Ahhh, I'm feeling frisky tonight. July is finally coming to an end, after what seemed like an eternity. In my world, that means it's very nearly football season.
And so it came to pass that it was time to take on the ultimate of all why.i.hate.dc topics: the Washington Redskins.
Many of you may not care about football. You may not have the foggiest idea who Dan Snyder or Steve Spurrier are; more power to you (and honestly, you're probably better off that way).
I, however, love football. I love the excitement and strategy; I love how the battle for field position is something like a metaphor for war. Football is a big part of my life.
But even if you don't like football as much as I do, it's important to familiarize yourself with the Redskins. The reason is that this pro football franchise epitomizes practically everything that's wrong with Washington.
The Redskins are one of the few constants in Washington over the past 70 years. They are the only remaining local pro sports team that was playing here before the '60s; longtime residents might have fond memories of their parents or grandparents taking them to a game. The team is immensely popular among the locals to a ridiculous extreme; the season ticket waiting list is literally decades long. So it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that, over the years, Washington has impressed its own image onto the team, and that the team has become sort of a microcosm of the city.
I'm much too intimately familiar with the Redskins, and I have a number of Redskins topics I want to write about in the coming days as the season gears up. But first, let's start with the most obvious thing.
That name's gotta go.
This is the classic hall-of-fame debate in Washington: should the Redskins rename themselves? Is the team name too offensive to be acceptable, or is this a case of politically correct people being overly sensitive? Everybody's familiar with this one; I'm sure you've heard both sides of the argument a thousand times already.
"Change it! You wouldn't call a team the 'Kikes' or 'Slants!' (Also, apples are not like oranges!)"
"Don't change it! Don't pander to the liberal PC types! There's too much tradition behind the name! (Also, I'm a bigoted asshole!)"
Blah. I've heard both these arguments too many times to count. So here, tonight, on why.i.hate.dc, we will settle the matter once and for all.
Here are my thoughts on the subject:
THEY'RE CALLED THE REDSKINS.
Hmm? Oh, I'm sorry, let me refine my argument.
THEY'RE CALLED THE REDSKINS. I mean, come the fuck ON. That is JUST FUCKING RIDICULOUS.
It should be obvious why that's ridiculous. If it's not, really? Then go away. Hit the close button on your browser right now. There's simply no way, at all, ever, that you can use the term "redskins" without having it be derogatory.
Here's an example. Let's say your friend is a gambler and is trying to drag you up to Foxwoods. He says:
"Hey Carl! Let's go to that Indian casino!"
"All right," you might think, "time to get my blackjack on." Now what if he had said:
"Hey Carl! Let's go to that redskin casino!"
All of a sudden, you're looking at your friend in a different light. Now his question is tinged with racism; he doesn't really trust those redskins who run that casino up thar.
(Wow, I just realized that the one Google result for "redskin casino" turned up a piece of R-rated Star Trek fan fiction. Be scared; be very ascared.)
Anyway, my point is: of course the name should be fucking changed. It should have been changed 20 years ago. Why hasn't it?
Well, money, of course. There's a lot of merchandising and licensing money to be made off the "Redskins" name (although that could change if this judge Does the Right Thing). And if there's one thing that should be evident about Washington, it's that money always trumps the "right thing to do". Always always always. That should be Lesson #1 about living in Washington.
Use your city-issued credit card to buy video games? Check. Take the NRA's lobbying money and foist a gun legalization bill on D.C. without the city's consent? But of course. Use your power as the world's largest environmental nonprofit to give yourself a cheap home loan and drill on sensitive land? In a heartbeat.
Ethics are completely fucking dead in this town. There's millions to be made off the name "Redskins"; therefore, the name stays. Period, end of story, end of debate. Money trumps all. That's... the D.C. way. And I fucking hate it.
Now, having said all this in as profane a matter as possible, you may be asking the question: am I disappointed in myself as a human being that, for the second straight year, I have purchased Redskins season tickets?
Yes. Yes I am.