Monday, June 06, 2005

Nickname Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy theories about the selection of the new Marquette nickname have abounded — which shows the lack of trust that stakeholders have in the Administration, and also the fact that some of the decisions the University has made have been so irrational that it has seemed that something beyond what meets the eye must be happening.

One conspiracy theory that we aired, but did not endorse, was the notion that the “fix is in” for Golden Knights to be chosen.

The logic is that “Golden Knights” is so close to “Warriors” that pro-Warrior alumni and students will be placated, but the wrath of the Vengeful Gods of Political Correctness will not be aroused.

Bradley Kalscheur, a member of the committee that chose the 10 nickname candidates strongly rejects this notion:
To those conspiracy theorists who are concerned about a rigged election, unlike 1994, this decision and vote are absolutely not predetermined. If the process was, or there was even a hint there was the slightest possibility this process was predetermined, I would not have agreed to serve on the Nickname Advisory Committee. On my oath as one of the most vocal and pro-Warrior people out there, this choice will be completely up to the voters. Granted, the choice the vast majority wants isn’t allowed on the ballot, but, for now we, live with the current parameters laid out before us. Committee members remember 1994 and will not allow the mistakes of the past to be repeated.
Of course, a really good conspiracy should be able to hoodwink Kalscheur, just as it’s hoodwinking everybody else.

Another theory is that a secret agreement with the Potawatomi Indians, made when Marquette got the valley athletic fields, requires that Marquette never use “Warriors” as a nickname. Some versions of this theory have Mayor Norquist brokering the deal in a move to keep the Potawatomi from expanding all the way to the Menomonie River.

Some of these theories come from sensible people who show no inclination to put a shooter on the Grassy Knoll in Dallas in 1963. But ultimately, all have their problems.

The “secret contract” theory, for example, has difficulty explaining why Fr. Wild ever let the issue be opened at all, when he knew that Marquette could not, on pain of breach of contract, ever go back to Warriors.

Of course, there is always some variation or wrinkle to a conspiracy theory to evade any objection. Perhaps while an elaborate charade of consulting with the Indian tribes was going on, a real effort to get the Potawatomi to agree to a change in the contract terms was happening in secret.

We are skeptical about this because, in the first place, we think the Potawatomi are to venal to care about an issue like a team nickname. And in the second place, the theory is just too darn complicated, requiring an elaborate burlesque of consulting with the tribes while the real action was a super secret back channel strategy with the Potawatomi.

Likewise, the “Golden Knights” theory (which will probably be shown to be baseless in a few hours) runs up against the demonstrated willingness of the Administration to dismiss and derogate any opinion tending toward “Warriors.”

Our conclusion is that what we are seeing from the Administration is indeed what we are getting — political correctness with a large dollop of arrogance and a healthy dose of stupidity.

If they were smart enough to pull off any sort of elaborate conspiracy, they would be smart enough to simply change the nickname to “Warriors.”


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