Monday, December 12, 2005
I can't imagine it's easy to be a newspaper reporter everyday. Sure, most days the news sort of writes itself. Car chase, multiple homicide, government-written dispatches from Iraq, car dealership opening, city-council meetings... a lot of it is boring-ass stuff, but at least it's something to do between Maury and Montel.
There are days when somebody chains 30 Guatemalans into a panel van, panics at the sight of a CHP car and then leaves them to bake to death in the desert somewhere within your newspaper's circulation radius. On those days I bet local Riverside reporters are all smiles and high-fives and prank calls to the Orange County Register taunting them for their efficient law enforcement and temperate weather.
I really feel for newspaper reporters on the slow days, when there are only the regular ole boring single-death crimes to report. Then they have to go to their Filler Story file. You know, the file of "great story ideas" they had in their first week on the job before they realized a) reporters worked for a living and b) there's not quite as much of an old-school Italian mafia element in Riverside County to "blow the lid off" as they had hoped.
Yesterday must have been one of those days at the local paper. Somebody covered Tookie, the AP had this Iraq vote thing covered and everyone else was on this story:
Desert-area high school with the mascot "Arabs". The picture is from inside the gym. The title of the story is EMBATTLED EMBLEMS. Very daunting. Political correctness gone crazy, yes?
Here's the one quote (the only quote) from an Arab man with regard to Coachella Valley High School's nearly-hundred-year-old choice of mascot:
"I look at it as they're honoring Arab people, not mocking them. I'm happy they see the contributions of Arabs besides what we see on the news."
By the way, that guy in the picture shooting the ball is Coachella Valley junior small forward Chucky "Suicide Bomber" Grant. He missed that shot. He's no good from long range, but he kills up close, especially in a crowd. Blue chip recruit, that one.
So I'm not really sure what the story is. I guess it's "Local 90-year-old mascot not really that big of a deal. To anybody."
I can see how the giant picture of a glowering, hook-nosed Arab caricature on gym wall might look menacing in all its emphasize Semitism. But like I said--and apparently everyone out here also realizes, with the exception of some bored, bored reporters--it's old.
The origins of it are simple enough: a high school started in a little area in the middle of a desert known for growing dates. Hmm, desert, dates... let's call 'em the Arabs! Except I'm sure back in the day they said "A-rabs".
See, it's just an emphasis of some basic regional and agricultural similarities. It's like the way people in northern Indiana drink themselves stupid on daily basis when they're not starving to death on a diet of blighted potatoes and cabbage. Out of that we got "Fighting Irish" and nobody complains about that.
As far as I know, that's the extent of the Arab-Coachella Valley connection. There are no Koran passages written on the school walls, no Death to Israel rallies of any kind on campus during school hours, the football team doesn't yell Allahu akbar! every time it breaks huddle. Well, OK, they sometimes do the last one, but only once a year in their annual rival game against the Palm Springs High School Crafty Jews.
That's not editorialized anti-Semitism on my part, that's really their school mascot, "Crafty Jews." Crafty is a compliment. It means "smart and devious, like the devil."
Just as a point of reference and context, the Inland Southern California area is also home of Lake Arrowhead's Rim of the World High School Fighting Scots. See, there the name of the high school is more stupid than the potentially ethnically offensive mascot name, so you don't notice so much. But see, again, there was probably a community devoted to cross dressing, caber tossing, Mars Bar consumption, consumption (as in the wasting-away disease brought on by prolonged exposure to the damp) and bar fighting. Hence "Fighting Scots."
I'm not sure what I'm trying to say. I was trying to make fun of a non-issue newspaper article. I suppose that means I just wrote 500+ words of nothing based on an article about nothing. My goodness, I am a gifted human being.
Perhaps I still feel guilty for skipping out on writing a decent post last night. I would apologize more profusely, but some times shit just happens that needs to be dealt with. Plus, I gave you people the Lamas. As far as I see it, we're square.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.5
*= Unless we're talking about the War on Terror. Then Go Us.