PETA
October 18, 2001 11:10 AM   Subscribe

PETA is at it again, but this time they know not with whom they trifle. PETA's Kristie Phelps sent a letter to Dr. John Palms, president of the University of South Carolina, requesting that USC "bench" their athletic teams' moniker "The Fighting Gamecocks," because, well, it's funnier to read the press release and letter for yourself. The letter elicited this response and this news story in The State, our local paper. (Note the further link from there to the readers' forum, which is pretty damn hilarious in its own right.)
posted by alumshubby (74 comments total)

 
Perish the thought. I may not be a big sports fan, but I know a good cheer when I hear one. Go Cocks!
posted by RakDaddy at 11:21 AM on October 18, 2001


So, essentially, USC is telling PETA to "suck my gamecock"?
posted by clevershark at 11:21 AM on October 18, 2001


They've got the nerve to equate naming your time "The Fighting Gamecocks" with naming your team "The Wifebeaters" or "The Road-Ragers"...

*sigh* PETA annoys me a lot of the time.

The day someone petitions Notre Dame to drop "The Fighting Irish" is the day I start breaking skulls, though.
posted by tomorama at 11:26 AM on October 18, 2001


*naming your team...

I guess that "Comment Preview" thing is there for a reason.
posted by tomorama at 11:27 AM on October 18, 2001


I am so tired of this PETA stuff...
posted by matteo at 11:27 AM on October 18, 2001


USC knows it has a good merchandising hook with the "Go Cocks!" line of hats and shirts. I used to see these all over my campus (Syracuse) on hats that said just "Cocks".
posted by msacheson at 11:27 AM on October 18, 2001


cockfighting *is* one of the most violent, terrible "sports" around. it's truly appalling. read this (very interesting) this article from harper's. made me realize that we're not talking about just baiting animals to fight with each other.
The rules are simple: two roosters are matched by weight and given identical weapons (wild cocks use their bony back spurs to fight, but cockfighters cut these off and strap knives or gaffs, like curved ice picks, onto the stumps). Once armed, the birds are placed in a ring and launched at each other like self-guided missiles, exploding in a flurry of beaks and feet
I'm a soft heart, I know; as far as I'm concerned, cockfighting needs to go the way of child labor.
posted by rebeccablood at 11:50 AM on October 18, 2001


I've decided to start a new campaign in hopes of convincing PETA to stop trolling for attention with stupid letters and gimmicky press releases.

I encourage everyone who, like matteo and I, are sick of this crap or this or this to do the following: Everytime you read on the web or hear on the mass media about the latest PETA gimmick, do the following:

1) Go out to your local market and buy a big, juicy steak. Ribeyes are good; a 3-inch thick T-bone even better.
2) Grill it up and enjoy!
3) While eating, take time to enjoy Denis Leary's thoughts about meat.
4) Make sure you email PETA to let them know you hadn't thought about chowin' down on some meat until you heard their name.
posted by darren at 11:56 AM on October 18, 2001


People are getting Anthrax mailed to them and PETA is stirring up THIS? They're afraid that the name of a sports team is offending chickens?! If we ever needed evidence that these people had their priorities screwed up and had little if any cognizance of the real world around them, this is it.
posted by glenwood at 12:01 PM on October 18, 2001


Uhuhuhuh...Beavis, he said 'Cock'.

So Peta is feeling left out of the media spotlight these days, eh? These people make my blood boil, but after witnessing thousands of people decimated in an instant, their agenda is just so unimportant to me.
posted by Sal Amander at 12:01 PM on October 18, 2001


I've decided to start a new campaign in hopes of convincing PETA to stop trolling for attention with stupid letters and gimmicky press releases.

I'm with you! Then, maybe, we can get the NRA to shut the fuck up about guns and stuff!
posted by ColdChef at 12:01 PM on October 18, 2001


Oh, yeah, cockfighting is about the nastiest bloodsport there is.

