done with this post, until I saw the letter right underneath the one above. It appears to have been written by the above letter-writer's father, himself a big LSU man. He does his son proud by going one step further:

It is a shame that SLI (Southwest Louisiana Institute for those of you who can’t remember)--

--Yep, he actually digs back to the name the university had back in the 1920s--

--can’t stand on its own and make something of itself by installing entrance requirements, as Louisiana Tech and the LSU system have done.

Again, UL has entrance requirements now. They're basically a joke, but they have been increasing every year, helping with retention and graduation rates. You know what else would help UL stand on its own? LSU-level funding.

As far as Blanco is concerned, as a three-time graduate of LSU born and reared in Louisiana, I am glad that I now live in Mississippi.

Wow. Somebody really loves Baton Rouge and really hates Blanco. Which still doesn't explain why he's in Mississippi or why he's proud of it.

Hopefully, we can stall this until she loses her next election. What she does not realize is that education can’t be legislated and knowledge can’t be bought.

Don Antie, Gulfport, Miss.

Education can't be legislated? Somebody tell the White House, stat! As for buying knowledge, well I suspect a lot of LSU students have at least tried it. I certainly did, and I only went to UL!

In closing, I understand that not everyone who went to LSU cops this kind of attitude. But words such as these from our friends in Red Stick only reinforce the kind of bully mentality that is equally unattractive on the playground, in the board room or in the White House.


Anonymous said...

I have to say that the UL LSU argument gives me incredible tired head. I chose to go to UL not because I couldn't have gone to LSU (or several places that were much better)but because I really really didn't want to LSU. The whole Louisiana Sports University as sports bully act is tried, true, and should be expected at every turn. I'm glad I no longer live in the state, but I do take great pleasure in wishing failure on LSU at every opportunity.


Speechie said...

I think I'll have to write the newspaper about this one.

I got into IVY LEAGUE schools. Guess what? I couldn't afford them. And I certainly couldn't afford to be smashed down by their snobbery at every turn. I also got into LSU...but apparently my 3.9 gpa transferring from a TIER 1 school (LSU is considered in ivy realms as a tier THREE) wasn't good enough for a scholarship from I went to ULL which is acknowledged in ivy realms as an awesome academic competitor (something LSU will NEVER and has NEVER been known for...most Harvard goers would look at you in a perplexed manner if you told them about LSU and say "is that another name for the Cajuns?") and also offered me scholarships galore.

And UL may not have the most stringent entrance requirements at the moment for NATIONAL students. Did anyone ever think to check the guidelines for INTERNATIONAL students??? It's a FRICKIN' BITCH to get into UL as an international student. At LSU, international students pretty much have a cakewalk. That's why UL is known nation-wide for its international programs and retention.

Especially for my program LSU would have been shit compared to UL. I have advertising professionals (NOT JUST PROFESSORS LIKE LSU HAS) at the ready. Some of our communication professors are known throughout the world for their research and studies. And what's up with LSU thinking they have better research anyway? UL has received private endowments that have led to the discovery and maintenance of indian burial mounds that were previously thought of only as a myth, has launched NASA space programs, and helped to discover some of the greatest things that chimpanzees have in common with people, and readily observed why they are afraid of men but love women.

So meh to the snobbery of some LSU people. There are definitely some LSU people I have to defend: Forensicators unite! But a lot of people get too serious.

Every state school should be afforded the same opportunities as long as they have plausible ideas. LSU has been supported several times and made really huge flops and been an embarassment to the state. I refer you to EVERY time they tried to do space research...oy. I remember being in high school and hearing professors in the Bacc program and at the University of Utah and even just the community college make fun of LSU.

People say that if they go to LSU or support LSU than they have a right to be stuckup...that they're smarter or something. Well, I guess maybe they're right. Because I simply don't have the brain power necessary to put on such an extreme facade of power and prowess. I don't have the brain cells necessary to act like I'm better than everyone else. The way I figure it is this: If LSU was ACTUALLY better than ULL, they wouldn't have to say it all the time. It's called insecurity. Therapists can help with that...oh wait, sorry...we took that program from ya too.

Becky said...

All hail the great Ian McGibboney!! yeah!

(You know who this is, I'm sure... just think about it for a tiny bit, okay?)

ashley said...

Did you notice that one letter was written by Sr., and one by Jr?

I had fellowship offers from LSU, Tulane, and USL (this was 95) for my PhD, and I simply asked my department chair: "if you had 3 vitas on your desk, identical except for alma mater, which would you choose?"

