Dorion Mode

July 13, 2020

In defense of honoring Rutland Raider Power.

Filed under: Amor fati — Robinson Dorion @ 23:43

The local newspaper, The Rutland Herald, recently published an op-ed written by a former classmate of mine titled, "RHS Mascot must go", which you can read here. I submitted a sightly shorter version of this, e.g. doesn't have any pictures or footnotes, to said herald this evening, which I've linked. The last piece I submitted to them was about 10 years ago, which they didn't publish for unspecified reasons. To give you an idea, this is a paper that still publishes the long-ago discredited Paul Krugman. I'm not holding my breath for them to publish this, but we'll see.

For new readers of the blog, mind there's a comment box at the end. Leave your thoughts, if you please; both supportive and critical comments will be published. At the end of each footnote there's a link that will return you to your place. Here goes.

Dear Fellow Rutlanders and Ms. Gokee,

To be clear, while I disagree with her methodology and conclusion, I write this in the spirit of debate and with all respect due to Ms. Gokee, of whom I always had a positive experience of in the flesh. I learned of several things from her piece and I hope this article returns the favor.

Nicknames and titles are characteristic of honor-based societies, which have endured millennia because they reflect the self-evident hierarchy that exists in nature and predates land-based organisms. True story: even sea creatures secrete endorphins when they win a turf war and raise their standing in the world. This neurological structure is older than trees.

The Latins used ''cognomen'', which English speakers call nicknames, to distinguish, among other things, heroic battle achievements. Fortunately, the bounty of excess resources the capitalists of generations past graciously bequeathed us has provided sufficient cushion to afford our youths (previously known as ''useless eaters'') the luxury of organized athletics. The rub is, when you name a team in town, you don't have those individual stories that support the individual nicknames. As a consequence, the tenacity competition requires traditionally leads the namers to use names representing something fierce, e.g. lions and tigers and bears, oh my!! American football is the sport most reminiscent of battle and probably that which the Rutland Raiders are most renowned for in this state, so let us dwell for a moment. George Carlin nails it, y'know? ''In football the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use the shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy's defensive line. In baseball the object is to go home! And to be safe! I hope I'll be safe at home!''.

''Raid'' is a Scottish word with etymology tracing to describe a ''mounted military expedition''. Football requires bravery, tenacity, physical fitness, power and grace, team coordination and willingness to get dirty and bleed for the team and town to experience the high of achievement and victory. Naming the mascot a Raider honors the spirit and characteristics through a symbol the student-athlete can draw on for inspiration. The arrowhead itself symbolizes and honors a culture that leveraged the tool to feed, clothe and shelter families and evict derelict neighbors and perhaps even against neighbors who were simply boring and dull. It's true that there are undertones of violence, but the wisdom of using them in this context is they are actually beneficial in dangerous, physical competition, where strictly enforced rules allow violence to be pushed to the edge of civility and an advantage is gained for knowing well where the line is.

Sure, racists and bigots employ propaganda to manipulate those less bookish, but do you really want to be a person who imputes the views and behavior of a small minority of individuals on an entire community? Pretty sure there's a word for that. It's certainly not consonant with my experience of being around Rutland athletics for over two decades as a water boy1 , athlete2 and fan, during which I can't recall I witnessed any instances of racism3. There is brotherhood amongst opponents.

I accept as true that racist and bigoted people exist across cultures and geography. I've lived over a quarter of my life as a social and racial minority in foreign lands, this isn't my imagination, but first hand experience. Humans are social creatures with in-group preference. We tend to prefer friends and family to strangers for most activities and tend to feel uncomfortable when surrounded by conversation in a foreign language. Learning hurts.

With that being said, to say honoring a culture's symbols by taking them for inspiration into a gamified battle is appropriation and racist is to look at the situation from not only a very limited, but fragile perspective. Where does this argument go if applied ''equally''? Do you really want to start a culture war where symbolizing and utilizing cultural contributions are restricted to progeny of the originators? Should descendants of Europeans now take offense whenever someone else wears a necktie when they are dressing for success? The ''cravat'' is distinctly European military attire, after all. Are you making fun of my ancestors?!? What about electricity and the Internet Protocol and aeroplanes and automobiles and the number zero? Surely it will tilt the balance of power towards the ''just'' if you lot pass a law that grants license to state clerks to use violence to restrict (suspending all sense, for a moment, to assume it could be done) technologies to those who can prove a bloodline (sarcasm). Taking a step back, it seems such a path leads to more division rather than cooperation. And if all of a sudden you don't want to apply your new rule equally, well... I'll let you fill in this blank and I don't think you'll like the word that fits.