Bulldogs were specifically bred for bull-baiting in England. The dog would latch on the bull's nose and see how long it could hang on, basically. Also pretty horrific "entertainment" and probably illegal in even more places than 47 US states. So I wonder how long before PETA goes after Georgetown, Georgia, SC State, Yale, Mississippi State...
posted by alumshubby at 12:01 PM on October 18, 2001


alum and Rebecca - you are aware that USC is not sponsoring cockfighting..


Right?


This is about "hateful speech" towards chickens.
posted by glenwood at 12:04 PM on October 18, 2001


Hmmm, when I visualized fighting cocks, I was thinking of something different....

en garde
posted by darren at 12:04 PM on October 18, 2001


For those of you who are amused by the name of USC's mascot, consider a popular bumper sticker seen around Columbia a few years back:

"You Can't Lick Our Cocks."
posted by alumshubby at 12:07 PM on October 18, 2001


glenwood, you are aware that I read the documents I linked to in order to choose ones I wanted?

Now, man the disclaimer detail: I live in Columbia, SC, root for the Gamecocks, and have attended USC. I found the local reaction to this whole PETA dustup entertaining and I wanted to share it with the MF community for their collective amusement and edification. I'm not advocating for or against anything, PETA included (although I do chuckle at some of their statements). If anybody here likes cockfighting, hey, more power to ya. If you're against it, cool. If you like PETA's stance on mascot names, sure, fine, whatever.
posted by alumshubby at 12:13 PM on October 18, 2001


Taking on the rabid SC fan base is just insane, particularly since there are much easier targets out there. I have never seen fans as upset as the Gamecocks' faithful when Arkansas beat South Carolina last Saturday. I thought some of them were going to commit suicide after the game. Some South Carolina fans are VERY dedicated and showed up in huge numbers even during the pre-Holtz years when the team could not win a single game. Hell, they would make Holtz the King of South Carolina if they could.

But I have been getting some great laughs out of this. Some of the SC fan pages are calling for the "total annihilation of PETA" and demanding that supporters of PETA be banned from South Carolina games. And when a few South Carolina fans suggested that the Gamecocks' mascot was just a "glorified chicken," they were listed by name in a few articles. Hee hee.
posted by bargle at 12:18 PM on October 18, 2001


glenwood, it's not about hateful speech, it's about glorifying an activity that is illegal in most states and that many people find abhorrent.

she's objecting to the name on the same grounds that one might object to naming a team "the wife beaters", "the crackheads", or "the bin laden freedom fighters".

read the article I linked for a gruesome description of a cockfight:
Both roosters were striking home now, spraying the referee with blood and bits of down. They hurled themselves at each other in weary spasms, biting each other's necks and wind-milling their feet, until their gaffs snagged and the handlers rushed in to separate them. Demoruelle had hoped the gray would gradually gain the upper hand--green-legged birds have more "bottom" than yellow-legged birds, he explained--but that didn't seem to be happening. After five minutes of fighting, both birds were wounded, though the gray looked worse: one eye dim, the other destroyed, pale feathers matted with blood, beak trembling with every breath.
it continues from there.
posted by rebeccablood at 12:21 PM on October 18, 2001


Obviously, the answer is to change their name to the Humorless Militant Vegetarians.
posted by jjg at 12:24 PM on October 18, 2001


rebeccablood, did you also read Dr. Palms' response to Ms. Phelps? Perhaps it's worth considering also.
posted by alumshubby at 12:25 PM on October 18, 2001


it's about glorifying an activity that is illegal in most states and that many people find abhorrent.

she's objecting to the name on the same grounds that one might object to naming a team "the wife beaters", "the crackheads"


Shit. That also rules out calling them "football players."
posted by Skot at 12:30 PM on October 18, 2001


she's objecting to the name on the same grounds that one might object to naming a team "the wife beaters", "the crackheads", or "the bin laden freedom fighters".

*sigh* But it's NOT like that. 'Gamecock' is a legitimate term for a male game fowl. Besides that, your examples are kind of weird.

It's not like naming your team 'the wife beaters' as much as it is like naming your team 'the wives'.

alum: I misread your follow up post. Sorry charlie.
posted by glenwood at 12:33 PM on October 18, 2001


alumshubby : I did.

castrati have a long and illustrious history, too, but we don't do *that* anymore.

say, that suggest a compromise to me:

"the SC castrati"

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 12:37 PM on October 18, 2001


In other words, the Nococks.
posted by jjg at 12:40 PM on October 18, 2001


Besides that, your examples are kind of weird.

