The Hazing Of Yesteryear … And Today
Posted on 12.13.16 by Danny Glover @ 11:56 am

Back in the day, the Paden City High School band engaged in hazing by assigning freshman “slaves” to seniors during the week of “band camp,” which occurred at Bethany College in West Virginia. We boys not only had to dress as women but had to march in costume, including pantyhose and water balloons in our bras.

We also had to wear dog biscuits on strings around our necks and eat them at our masters’ command. And we had to go through a gauntlet of humiliation one evening, where all of the seniors dumped molasses on the freshmen and put us through other trials. We didn’t know what was coming because we were all blindfolded. I remember washing my hair with Coca-Cola every night of my freshman year to try to get all of the gunk out of it.

All of this occurred with adult consent and supervision. No parents objected. It was all considered perfectly normal. The tradition went on for years until someone crossed a line that brought an abrupt and merciful end to it. I heard that Bethany officials intervened because of the way one particular freshman was forced to dress and walk through the shared cafeteria, but maybe that was just the band camp equivalent of an urban legend.

It was always a bit ironic that this behavior happened on the campus of a “Christian liberal arts college.”

I didn’t realize until today that the “adults” in Major League Baseball had been engaging in and tolerating similar hazing:

Exactly when the annual dress-up day began around the majors isn’t quite clear. Players often considered it a form of bonding, and it’s become more and more of a production in recent years.

Chase Headley and San Diego Padres newcomers wore the skimpy, shiny orange shorts and tight, white tops of Hooters servers for a September 2008 flight from Denver to Washington. … Other past costumes that would be allowed include San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner as a giant ketchup bottle, Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton on the U.S. Olympic men’s water polo team and Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig as Gumby.

… Last September, the New York Mets posted photos and video of players going to Starbucks in Philadelphia wearing uniforms from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, as portrayed in the 1992 movie A League of Their Own. Several other teams engaged in similar behavior.

In 2012, Harper and Nationals newcomers wore red leotards in the style of Gabby Douglas and the U.S. women’s gymnastics team for a train ride to New York — veteran Washington pitcher Gio Gonzalez tweeted a photo.

In 2007, the Yankees’ theme was The Wizard of Oz. Ian Kennedy wore Dorothy’s ruby red slippers for a flight from New York to Tampa. “I’d rather be here dressing up than anywhere else,” Kennedy said at the time. “It makes you feel like one of the guys.”

Now those practices have been halted. “Times have changed,” players’ union general counsel Dave Prouty. “There is certain conduct that we have to be conscious of.”

Welcome to the 21st century, athletes of America!


Filed under: Culture and Education and News & Politics and Sports
Comments: None

Of Redskins And Rednecks
Posted on 11.05.15 by Danny Glover @ 8:30 pm

For years the speech police have been pressuring Washington’s professional football franchise to change the name of its team from Redskins to something that isn’t “offensive” to American Indians. Team owners past and present have ignored the outcry, but back in June a federal judge voided the Redskins trademark.

That led to an interesting legal brief from the Redskins organization this week as it appeals the ruling. The team challenged the notion that the federal Trademark Trial and Appeal Board can overturn a brand name because it is “disparaging.”

Rednecks get a shout-out in one section of the brief. It rebuts the claim that the government’s continued allowance of the Redskins mark could be interpreted as an endorsement of the term.

The team’s lawyers make their point by listing several other potentially offensive terms the trademark board has approved. “Redneck Army Apparel” is right there in the middle of them.

That’s the first time I’ve seen anyone as enlightened as a big-city lawyer admit that “redneck” is a disparaging word. Granted, the Redskins legal team is arguing that entrepreneurial Americans should be free to use brand their products with a stamp of redneck approval, but at least there is an implication that “redneck” just might be a slur, depending on the context. That’s progress.

On the other hand, “redneck” may be a moneymaker. I entered the word into the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s search system, and it generated 649 results. “Hillbilly” and other similarly disparaging terms make appearances, too.

The takeaway from this stroll through the bureaucracy: Sometimes it pays to be offensive, whether you own a football team or just have a marketing gimmick geared toward rednecks.


