We live in a world of political incorrectness and speciesism bigotry. You have probably heard the talk about renaming things with Indian names. Like Squaw Peak, for example, squaw apparently being a derogatory name for a female Indian.
A California assemblywoman by the name of Jackie Goldberg has even introduced a bill to ban Indian mascots and team names in all California schools. Her argument is that such teams as the Cleveland Indians and Atlanta Braves single out "the Native American/American Indian community for the derision to which mascots or nicknames are often subjected."
Speciesism bigotry is a term leveled at me because I didn't mention how many bunnies and other animals perished in the Dude Fire in a recent story. I am, however, happy to correct this oversight by reporting that 723 bunny rabbits, give or take 723 bunny rabbits, perished in the Dude Fire.
But the fact that I am no longer a speciesism bigot should in no way suggest that the Rim country is free of this dreaded "ism." In fact speciesism bigotry is alive and well right here in our very own high school.
By calling themselves the Payson Longhorns, PHS is doing a great disservice to cows everywhere. To paraphrase Goldberg, they are singling out the bovine community for the derision to which mascots or nicknames are often subjected.
I therefore propose that we come up with a new nickname for PHS, one that provides the same inspirational qualities as a cow, but that is politically and speciesly correct.
The idea came to me from columnist Ron Brown, who wrote in the Los Angeles Times, "It's not enough to ban team names such as Braves and Chiefs or even Spartans and Saxons. Get rid of animal mascots too. Why reinforce narrow stereotypes like the ferocious tiger or fearsome bear." Or, we might add, the stupid cow with bigger horns than brains.
Brown suggests such team names as the Monrovia Mathematicians, the Cucamonga Cubists and the Pomona Premeds. I think those are a bit stuffy for a small-town high school.
We need to strike a happy medium, and to that end I would suggest one of the following nicknames for PHS:
In this scenario, we go with a name from one of the area's larger companies Payson Concrete & Materials. Another plus is that a "material" can be almost anything you want it to be. And in a play on the Material Girl, PHS could be known far and wide as the Materials School.
Here we use one of the more common substances found in the Rim country. It could also be related to the mental capacity of your average high school kid. (Just kidding, average high school kids.)
If there is a Miami Heat, then there can also be a Payson Drought named after one of the more common conditions up here in the Grim Country.
We are known for our Rim, so perhaps the high school could help us publicize our major tourist attraction. It could also double as a graduation requirement: "For a cap and gown, spell and define 'precipice.'"
I know what you're thinking isn't this just another way to insult Native Americans? The answer is no, it's a way to insult a very small group of prehistoric Americans, who probably don't have a lot of people looking after their interests. Wouldn't it be cool to have football helmets with a bun sticking out the back?
If Indians are out and animals are out, the list is narrowing. So what better mascot here in cowboy country than the favorite food of the cowboy. It might not be the best kind of respect, but I have a feeling our teams would be respected.
Payson Continuous Ropers
Another attempt to capture our heritage, this one plays up our rodeo "culture," and I use that word ever so loosely in this context. It would also serve to remind Prescott, whose nickname should be changed to the Prescott Non-continuous Badgers, who the real rodeo town is.
Another name with real-world meaning. Since the high school football field is watered with the stuff, this nickname also does double duty as an advisory to opposing teams that everything is not exactly coming up roses when you play PHS.
Payson Bunny Rabbits
I know what you're going to say, more speciesism bigotry. But I look at this as kind of a make-up call for when I blew the bunny count in the Dude Fire story.
Two, four, six, eight/bunny rabbits really rate
One, three, five, seven/even cooked ones up in heaven.