9 May 2003
Weapons of UMass destruction
First they were the Redmen, and that was fine for a while, but by 1972 the forces of political correctness had grown sufficiently strong, or at least loud, to demand a change.
So they became the Minutemen, a name with even more history behind it, and one that wasn't likely to incur the wrath of the Defenders of Ethnicity. (Did you ever notice that actual members of these allegedly-aggrieved ethnic groups complain a lot less than their self-appointed spokespersons?)
Now the University of Massachusetts is changing the name of its athletic teams again, this time to the Gray Wolves. There didn't seem to be any organized objection to the Minuteman UMass women's teams, competing as "Minutewomen" (!), didn't raise any particular fuss but the poor old colonial fellow was, after all, a representative of only a single gender, and what's worse, he toted a musket. God forbid anyone should be seen with a gun these days.
Are gray wolves indigenous to Massachusetts? Springfield Republican outdoor writer Frank Sousa has the numbers:
[T]he last gray wolf sighting around here was in the late 1890s, in a barrel outside Thompson's Clothing Store in Amherst after being shot in Northampton. And those were skinned.
And you just know those weasels from PETA are going to jump all over this.
(Update, 10:30 am: Cam Edwards offers an alternative: "I suggest replacing the name Minutemen with Nancyboys. That's mixed-gender, and it certainly reflects the moral fortitude of the current student population when compared with the original Minutemen." Ow!)