February 2007

These past weeks, we had our first major snowstorm of the year in the Land of Lincoln. Oh, not that there hadn’t been snow before, but this was the first snowstorm that truly deserved the “storm” part. Blizzard Warnings, Blowing Snow Advisories, and all that. Which meant, of course, it was time for Morons on Ice (well, snow).

There is really only one rule to driving on snow: Change is bad. Speeding up, slowing down, turning, changing lanes—these things cause trouble. Remember that, and you’re fine. Forget that, and, well, you’re a moron. This means of course that you can drive 50 mph perfectly safely, if the road is straight, and you’re not surrounded by morons who don’t know about things like braking distance on snow and ice. It also means that you can drive 15 mph and be a complete hazard on the road…apparently a very popular option.

There is a certain type of driving moron who thinks that by driving 10-20 mph slower, they have somehow “paid their dues” to the Snow Gods and are thereafter absolved of any need to modify their other stupid driving habits. So they’ll slam on the brakes, jam on the accelerator, weave through traffic, take turns abruptly, fail to signal and do all the other things that actually cause accidents on snow, ice, or for that matter perfectly clear pavements under a sunny sky.

And, on snow, this has the added benefit of jamming up traffic behind these fools, since often it’s not possible to pass at all, much less safely, due to snow and ice blocking parts of the road or requiring a much greater amount of time and distance to pass cars safely. As I was reminded of why I hate driving to work in the snow (hint: it’s not the snow, the road, or the wind), I compiled this handy catalog of Morons on Ice:

The Scatterbrained/Ungoverned Venturers (S/UVs) These drivers have chosen the “safest” vehicle for snow: a 4WD SUV of monstrous proportions. They then either drive that SUV in the exact same way they would on dry city pavements in Chicago—brake or gas pedal jammed to the floor at all times (these are the ungoverned venturers) or they creep along at 10 mph, despite having the vehicle best able to travel straight lines safely in snow (these are the scatterbrained). Since you can’t see around them, unless you too have decided to express your hatred of the Earth in your vehicle choice, you’re stuck wondering why they bothered to buy a huge SUV instead of the tiny rice burner they clearly think they’re driving.

The Oblivious These drive any sort of vehicle, though they seem to favor larger sedans. They drive fast or slow but either way have apparently decided that driving in snow removes any requirement to observe what other vehicles happen to be doing. I was nearly rear-ended by one of these while stopped, in the only open lane of a road, waiting for someone to turn left, at the end of a line of six cars! The moron never even stopped, but he was able to swerve left at the last moment, into oncoming traffic, and barrel past the line (including the left turning car, who had the presence of mind not to get in front of the charging idiot). You’d think that the driving conditions would indicate that you should pay more attention, not less, but you’d be wrong where these fools are concerned.

NASCAR Rejects Real NASCAR drivers are skilled professionals who are amazingly good at not crashing into other cars in the worst of conditions. But the rejects here drive like NASCAR drivers without the skill, training, or special tires. Every stop light is a starting line, and every intersection is a finishing line. Each start or stop requires full, pedal-to-the-metal acceleration or braking. Strangely this behavior doesn’t mix well with snow, slush, and ice. It does, however, lead to amusing results like fishtailing out of control and spiralling through an intersection into a ditch. Sadly, sometimes they wind up slamming into a car which is actually proceeding through the intersection in an orderly fashion.

The Post-Hoc Expert These are the morons who find themselves in an accident of any sort, clearly entirely their fault, and then make increasingly absurd arguments about why they weren’t really to blame and why they deserve a break from the usual consequences of being either stupid or unlucky on snow. Why everyone else should have to foot the bill for their driving habits is, of course, never addressed. They are the “whiny little bitches” of snow driving, and deserve the contempt reserved for such.

So there we have it, a brief catalog of the worst offenders, who turn a Winter Wonderland into the Demolition Derby, and bring to every snowy intersection the level of stress of a trip “outside the wire” in Iraq. Come to think of it, that’s probably a good solution: ship these people to Iraq and force them to serve convoy duty. After all, there’s not a lot of snow there, and in sandstorms nobody can see anything anyway. And most of their bad habits could be an asset in driving supply convoys, where mad dashes through crowded streets are a survival habit, not a muderous rampage.

But whatever you do, get these people off the streets of the Heartland during Winter!

“Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright.
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light.
And, somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout,
but there is no joy in Illinois —
racism has won out.”
(With Apologies to Ernest Thayer)

Racism has won a record victory in Illinois, as the University of Illinois has been blackmailed into retiring its once proud symbol, Chief Illiniwek. The end of this tradition is a blow to those who have fought for equality everywhere, for it represents a massive injustice. Many anti-Chief organizations and individuals will try to trick you into thinking this is a victory against racism, but their lies are nothing but a flimsy facade for their own bigoted agenda.

