February 20, 2009

Illini mascot:  chicken or clown?

Two years into Chief's retirement, no plans exist to create UI symbolIn the early 1980s, the University attempted to win fan support for a mascot. A chicken, wearing an Illinois shirt, went to a basketball game but was not well received, Brown said.

"(It was probably) some way to generate excitement while the game was going on," Brown said. "(But) it did not go over well."

Martell said he heard the chicken received boos from the audience.

Brown said there has been no discussion of adding a mascot, and he does not believe there will be any discussion in the near future.

"It would be very difficult considering some of the emotion ... what the campus and our fans and the community went through with Chief Illiniwek," Brown said.
Comment:  The University of Illinois wrongly claims its mascot isn't a mascot. Let's ignore this disingenuous claim for what it is: an intellectual dodge.

The university had a dancing chief at its pre-game and half-time shows. This clownish figure supposedly demonstrated how the school respected and honored Indians. When the school decided to supplement its "non-mascot" mascot with another mascot, it chose a giant chicken.

The fans didn't go for it, but what does the university's choice tell us? That it considers a "chief" and a chicken interchangeable? That one feathered-cloaked cluck is like another? That the alleged "dignity" and "nobility" of an Indian chief is akin to the strutting, prancing walk of a cock?

Below:  Which one is the big dumb cluck and which one is the dignified, respectful mascot?

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