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We live in the land of the free and the home of the perpetually offended.
Stop the insanity. Alter the disturbing names of countless collegiate and professional sports teams. Do it now. Even some event names should be re-examined. Do we even need nicknames? Do we dare even take on any name? Is this column an affront to everyone who is not named Steve Woodward? I bet I'll hear from all the Bob Woodwards deeply offended that I would tarnish such a proud surname by pairing it with a given name as frivolous as "Steve."
And now I will hear from the Steves who are angry that I have cast us into the dark hole of frivolity.
God help us, where does it end? Which raises the question: Do we offend God when we ask for help with trivial stuff?
This sensitivity thing is so pervasive that it has made its way beyond our P.C. shores. The venerable BBC did not want to call the London terrorists "terrorists" last month. They called them "bombers." Now, if I am Daryle "Mad Bomber" Lamonica or George Steinbrenner, I am honked off at the BBC. How dare they compare terrorists, architects of death and destruction, to quarterbacks who prefer going long or to pinstriped dynasty baseball teams -- the Bronx Bombers -- of a distant era?
Fools that we are, we called Roger Staubach "The Dodger" even when he did the exact opposite and served in the U.S. Navy rather than go directly into pro football. But we permit the Los Angeles Dodgers to carry on, clearly insulting all of those who have signed up for military duty by celebrating those who dodge service to their country. (They are really the L.A. Abandoners; in 1958, they up and abandoned all those nice folks in Brooklyn.)
The San Francisco and New York Giants. Ah-ha! A direct stick in the eye towards every man and woman living on that dangerous cusp between chubby and downright blubber-laden. We know "Giants" is nothing more than code for Fat, Sloppy Lard-Butt From Hell. How do these people, these "Giants," live with themselves? Why, we would not put up with a team called the Anorexics, would we? ("Join us, fans, for bread by the loaf in the newly renovated Binge-and-Purge Lounge.")
How would the baseball- and football-playing Giants feel if we just started calling them the Steroids?
Which leads me to the Tufts University Jumbos. Once again, clearly offensive to everyone with an oversized relative or friend. How can a sane person run around screaming, "Go Jumbos," when obesity is threatening our children and killing off adults in their fatty, food-ingesting primes? Mark Kaboly, sports editor of The Daily News in McKeesport, Pa., bravely acknowledged his private pain, writing, "Being a large man myself, I take offense to this one."
Others that must go:
The Cleveland Browns. Enraging the fair-skinned among us who would kill for a savage summer tan but will never have the chance. And spitting in the face of those who prefer FedEx to UPS. The nerve.
The Colorado Avalanche. Do you know how many people are killed annually by avalanche-related incidents? Multiply that by the number of family members mourning their loss and there you have it -- thousands being offended every time this hockey team takes the ice (or sits at the collective bargaining table).
The Virginia Tech Fighting Gobblers. These helpless birds can't fight. Were they able, they would stop us from stuffing and eating them, and making fun of their unfortunate physical characteristics, and slicing them thin for sandwiches. They are the Defenseless Gobblers, and everybody knows it. (Full disclosure: Virginia Tech is my alma mater. The use of the nickname "Hokies," popularized in the 1970s, I believe, is no less troubling than a zany bird mascot with turkey DNA still running around campus).
While we are protecting fowl under siege, I wonder how much longer we can go on living with the Toledo Mud Hens and the University of South Carolina Gamecocks, the latter a recipe for bumper-sticker abbreviations that will send the Christian Coalitionists to the brink of nervous breakdown. Down in Columbia, S.C., they don't usually refer to their sports heroes as the "Games."
The Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Satan and sun worshippers cut off at the knees all in one careless team name. For shame.
The Olympic Games. So named because they were conceived in Olympia, Greece, a place whose history does nothing but fuel dangerous belief in false, mythological forces. Thus, every utterance of the word Olympic is a vote for fantasy over God-fearing sanity, by God!
The Alamo Bowl. People gave their lives at the Alamo in a fight for freedom. And freedom isn't free, friends. Yet here we are, annually using the name Alamo to sell T-shirts (and rental cars). What next, the Pearl Harbor Bowl? The Normandy Bowl?
Ban any event with the word Open in it. Every single time I try to enter an Open, some guy in a crested blazer tells me it's closed -- to me. Like I don't have feelings, too.
The World Series. When was the last time Cuba won it? Or Venezuela? Or Japan? It is really the North American Infidels Series, and everybody knows it. Why perpetrate a lie?