Why do you think they are weird? I think they are quite legitimate points. rebeccablood's post makes sense to me. I couldn't put it better, so I won't.
posted by lucien at 12:40 PM on October 18, 2001


Obviously, the answer is to change their name to the Humorless Militant Vegetarians.

Well, not COMPLETELY Humorless...
posted by ColdChef at 12:41 PM on October 18, 2001


Birds used in cockfighting are routinely pumped full of stimulants, hormones like testosterone, and blood-clotting drugs,

Just like professional athletes!!!
posted by adampsyche at 12:48 PM on October 18, 2001


At one point during the 0-21 losing streak, a WUSC (college radio station) announcer suggested that USC could stand for "underachieving scarlet chickens."
posted by alumshubby at 1:02 PM on October 18, 2001


rebeccablood, I'd like to see you write to The State (I think you can even send letters-to-the-editor online nowadays) with that one or post it to the forum I referenced in my initial post.

Wow, the "Fighting Castrati." One thing's for sure: USC's College of Music would love it!

Come to think of it, the other USC, out there in California, chose as its mascot the Trojans. Doesn't that mean they chose to style themselves after the losers of the Trojan War?
posted by alumshubby at 1:07 PM on October 18, 2001


rebeccablood, I'd like to see you write to The State (I think you can even send letters-to-the-editor online nowadays) with that one or post it to the forum I referenced in my initial post.

Wow, the "Fighting Castrati." One thing's for sure: USC's College of Music would love it!

Come to think of it, the other USC, out there in California, chose as its mascot the Trojans. Doesn't that mean they chose to style themselves after the losers of the Trojan War? (add obligatory condom jokes here)
posted by alumshubby at 1:08 PM on October 18, 2001


*winces* Sorry for the double post...stupid buttons...
posted by alumshubby at 1:10 PM on October 18, 2001


> glenwood, it's not about hateful speech, it's about
> glorifying an activity that is illegal in most states and that
> many people find abhorrent.

You do realize, I guess, that the "game" in "gamecock" is used in the sense of "wild game" or "free-ranging," and not the sense "we'uns is gonna play a really nasty game with these here chickins"?

You can go to the grocery store and get frozen "game hens", and they aren't left over from some cockfight. They are just a particular variety of gallus -- smaller than barnyard fowl, very fast, and (unlike standard domestic chickens) smart enough to live and raise chicks in areas that are overrun with foxes and/or cats. Yes, the males do fight, ferociously, without any encouragement from people. When you (or PETA) see the gamecock used as a sports mascot, there's no reason on earth to jump to the conclusion that anyone is glorifying any sort of blood sport. These folks at USC are taking inspiration from a little feathered velociraptor that's plentifully aggressive just as God or Darwin made him.
posted by jfuller at 1:51 PM on October 18, 2001


jfuller: did you read president palm's response to the complaint? it would appear from his letter that he understands the term "gamecock" in the context of USC's mascot name, to mean "a fighting cock".

I know what game is; I wasn't aware until this thread that the term "gamecock" is used specifically to refer to fighting cocks, but president palm's letter has demonstrated to me that it is.
posted by rebeccablood at 2:03 PM on October 18, 2001


The way I read Palm's letter, it sounds like he is acknowledging the gamecock as an animal with a reputation for fierceness——it would be fierce whether humans forced them to fight or not. Thought of that way, it's really not much different from a team named the 'Fighting Lions'. Should we ban that name because the Romans used to pit men against lions? Can we rename the Chicago Bulls because someone might think of bullfighting (or bull-baiting)?
posted by darukaru at 2:15 PM on October 18, 2001


glenwood: People are getting Anthrax mailed to them and PETA is stirring up THIS?

Hear, hear comrade glenwood. How dare people agitate for their petty, non-terrorism-related beliefs now that everything's changed. They should shut down operations immediately and volunteer to weave flags from organic cotton.

