Did you know that Michigan State University, one of the most esteemed and respected public universities in the world, has a mascot that is a member of a specific ethnic group?
I just kept thinking to myself, this can’t possibly be. I had to rewind my TiVo just to make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me. In this day and age, you just don’t think this kind of thing is possible. I mean, did we not inaugurate Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States today? Kind of makes you take for granted that we have progressed past this kind of bigotry as a society. But no, when ESPN came back from commercial after a timeout, there he was. I could hardly believe my eyes.
His name…is Sparty the Spartan. He looks like this:
With his Popeye-like arms, horribly oversized head, and generally dopey look on his face – clearly he is a caricature of the well-known civilization from ancient Greece.
What is even clearer is that Sparty reinforces all the typical stereotypes that people think of when they think of Spartans. I’m not sure what he’s doing with the blow-up doll in the above photo, but it seems apparent this is intended to mock Spartan courting rituals. For example, if the above were a real Spartan marriage, no ice skating would have been involved. Nor would it be likely that a Spartan would have plastics in his possession.
This sort of atrocity affects us personally here at Grubb Hub. Some members of my staff, after doing some careful research on genealogy web sites, discovered that they had ancestors that were in fact Spartans. And we just wanted to say how utterly appalled and offended we are by Sparty and his cartoonish portrayal of Spartans.
The ancient Spartans did not participate in silly cheers or pose for pictures with their fans. Nor did they clap like morons at three pointers. In fact, the three point line had yet to be instituted into play back then.
The costume worn by Sparty is also grossly historically inaccurate. Ancient Spartans would not have gone into battle wearing foam rubber or a vinyl breastplate. Can you imagine trying to block a spear with that? How ridiculous!
I’ll bet the guy in the Spartan suit isn’t even Greek. What an outrage!
This from a university that so callously declares its core values to be “quality, inclusiveness and connectivity”.
Inclusiveness. Yeah, right. I’m guessing that young Greek Americans taking an innocent visit to the Michigan State campus aren’t exactly feeling the inclusiveness vibe.
But the bastardization of the Spartan culture doesn’t end there. According to the Sparty the Spartan Wikipedia page, in addition to sporting events, Sparty also attends many other community events throughout the year, including alumni functions, charity events, weddings, parades, and bar mitzvahs.
An ancient Greek warrior emceeing a bar mitzvah? I wouldn’t even begin to know how to explain that one.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re saying to yourself, “We’re all mature adults here. We’re all intelligent enough to be able to make the distinction between an ancient people and a symbol for a college athletic program. We’re smart enough to know not to base a significant portion of our beliefs about a culture on something as inconsequential as a school mascot!”
Well you’re wrong. Even if we assume for the sake of argument that we as adults aren’t that stupid, what about the impressionable young minds that tune in to see the Spartans play on TV every week? Take a look at this photo and tell me that Sparty doesn’t have a profound and adverse effect on America’s youth:
Clearly, this child has no future. Just look at him. His mind has obviously already been warped beyond repair. For the rest of his life, whenever he meets anyone of Greek descent, he will immediately stereotype that person based upon his narrow-minded views that have been reinforced time and again by Sparty the Spartan.
For these reasons and many more, we believe Sparty the Spartan is evil incarnate.
Here he is again, pictured with one of his closest and dearest friends, Blue Satan. I think that pretty much says all we need to know.
You spit on our ancestors and mock their heritage, Sparty! We hate you so much!
hey, didn’t you used to write for the American Mustache Institute? You used to be funny. Too bad you’re a quitter.
[…] Grubb thinks so… […]
This post is so brilliant I had to link to it from the Beemsville…
As a quasi-euro fully white american or Quef (pronounced Qweef) American I too am appalled and disheartened not to mention I feel threatened and ignored that MSU is allowing the travesty to occur. In this day and age it makes me ashamed of my non-specific european/possibly greek or other…ethnicity. My culture has been lost in the back room of the halls of MSU because of Sparty. In addition to Sparty the damn leprechaun from Notre Dame, the tree from Stanford and the Commodore from Vanderbilt all are offensive to me. I think I have Irish blood in me somewhere so that takes care of the FIGHTING Irish, the tree jiggles and wobbles so much like my own svelt frame that I’m offended as a Clinically Obese American, and the Commodore is just scary, not unlike Purdue Pete!
No I say no, no, no from Gaylord (smacks of sexual preference doesn’t it?) the Camel from Cambell University to the devilsh/troll doll imp of the St. Louis Billikin’s I find myself in a sea of offensive MASCOTS. I think the only thing we can do is rename all the mascots and symbols into colors like the big round Orange of Syracuse. Of course White, Black, Yellow and Red are not to be used and to keep from offending anyone from overseas we should also avoid the use of Lime Green.
