[For the tl;dr crowd:
ABSTRACT:Moral of the story: There are larger fish to fry, man. Why attack a "Walmart Wolverine" when you could attack someone equally vulnerable yet more worth attacking?]
I don't understand the intermittent disdain for and/or laughs at the expense of college football fans that shop at Walmart (Sparty monomania? Are you there? I can smell ya).
So, they shop at Walmart. Why? Because it's convenient; because it's frugally necessary? Both? That's a riot, I'm sure.
I am additionally sure that making fun of these folks is damned easy and comes without much repercussion, especially if done from the unpunchably safe and familiar confines of... whichever sad, isolated island (bereft of women and Scotch and chocolate) that person sits while they self-hatingly beat at their keyboard.
Since I obviously don't get it, I'd like to talk about it. Since, I think it's mean, nonsensical, and ineffective as a joke, I decided to spark a conversation. Ah, the pejorative Walmart Wolverine meme. Here goes nuthin'...
Regarding the Michigan fanbase, for instance, there are multiple sects. The fanbase is diverse. As an **abbreviated** example of this diversity, I give you three groups of Michigan fans cartooned by generalizations that are far from fabricated:
(1) There's a whole mess of lower and lower-middle class fans in the state of Michigan; yeah, in-state primarily. Many of these have not the annual salary to visit Ann Arbor even once in their lives--especially these days. They aren't always intelligent and articulate and complex, but they can surely suprise you at times. They shop at Walmart. They get Michigan gear there. It happens to be cheap and plentiful, in a big maize and blue mountain, even.
The members of this sect watch the games, every one, every minute. They make "Michigan Rah!" youtube videos in which they sit before a webcam. Some of them drink too much during games. That's usually off campus because, again, not infrequently, they've never been able to visit. They never consider rooting for another team. They show up to bowling alleys in rural Michigan wearing Walmart Michigan gear in droves, packing those alleys 80% full of the apparel. They are fans. Often good fans, even. Sometimes not. Sure. But they sure do care. They sure do try.
(2) There are a whole bunch of w[h]ine-and-cheese types, a large concentration of which live in Ann Arbor. They are socialites, yuppies, wannabe socialites, and wannabe yuppies. They have lots of money, or they pretend to have lots of money. They oft resemble Gerald Boflovski in the South Park episode "Smug Alert". These types tend to follow football and attend games for posterity's sake, alone. A palpably large cross-section of them feel that the University of Michigan's possession of a football team (historically an exceptionally successful one) is merely a necessary evil of being an exceptionally successful institution in other areas: graduate study, engineering, biomedical research, art, eclectic mix of cultures and languages on campus and off, etc.
"The University of Chicago had the right idea, but I bet we could quit football even more ostentatiously, yet" probably isn't an uncommon conversation starter. You know(?), that is to say, when the conversation absolutely *has* to involve CFB. Their "tailgates" consist of wine in dainty glasses, wheels of cheese with tiny funny looking silver butter knives, hors d'oeuvres, and discussions of [Dance] coaches, [dermatological creams for ridding under-eye] sacks, and that unbelievable offensive line [uttered by the waitress at the Gandy Dancer that "Obviously, didn't know her place"].
They wear polo shirts and khakis to games in summer and cardigans under pea coats in winter. They stay home when it rains. Oftentimes, they don't even wear school colors citing the difficulty of finding a matching Maize handbag. And if the aforementioned wasn't "fanatic" enough for you: They tell those standing in front of them to sit down--even if they are healthy enough to stand and in their 40s, to boot. If they are older than 40, they ask the ushers to remove the recidivist standers from the premises. Yes, really. Their self-importance is surely fanatical.
(3) There are students, alumni, staff, and faculty of the University of Michigan that don't fall into group 2. They can be exceptionally well or poorly informed regarding Michigan football and the sport of football, generally. They brag too much about their school's academics and their team's history--not too much for themselves, mind you. They just do it too much for the non-Blue-blooded visiting 'others', the likes of whom would like to keep their Chemoreceptor Trigger Zone untriggered, would like to keep down their dollar hot dog--the one for which they waited 15 minutes in line outside the stadium. "Stop with the boasting, and I'll stop with the gagging, thank you very much." But their mouths persevere to fountain off pride, nonetheless.
