October 24th, 2013 at 3:39 PM ^

You explain to them that what they heard was a grown-up word, it means something naughty, and is not appropriate for little children to say.  You explain to them that if you hear them utter that word, they will be in trouble.  For most kids, that kind of explanation is sufficient.

As a parent of two young kids, I wish I could take them to sporting venues and not have to worry about them hearing bad language, but to expect a large crowd of raucous, intoxicated, adults to refrain from obscenities is probably unrealistic.


October 24th, 2013 at 3:56 PM ^

In this case (the UW student section) we're not talking about random people shouting out foul language in the heat of the moment, but 20,000 (or whatever) students making an organized chant with the language.  They're not chanting it out of frustration but for fun, and that's a little trickier to negotiate if you're a parent.



October 24th, 2013 at 8:55 PM ^

Yeah, no kidding. You're at a huge stadium with lots of stuff going on. Chances are, they're not going to even notice. If they do, either deflect, distract, it tell them you can't tell if you're uncomfortable telling them it's a naughty chant. This is hardly the most difficult parenting dilemma most parents will face at the game. That will likely come from drunks or someone asking for money.


October 24th, 2013 at 3:59 PM ^

be with my children when they first hear swear words than have them off at school or with friends when they learn them. parent intervention early on goes a long way towards preventing children from developing into annoying brats who swear because they think it's cool and grow up to be college kids who think they're cool for saying meaningless dribble


October 24th, 2013 at 7:13 PM ^

We will always have swear words, because they serve a useful purpose. Making all words equally inoffensive would be like eliminating the exclamation point - you'll lose an important aspect of language.

It's interesting to note how what is considered offensive, language wise, has evolved over time. At one point, blasphemies (eg "goddamn") were the worst. Then it was "rude"/private bodily functions (shit, fuck). Lately it's been evolving again, and our current most offensive words are racial slurs and, especially lately, any derogatory description of a disability / innate characteristic (mostly of marginalized or previously marginalized populations, eg "retard", "faggot").

We of course think our current definition of offensiveness is "best", but likely it will evolve in the future.


October 24th, 2013 at 8:02 PM ^

See, I think that's an important distinction though, between words that are offensive just because of the word (fuck, shit) and words that are offensive because they are targetted at an individual or group (retard, faggot, racial slurs).  Because with the latter, it's not just the word, it's what you're saying.  Examples:

Saying "I can't stand (n-words)" is really not more offensive than substituting the slur with "blacks" or "African Americans."   The offensive part is the disdain for the group.  Neither is acceptable, both are offensive.  Making a racist statement really isn't any more or less racist based on the term you use for the groups.  

However, saying "eat shit" and "eat poo" are completely different in how offensive they are, though they are saying the same thing.  Why can I say "you're freaking kidding me" in front of priest but "you're fucking kidding me" would get my son detention?  A movie that says "I humped her" would be PG-13 but "I fucked her" is rated R.  

It makes no sense to me.


October 25th, 2013 at 12:41 PM ^

Because we need R rated and PG-13 and G rated words. You need to be able to have words that mean approximately the same thing but are appropriate in different contexts. The whole point of a swear word is "I feel strongly enough about this that I am willing to risk public censure in expressing my feelings! FUCK!" Or sometimes, "We're such goddamn good buddies that I feel comfortable dropping the pretense of formality around you".

I mentioned evolving language precisely because in the past, blasphemies uttered in public were likely to elicit gasps and fainting ladies, while now-offensive racial terms were peppered in normal speech. Yes, there's a difference in the "direction" of these swears, and I was noting that as interesting.

In any case, they are all just words, and certainly context plays into their offensiveness. But we need offensiveness sometimes. Also, because the offensiveness depends on context, that's precisely why parents are upset about their kids picking up the words before they understand things like tact and context.


October 24th, 2013 at 1:45 PM ^ would help if the OP explained what the hell he was ranting about ("obscene chant" being a very ambiguous term).  Bush league Section 1 you know better.   

Section 1

October 24th, 2013 at 1:49 PM ^

He's a very knowledgeable fan.  Like me, he presumed that it was the "Fuck you! Eat shit!" chant.  And I think we are both correct on that.  I thought that most Big Ten fans knew all about the odd habits of Camp Randall.  But now you know.  Thank you for asking and have a nice day.


October 24th, 2013 at 8:46 PM ^

I didn't know what it was either.  I consider myself a very big Michigan fan, but I've never been to a Michigan away game so I have very little knowledge of our opponents' chants.  I was equally clueless when I saw the original post.  Why would knowing Wisconsin's chants have anything to do with how big of a Michigan fan you are?


October 24th, 2013 at 2:59 PM ^

If people don't like the way college students act then why don't they stay off campus?  It doesn't make sense to begrudge those kids their brief window of time to have fun and be wildly innapropriate.  If you were a model citizen during undergrad, then sorry you missed out.  The opressive weight of the real world will start crushing their souls soon enough - let them have fun while they can.


October 24th, 2013 at 3:02 PM ^

The problem with this thinking is that football is the cash cow that fuels college athletics in general, so it needs to be as broadly popular as possible.  Schools want a G-rated atmosphere.



