Why Michigan Doesn't Need a Mascot

Why Michigan Doesn't Need a Mascot

Submitted by Seth on August 3rd, 2011 at 5:28 PM

Sometimes I'm not above sending a letter to the local paper. I come from a long line of people who wrote letters to local papers (surprise!). Anyway, I penned this as a response to DetNews' Josh Katzenstein on Michigan's Mascot but then Brian front-page responded to the same thing, so there's no use saving it for Dear Diary anymore. 

Here's the damn letter that doesn't say "capturing the Sharp market" anywhere in it. Image at right is from MVictors.

Get your arrogance hats ohnnn:

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Josh-
 
I think you're overestimating how much a kid cares about a mascot. Detroit has a history of being late to the mascot line, yet consistently makes or champions most national lists of best sports towns. If a mascot is really that important, how did we get all of these Tigers, Lions, Red Wings, Pistons, and Wolverines fans before 1995, when Paws made his debut at Tiger Stadium?
 
Because as you pointed out a mascot is for making you cheer when there's no reason to, but at Michigan (and only Michigan?), there is never a reason not to cheer.
 
  • You can cheer the winningest program in college football history.
  • You can cheer because you're the largest group of football fans gathered together to watch a football game in the world.
  • You can cheer because of their success on the field.
  • You can cheer because they stand up after their failures.
  • You can cheer because the best things about our state: integrity, hard work, engineering, business, nature, and beauty, are embodied by its oldest and greatest institution.
  • You can cheer because this program, this team, and this school care more about being worth cheering for than whether or not you're cheering.
These are program ideals, and while Michigan will fall short in all of them, striving toward those ideals is better than giving up on them. This is what's hidden in what the world calls "Michigan arrogance": when Brady Hoke tells reporters that we will beat some team or recruit some kid because "We're Michigan," or when people who knew Bo spout off cake-and-eat-it-too sentiments about winning championships without sacrificing integrity in a sport filled with seediness (see: recruiting) and next-to-impossible (120 teams!) odds, these are not pretensions, but lofty self-expectations.
 
A mascot is only a symbol, and one that is hardly interesting or unique. What I think you need to understand about Michigan is -- right, wrong or profoundly arrogant (probably profoundly arrogant) -- the Michigan brand is supposed to be different. What is seen to outsiders as stodginess or conservatism among this fanbase is often simple stodginess and conservatism, but on occasion we also do some weird things because we've thought of a very good reason. I think the mascot is one of those instances.
 
In our own existentialist way (and yes our way can get quite existentialist) not having a mascot IS our mascot, for it embodies Michigan's Michiganness better than any guy in a polyfoam suit could ever do.
 
Can a 5-year-old see that in an empty space? Not in those words, no. But if you treat him to a Michigan game, and have him shake a Michigan coach's hand, and show him a Michigan campus, and speak to him about Michigan's ideals, I think that will have a far stronger impression on the kid than watching Sparty flex his biceps and call him "brah."
 
And when you show him Desmond Howard, or Denard Robinson...
 
"Misopogon"

 

The Six Zero UM Mascot Proposal

The Six Zero UM Mascot Proposal

Submitted by Six Zero on July 15th, 2011 at 10:30 AM

So, I'm elaborating on my initial post in MGoShoe's original thread about the Detroit News Mascot Contest.    I've got an idea and it appears that this thing has some legs, and so I quickly knocked out a five-minute visual to help sell the idea to Brandon.  Call me DB.

(The following rehashes and/or elaborates on much of what I said earlier)

I had multiple people ask if I was going to submit something for their contest, but things have been pretty busy on my end.  More on that next month.  BUT I did think about it, and I was torn between the 'ferocious wolverine' concept, as we saw in the News' winning entry (and I think looks pretty good, all things considered), and something else, which I'll affectionately name:

THE OVERLY ENTITLED
WOLVERINE MASCOT

Yeah, I'm at the game, where you guys gonna be later?  Well, is she hot?

Our mascot should be successful and he should know it.  Perhaps he's got on a smoking jacket, or better yet, an overpriced fitted polo oxford with $150 jeans and a sweet pair of doc martens.  He should sport a well-groomed unshaven look and a pair of  rimless glasses that he will only take off to properly look down upon the Purdue Pete's and Bucky the Badgers of the world.  He will always have it all put together and will be effortlessly in shape, never flaunting the ridiculous six pack that Herky the Hawkeye knows is just one layer of business casual away.

He should smell like a swanky Fortune 500 corner office and an exotic fruit you've never heard of all at once.  He's not so much Facebook as he is LinkedIn, and even then he's a premium member at that who always seems to be too busy to add any contacts.  Girls will always know when he enters the room, and their boyfriends will hate him for it.  He'll be that guy who's already seen the movie you bring up in conversation, and will recommend an independent film that's far better.  He'll tell jokes that make you laugh harder than you knew you could, and yet he'll be more interested in talking about world events.

He'll be that guy that buys really good coffee.  The kind that tastes even better than it smells.

And even as he's leading the team onto the field, he should be cutting consultant deals on his smartphone AND playing plants vs. zombies at the same time.  And throughout the game he'll be far too busy discussing microbrews with the hottest adjacent cheerleader to even care that he's been named "Biff."

In short, the new mascot should be a d**k that all of the other mascots hate, and yet also desperately wish they were.

He will give the Nittany Lion the perfect compliment on his striped scarf, and the Lion's insecurities will turn it into the most humiliating insult the Lion has ever heard.  The Golden Gopher will constantly ask our mascot to have his picture taken with him, and when he finally does it will become his Facebook avatar in less than three minutes.  Oddly enough, the Northwestern wildcat will be one of his buds.  And for Brutus the Buckeye, he will be fear personified.  Brutus will have a manic and hateful obsession with him, and he'll spend far too many Friday nights in Columbus trying to perfect the perfect Biff google search.

He is Biff, and he is THE MAN.

 

He will give the Nittany Lion the perfect compliment on his striped scarf, and the Lion's insecurities will turn it into the most humiliating insult the Lion has ever heard.  The Golden Gopher will constantly ask our mascot to have his picture taken with him, and when he finally does it will become his Facebook avatar in less than three minutes.  Oddly enough, the Northwestern wildcat will be one of his buds.  And for Brutus the Buckeye, he will be fear personified.  Brutus will not sleep well when he thinks of the Wolverine, and he will have a manic and hateful obsession with him.