While I'm on the subject.. how can you be discussing such inconsequential and banal non-events on the internet when your governmental representative or favorite media icon may at this moment be opening a tainted envelope? I suggest you shut off the computer and volunteer to open mail for someone important.

Don't ask what I'm doing... I'm watching you.
posted by muta at 2:18 PM on October 18, 2001


A chicken is a chicken... tastes good whether it is a game chicken or a farm chicken.

Now excuse me while I put my game face on so I can go get a bucket of KFC.
posted by da5id at 2:22 PM on October 18, 2001


A chicken is a chicken...

KFC ain't no Poulet de Bresse.

Anyway, feel sorry for the poor cockerels that get thrown onto the rugby pitch whenever the French are playing.

And I'm waiting for a college to name its team the "Fighting Bacilli", just for the publicity.
posted by holgate at 2:42 PM on October 18, 2001


Wouldn't the Washington Wizards mascot be offensive to Christians and those who practice some other modern religions? (It could spark a rise of Satanism or paganism just like the Gamecocks mascot could make me go out and brutally torture two chickens...

REALLY, when will the idiocy stop. Next will they ask us to stop saying "gamecock"?

Bleh...
posted by fooljay at 2:48 PM on October 18, 2001


You do realize, I guess, that the "game" in "gamecock" is used in the sense of "wild game" or "free-ranging," and not the sense "we'uns is gonna play a really nasty game with these here chickins"?

game·cock (gmkk)
n.
A rooster trained for cockfighting.
Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

game·cock
Pronunciation: 'gAm-"käk
Function: noun
Date: 1677
"a rooster of the domestic chicken trained for fighting "
Source: Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary

gamecock n 1: a cock bred and trained for fighting [syn: fighting cock]
Source: WordNet ® 1.6, © 1997 Princeton University

Those who don't know the definitions of words don't read...and something about a calculus professor...ah, forget it.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 2:57 PM on October 18, 2001


I support PETA.

Leaving aside the obvious idiocy of people who would support or otherwise glorify the training of animals to fight for the "entertainment" of humans...

Why eat animals? We humans do not need to do so, and the practice leads to pain and suffering.

"It tastes good" or "it feels good" are the same compelling reasons people use to rationalize smoking, drinking to excess, huffing paint, catching anthrax from intercourse with sheep, and abusing children.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 3:05 PM on October 18, 2001


I guess I'd better stop listening to Carmen.

Homer: "Use the cuspidor! That's what it's for! Toreador!"
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:33 PM on October 18, 2001


PETA isn't about not eating meat. It's about placing animals on the same plane as humans. Embracing PETA's views means that wool is forbidden. It means that you refuse medicine created from animals. It means that you would rather let children die than develop a new medicine that required testing on animals, even testing that did not kill the animal.

I haven't eaten meat for over a decade, but I'll never be so deluded as to identify myself with PETA.
posted by NortonDC at 3:55 PM on October 18, 2001


What team name hasn't be criticized yet? Everytime I see that big smile on Cleveland's Indian I just realize its in bad taste and let it go. I'd much rather see symbolized stupitidy than real cockfighting or racism. Sports fanatics, alums, etc wake me when there's real cockfighting about in college.

Isn't there some special term for sports nerds like trekkies? You know people who are anal and obsessed with thier local team and anyone who might beat or criticize them? Losers comes to mind, but that's a little harsh.
posted by skallas at 4:12 PM on October 18, 2001


rebeccablood, i find your name offensive as the reference to "blood" conjures up images of a referee being sprayed with the red substance in a cockfight.

Please change your name immediately, so that other softhearts like myself do not need to be tormented with such grotesque images.

Because, after all, it is your responsibility to make me feel comfortable, is it not?
posted by David Dark at 4:15 PM on October 18, 2001


"intercourse with sheep"

Oh, great..... Now we can't have sex with sheep either??? That's going too far. When will the madness end?
posted by y6y6y6 at 4:57 PM on October 18, 2001


"Why eat animals"

um, cuz that's what carnivores do m'dear.
posted by xochi at 5:07 PM on October 18, 2001


david dark: why the personal attack?
posted by rebeccablood at 5:24 PM on October 18, 2001


"It tastes good" or "it feels good" are the same compelling reasons people use to rationalize smoking, drinking to excess, huffing paint, catching anthrax from intercourse with sheep, and abusing children.