It's true, history involves men fighting and killing and taking from and enslaving each other. Such behavior is cross-cultural and recurs throughout history because nature imposes scarcity and language and cooperation take more effort in the short term. C'est la vie. The fact that Europeans developed and utilized technology such as horses and the wheel and gun powder and the printing press which enabled them to more effectively control the resources of this landmass is not to their shame; anymore than it's the Turks' shame for developing superior cannon technology4 that enabled them to take the city5 that was the center of the world for over a millennia; nor is it Michael Jordan's shame for dominating the NBA during his prime, even if he was mean at times. The lists go on and on to demonstrate hierarchies are self-evident. The other side of 'the Indian problem'' was what the Europeans referred to as their burden to spread the high standard of living they achieved and which we enjoy through the harsh winters. Chimneys for the win, amirite ?!?! Monty Python's ''Life of Brian'' hits the nail on the head, ''All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?" That is, check the toolbox you depend on for survival prior to impugning the deceased and scorning their progeny for whatever you convict their ancestors of posthumously, lest you find yourself lost in the cold. Side note: Lost in the Cold is a great Twiddle song, look it up.

To say in one sentence ''we're Vermonters'' and in another that this here is ''Abenaki land'' is a contradiction I hope others caught. Perhaps some progeny of the Byzantines refer to that grand city on the Golden Horn as Constantinople to this day, but any ticket they buy to go there surely reads Istanbul. Perhaps some Bitcoin Barron will take ownership of this land in the future and rename it. Until that day, it's called Vermont to signify this is an outpost of European civilization. There was war, subjugation and brutality on this continent far before their ships beached and for whatever reasons, after losing many battles fighting with and against the Natives, the Europeans came out on top. If you must hate, please don't hate the player, hate the game. Then try to not hate because bitter roots bear bitter fruit. Try instead to learn why the winners won.

It's probably the case some old white man dressed in a three piece suit sat in his leather chair at his Mahogany desk smoking his pipe some century and a half ago to make the name and came up with the alliteration we've inherited. Maybe he even wore a monocle and kept coins in woven bags with dollar signs painted on strewn about the marble floor of his office which his servants polished daily on their hands and knees with toothbrushes. Given we've uncovered the etymology, do you think it could be possible the man was a silly Scotsman who knew what the word meant and used it to counterbalance the rivalrous ''Mounties'' of Convent Avenue in this here city? Wouldn't that be something?

I don't know what the real source of the name is, but I must ask what the long-term consequences are of trying to whitewash the name and symbols thousands of young Rutlanders have been proud to represent in constructive, competitive activities they cared deeply about? If you thrash the arrowhead, will you then chastise me and my friends for wearing our state championship gear? Should we have a big bonfire and burn all the threads6? Or what if I have a son who grows up and wants to wear his old man's throwbacks, should he expect grief? Should I prepare him to defend himself because he may be attacked if wearing it in public? I'm not trying to put words in anyone's mouth, I'm genuinely curious how far you think the 'removal' will go. Seems like a major distraction from the actual travesty taking place presently through socialist central banks appropriating purchasing power via the inflation tax, y'dig? But hey, driving division using the racist wedge and meanwhile debauching the currency is straight out the Communist playbook. Maybe I'm biased, "the Commish" of the Mounties, a.k.a Mr. William O'Rourke III, J.D., did nickname me ''Raider Rob'' for my fidelity to the tradition, after all. My point is there are more sides to the story than the scapegoat of evil white men making fun of people they conquered.

If you manage to succeed, perhaps you pick a name more benign, but likewise virtuous, activity that Rutland is actually famous for. Probably should be something about marble since that's what the world actually knows this area for. The mythology would be similar to a Slater who quarries for sacred material deep in mother earth and erects enduring structures for art and his family's refuge. For all I know though, you'll claim Mr. Proctor was a ''thief''/''Robber Barron''/omgwhatever for ''stripping the land''. Regardless, I reckon the Raider spirit will remain adamant in Rutland independent of whether the current tensions are opportunistically exploited to further the agenda of cultural Marxists7.

