Within hours after Ole Miss whipped Alabama 43-17 last weekend, our friend Joe Wilson sent us the picture above entitled “Colonel Reb rides Big Al.”
It speaks for itself, and, having no desire to inflate the euphoria of our Ole Miss friends or to rub salt in the wounds of those who cheer for the Crimson Tide, we will say nothing more about Saturday’s football game.
Our interest lies rather in the fact that it is Colonel Reb that rides astride the Alabama elephant mascot. It is not an Ole Miss Black Bear. Fully five years after the high lords of the University of Mississippi declared the venerable Old Colonel person not grata, we know not a single Ole Miss fan who would be comfortable with the sight of a friendly-looking, insipid black bear riding the damned elephant.
Basing their decision on a bizarre, false and simplistic stereotypification that presumed all Southern Colonels to be inhumane, racist beasts, the Ole Miss administration declared Colonel Reb a symbol of shame.
Did the jolly old Colonel Reb, who always looked like he was having a good time and perhaps had knocked back a mint julep or two, have anything in common with any actual Southern Colonel, whether cruel or kind?
No more than the friendly Tony the Tiger on the box of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes has anything in common with the Sumatran tiger that killed a zoo keeper Sunday in New Zealand.
And what about the more than 60 documented instances of black bears killing human beings in North America since 1900?
The Alabama elephant is no doubt grateful that it’s Colonel Reb, and not a vicious black bear, on his back.
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