Sunday, October 21, 2007

The World As I Know It

Jeez, a guy doesn't write in his blog for a week or two and the whole world turns upside down in his absence. The following facts have recently come to my attention: Stephen Colbert is running for President of the United States, the Medill School of Journalism wants to change its name, Dumbledore has been gay all along and beloved Northwestern mascot Willie the Wildcat now looks like a soulless black dog. Let's tackle these burning issues in order of importance.

Willie the Wildcat now looks like a soulless black dog.
I've got to admit it--I've always liked Willie. Compared to his fellow overgrown stuffed toys in the Big Ten, he is particularly stellar. Willie doesn't offend anyone, he isn't wearing a skirt and he doesn't look like he's recently been stung by a bee. But something is different now. The cuddly-yet-fierce symbol of purple pride has received a horrifying face transplant for the 2007 season. It's ironic that this should happen at a time when the Cardiac 'Cats are actually playing some decent (if consistently inconsistent) football and are one win away from bowl-game eligibility. Nevertheless, I submit the following photographic evidence:

Now that's a mascot.

Old Willie

Where's His Soul?

New Willie

With a jersey change and a few minor adjustments to fur color, Willie's entire demeanor has been altered. Once a simultaneously friendly and ferocious mascot, he now appears confused, with lifeless eyes and a slack grin. He also seems to be in desperate need of a bench press to work off those cat boobs. (The picture really doesn't do them justice...they're probably D cups.) His hands have also been changed from the standard four-fingered gray cartoon grip to a strange new black claw. While this makes sense anatomically, it doesn't make sense for a mascot. I just don't understand why Willie had to evolve. Maybe it's just me. But enough about that...There's more news to discuss!

Stephen Colbert is running for President of the United States.
How do you get young voters to care about the 2008 election? Have their favorite comedian toss his hat into the electoral ring! I've got to hand it to Colbert--this is brilliant. It's hilarious, it's free publicity for his new book (which also seems hilarious, based on my 25-minute skim in Borders) and it might actually have some sort of effect on the polls, at least in his home state of South Carolina. At the same time, doesn't Colbert's shenanigan make you just a little bit sad for American democracy? On the one hand, it shows that presidential politics is completely dominated by a few powerfully rich people, not one of which has yet captivated the political imaginations of a majority. On the other hand, the class clown can now make a mockery of the process the same way he did during the student council elections back in high school. But don't get me's still hilarious. I can't wait until he starts showing up at debates.

Dumbledore was gay all along.
OK, JK Rowling, I think you're done. Wasn't having the best-selling children's book series enough for you? Do you really need more publicity? When it comes to literature, I'm the biggest advocate of the fact that the author knows what they meant when they were writing the book. Nothing drives me battier than listening to a room full of English majors debate the psychological reasons as to why Hemingway decided to use a semicolon instead of a comma. The words on the page have a certain meaning to the author and a certain meaning to the reader. There doesn't have to be a consensus. However, I do not support an author who returns to her text and changes things after the fact, elaborating on plot points and character development that she didn't include in the actual book. Dumbledore's sexual orientation has little to do with this: If you want to tell us what the characters did or thought or felt and why, then write another book! Don't change the course of your published works during a Q & A session in New York City! How weak is that? As for the outing of Dumbledore, the fact that she was answering a child's question and decided to go that route shows a tremendous lack of tact and a pathetic need for the limelight. Why does there have to be a pall of social controversy over something that was so well-written and entertaining to so many people? It's a shame.

Medill wants to change its name.
When this story broke in the Daily Northwestern, the Medill alumni listserv sprang into action, with various well-informed Medillians pontificating (do we ever do anything else?) on the pros and (mostly) cons of a name change to our beloved alma mater. My diplomas will always say "Medill School of Journalism" and that makes me happy. As to whether or not the name needs to change to reflect the marketing wing of the school, I'm staying out of that rumble. There have been many suggestions for new names, but I doubt the NU Board of Trustees will approve anything too outlandish. The Medill brand will remain, no matter what configuration of words ends up following it. I think Joey Medill can rest in peace.


Erica said...

Just a reminder, 25-minutes is NOT a skim.

And I don't think you've been at NU long enough to call Medill "Joey". You have to pass at least the 10 year mark.

Andrew said...

Yeah, I'm less than pleased that Colbert is running for president. He's a funny guy, don't get me wrong, but there is nothing that qualifies him to hold the highest office in the land (other than the fact that he is a Northwestern alumnus, of course). Unfortunately, the hordes of supporters he already has don't care about that. Oh well, at least it's not Jon Stewart...

Katie Fee said...

I couldn't agree with you more about the change in Willie! It's for definitely for the worse. Not quite as bad as inflatable Willie, but not far from!

Kelly Mahoney said...

What an eventful week -- I want a Quatar West T-shirt, if you see them.

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