My neighbor gave me the nickname out of admiration despite wanting to see me lose and even cry my eyes out whenever his team was on the other side of the ball and I love him for that because competition brings out the best within us. Personally, I'd rather see arrowheads on the backs of teenagers' cars who loved playing as Raiders so much they parade the symbol around town in perpetuity. The reason is, the meaning to me isn't some racist symbol; the arrowhead represents hard work, dedication, deferral of gratification, courage, physical and mental mastery, making enduring memories with lifelong friends, teamwork, excitement, community support, giving your jersey to a cute chica on gameday, sportsmanship, sight and sound, intensity with integrity, living such that you have no regrets and on that score I know I'm not alone. Whether you like it or not, that's what you're attacking and that's probably the primary reason there's resistance. Surely there would be more resistance if the risk and consequences of being slandered a racists weren't so high. I'll take that risk, and say what I believe to be correct, and leave to faith that the logos still remains in the thousands of people who've known and supported me in this community throughout my life.

Ms. Gokee writes, ''The problem is that putting Native Americans in the past erases our existence in the world today.'' Likewise, saying present day Rutlanders use the arrowhead as a racist symbol such that their history should be torn down rather than a symbol of admiration is unmitigated prejudice. I, for one, will keep my nickname with honor as long as I live because the roots of the words are simply too profound not too --you're not digging them up.

For the record, the time is always now, that's why it's called the present. Look it up if you don't believe me. The phrase for the time when you tear down the proud symbols of a society is post mortem.

In Liberty and Sincerely Yours,
Robinson, a.k.a ''Raider Rob'', a.k.a ''Digger'', Dorion.

  1. Here's a pic from 1998 following a Raider victory over Hartford in the semi-finals :

    raider-power-1

    From left to right: yours truly, Jake Eaton, T.J. Bowse.

    The Saturday prior, the Raiders beat the Mounties on Alumni in the Rutland-MSJ game. The following Saturday, MSJ beat Rutland in the State Championship game on Alumni and Rutland was the away team. They were also both contenders for the basketball title that year, which MSJ won. During the 1996-2006 period, Rutland won 7 of 11 titles while MSJ won 3. Ten out of eleven's not too bad for one town.

    For foreigners, the MSJ herein referred stands for Mount St. Joseph Academy, the Catholic School cross-town rival. []

  2. For the pics or it didn't happen crew, here you go.

    raider-power-2

    I had one of my better games that day and Coach Norman awarded me the game ball. Mr. Hadley, the father of Josh Hadley, one of our Senior Captains, and his Sophomore brother Ethan had passed away the week of the game. The ball is buried with Mr. Hadley. []

  3. That's not to say it never happened, maybe it did. It's simply that if it did it was so rare that I don't recall. That is, there are always bad apples, but it was never part of the athletics culture. []
  4. Who else misses the cannon at Raider football games ? 'Bring Back the Cannon 2020 !' ? For those unaware, from about 2000-2002, after every touchdown and other special occasions, a powder filled cannon was touched off at every home game. If I recall correctly, some residents of Gleason Road whined loud enough to get it mothballed. []
  5. Constantinople. []
  6. Here's a small sample:

    raider-power-3

    If memory serves, the story behind that 2000 lid is Josh Finley made a leaping, back shoulder catch on a deep post (the play-call was probably 26 iso pass) thrown by Sean Hurley late in the 4th quarter of a low scoring game to really take the stinger out of the Hornets of Essex and ultimately lead to the Raiders squashing them.

    raider-power-4

    Above: Sam Reynolds, Zak Acquistapace, Ryan Corey, Matt Littler, Josh Hadley.