So I went to Tulane.

The CS program at Universite des Acadiens (my favorite name) is shockingly good, the best in the state by far, and probably the best between Gainesville and Austin.

Cajun Tiger said... never cease to amaze how you just must bash the President at every possible turn. I guess it is his fault that LSU students are so arrogant.

Ian McGibboney said...

Tekell, bully is exactly right. There's simply no better way to encapsulate it in one word.

Speechie, that's quite a story. I hope you don't mind if I offer you as an example when I need to nail this argument.

Becky! Hi! Hope I haven't traumatized you too much :)

Cajun Tiger, where exactly did I bash Bush here? Except to say that he's out of touch with his constituents who think that education can't be legislated, or that the bully tactics exercised by some in the LSU community rival those of the Bush White House. Yeah, I guess I did bash him. Well, it isn't my fault that the situations are parallel.

Phillip said...

ull is my alma mater, and honestly i couldn't give less of a shit about the moniker controversy. a rose is a rose (or a thorn a thorn).

Cajun Tiger said...

Ian...not saying you aren't allowed to believe those parallels, but why do you need to include them in such a post. All that does is alienate some who may be inclined to be sympathetic to the post b/c you take cheap shots at the President on a completely non-Presidential or national political post. It does nothing to strengthen your argument, but in fact paints you as a partisian hack, which lowers the credibility of your post. Just my opinion.

Ian McGibboney said...

I include it because it's true. I've seen enough examples of the reverse David-Goliath complex to qualify it as a full-blown trend in today's political and cultural climate. Far from being a cheap shot, I feel the last sentence of my post neatly ties the bully factor of LSU into the trends of the nation at large. I fully stand by my statement.

Cajun Tiger said...

And yet in the same breath you probably think that Clinton's cavalier attitude about his indiscretions had no effect on the moral fiber of the nation?

Ian McGibboney said...

I fail to see how the Monica Lewinsky affair has any relevance to bully tactics. In any case, I personally do not rely on my political leaders for moral guidance, nor do I know anyone else who does so of any belief. In this case, the term "moral fiber" was but a deflection from the real issues of the time. And a weak one, at that.

Even considering "moral fiber" as you put it, tell me what exactly is moral about the Iraq War, tax cuts to the rich in times of national crisis and religion as political grandstanding. That's the kind of morality I worry about.

Cajun Tiger said...

Ian...thanks for proving my point. You say one president has the power to influence an entire university, its student body and its leaders, by being a "bully."

Yet you turn around and say another president, who commits adultery in the Oval Office and then lies under oath about it to a Federal Grand Jury, in no way effects a single person.

If "no one" relies on political leaders for moral guidance why would they rely on them for any other guidance?

Sounds pretty hypocritical and partisan to me.

Politicians, especially the President, has tremendous influence on people and to say they don't is just plain silly.

Ian McGibboney said...

I'm not contradicting myself. There's a profound difference between Bush and Clinton's moral proclivities: Clinton's was, ultimately, a personal failing used by his opponents to launch impeachment against him. Bush's moral failings, on the other hand, have resulted in thousands of deaths for an unclear cause. Even worse, Bush is a hypocrite because he claims to be guided by God and a clear moral compass.

So, yes, I agree that presidents exert tons of influence. But I don't look up to them for spritual or behavioral guidance. How weak is that? They have a job to do, and competent leadership is what I expect of them. I'd much rather have Clinton back in office than this so-called "moral" warmonger we have now.

I never asked my president to be morally perfect. But I DO ask that they not screw up the world because they have a warped messianic perception of "morality."

Speechie said...

Hmmm. Here we go. Let me see if I can break it down for some people here. Bill Clinton did Monica Lewinsky. The End. Even the President of the United States is HUMAN. He's allowed to make human errors. Since Clinton's indiscretion did not affect the safety of any person in the United States of America, the point is moot. President Bush's bully tactics continuously place people in jeopardy...whether it be intellectually or physically. It's about time that EVERY American realize something: every person has the power to determine their own morality. And Bill Clinton is NOT the first person to have an affair. It's not like he created the idea...and he certainly wasn't the one who packaged it, patented it, and shipped it off for sale. Adultery had been around A LOT longer than Bill Clinton. Besides, he is also NOT the first PRESIDENT to have relations in the White House with someone to whom he was not married. However, Bush has packaged, patented, and shipped terrorism into EVERY household in America. We can't fight it because the President and his minions get to make most of our decisions without us. It's NOT America's decision who the President has sex with. IT IS America's decision whether or not to send their young to fight a war that cannot be won, or whether our politicians should bully countries that the President doesn't deem fit to rule themselves.