I love the inane logic here... you are comparing eating meat to abusing children.

Pretty pathetic rationale.

If God wanted me to eat only vegetables, he would have given me teeth like a cows. Did he? Nope, he gave me teeth similar to other Carnivores and Omnivores.
posted by da5id at 5:28 PM on October 18, 2001


fold_and_mutilate:

> game·cock
> Pronunciation: 'gAm-"käk
> Function: noun
> Date: 1677

Historical definitions. Game chickens remain game chickens, even in enlightened South Carolina where cockfighting is illegal. Here, have a McNugget and chill.
posted by jfuller at 5:50 PM on October 18, 2001


Since someone was whining about PETA's lack of sensitivity to the Current Situation....

PETA asks: "Are your animals prepared for a disaster?" PETA was also part of the animal resuce effort following the WTC disaster.
posted by ahughey at 5:51 PM on October 18, 2001


rebeccablood: it's not a personal attack. It's a metaphor for what PETA is demanding in their ridiculous campaign against SC. You just happen to be defending it, so I chose you. No offense intended.

Like PETA, I wrote to you out of the blue to ask you to change your name for my own personal reasons. It's unfair and un-American, not to mention petty. I mean, to date, I've not heard of one single rooster complaining. What is PETA's big beef with freedom of speech, anyway?

So, are you prepared to change your name to keep from offending others? If not, why do you think that SC should? Like glenwood said, it's not like SC is sponsoring or even advocating cock fighting. They just use the word gamecock. That's it. Just the word. So it's not enough to make the practice illegal, we must also rid the world of the memory that such practice ever existed in the first place, right?
posted by David Dark at 6:32 PM on October 18, 2001


thank you, norton, for showing that vegetarians are not automatically aligned with peta. I've been vegan for many years and I hate their politics.

I don't think cockfighting should be legal, but I don't really care where sports teams get their names. would I be happy about a football team called the wifebeaters? no, because that would glorify an abusive activity that many humans continue to engage in. the likelihood that a team named the gamecocks is going to inspire anyone to go set up some rooster fights seems a little slim, though. (that's not to say I like the name. but, that's my prerogative.)
posted by rabi at 6:37 PM on October 18, 2001


david dark: there is a difference between an individual's name (which is, presumably, not of their choosing) and a team mascot. I am personally offended by the cleveland indians and not particularly offended by the gamecocks, but I don't buy the argument that team mascots and names are set in stone.

I think that, as usual, PETA has a point; and as usual they're way out there. I can think of more important things for them to be spending their time on, but I'm openminded enough to see their perspective.
posted by rebeccablood at 6:50 PM on October 18, 2001


wait a second! if you're going to quote the dictionary, you have to list all the definitions, not just the ones that support your arguement.


1. game·cock (gmkk)
n.
A rooster trained for cockfighting.
--------------------------------------------

2. gamecock \Game"cock`\ (-k[o^]k`), n. (Zo["o]l.) The male game fowl.
---------------------------------------------

3. gamecock n 1: a cock bred and trained for fighting [syn: fighting cock] 2: someone who is a very fierce fighter [syn: hell-kite, hell-rooster]
---------------------------------------------

4. bush - A growth of pubic hair. / second-rate, Bush-league

*wait... how'd that slip in there???*

i personally like the really goofy team names like the ducks, the banana slugs and the packers. in high school our flag football team's name was 'the fragile porcelain mice' - ROAR!
posted by ggggarret at 7:15 PM on October 18, 2001


PETA and various other 3 and 4 letter acronyminal annoyances should be complaining about the pitterful edumacajun that carolina students get, not their freaking mascot. I vote that they simply add a strikethrough to the GAME. GAMECOCKS has a nice ring to it.
posted by shoepal at 7:32 PM on October 18, 2001


I attended the University of SC and think changing the mascot name would take away from the collegiate experience. It was a riot to live in a dorm with young women who insisted it was wrong wrong wrong to have sexual urges before marriage but screamed "We love our COCKS!" at the top of their lungs during football games. I loved the game "Carolina Fan or Braggart?" some of us played whenever we saw a guy wearing a shirt emblazoned with a fightin' chicken and the words "Super Cock!"

