ESPN’s College GameDay does fun. Feminists do fake outrage. They make as odd a couple as Mike Ditka and Catharine MacKinnon sharing one milkshake with two straws.
Football and feminism, heretofore separated on Saturdays by MSNBC’s must-see broadcast of Melissa Harris-Perry, came together this weekend when a women’s studies major mistakenly tuned-in to this channel callled ESPN and told the members of her catharsis session about the misogyny she witnessed (at least that’s my theory). They then tattled to Twitter, a subliterate online forum where some people try hard to offend and other people try hard to be offended, about a fan’s “Ole Miss Girls Are Easier Than Their Out-of-Conference Schedule” hand-held billboard. The whole world—or at least the dumb parts of it—subsequently believed Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Bristol, Connecticut, in dire need of compulsory sensitivity training.
@CollegeGameDay why would you post this sexist bullshit, GameDay?
— Missy (@DissyMeVelvis) September 19, 2015
For the uninitiated, College GameDay plays as Monday Night Raw meets College Football Countdown. It exudes a raucous, unpredictable vibe practically ensured by its on-location setting outside the stadium amid the tailgaters enjoying a multi-course liquid breakfast. Fans, holding witty and unworthy signs, cram into a pen where a remote-controlled camera zip-lining above on a wire captures the energy and the idiocy. Lacking a clever sign, I held my clever son (a sign of my virility?) aloft as ESPN’s camera flew overhead in my lone close encounter of the Lee Corso kind at Harvard Stadium last November. Cantabridgians held up “Yale Hates Yoga Pants,” “This Is My Yale Diploma,” “Safety School,” and even a non sequitur insult aimed at the school sans a football team two stops away on the red line: “MIT=NERDS.”
One Yalie, presumably a future senator or corporate tycoon, eventually removed all his clothing inside the ancient concrete stadium. Thousands of Harvard fans stormed the field following the dramatic victory. Nobody died. Everybody enjoyed themselves. The bastion of political correctness Sunday through Friday becomes uninhibited on fall Saturdays. This plays as the delightful paradox of college campuses. The students break out of the world of speech codes and First Amendment zones and humorless that’s-not-funny professors that they inhabit during the week. Like red-faced third graders holding in the laughter so not to incur the wrath of the schoolmarm at the chalkboard, the sophomoric sophomores starring on College GameDay eventually need a release. The not-so-serious world they create, with the help of ESPN producers, is fun and free. In a rule-obsessed society, the football fanatics tear down goalposts, streak, day drink, and, yes, display impolite signs.
Aside the misplaced outrage targeting ESPN for merely broadcasting what appeared in its camera lenses (Rece Davis and Kirk Herbstreit rebuked the sign bearer on the air), the blame-the-messenger Twittericans missed the most offensive placard at Saturday’s proceedings (Monomaniacs miss much when they fixate on the little dots instead of the big picture). Like helicoptering into the College GameDay festivities to suddenly discover that fans mug for the cameras with insensitive slogans, the perpetually offended offend in overlooking a message making light of Urban Meyer’s heart scare that preceded his eventual departure from coaching the Florida Gators.
— UPROXX Sports (@UPROXXSports) September 21, 2015
Surely someone’s offended that someone else directs outrage toward a silly sign questioning the morals of Ole Miss co-eds (slut shaming!) rather than the sign obliquely referencing the serious health scare of Urban Meyer. That’s the problem with outrage: it begets outrage. And then the whole world needs an anger management class.
Why not place a mascot head over your eyes instead of forever scanning the crowd for something that makes you mad?
The students cooped up in the College GameDay pen get it right. Better to laugh at the world than remain always angry at it.
Best of all to get the last laugh: Ole Miss upset Alabama 43-37 on Saturday night after enduring the insults on Saturday morning.