Column: Aggresive apathy

By Craig Colbrook

Last week, the University appealed its inclusion on the NCAA’s list of schools that have “hostile and abusive” American Indian mascots, and no one, anywhere, was surprised. The pro-Chief people were, of course, jubilant; the anti-Chief people were understandably despondent, but the rest of the campus responded with little more than a shrug of the shoulders and a sigh.

That’s why now is the perfect time to unveil my outlook on the Chief issue, a philosophy that I think could really take off on campus. I call it, “Enough already with the damn Chief,” and its basic tenets are simple. Those of us who follow the “Enough Already” philosophy don’t care about the Chief. We just have no stance. We won’t listen to any pro-chief or anti-chief arguments; we’ve heard them all before. We won’t go to any Anti-Chief rallies, but we won’t watch the Chief at half-time, either (though that will probably be because we had to use the bathroom or saw a really cute girl or boy three rows in front of us.)

I know these aren’t exactly revolutionary stances. There are plenty of people on this campus who already do all of those things. The difference is, now we’re going to make our presence known. We’re going to get serious about our actions, and broadcast our message of “Enough already!” to anyone who will listen – students, faculty, even the Board of Trustees if we have to.

In short, we’re going to get aggressive about our apathy.

The goal is to simply change the subject. There are a lot of serious issues on this campus, and the Chief isn’t one of them. I understand the arguments. I understand that the Chief can be hurtful and offensive, but then again, he is just a symbol. And yes, I understand how important the tradition and honor of the Chief is. But then again, he is just a symbol. (And he’s a pretty lazy one, by the way. When was the last time he used a slingshot to fire T-shirts into the crowd at a football game or dunked at a basketball game?)

What about our constant budget cuts? What about the dwindling number of classes and courses? What about the repairs needed in Lincoln Hall? These are serious issues that affect a huge number of people on this campus, and if we put half our Chief energy into these issues, we’d have them solved already.

And I understand that a lot of people take the Chief seriously, too. But the debate has more than run its course. Nothing has changed. The administration is stuck with doing little more than stall tactics to avoid real action (see the “Consensus resolution,” or even this appeal), and the two ends of the debate are so polarized that they can’t even talk to anyone besides their own supporters, let alone each other.

It happens with any longstanding public debate, really. The two ends of the spectrum that truly care stop saying anything new and have already won over everyone they’re going to convince. They’re locked in an eternal dialogue of; “Shut up!” “No, you shut up!” or, “I know you are, but what am I?”

No one stands up for those in the middle. No one is willing to stand up and passionately proclaim, “I have no opinion!” or “Both sides make decent arguments!” But that’s how many of us feel on some of these issues, and it’s time we started saying so.

And who knows? If it’s successful here, if we get enough people to admit they don’t care about the Chief and this campus stops arguing about it, maybe we can focus our apathy on another issue that doesn’t really affect the people who whine about it the most – like gay marriage.

Or we won’t. Whatever, I don’t really care.

Craig Colbrook is a senior in Communications. His column appears every Friday. He can be reached at [email protected]