Has there been a stupider column, ever, anywhere, than the drivel the Journal Sentinel printed by Mike Nichols on Saturday?
Honestly, what a load. The subject of the column was a proposal by some state legislators to finally put an end to the use of various racist names still attached to various public high school sports teams in Wisconsin. This was too much for the former-but-still-published J-S columnist, who decided to employ an air of sanctimonious derision to ridicule the proposal as so much undue intrusion by the "nickname police".
Nichols begins his radio wing-nut level discourse by insisting that Wisconsin be called "Meskonsing", in keeping with the original name given to the Wisconsin River by Native Americans and continues down this misleading path to identify a Milwaukee legislator as being from "Meneawkee or Mahnawaukee". Of course, nothing in the proposed legislation has anything to do with original-name purity, but that doesn’t stop Nichols from beating the idea with an irrelevant stick.
Nichols spends the rest of the column wondering if teams with names like Norskies, Cheesemakers and Midgets would have to change. After five paragraphs of this kind of hilarious exploration – "How about, say, the ‘Butternut Buttercups’?" he chuckles to himself at one point. Stop. Yer killing me. – he clarifies it all by letting one of the sponsors explain that only names with racial aspects would be affected. He then carries on for five more graphs in the same vein, this time exploring the origins of "Badgers" as, supposedly, a put-down of lead miners.
It’s an embarrassing performance that should have been clicked-and-dragged to the computer’s recycling bin the minute it floated in from Nichols’ home office. But, yet, the Kings of State Street saw fit to waste a good fourth of a page on one of its twelve-odd Saturday pages to inflict this garbage on its shrinking readership.
"Never mind that it’s a reference to our history - and who we are," Nichols closes in defense of things not threatened. What he never discusses is how team names like Warriors, Redskins, Indians and the like are too much a reflection of our racist history and who we were. What exactly is the defense for continued use of names, images and mascots that were created and maintained only to demean, belittle and dehunamize an entire race of our fellow citizens who bore the brunt of our ancestors worst violent instincts? You wouldn’t know it from reading this tripe from Nichols, who is too busy smirking and slapping the backs of his lowest-common-denominator readers, who are only too happy to stay stupid and backward while the rest of the world leaves them behind.