Filed under: Business and Government and Hatin' On Rednecks and News & Politics and Rednecks and Sports
Comments: 1 Comment

The Truth About ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’
Posted on 12.02.14 by Danny Glover @ 10:13 pm

I penned these words 15 years ago after a national tragedy. I’m sharing them now because they remain relevant, albeit to another tragedy:

When tragedy strikes, the human spirit yearns for comfort, a seed of hope to soothe the shattered soul. When tragedy strikes the young, that yearning is all the more unrelenting in its quest for closure. The spirit will not rest until it can find some good in the evil of this world.

Such was the case after the April 20 shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado. And in the wake of that inexplicable rampage was born the myth of Cassie Bernall — a myth that today begs the question of whether Americans are capable of telling the truth in the face of tragedy.

Bernall’s name may not be familiar to the masses, but her story certainly is. She is … the 17-year-old girl shot to death when “She Said ‘Yes’” to a gun-toting schoolmate who asked if she believed in God. She is the martyr whose death made some sense of a senseless crime.

This time around, the myth involves a suspected criminal rather than an innocent victim, but it still won’t die. The myth is that Michael Brown was surrendering with his hands up and said “don’t shoot” when Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson shot him to death. Sensational coverage of the Aug. 9 shooting has fueled that myth ever since, and it is now considered unassailable gospel truth in some quarters.

Those quarters include, most notably, the National Football League stadium in the metropolis where the shooting occurred and Capitol Hill. The hands-up gesture is the rallying cry of Brown’s defenders, be they part of an official group like Hands Up United, talking heads in the media or the outraged masses on Twitter.

Remind them of the truth — that the claim of Brown raising his hands as a show of submission to law enforcement was at best suspect — and they explain it away like this:

It was the players’ way of signaling solidarity with the thousands … who have protested a grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown. And it was the kind of peaceful statement that should be part of the public discourse after a wrenching, divisive event. (The Boston Globe)

Or, in the words of protester Taylor Gruenloh: “Even if you don’t find that it’s true, it’s a valid rallying cry. It’s just a metaphor.”

But eloquent protests to the contrary, the truth does matter. Metaphors that perpetuate lies — whether they involve a young, white girl like Cassie Bernall or a young, black man like Michael Brown — breed cynicism and thus deepen the wounds they aim to heal.

That’s why Charles Barkley, a black man and former professional athlete who can identify with both Brown and five St. Louis Rams who thrust their hands in the air on Sunday, lashed out at irresponsible journalists who help spread deceitful metaphors. “I can’t believe anything I hear on television anymore,” he said. “And, that’s why I don’t like talking about race issues with the media anymore because they love this stuff and lead people to jump to conclusions.”

Sports writer John Walters cut to the chase in a Newsweek column: “The grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, failed to indict one police officer; the proliferation of hands up, don’t shoot indicts all of them. To get justice, you must start with the truth.”


Filed under: Culture and Media and News & Politics and People and Sports
Comments: None

Revenge Of The Phony Nerds
Posted on 07.30.14 by Danny Glover @ 8:38 pm

I remember the ancient time — back in my high school years — when nerds became the heroes of Hollywood plot lines. Movies and television shows celebrated the geeks who were scorned by the jocks, cheerleaders and other cool kids.

This helps explain why so many people embrace the “nerd” label these days. But as Charles Cooke explains at National Review Online, today’s nerd are pretenders. They have corrupted the word for political purposes, and they are the anti-type of Hollywood’s heroic dweebs, plagued by the very air of superiority the nerds in cinema resisted.

And who are the targets of their bigotry? Rednecks, of course. As Cooke says:

“Nerd” has become a calling a card — a means of conveying membership of one group and denying affiliation with another. The movement’s king, Neil deGrasse Tyson, has formal scientific training, certainly, as do the handful of others who have become celebrated by the crowd. He is a smart man who has done some important work in popularizing science. But this is not why he is useful. Instead, he is useful because he can be deployed as a cudgel and an emblem in political argument — pointed to as the sort of person who wouldn’t vote for Ted Cruz.