On a recent trip back to SC, I got an SC baseball cap with the word "Cocks" embroidered on the front. I wore it during my morning walk one day here on the west coast. No one knew who the "Cocks" were, but I got asked out on a lot of dates!
posted by Dinzie at 7:32 PM on October 18, 2001


Why eat animals?

Because we're higher up on the food chain? Because meat is the best source in a diet for many vitamins and proteins that help bodily growth? Because it's natural?

We humans do not need to do so, and the practice leads to pain and suffering.

You don't need a lot of things. That doesn't make them bad or forbidden. The lifestyle of a vegetarian is well-suited to a lot of people and that's great. It's also not suited for a lot of people, and those people eat meat, and that's fine. Personally, if I were to become a vegetarian, my lifestyle would probably require some supplements and vitamins from a third party. No thank you.

"It tastes good" or "it feels good" are the same compelling reasons people use to rationalize...

Some things that feel good are bad, lots are not. People shouldn't feel guilty about indulgance just because something feels good. The juicy 14 oz. steak I had for dinner tasted mighty good. The frosty mugs I put down while watching the baseball game tonight felt darn good. Nothing wrong with either.
posted by tomorama at 9:11 PM on October 18, 2001


you watch sports?
posted by rebeccablood at 9:20 PM on October 18, 2001


from the article: ""Like spousal abuse, bank robbery, and driving while intoxicated, cockfighting is illegal in South Carolina and Alabama," PETA’s Kristie Phelps points out."

I'm suprised I'm the first one to comment on this little gem. How rediculous is this? "Like murder, bestiality, and rape, jaywalking is illegal in Alabama." I see the comparison she was trying to make, but come on...

oh, and fold_and_mutilate: ""It tastes good" or "it feels good" are the same compelling reasons people use to rationalize smoking, drinking to excess, huffing paint, catching anthrax from intercourse with sheep, and abusing children."

Um...well, if you want to ignore the fact that, unlike your examples, man has (1) been eating meat since the beginning of recorded history, and long before (think: cave men), and (2) eating meat is beneficial to the body, whereas all your examples are destructive...

If you ignore those two major points...then, yeah.

and finally, from tomorama: "Personally, if I were to become a vegetarian, my lifestyle would probably require some supplements and vitamins from a third party. No thank you."

Precisely why I don't buy the "we don't need to eat meat" line. The only reason you don't need meat is because someone has figured out what you'd be missing, and figured out just what you need to do to get substitutes, be it from pills or from foods that have been processed or imported from far away. The only reason vegitarianism is even possible is because we have the technology to make it possible, by bringing in plants that we could never grow here, or not grow enough of. Vegitarianism is not "natural," IMHO, because I don't think anything that almost relies on recent (past couple hundred years) techonology is "natural." If you tried to be a vegitarian relying only on what nature could provide you with, I doubt you'd last very long.

So, you're right -- we don't need to. There's a lot of things we don't need to do. We do them anyway, and there are far worse things we do than enjoying a little flame-briled holstein.

Thus ends my little rant. Not that I think there's anything wrong with vegitarianism, mind you...if it works for you, I think that's great.

The less steak you eat, the more that's left for those of us who enjoy it =)
posted by CrayDrygu at 10:01 PM on October 18, 2001


If no one knows what gamecock means, why's it such a problem? Personally, I find the word-crime focus of PETA puzzling, as there's real cock-fighting going on in the US, and better PR would be achieved by going to the issue itself. Does PETA know how badly they're perceived? Do they do their own PR? For many of my acquaintance, PETA is an extremist joke. Or it could have something to do with the extreme unpopularity of their philosophy. I once was involved in an Internet debate where someone alleged that PETA members "didn't believe in what was written in their publications" as a way of *defending* them.

