In my four years as a student at The University of Mississippi I’ve made it my policy to do the following: try and get along; attend class at least 60 percent of the time; regularly cheer for my Ole Miss Rebel football, basketball, baseball, and even tennis teams; completely ignore any and all campus elections of any kind as well as any kind of decisions made by those elected.
What I’m saying is: I don’t get involved.
I have no particular disdain for those who do, I’m just completely indifferent to Associated Student Body or the homecoming court or frankly any campus organization. If some students at this school want to have a pretend government that doesn’t actually affect any part of a regular student’s life, then that’s fine.
I’ve skimmed over a lot of angry tweets concerning the ASB’s decision to do away with the title of “Colonel Reb” for the equivalent of Mr. Ole Miss.
There’s been much wailing and gnashing of teeth on this matter, as a very vocal contingent of the Rebel faithful is incapable of letting Colonel Reb go. My feelings towards the Colonel are the same as my feelings toward the ASB: complete indifference.
If he were still our mascot, I wouldn’t mind. I like the black bear just fine, though. I just don’t care about mascots. A mascot is not a tradition. Tailgating in the Grove is a tradition. Playing “From Dixie With Love” was a tradition.
Opening presents on Christmas morning is a tradition. A mascot is just a thing. A mascot is a totem, and we have plenty of those in Oxford.
Isn’t this the most apathetic column you’ve ever read? Don’t worry, here comes the stuff:
The “Colonel Reb” that was done away with by whatever nefarious means the play government saw fit was not the Colonel Reb that you grew up with. This was just a title.
This was just, essentially, Mr. Ole Miss. The winner of a popularity contest that hardly anyone votes in. This was changing words into different, frankly more appropriate words.
Think about it: You’re the number one bro on campus and, lucky you, the eight or nine people who vote in campus elections choose you as Colonel Reb. You get to spend the rest of that wonderful part of your early twenties where literally anyone cares what you did in college telling people you were Colonel Reb. Then you get to spend the next ten minutes explaining exactly what in the hell that means.
But if you’re Mr. Ole Miss? I’m pretty sure people would just get that.
So pick your battles, Colonel supporters, and let this one go. Now if we continue to trudge through our own little Watergate scandal and discover that the ASB did something unjust and “unconstitutional,” then tar and feather them in front of the Lyceum for all I care.
Just make sure your priorities are where they should be: with honesty and accountability, not with nostalgia.
Josh Presley is a journalism senior from Booneville. Follow him on Twitter @joshuapresley.