“Ignorance,” a popular Tyson meme holds, “is a virus. Once it starts spreading, it can only be cured by reason. For the sake of humanity, we must be that cure.” This rather unspecific message is a call to arms, aimed at those who believe wholeheartedly they are included in the elect “we.” Thus do we see unexceptional liberal-arts students lecturing other people about things they don’t understand themselves and terming the dissenters “flat-earthers.” Thus do we see people who have never in their lives read a single academic paper clinging to the mantle of “science” as might Albert Einstein. Thus do we see residents of Brooklyn who are unable to tell you at what temperature water boils rolling their eyes at Bjørn Lomborg or Roger Pielke Jr. because he disagrees with Harry Reid on climate change.

Really, the only thing in these people’s lives that is peer-reviewed are their opinions. Don’t have a Reddit account? Believe in God? Skeptical about the threat of overpopulation? Who are you, Sarah Palin?

I was fortunate to find a happy medium in my youth. I was a “band baby” for two of my four years at Paden City High School and a “football animal” for one. I was never quite talented enough to get much playing time in any of the official school sports I tried, but I also wasn’t among the last people picked when I joined my peers for backyard football, pickup basketball and the like. I ranked among the top 10 percent of my small class but also opted to study to be an electrician at a vocational school rather than take college prep classes my junior and senior years.

I was part nerd and part jock. I enjoyed intellectual pursuits yet also appreciated the folksy wisdom of those who were educated at the University of Hard Knocks. In other words, I was — and am — an enlightened redneck. And that’s the worst nightmare of the Neil deGrasse Tysons of the world.


Filed under: Culture and Education and Entertainment and Hatin' On Rednecks and Movies and People and Rednecks and Sports and West Virginia
Comments: 1 Comment

The Worm For The Win
Posted on 04.14.14 by Danny Glover @ 10:52 pm

As a tee-totaling redneck, I’ve always been annoyed that beer brands make some of the most clever TV ads. But you gotta give props where props are due, and Keystone Light has a winner in my book with its fishing ad that glorifies the lowly worm:

I’ve always been partial to the worm as bait. During my high school years, I earned some hefty pocket change catching dozens of nightcrawlers a night in my hometown and selling them for 50 cents to 65 cents per dozen. My biggest problem as a businessman was not using the inventory myself in the Ohio River and its tributary streams on the West Virginia side of the river.

Some of my fishing mentors and companions razzed me over my choice of bait. Even the hillbilly hollers have their share of anglers who look down their noses if you use live bait, and especially nightcrawlers, instead of tying a fly, a spinner or some other lure on the end of your line. Dough balls, corn and even stink bait for catfish ranked higher in their minds than dirty worms.

“A River Runs Through It” memorialized this brand of redneck elitism in a scene where the bumbling bait fisherman showed up late and drunk, with a coffee can full of worms. The uppity fly fishermen, the movie’s main characters, found him hours later, naked and sunburned because he fell asleep in the grass with the hussy he brought with him.

But no matter how much mocking I endured, I never wavered from the worms. I also usually caught far more fish than my friends who were loyal to their lures, as did the fishermen who came knocking on my parents’ door for bait — sometimes to the tune of 20 dozen or more at once.

The pinnacle of my fishing youth came on the day when the man who taught me the most about the sport asked if I’d share my worms with him. He had been fishing all day with his favorite lure, white Curly Tail Grubs from Mister Twister.

For every bass he tricked with those lures, I hooked two to three with my nightcrawlers. They were biting within seconds after my bait hit the water. His “luck” improved dramatically when he swapped the plastic for the natural.

My mentor was a teetotaler, too, but if a non-alcoholic version of Keystone Light had existed back then, he just might have bought me a brew to toast the worm for the win.


Filed under: Advertising and Business and Family and Fishing and Rednecks and Sports and Video and West Virginia
Comments: 1 Comment

Beyond The West Virginia Stereotypes
Posted on 01.15.14 by Danny Glover @ 9:41 pm

You’ll never read this description of West Virginia (or any like it) in the media because it’s way more fun to mock stereotypical, imaginary rednecks than it is to report the boring reality of enlightened rednecks:

My father and mother both have good jobs. My sister and I both attend college. I’ve never thought about fornicating with a family member. I’ve never chewed tobacco or made moonshine. I have all my teeth. I’m friends with a black kid. I’ve never seen Crystal Meth. Welfare checks don’t feed me. I wear the brands other states wear, listen to the Billboard Top 100, and I even have internet access. Take a step back and look at us, America- West Virginia isn’t just one big mud hole…it’s where I call home.