October 24th, 2013 at 5:49 PM ^

in 2011, 43% of college football programs in FBS failed to turn a profit.  There are only a handful that could be termed "cash cows."  Even the profitable programs, for the most part, can't make up the shortfall in the other sports, so as a result, year in and year out you're talking ~20 athletic programs in Div IA that at least break even.  The most recent numbers I could find were 2009 (14% broke even) and 2010 (22% broke even).

Wisconsin Wolverine

October 25th, 2013 at 2:58 PM ^

I'm gonna be out of town this weekend and miss it, but my friends are having a belated Halloween party the next weekend. I'm kinda undecided about whether I really like freakfest or not ... I went once and had a pretty good time just seeing all the people dressed up in the streets, but it was so crowded that getting into most bars and grabbing a drink ended up being a tough mission. What do you think? Either way, I like that Madison has made Halloween its "thing." The atmosphere is cool.


October 25th, 2013 at 3:11 AM ^

It's not just that the chant offends some people (and I love the rationalizations a few posters are making for it), but it makes a major section of the students in the stadium, and by extension the university, seem crude and ignorant.  When people are deciding not to bring their children or grandchildren to the game (and there's evidence of that even on this board), it's not really an answer to say, well, they shouldn't be offended, they're the ones with the problem.  









October 25th, 2013 at 9:19 AM ^

The trick is to find the offensive part of the cheer and make sure to apologize for it.



Chump. Dick. Wuss. Dooooouchebag. Asshole. Prick. Cheater. Bitch. Whore. Spartan.

[turns toward alumni]

Sorry we said 'Spartan'.

See, now it's okay.

Section 1

October 25th, 2013 at 5:01 PM ^

In your capacity as Associate Editor and Business Manager for MGoBlog, I am interested in precisely how I earned your downvote in this particular case.

I always expect my usual dose of downvotes from all of my MGoFanz; they occur like clockwork, kthnxbye OMG Shirtless.  Just like I always expect the odd, intemperate "RichRod" reference whenever I post anything about anything without my making any mention of Coach Rodriguez.  The Rodriguez-haterz proved long ago that they simply could not restrain themselves.  And I don't expect the mods to protect me from any personal attacks; it's been made clear that the MGoMods regard me as something of a free-fire zone.  I quit making complaints to Moderation Action Sticky long ago.

But I am curious about you, in this case, Seth. 

Let's forget about any supposed old or new personal grudges; you and I have no history whatsoever as far as I know.  If we do, I honestly have no recollection; so it meant that much to me.  Let's just stick the to content of this topic, shall we?  So, some questions, and answers:

  • Did I express any offensive position in this thread?  None that I am aware of.  The OP did nothing more than link the reader to Professor Althouse's blog.  And let people make up their own minds.  Not much suggestion of anything in particular on my part.
  • Did I condemn the UW students?  No; my attitude toward them is bemusement more than anything.  My original comment?  That I was glad that there are student sections like the one at Camp Randall (for giggles) and that I was glad Michigan was not like them.  (A perhaps-unintended tip of the hat to the Michgan students.  "They aren't as bad as Wisconsin!")
  • Did I defend the UW students?  No.  It shouldn't get to the level of a First Amendment argument is what I said, and there wouldn't be much of an argument in any event.  "Im glad we're not Camp Randall" says it clearly enough, I should think.
  • Was I wrong about anything?  No; I've been to plenty of games at Camp Randall, including some of their smallest and some of their biggest games, with and without Michigan as an opponent.  I've seen the "Fuck you!  Eat shit!" cheer up close and personal.
  • Did I set myself up as Holier than Thou?  Nope.  I think I let loose with a "Fuck" or a "shit" once every couple of weeks or so at MGoBlog.  Sometimes the MGoBoard stupidity -- however discretely it may occur -- requires it.   As General Patton (the real one; not Bob Ufer's imaginary Coach BoGeorgePattonSchembechler) said; "When I want my men to remember something important, to really make it stick, I give it to them double dirty. It may not sound nice to a bunch of little old ladies, at an afternoon tea party, but it helps my soldiers to remember. You can't run an army without profanity, and it has to be eloquent profanity. An army without profanity couldn't fight its way out of a piss-soaked paper bag."   The interesting thing about profanity here, and in a stadium, is that I feel much more entitled to be profane here, than within earshot of 25 people in Michigan Stadium.  Here, consenting individuals log on to read, in private, what is written.  Nobody gets that choice, listening to other people yelling from 12 feet away in crowded bleacher seating.
  • Did we actually get a bit of good discussion out of this?  I think so.  When the MGoBoard wasn't wasting time attacking me, a few of the members had some interesting comments.  The one I liked best of all was the remarkable reminder that the "Fuck you! Eat shit!" meme arose out of the old "Tastes great! Less filling!" commercials (and viral commercialization, long before the era of viral-anything) and that the Tigers closed down the bleachers at Tiger Stadium in response to the fans doing it there.  Score -1 for creativity in Madison.  I also had frankly forgotton all about Michigan's own dubious history with obscenities in hockey chants.  I don't know much about them.  There's no hypocrisy on my part there; I didn't defend/attack the Camp Randall student-crowds, and I won't defend/attack the Yost student-crowds.

So after all of that, Seth, I am curious how I earned your downvote.  All of the other downvoters; meh.