Add note: Maybe the USC team needs to do something like, add a hyphen. Or just drop the "game-" alltogether.
posted by Charmian at 10:07 PM on October 18, 2001


Most importantly, if we didn't eat meat it would really piss off Mufasa. Don't screw with James Earl Jones.
posted by owillis at 10:11 PM on October 18, 2001


NortonDC: "PETA isn't about not eating meat. It's about placing animals on the same plane as humans."

That explains much about a number of the other passengers the last time I flew on a US airline.
posted by pracowity at 11:44 PM on October 18, 2001


rebeccablood: an individual's name isn't set in stone either; anyone can change his or her name for a variety of reasons, marriage being the most popular. So, in a sense, everyone chooses his or her own name, by either keeping the one they were given or changing it to fit their needs.

But that's a side point.

SC has had "gamecocks" as its mascot for a hundred years. The administration and current students that now make up SC, not to mention all of the alumni accumulated over the years, didn't choose the school's mascot, but they don't have a problem with it. In fact, they love it. And they don't want to change it. Why should they have to? Because some bullsh-t organization got a rash over the word? PETA sucks. It's up on a soapbox and sticking its nose in where it doesn't belong. It has no valid point, it's just doing this for the press.

Besides, as ggggarret showed above, gamecock can also mean "someone who is a very fierce fighter." What's the problem there?
posted by David Dark at 12:00 AM on October 19, 2001


This thread is about beat to death, but one final point. Having defended the notion of using a gamecock as a mascot in several posts on the theory that the mere name "gamecock" doesn't necessarily connote glorification of blood sport, I also did a Google image search just to have a look at the University of South Carolina emblem (a gamecock, naturally, in fighting posture inside a block-letter capital C.) I only considered images that were being served from machines on the USC campus -- presumably these can be considered official.

Of these, most were too small to see fine details. But among the images that were large enough to see what the cocks' feet look like, all of these were clearly wearing the artificial steel spurs instead of natural ones.

I think it's silly to expect USC to change their mascot, and it isn't going to happen. But I don't think it would kill 'em to have some illustrator in the university's PR dept. redraw the emblem to show natural spurs instead of steel ones.
posted by jfuller at 6:13 AM on October 19, 2001


David Dark and rebeccablood:

Maybe rebecca could change her name to something with a more positive connotation, like rebeccaamnioticfluid.

Just teasing, rebecca. I actually agree with you that cockfighting itself sounds pretty terrible, and I'll say this for PETA: They're thematically consistent.

But as we've seen with the Israelis/Palestinians, the Prods/Catholics in Northern Ireland, etc. etc., it's basically impossible to get someone to give in on something that gives them their sense of identity -- which is what college mascots are all about.

Complain all you like about the "Gamecocks" name and marshal all your well-crafted arguments, but basically your idealism is clouding your clarity of perception if you think there's any chance of changing Gamecock fans' minds. C'mon down here for a USC home game and ask fans for yourself if you don't believe me.

(You might get some of them to consider jfuller's comment about steel vs. natural spurs, though.)
posted by alumshubby at 6:19 AM on October 19, 2001


Um...well, if you want to ignore the fact that, unlike your examples, man has (1) been eating meat since the beginning of recorded history, and long before (think: cave men), and (2) eating meat is beneficial to the body, whereas all your examples are destructive...

But Cray, aren't you just ignoring the "fact" that man has been abstaining from eating meat for just as long? Some researchers have even concluded that the extra protein early man needed to improve brain function and get out of the savannah came from the ability to prepare cooked vegetables (possibly potatoes).

There are also plenty of folks who connect violence towards animals to a greater pattern of violence throughout life. By that token, one could reason that encouraging violence against animals (ala the gamecocks) is encouraging human violence in general.

You're also ignoring the piles of evidence which contend that meat, especially the way Americans eat it, is particularly unhealthy to the body. Our meat production industry isn't exactly what I would call non-destructive, either.

The only reason you don't need meat is because someone has figured out what you'd be missing, and figured out just what you need to do to get substitutes, be it from pills or from foods that have been processed or imported from far away. The only reason vegitarianism is even possible is because we have the technology to make it possible, by bringing in plants that we could never grow here, or not grow enough of.