There’s more at the Gateway Connector blog in a post titled “The Real West Virginia,” including a short list of celebrities from the Mountain State such as premier college football coaches Jimbo Fisher and Nick Saban.


Filed under: Hatin' On Rednecks and Media and News & Politics and People and Sports and West Virginia
Comments: None

There’s Only One Tavon Austin
Posted on 03.02.13 by Danny Glover @ 12:14 am

And he had a spectacular football career for the West Virginia University Mountaineers.

Here are two videos that capture the essence of Tavon’s senior year in 2012 — the first being the biggest game of his career and one of the best individual performances in college football history, and the second being a recap of great clips from the whole season:

We Mountaineers salute you, Tavon! Thanks for the memories.


Filed under: Sports and Video and West Virginia
Comments: None

WVU’s Big 12 Bust
Posted on 12.30.12 by Danny Glover @ 10:36 pm

Every diehard West Virginia University fan was excited about our debut season in the Big 12 four months ago, and the Mountaineers justified our enthusiasm early in the season with five straight wins, including back-to-back, high-scoring, come-from-behind thrillers against Baylor at home and Texas in Austin.

But the season fell apart after those first two Big 12 games. The Mountaineers, plagued by a horrendous defense (one of the worst in the nation) and an offense that couldn’t make big plays at key moments, lost five straight Big 12 games. WVU closed the season with two wins over the bottom dwellers of the Big 12, Iowa State and Kansas, lifting the spirits of us fans.

Then came yesterday’s Pinstripe Bowl, where the Mountaineers decided to embarrass themselves one last time against former Big East rival Syracuse. This Yahoo Sports analysis sums up the pitiful performance nicely, albeit painfully:

The Mountaineers defense was awful, as always. It is a poorly coached unit with not a lot of talent, which is a horrible combination. Teams like Baylor and Syracuse worked to get better on defense and put forth a good showing in the bowl game. West Virginia didn’t look like it really cared how bad its defense was, and it didn’t look like it took any steps to fix it in the time before the Pinstripe Bowl. The offense usually keeps the Mountaineers in games, but that wasn’t the case against Syracuse.

[Quarterback Geno] Smith looked like he was bothered by the snowy weather, but that’s nothing that will be excused by NFL teams evaluating him. … He had poor pocket awareness on many plays, never seeming to figure out where the Syracuse rush was coming from. He was sacked in the end zone twice for safeties, which is something that shouldn’t happen to a highly skilled senior quarterback.

Adding insult to injury, the newspaper in Weirton, W.Va., published an embarrassing typo that put the bowl loss in comedic perspective: “WVU loses bowel.” We Mountaineers fans, who endured ridicule even after a record-setting Orange Bowl victory one year ago, had to laugh to keep from crying.

Now we have to eight months to see if Dana Holgorsen, who has taken WVU football fans on a two-year roller coaster ride using players recruited by his predecessor, Bill Stewart, can coach the Mountaineers out of the Big 12 basement. Considering Holgorsen coached a team with great potential at the beginning of the season to WVU’s our worst record since 2001 (3-8), count me among the skeptics.


Filed under: News & Politics and Sports and West Virginia
Comments: None

Mountaineers Fans Gone Bad
Posted on 10.08.12 by Danny Glover @ 3:27 pm

Burning couches to celebrate a momentous sports victory is funny in theory. That’s why West Virginia University fans are still laughing at the Sprint commercial several years ago that poked fun at the Mountaineers’ couch-burning tradition.

But in reality, couch-burning is no joke. It is riotous behavior that incites troublemakers and burdens the city governments who have to deploy police and safety personnel to control the fans. Morgantown, the home of WVU, is so fed up with the misbehaving students in the city that it may slap a financial penalty on them to help cover the costs of constant post-game parties.