What we have witnessed in the past few years, across this great nation’s campuses, are acts of discrimination by the NCAA. They have singled out schools that use native American imagery and labeled them as hostile and abusive. Evidently the NCAA believes that native American imagery should be restricted and only used by native Americans. They are trying to deny the right we all have to the history of this land, and they are doing so on the basis of race. Surprisingly, one will not find someone arguing that images of George Washington should be restricted so that only those of British descent may use his likeness. No, this door only swings one way, which makes it racist at its very core.

But the racism of the NCAA reaches far beyond the question of who can use symbols, and to the idea of which symbols are hostile and abusive. The noble portrayal of a Chieftain who leads a University in solemn song and dance is evidently cause for offense, but the numerous mascots which reflect badly on other races, peoples, and religions are not hostile and abusive. After all, if they depict white people, or a minority without a large enough bankroll, they can’t be hostile or abusive, can they?

If the NCAA is really looking to eliminate hostile and abusive mascots (rather than their true goal of promoting racism and lining their own greedy pockets) there is a long list of mascots in need retiring, let us take a look at some of the highlights:

First and foremost, we have those mascots which mock religious groups. While many claimed that Chief Illiniwek was somehow offensive to native American religious beliefs, no one seems to find the Wake Forest Demon Deacon offensive. Personally, I think describing Baptists as evil and demonic is a pretty clear ringer for offensive. But the NCAA doesn’t consider Wake Forest to have a hostile and abusive mascot. The same goes for the University of Pennsylvania, who use the Fighting Quakers as their mascot. Why isn’t the NCAA knocking on their door fighting for the rights of these maligned and abused religious groups?

Even worse than jabs at religious groups are the numerous mascots which mock and display inaccurate caricatures of blue collar workers, such as Purdue’s Boilermakers, the University of Nebraska’s Herbie Husker, or the University of Missouri-Rolla’s Joe Miner. A group of intellectuals using the likeness of a stereotyped blue collar worker at sporting events has obvious connotations. The blue collar worker is supposed to be big, dumb, and strong, and thus good at sports. None of the students or faculty will likely end up in these blue collar and sometimes dangerous jobs, nor will they likely associate with the people they are stereotyping. But the NCAA still turns a blind eye. Evidently they don’t care about abuse directed at the working class.

Lastly are the countless inappropriate ethnic mascots. Whether suggesting that a certain ethnic group tends to drink heavily and fight (Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish), further smearing the reputation of Greece (Michigan State’s Sparty the Spartan), a country that already has to deal with the term “Greek” being tied to rape, drunkenness, and disorderly conduct, or slamming an under protected minority group (the UCSB’s mascot Gaucho Joe), the NCAA is going to extreme lengths not to protect these races, ethnicities and backgrounds. All it would take would be an admission that these mascots are just as hostile and abusive as native American mascots, if not more so.

So we have to ask ourselves, is the NCAA really trying to eliminate hostile and abusive mascots? Of course not. They are really just looking to promote racism by blackmailing schools they see as easy targets. One need only look so far as the complaints against Chief Illiniwek to see the proof. One individual said: “It’s hard to construe the dancing white guy in face paint as anything other than an offensive caricature.”

Note the use of “white guy”. I’m surprised it is that easy to claim you are fighting against racism, while spewing racist crap yourself.

-Angry Midwesterner

Angry Midwesterner

This is a special section of the 12 Angry Men Blog where we celebrate the best Troll to be found anywhere that week. While there are many varieties of troll, ranging from the fuzzy-haired dashboard decorations to the waylayer of the Billy Goats Gruff, we enjoy a well-executed jabbing that leaves an adversary stammering for a response. Any moron can produce a flame — mere sewage dumped upon the city square — but to produce a good Troll is a work worthy of the celebration of men.

The Troll of the Week segment will be written frequently enough to be termed “periodic”, but the actual label “of the week” is merely idealistic ambition, and it is not to be taken seriously.

There was great pressure to arrive at a suitable inagural Troll of the Week for the 12 Angry Men Blog, but this one has all the elements of a great troll. The geek-adored actor reading a smooth riot act to a washed-up ball-bouncer.

Context of Troll:

Bigot Tim Hardaway, after a 13 season NBA career, and doomed to a lifetime of never fitting comfortably into a compact car, made easy headlines for the PC obsessed by taking advantage of a small town radio host offering him a microphone, which he used to formally decree that he hates gay people. This sent the literate classes to their blogs, and the managerial classes to their water coolers in search of their pound of flesh, mostly extracted from their hapless readers or sycophants, respectively.

Execution of the Troll:

After a great deal of lawyers wrote a great number of meaningless words demanding and giving apologies, the lack of sincerety of which were never in question, the “gay community” (in the form of George Takei) responded to Mr. Hardaway’s flame with this excellent video “Public Service Announcement”.


Apparently, Takei was watching Kahn pretty carefully in Star Trek II, and remembered that revenge is a dish best served cold….

Ah, Takei, the most awesome possible way to respond to Hardaway’s flaming comments…

For this troll as a counter-rant to quench the raging flame, George Takei is awarded the inagural Troll of the Week , and will receive an honorary beer at the Man Lunch.