It's the biggest day in the Canadian sports calendar†, Grey Cup Sunday.
At 6pm Eastern, 3pm Pacific, and 4pm local time, the Edmonton Eskimos will take on the Ottawa REDBLACKS for the second oldest sports trophy in North America. This is the 103rd Grey Cup which was first awarded in 1909 and I know the math doesn't work out and you need to blame the First World War and a bizarre dispute over regulations (and not a combination of the Spanish Flu and the Second World War that usually accounts for non-Bettman related canceled sporting events).
This Grey Cup, unfortunately, hangs in the shadow of some horrible news. Attendance is down (the 34,000 in Edmonton to watch their long-suffering team win the Western Final was downright pathetic), TV viewership is down, and the league continues its baffling loss of ground to the NFL.‡ Okay, that's some pretty horrible news. But over the past few days there has been ever worse news. A couple easily-offended Red Indians are upset that the Edmonton Eskimos haven't changed their "offensive" name.
This is a minor story every year, but in the wake of the disgusting TRC report (that I debunked head to toe here) there's yet another media push to consider the name "Eskimos" offensive to...people...who...aren't...Eskimos.
Natan Obed, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the national Inuit organization, says the term is derogatory and symbolizes colonial policies. He said the team needs to change its name.To this, there's only one thing that any right-minded Canadian (or Edmonton Eskimos fan) should say. Hey Natan Obed, shut up you stupid Eskimo.
"If I was called an Eskimo or introduced as an Eskimo by anyone else, I would be offended by that," he said.
If you're not in Canada you probably haven't even heard that "Eskimo" is "offensive". The gag is that most of the Red Indians who live up north call themselves "Inuit". Notice I didn't say "all". If you happen to be from the Yupik (Siberia) or Iñupiat (Alaska) tribes, the Inuit were your rivals. In fact, to borrow a page from Obed's playbook, calling everybody from the north "Inuit" is cultural imperialism. You might as well start calling everybody from the American midwest "Iowans". So already there's a necessary requirement for a term that isn't "Inuit" to describe them. Fortunately, we have one. It's called Eskimo.
But isn't "Eskimo" an offensive term meaning child rapist or something? Well, no. There's a false claim perpetrated by Red Indian activists [isn't there always? -ed] that "Eskimo" meant "eaters of raw meat". The more extreme activists think it's a reference to cannibalism. In reality (that humdrum thing that morons like Natan Obed never operate in), Eskimo is probably the Anglicization of "assime·w" which means "guy who knows how to tie his own snowshoe laces". What an insult! It's also theorized that since this word was used by the Red Indians who interacted with French traders to reference the tribe down the road who (unlike them, I presume) actually knew how to lace snowshoes that the French assumed it was their word for "everybody who lives around here". Regardless, the false claims that Eskimo is an offensive term just don't hold water. The easily outraged will always be offended by something, especially when they want to continue their barbaric culture's 12,000 year tradition of not bothering to create anything themselves.
much like Tolkien's orcs, the Inuit take the modern refined gasoline that we use to travel around the world and sniff it until they give themselves irreparable brain damage. On a similar vein, when Natan Obed looks at the Canadian Football League (the second best in the world) all he can think of is "goddamned whitey, how can I destroy this?" Those who oppose the term "Edmonton Eskimos" are basically just envious and bitter about their own lack of accomplishments. Actual Eskimos are going to look more like this than like this, and therefore they have this weird concern that a football team named after them is "culturally appropriating" their so-called good name. Notice, as a small aside, what less culturally insignificant groups think about having sports teams named after them. The Minnesota Vikings, San Diego Padres, and Notre Dame Fighting Irish all have names after groups that probably don't contribute a lot of players to the field. Can you imagine some Swedish guy being upset over the Minnesota Vikings? Or an Irishman being upset over the Fighting Irish? Of course not. If a random Scandinavian visiting the United States saw that there's a team called the "Vikings" (with the logo being an over-the-top caricature of what Vikings supposedly looked like but definitely didn't) do you think he'd whine to the Ottawa Citizen about it? Or would he go into the local team store, buy some merchandise, and decide to cheer on the team that sort of has some sort of loose tie-in with his own cultural heritage? You know full well it's the latter. They're called the Vikings? Hey, I'm sort of a Viking. I mean, my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather came from the same patch of land that the Vikings came from even though statistically speaking he didn't join them. Yeah, this is my team! Gå Vikings!. Likewise, an Irishmen hearing about a team called the "Fighting Irish" would probably only oppose the name if they go on a ridiculously long losing streak, and even then he'd probably sarcastically use the name to joke about how the players themselves aren't actually Irish. Yet it's only the Red Indian who sees a team named after them and reacts like a ten year old girl learning that Justin Bieber is taken. It's sort of embarrassing. Learn to have the smallest amount of respect for your racial group to think that your name might just be the sort of thing that other people want to use to describe themselves to make them sound awesome.