Speaking with a reporter hours after hundreds of revelers set fires and attacked police officers, [Mayor Jim] Manilla said efforts to tone down the post-game party atmosphere have failed. “Whatever good has been done in the past has been all wiped out,” he said. “We’re getting close to an injury or loss of life.”

… Manilla said he has been thinking about bringing the idea of a “student impact fee” to Morgantown City Council. If a $20 fee is assessed for each WVU student each semester, he said enough money would be raised to pay for extra public employees. With an enrollment of nearly 30,000, that would equal about $1.2 million in revenue for the city annually.

The mayor aired the idea after WVU defeated Texas 48-45 and students literally set the streets of the city on fire in celebration. Worse, they threw rocks and bottles at police trying to keep the peace and picked fights with others in the streets. Similar troubles arose after WVU defeated Baylor 70-63.

I witnessed this kind of behavior firsthand as a WVU student and reporter for the local Dominion Post. WVU defeated Penn State 51-30 that year in a rare victory over Joe Paterno’s team. The victory was so sweet that students charged the field with 49 seconds left, and those last seconds of play had to be cancelled — an embarrassing display of unsportsmanlike conduct that was follow by more unruly behavior in the streets that night.

At that same time, WVU students were complaining of unfair, albeit unrelated, treatment at the hands of city officials. The confluence of events inspired me to write an op-ed that still seems relevant 14 years later as unruly Mountaineers are causing trouble in Morgantown. Here is what I wrote:
(more…)


Filed under: Government and News & Politics and People and Sports and West Virginia
Comments: None

Why We Home-School, Lesson #43
Posted on 05.29.12 by Danny Glover @ 8:23 pm

We have seen the value of homeschooling in the successes of parents and children from our own community, including 6-year-old Lori Anne Madison, who this week will become the youngest person ever to compete in the National Spelling Bee:

Sorina Vlaicu Madison, Lori Anne’s mother and primary teacher, said she and her daughter have no problem eschewing books and academic pursuits if the outside world is more inviting or their minds are tired. That means swim lessons, play dates, time for games like Angry Birds on the Kindle, and visits to an indoor play center called Kids ‘N Motion.

Madison, who teaches health policy at a local university, laughs at the assumption that she has driven her daughter to spelling heights, perhaps by sheer will or intolerance for failure. “You can’t drill a 6-year-old,” Madison said. “You can’t really force them to do anything.”

Lori Anne earned her spot in the national competition by winning the Prince William County, Va., spelling bee. Most of her rivals this week will be at least twice her age.

Lori Anne’s educational success is not unusual in the homeschooling world. Her peer group regularly excels in competition. Here’s just a short list:

  • Evan O’Dorney, who earned $100,000 by winning the Intel Science Talent Search at age 17 — this after winning the National Spelling Bee at age 14.
  • A team of seven students who won the world championship of robotics, a field where homeschoolers often excel.
  • Calvin McCarter, who won the National Geographic Bee at age 10. A few years later, homeschooler Nathan Cornelius won the bee at age 13.
  • Emily Vanasdale, a winner of the National Center for Women and Information Technology Award.
  • Amy Anderson, who won the U.S. Girls’ Junior Golf Championship and who surprised the professional golf world by finishing with the lowest score in the first round of the 2011 U.S. Open.
  • NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, the first home-schooled student to win the coveted Heisman Trophy while at the University of Florida

You can read plenty of other success stories at the website of the Home School Legal Defense Association, or just Google the phrase “homeschooler wins” and watch them fill your screen. Students who get their education at home are especially good at winning spelling bees.

(Read previous “Why We Home-School” lessons.)


Filed under: Grammar and Home Schooling and Human Interest and News & Politics and Sports and Technology and Why We Home-School
Comments: None

previous posts »
The Redneck Report


Featured Entries

Recent Entries

Categories

Syndication
RSS 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0
WordPress

Social Networks

Search
Archives
August 2017
July 2017
May 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
May 2007
January 2007
July 2006
April 2006
March 2006
September 2005
August 2005
June 2005
April 2004
March 2004

Blogroll

Blogs I Read

Enlightened Reads

My Other Blogs

Redneck Reads

Video Stops


Copyright © 2017 Danny Glover. All rights reserved.
Site by Three Group