Please. Vegetarians have been around for an extremely long time, both by desire and by necessity. There is nothing unnatural about a vegetarian diet. The only reason vegetarianism is possible is because people make it possible regardless of the circumstances. Modern technology merely makes it more accessible.

Vegitarianism is not "natural," IMHO, because I don't think anything that almost relies on recent (past couple hundred years) techonology is "natural."

By that thinking, than neither is the meat-heavy diet of modern America. The way your meat is produced, processed and distributed (or born, slaughtered and shipped) is due entirely to modern technology. The sheer amount of meat available today would be impossible without our modern convenience. Historically, the amount of meat in a human diet has been minimal compared to vegetables and cereals.

If you tried to be a vegitarian relying only on what nature could provide you with, I doubt you'd last very long.

Come on. This has more to do with the average American's inability to forage than any lack of the right foods in nature. Otherwise, how would all the vegetarian animals survive? On the other hand, your average meat-eating American will have the same dismal chances of lasting on on solely "what nature provides".

To be sure, there are some solid arguments against vegetarianism, but relying on "we've always eaten meat" and "it's not natural" is wrongheaded and not a little ignorant.
posted by ahughey at 7:41 AM on October 19, 2001


Vegitarianism [sic] is not "natural," IMHO, because I don't think anything that almost relies on recent (past couple hundred years) techonology is "natural."

I really don't want to turn this into a vegetarianism thread, but plenty of Hindus have got on fine without eating meat, without the benefit of tofu or B12 supplements. (Which reminds me: if you're near Leeds, Hansa's is really really good.) Invariably, when people invoke the "it's natural" or "it's human nature" they mean "it's my-cultural".

Anyway, ahughey has just said most of what I wanted to say: it's only in the last half-century that "lump of meat" has taken such a prominent, regular place in the Anglo-American diet, through a mass-production process that replaces quality with volume. And if you don't believe that, search around the web for old recipes.
posted by holgate at 8:00 AM on October 19, 2001


I'm going halfway with agughey and holgate here. Cray: vegetarianism has indeed been around for longer than you imply, and it's just as natural as eating meat. And Americans do eat too much meat. You kind of picked up on my side of the argument, but then you just jumped overboard.

What I'm saying is I think fold_and_mutilate is wrong in saying that people shouldn't eat meat or that eating meat is intrinsically wrong. I'm contesting that there is nothing wrong with eating meat and it is beneficial to your diet if you eat it the way you're supposed to, in the right amounts and with the right preparation, etc... (just like any other food, including non-meat products).

There's nothing wrong with vegetarianism and there's nothing wrong with eating meat. I'm not the kind of person who could or should be a vegetarian, and other people aren't the kind of people who eat meat. Certain lifestyles for certain people.

It's all good.
posted by tomorama at 10:52 AM on October 19, 2001


Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you, and be silent. - Epictetus
posted by rebeccablood at 11:44 AM on October 19, 2001 [1 favorite]


Ah yes, I do watch sports from time to time. Why do you ask?
posted by tomorama at 11:48 AM on October 19, 2001


Otherwise, how would all the vegetarian animals survive?

Uh, maybe because their metabolisms are different from ours? You might as well say humans are intended to eat meat, because cats will die if they don't.
posted by kindall at 12:23 PM on October 19, 2001


Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you, and be silent. - Epictetus

Amen.
posted by fooljay at 12:41 PM on October 19, 2001


Talk about not choosing your battles wisely. How about lobbying to prohibit cockfighting where it is still allowed, and for police to crack down on illegal matches (yes they're out there). Instead Peta takes the spotlight shot and flaps its wings for a cause that will benefit no-one, human nor fowl.
posted by holycola at 10:30 AM on October 21, 2001


Instead Peta takes the spotlight shot and flaps its wings for a cause that will benefit no-one, human nor fowl.

Well, that's the thing, the idea that this "will benefit no-one," is very much a matter of opinion. The action that PETA is taking may not have a direct effect, but it may have an indirect effect, eg, it may make people more aware of the issue, and less tolerant of it.
posted by lucien at 2:16 PM on October 25, 2001


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