Tuesday, June 30, 2009

point of contention

Turner Field, Atlanta, GA, home of the "Braves."

No offense to the citizens of Atlanta and the greater state of Georgia, but I cannot abide your baseball fans.

First of all, the naming of sports franchises according to Native American themes has always irked me—particularly when accompanied by a red-faced cartoon Indian. So immediately I object to the name, the logo and, above all, the Tomahawk Chop.

Not only is it beyond annoying, it's patently offensive. At worst it bespeaks a blanket parody of a vast and varied culture. At best it exemplifies a half-assed attempt at cultural appropriation, a desire to rally with the "noble savages" of yore in order to feel something resembling cultural relevancy. For a further (and more erudite) elucidation of this concept, see Philip Deloria's brilliant Playing Indian. He details how, once we ran the original inhabitants of this land mass we call America onto arid and uninhabitable reservations, we then proceeded to nibble away at their customs, building this concept of the "authentic" into our own national self-image as if to assuage our guilt for having laid waste to an entire way of life.

Also, any team that can't muster up enough fans to fill a stadium, let alone outnumber the opposing team's traveling fan base, ought to rethink their marketing strategy. Sure, there were plenty of boos whenever the rousing choruses of "Let's go, Red Sox" piped up, but they were not nearly loud enough to drown us out.

That said, spending time with my Dad in a new ballpark and watching the Sox (win or lose) is no small thing. So the day itself survived the rampant douchebaggery and will always be catalogued as a happy one.

I'm just saying.

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