But hey, I'm nothing if accommodating. If the Red Indian doesn't want to have a team named after them, I suppose we can oblige. I ever came up with a good one in the post title: we can rename the team the Edmonton WhiteRaceIsSuperior. That way we won't mention your race in the team name anymore, Natan Obed [well, not explicitly at least... -ed]. It won't be even remotely offensive to the race actually mentioned in the title either. It's win win. Will Obed join me in supporting this great new name change?
Okay, the quick answer is the Edmonton Eskimos shouldn't be changing their name. Fads come and go, and the current #IdleNoMore fad in pretending that the Eskimos need to change their name in the spirit of "reconciliation" is just plain ridiculous. It will blow over probably sooner rather than later, especially as more and more Canadians wake up to the fact that society in general, and the Eskimos in particular, didn't do anything wrong that needs to be "reconciled". The Edmonton Eskimos didn't get Davis Inlet kids addicted to gas sniffing. The Edmonton Eskimos didn't convert a fire hall into a youth centre. The Edmonton Eskimos didn't hire their boyfriend to help siphon money out of the Attawapiskat Reservation into their own finances. Those who are responsible are the ones who devote their resources to creating something called the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami in order to attack better men who have built meaningful aspects of our modern civilized society, rather than just get with the program.
The Grey Cup will be played today, and the Edmonton Eskimos are favoured to defeat the Ottawa Redblacks. Vegas says 52.5 is the over-under, and the Eskimos are 7 point favourites to win. If you ask me, the Edmonton Eskimos are going to win 36-17, though the game is going to start out in Ottawa's favour. So with Ottawa threatening us on the field (how appropriate is "that" as a phrase in the Prime Minister Turdeau era?) and uppity Red Indian Natan Obed threatening us off the field, there's only one appropriate response. So stand up, Eskimos fans! Join me, Bryan Hall, and the rest of the rational people in this world as we sing...
We’re cheering fight, fight, fight on EskimosGo Eskimos Go!
We’re marching right, right, right on Eskimos
We’re charging down the field for all to see
And shouting rah, rah, rah, fight on to victory
We’re fighting on ‘til every game is won
The green and gold is bold and when we’re done
We’ll tell the world we’re proud of Edmonton
And the Edmonton Eskimos.
† Not counting the NHL Draft Day, the NHL Trade Deadline Day, the NHL Free Agent Signing Day, the four to seven days of the Stanley Cup Finals, and probably most if not all games in the NHL Conference Finals. Also, possibly, Super Bowl Sunday, the NCAA Final Four, and any really big NFL matchups.
‡ Martok and I were discussing this last week and we can't entirely figure it out. I personally think bandwagoneering is a major affect: US sports culture is so much more intense than the Canadian version, so Canadian sports fans would rather watch USC's defeat of UCLA yesterday in front of 93,000 fans than BC versus Winnipeg in the Grey Cup. Which is odd, because at least when American sports fans watch college ball a lot of them are watching either their alma mater or a chief rival of their alma mater or a chief rival of a rival of a rival of a rival of their alma mater. "UCLA lost? Awesome! They beat the Arizona Wildcats in September, and I wanted them to beat Arizona to pay them back for their humiliation of myteam, the South Carolina State Bulldogs in 2013. I'm a SC-State Graduate. Go Bulldogs! And whoever beats teams who failed to beat Arizona!. No Canadian can say this phrase, but we know people from BC or Manitoba, or we dislike Hamilton for beating us etc. etc. etc. It truly boggles the mind.