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!