Those that no longer live in Ann Arbor suck up Saturday satellite TV signals at homes and bars in every city in America, not to mention ones in Istanbul, Johannesburg, Singapore, Santo Domingo, London. Point your finger to a map. They all know what a sling box is, and they are all weary of the day that it becomes their last, unreliable resort for watching football.
Those lucky ones with access to tickets: They tend to be loud and active during games, irrespective of whether or not they know why they are being loud and active during games. They drink from hidden flasks. They wear funny masks. They eat "Popped Maize" and boast uniquely screen-printed t-shirts. Did you know that Tressel drinks wine coolers? He wears Uggz, too, don'tcha know? Well, he does. It was codified on a girl's T-shirt, and she looked worth believing. I've also been informed that Zoltan Mesko is the Space Emperor (Of Space); it's good to have a guy with that kinda cachet on our side.
Regaining focus: This group tosses around a huge, beige, inflatable penis on which is scribbled hilariously & regrettably unwitty phrases. E.g., "Tressel's mom's". They orchestrate an annoyingly complex stadium "wave" that detracts from the game. They astutely follow to the leaderly beat of the unexplainably well distributed 1-cowbell-per-section. All of which help them as they consistently fill the nation's largest stadium. And in so filling that, they regularly over-fill State Street and Hoover for at least one mile in length, well beyond the sidewalks in width. From western porch stairs to eastern porch stairs, more specifically. The number of bushes they trample on this route, in a place named "Arbor", is ironic if not poetic.
They walk beneath 4-story beer bongs, beside a myriad dozens of house parties, and below messages scrawled-on-old-bed-sheets-&-stretched-from-houses'-third-story-windows: Rosenberg punches dolphins. Dooooosh-bag. Sometimes, they trip because there are too many of them in too small a space. They fill that space well, though. They fill it with song, The Victors, dance, The Victors, cheers & illegal public consumption of beers, The Victors, and shoulder-to-shoulder camaraderie/opponent-ribbing on a scale that it is literally impossible for any other college town to replicate (by their virtue of not having the nation's largest stadium and its singularly popular, iconic walkway). Their loyalty and passion and fan turnout hasn't wavered since the mid-60s, and that streak shows no end of stopping. Mostly good-n-great fans are they.
Of these, groups 1 and 3 spend the most time posting on message boards online. There are quality and crappy posters among each group. They mourn the offseason and their weekly moods rise and fall sinusoidally as does the barometer of Michigan football.
Of these, group 2 spends the most time forgetting college football exists--during the offseason, during autumn days not named Saturday, and during those sissy tailgates.
I am quite certain that exactly one of these groups deserves excessive ribbing and mockery. However, that deserving group isn't the graduates who care and try at home and abroad. It isn't the poorest among us who root the most indefatigably for a win should they be unlucky enough that a putative win invariably claims the trophy: Best Three Hours of My Week. It isn't the group that--gasp!--didn't graduate from Michigan because--"No you didn't say that!"--you don't think they can be real fans.
It's the pretentious pricks, damn it!!!!
The pretentious pricks deserve more mocking. How is that not obvious? How can the unethically opportunistic jokers be so oblivious? Why aren't the pretentious pricks the butt of most anti-"culture of Michigan" jokes? Why don't rival fanbases line up for figurative miles for the chance to belittle the sect of the Michigan fan base that is not only the most repulsive to talk to and the most insouciantly aloof to the subject of college football... but also damned idiosynratic--as far as I can tell--to the Michigan fanbase and this fanbase alone? If you want to hit the institution of Michigan football in a soft spot a decrepit spot (like stomping over-ripe banana flesh with a cleat), then hit 'em here.
Besides, I mean, well, duh: Jokers that joke about a fanbase's poorest sect as though it's funny/meaningful are a bit of a joke themselves.
So, yeah: An individual with anti-M aspirations could get a lot out of the practice of better aiming his/her ire and laughs. And there's plenty of each to be had regarding one of these group's exquisitely cheesy whine. That's for damned sure.
[This was long. You probably didn't know.]