Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Conversation with a paranoid Saints fan

“Ian, did you hear? The New Orleans Saints might have to change their name!”

“What?!!”

“That’s right! I saw it on The Blaze!”

“Oh. I thought you were serious.”

“I am serious! Look at what’s happening with the Washington Redskins right now.”

“What does the Redskins controversy have to do with the Saints?”

“It’s political correctness run amok! They don’t want any names to be offensive anymore, so you know they’re going to start going after the religious ones next. Saints, Angels, Padres.”

“Well, I don’t know. I’m pretty sure people are going after Redskins because it’s an explicitly racist term.”

“These do-gooders just need something to be offended about.”

“So you’re saying Redskins isn’t offensive?”

“No, of course it is.”

“So what’s the problem?”

“If you change it, then you open the door for other teams to have their names protested. Alcoholics will balk at Brewers. British-Americans will frown at the 76ers. Short people will want the Giants gone. People afraid to fly will object to the Jets. You know, where does it end?”

“It is a steep slippery slope.” 

“The slipperiest!”

“OK, so who finds Saints, Angels and Padres offensive?”

“Lefty loonies such as yourself.”

“I have no problem with any of those names.”

“You don’t?”

“No. And even if I did, it doesn’t matter, because Saints, Angels and Padres are not blatantly offensive names. They’re simply words that can be used in a religious context, and — this is key — still are used by polite society today. When was the last time you heard anyone say ‘redskin?’”

“The other night at a dinner party. We had red skin potatoes, and someone joked that they now had to be called indigenous-American potatoes. We all laughed so hard that someone had do the Heimlich on Tanner.”

“OK, but in terms of people?”

“Look, the point is, everything can be found offensive by somebody. Is that a reason to start changing names all willy-nilly?”

“No, but that isn’t at all what’s happening.”

“With the PC police like you, who knows?”

“I love Saints. It’s perfect for a New Orleans football team. I don’t have to be Catholic to like it any more than I have to be Scandinavian to be OK with the Vikings.”

“What does Scandinavia have to do with the Vikings?”

“Oh, read a book.”

“No.”

“Changing the name of one team because its mascot is racist doesn’t mean sports leagues are going to kowtow every time someone has a minor nitpick. Even if they did, though, that shouldn’t stop society from making social progress where overdue. Change has always faced resistance, but the worst-case scenarios of the objectors never come true.”

“Still, who knows what will happen if Washington changes its name?”

The NBA does.”

“And all their mascots didn't change in a wave of professionally offended fury.”

“Yep.”

“Hmmm ... Maybe I overreacted.”

“Perhaps.”

“Don’t tell anyone, OK?”

“Who’d believe me?”

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