Ian, you should write a new rule that goes something like this:

Cajun Tiger, if you want to battle the issues you need to come with nukes that are fit for battle. You often blog about the President doing what is right for the nation but do you really believe it's right to get in the face of a nation that we aren't prepared to fight because we are already spreading ourselves too thin with another??? We can't fight everybody. Sometimes it's time to shut up and go home.

Cajun Tiger said...


1) Being you refuse to see the contradiction in saying on one hand a president can influence the attitudes of LSU but on the other hand a president can't influence the attitudes of anyone I'll leave you to your ignorant bliss.

2) I promise the "unclear cause" is anything but unclear for the thousands who were killed and terrorized by Saddam on a daily basis.


1) If it did end where you claim it did with just sex, you would be right. However it didn't. He lied to a Federal Grand jury and obstructed justice. That is a felony.

2) Once again you make wild claims w/o any examples. Please tell me how the President has "packaged, patented and shipped terrorism into EVERY household in America?"

3) The American people did send our young people to war. Congress voted on and approved the use of force in Iraq. Unlike Kosovo which Congress never even voted on, much less approved. So, let's talk about an illegal war.

I'll take this "fight" anyday being all your "nukes" are duds.

Ian McGibboney said...

Cajun Tiger:

1) I didn't say a president (Bush, I presume?) influenced LSU. It's as if you're confusing every point I made. What I did say was that the LSU crowd uses many of the same bully tactics that the White House uses: intimidation, condescension, feelings of superiority and cronyism. It's called an analogy.

2) You know, I've seen news reports lately that called Baghdad "the most dangerous city in the world," and considerable loss of life has been going on there, especially in the past few days. Must be some comfort to the Iraqis, I'm sure.

The "unclear cause" refers to why we diverted resources from the promising cause of finding Osama bin Laden into this war that is based on evidence that is still being questioned. Considering proof exists that Bush wanted to go into Iraq in early 2001 (and that myself and several hundred other pundits guessed it exactly far before 9/11), I'd say it looks very fishy.

As for your accusations against Speechie:

1) I will never for a second equate Bill Clinton's "crimes" with those of Bush's. The GOP was determined to bring down Clinton, and when all else failed, they seized upon the intern affair. WEAK. I'm no fan of felonies either, but that one almost makes sense. That whole set of hearings was a hyper-partisan joke and embarrassed us in the face of the world.

Bush, on the other hand, is as reckless with the military as Clinton was with Little Slick. One hurt only his marriage; the other is threatening the stability of the world. It takes a violently skewed perspective to even consider equating one with the other.

2) She's talking about the PATRIOT Act and NSA wiretapping that virtually guarantees the government access into your private affairs however and whenever they want. The technology is there, and the lame justifications are not far behind.

3) Congress, in case you haven't noticed, is not exactly acting in the peoples' best interest these days. As a private citizen, I can't get my representatives' attention for dick.

But even throwing that aside, Congress did not declare war on Iraq, nor has it declared war at all since World War II. Many of the same tactics that drove Kosovo drive every military action we take today.

Second, the intelligence that Congress (lamely) fell for has now been shown to be flawed or outright fabricated.

Third, Kosovo was a quick and relatively painless action. Why? Because Clinton had an agenda and a plan. Where's Bush's?

alandeis1985 said...

the funny thing is that many people at LSU don't know why people at UL Lafayette hate LSU so much. I guess it is a combination of the two schools being so close that brings bad blood.

Cajun Tiger said...

Well this topic has gone back and forth enough...we'll just have to agree to disagree for now being I don't have the time right now to fully reply.

Now sit down on this one...don't want you to pass out...I do have major issues with the Patriot Act as well, the main one being the secret searches.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has lived in Lafayette all of my life except for the 4 years I attended LSU, I can say with no reservation that there is no rivalry between the two schools because people in Baton Rouge do not think about ULL in any way. Now perhaps there is a one way rivalry for Cajun fans, but to me a rivalry should be a two way street and there is nothing ULL has that LSU wants. ULL hasnt never consistently beaten LSU in any sport and casual observers arent paying attention to University Department rankings. So where is this supposed "rivalry" emanate from? Seems that Cajun fans have all sorts of logical rivals but each of them has a drawback. McNeese/NWSU/ULM/Nicholls is beneath the Cajuns, LaTech sold the Cajuns out with the WAC, Tulane hurt ULL feelings by keeping them out of Conference USA. So instead of focusing the venom and envy on attainable goals, Cajun fan turns their attention to LSU. And since there is precious little success on the playing field against LSU, Cajun fan turns to admissions standards for International Students, Department rankings, and comparing peer university reputations. Some rivalry you have there Cajun Fans. See you on the first Saturday In September, for your ass whipping.