WOW you are pathetic. “Ohh ohh in this day and age” ” Oh goodness I am 30 years old and I can’t sleep because of that darn mascot”…I have two words for all of you. GROW UP. Sparty is NOT disrespecting Greek ethnicity nor is his costume trying to be “historically accurate” Of course they didn’t wear rubber you dumbass. He is a mascot for a public university. Not an ambassador of a Mediterranean Country. Are you going to honestly tell me that you have nothing better to do then be offended by an American icon? I think you should know that your opinion about Sparty is very very inconceivable and unaccompanied. For the Nintendo Wii game : NCAA Football 09, it was decided that a college mascot was to be on the front cover of the game. That mascot, would be voted for and chosen by majority from anyone who wished to vote. Do you know who won? SPARTY. Also, ESPN had a “Who is your favorite Mascot contest” where anyone could vote. Guess who won? SPARTY. I can tell you right now, that you are irrelevant to the American society. The favor to not-in-favor ratio of Sparty the Mascot is probably 3000:1 You have a better chance of getting the African American population to impeach Obama. Like I said, PATHETIC. You are seriously offended by Sparty the Mascot? No, you look up to Sparty the Mascot because you are probably some radical antagonist. Your opinion on this matter is completely uncalled for and bias. You might as well say you are offended by everyday things. Your statement about Sparty being offensive, stereotypical, and brainwashing is absurd! I understand some colleges and universities having to change their mascot names for having a native american appellation but thats because words like Redskin is directly correlated to their skin color, which is still unbelievable..but I will accept it. As far as Sparty being what you said is totally inaccurate. I am more than sure any Greek would be honored to have their ancestry used as a kindred for being “tough”, “unbeaten”, “victorious”,”hero” for more than 45,000 students and millions of fans. Come on now? What is your reasoning? If someone, or something is used for a mascot, it is an honor! How do you not see that? I think you get my point. Oh and for the kid dressed in the Spartan uniform: How in the world is his “brain warped beyond repair” from a costume?!?! And NO!!! He is not going to think every Greek person he sees is a champion or a winner (How else would you stereotype Greek people to Sparty mascot?). What you are said would then mean any kid who celebrates Halloween is brainwashed for being a pirate, or a BALLERINA! for christ’s sake get a life man. There are so many mascots that are human figures and in some way relate to ethnicity, origin, beliefs, etc. etc. Just to name a few: “Cowboys, Pirates, TROJANS, Mountaineers, Islanders, Knights, Pioneers, Vikings, Rangers, SAINTS, Lakers, Sooners, All indian names, 49ers, and here is one that throws your statement in the dirt…PATRIOT. If what you say is true than any loyal, honest, and respectful person who loves their own country ( 97% of all americans) should be offended by a mascot that is the Patriot because…well it is being stereotypical of loyalty ad commitment. Here I will give you something else to complain about…lets see…how about “Why do UPS people where Brown darnit!” Gosh, since they wear brown, they are discriminating the african american race. I feel sorry for you. Your just a lonely oppositionist whose only goal or motive in making a living is by law suits for ideas and topics that have been around since before you were born. Get a life
So you delete my post because you found out your were totally wrong?
Is a mascot such as “Patriots” stereotyping? So people who are loyal, loving, and dedicated to their country find that offending? Dude, a mascot represents “victory” “triumhant” “champion”, etc. etc. Now who in the right mind would be offended by that if the mascot is similar to their heritage or ethnicity? Also, will a child dressed as a witch for halloween practice witchcraft for the rest of her life?
You have got to be kidding me! You’re the same person who needs to be riding in a horse and buggy because you don’t believe automobiles benefit. The world must be an ugly place for you if you, indeed, take offense to a college athletic mascot. You most likely still have your v-card and you probably couldn’t have an interesting conversation outside you realm of “Magic, the gathering”. I’m betting, because I’m a bettin’ man, that you dress up for Harry Potter movie arrivals at your local Blockbuster. The only time you have enough gull to argue a situation is over a blog on your precious grubhub website. Step outside your bubble, Orpheus, take a long and deep breath of what I like to call the real world. It’s not fair huh?
IT’S A MASCOT, STUPID!!! you don’t see real birds clapping for football players either… if we always had to be “politically correct” the only mascots that would be allowed is drunk men and fake blonds in short skirts. You think you are so smart with your history facts, but you’re just being a jackass. Grow up… find something a little more realistic to bitch about.
Sorry guys, I didn’t delete your comments, it’s just that sometimes I am lax about going through and checking and approving comments.
Quite the contrary, I was very pleased with the response this post has generated, and am very proud to display them.
You all do make some decent points. I especially liked Sean’s comment that no one should be offended by human mascots like Sparty…so long as the mascots in question are similar to their particular heritage or ethnicity.
So, for example, let’s just say my heritage or ethnicity is Greek or something similar. Therefore, I should not be offended by Sparty? Hmm…a very interesting premise, indeed. I wonder if this same premise could be applied to mascots and people representing other proud heritages?
Even so, I’m not sure I’m quite yet convinced of Sparty’s redeeming value to society. Feel free to add anything else that might be pertinent to the discussion though. Although it’s unlikely my opinion can be swayed on this matter, one never knows.
[…] you’d either have to be a Tarheels fan or have a serious problem with the ineherent t evilness of Sparty the Mascot to not have a rooting interest for Izzo’s troops. UNC is an official NCAA Sacred Cow (TM) […]
Haha! Excellent satire of how rediculous it is to protest mascots because they are considered “offensive” to certain heritages.
Spartan Fans relax, it’s meant to be funny.
As a former Sparty, I had a pretty good laugh about it…especially the figure skating picture. We caught quite a bit of flack for that skit. I still think it was hilarious, especially if you saw the WHOLE thing. The Crowd was rolling in their seats laughing as Swan Lake played in the background. I admit its easy to poke fun at that specific picture b/c it looks pretty awkard when taken out of context.
My two cents: Sparty is an awesome mascot. He is considered one of the best and most respected mascots in the nation and fans and media love him. Even though I am not Greek at all, everyone who portrays Sparty has tremendous respect for what he portrays, whether it is MSU or the citizens of the ancient Greek city-state of Sparta. SPARTY ON!!!
If I were you I would first clean up your incorrect
grammar before you write something on the Internet.
At first i was outraged by this article. then the realization set in that not only is this man ignorant, he is obviously a virgin.