Ian McGibboney said...

You know, you could make a much better case for the "nonexistent" UL-LSU rivalry if you didn't take a whole extended, condescending and disturbingly heated comment to deny it.

Whereas my blood boils over this rivalry--which has far more to do with funding and politics than it does sports--your blood seems to boil over the fact that there is NO rivalry. One of these traits does not make sense.

One quote of yours is very telling:

"And since there is precious little success on the playing field against LSU, Cajun fan turns to admissions standards for International Students, Department rankings, and comparing peer university reputations."

Well, we may not have a hard-on for our football team as much as you do for yours, but at least we PRETEND to care about the other aspects of our school. I think it's laughable that you actually look down on me for that!

Your comment is entirely based on the performance of our respective football teams. That's not healthy. And it says a lot about your priorities. Thank you for reinforcing my belief in what I said before. You do the hardworking students of LSU a wonderful public service.

Anonymous said...

i don't know whats funnier, the penis envy ull fans have towards lsu or the fact that they think they are a good school. your sports are sorry and your school is at best the third public university in the state behind lsu and tech. just accept your status as a ulm, southeastern, northwestern type of school and deal with it. oh and for what its worth i am not an lsu student.

Ian McGibboney said...

What gets me is that the LSU community constantly harps on what a great school they have, and then "prove" it by talking about their sports programs. Look, with the funding all LSU sports have, I'm not surprised they're good. Actually, they should be better.

To base your hubris on your school's athletic program is to invite peril. The reason UL-LSU football games don't happen often isn't because UL is out of LSU's league (and they are, unfortunately); it's because if UL ever DID win, everything LSU fans hinge their pride upon would be destroyed.

I don't really care how the UL-LSU game turns out. I know LSU's going to win, even if UL is far better than they were in 2002. Because I know that the inequality in the schools is strictly by design, and shows the depths that our state will sink to just to support one single university.

Finally, it's snotty of you to assume I envy LSU on any level. LSU didn't reject me; I rejected it. I don't want what LSU had for UL--I just want an equal playing field. In real life, not in the stadium.

Dabi22 said...

LSU has the biggest school in the state, so, they should have the biggest budget in the state and recieve more attention. The day ULL gets more students than LSU then you have a leget argument.

As far as Tech and being on someone's side... Tech is starting to realize how much they do with they money they have. They want whats best for tech. They do NOT generate a lot of money from sports either, infact, their football team recieves the least amount of operating money in all the WAC conf.

Ian McGibboney said...

Regardless of size, no university should get half of a state's university budget, especially in a state with a high proportion of state universities and so little money to go around.

I'm not sure what you're trying to say about Tech, dabi22. But if what you're saying is that UL should suck it up with their budget, rest assured that they are. Come to campus on a Friday after 12 p.m.--the place is a ghost town. Even the library closes now! But don't let that be a reason to divert money from LSU--it might ruin that phantom "flagship" image that only Blanco and Baton Rouge care about.

Daniel said...

In the sense that as a high school student I may have an open point of view - let me be ramble:

In accordance with the fact that only 3% of high school students scored higher than me on the ACT, I do feel that I deserve some recognition (that wasn't supposed to sound arrogant). I believe this recognition would be better sought from a university where students pride themselves on their university's outstanding academic research, not SEC rankings.

The typical question of "Why not LSU?!" is a chorus of my dreams at this point; however, I gladly respond that as a Carnegie research institute (a title awarded to only 5% of all universities), UL truly has my best interests at heart.

I would rather pay to cheer for the Cajuns in a losing season, than sell my soul to cheer for LSU during a conference-winning season.

In general, I would/could/should go on for at least ten more paragraphs, but I feel that you get the point - regardless of whether the name the University of Louisiana offends you - I succeed, and I bleed vermillion (red) and white!

I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one, Ian.

- On a side note, UL and LA Tech have the same admission standards (state institutions). LA Tech is in the same boat. They're not exceeding academic standards that haven't already been reached.