    Below: Andrew Baker, Justin Stewart, Jon Bassett, Chris Kiernan.

    raider-power-5

    []

  7. Whether you're aware of it or not, that's what's going on. When Communism failed economically, as it always must, they pivoted. []

11 Comments »

  1. Great article Raider Rob! Hopefully this doesn't happen. Let's say if this were to go to a vote, the people making a huge stink about this wouldn't even be able to vote because they are not residents of Rutland VT.
    Nicely done,
    Battleship

    Comment by Casey Battles — July 14, 2020 @ 01:05

  2. Thanks Case. It's hard for me to tell exactly where the pressure is coming from and what the outcome of a vote would be. A vote wouldn't be enough to change my position independent of who voted, especially if that's all the information I have to go on. For one thing, voters aren't ''equal'', they're individuals. Identical twins aren't even equal. This is a reason democracy is a God that has failed.

    Comment by Robinson Dorion — July 14, 2020 @ 02:50

  3. I was a Rutland Raider Rooter 1971-1974. As my dad was(1938-1942).

    What you said, "The reason is, the meaning to me isn't some racist symbol; the arrowhead represents hard work, dedication, deferral of gratification, courage, physical and mental mastery, making enduring memories with lifelong friends, teamwork, excitement, community support, giving your jersey to a cute chica on gameday, sportsmanship, sight and sound, intensity with integrity, living such that you have no regrets and on that score I know I'm not alone."

    You are not alone! I was proud to be a Raider and still am. Most of Rutland was shut down on night before the "Raider/ Green wave Football rivalry. Parade through the streets. Brought a lot of people together. It was a community coming together. Race, religion, or politic did not play into it.

    If its not broke don't fix it!!!!

    Comment by Susan Kinney Cram — July 14, 2020 @ 13:56

  4. Lulzy potential outcome that was teased out via conversation with a some friends about this:

    1. Say they're actually successful and remove the Raider as the mascot moving forward. Whether or not they claim from the beginning people who wear the throwback gear will receive grief, it will always be ambiguous where the line is.

    2. By preventing the creation of more Raiders, the actual Raiders will now become a scarce, closed group, which will give it allure and mystique. The question could then be raised and answered over a span of decades, "Who will be the last Raider standing?"

    3. The school will no longer distribute Raider gear, but there could actually be increased demand.

    4. This will probably be frustrating for the removers; say they then escalate and try to crack down on the private market with their normal tactics, e.g. get merchant bank and payment processing 'accounts' closed.

    5. Raider apparel merchants transition to Bitcoin payments, which I just so happen to know a thing or two about.

    6. Victory.

    7. rotflmao.

    Comment by Robinson Dorion — July 14, 2020 @ 14:33

  5. @Susan Kinney Cram, thank you for the comment. I agree that the Rutland-MSJ tradition brought the city together and still does through the memories. My second family growing up still bleeds green and gold (even if some of the younger sons graduated as Raiders), which only made the games more intense and special since on the one hand trash talking cuts deeper amongst friends and on the other it was so easy to go back to being friends after the fat lady sang. Hard to say the future of MSJ or if it can be revitalized, but on the primary point --yeah, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    Comment by Robinson Dorion — July 14, 2020 @ 14:42

  6. The fundamental problem being that the opposition is actually in the right : you've no more grounds to appropriate old Scottish words than any other xenomorph.

    You're not Scottish, you can't be Scottish, you will never be Scottish. It isn't your culture, it's not something you're part of ; your notion that "we're doing the same things (same in the sense of similar [similar in the sense of in my oppinion]) and therefore we can use the same words" is ridiculous beyond self-serving -- you aren't doing the same things at all. Howsoever it may "feel" inside, or however you may think it feels, or whichever way you may "deem" adequate to express that feelin' on the transparent basis of "well, which ways '''are''' there ?!", it's still yours. It's not theirs.

    Even usage of the English language in England's former colonies occurs under the most dubious of licenses -- it sure as fuck ain't your language, and moreover it looks so sadly maltreated in your hands. It looks so much like it absolutely doesn't belong there, it looks so drastically like mere grunts would both suffice and also make everyone happier... Reminiscent of how Latin fared in Oxford, English in America lost a lot of its former glories, and everyone's stuck "using" / being used by Grammarly to compensate for the trite if obvious fact that it's too much weight to carry for them anyways. Did you know that "important" is not as good an option as "strategic" to express the nothing you weren't going to express anyways ? Modest and unpoetic as English may be, it still makes you lot look like abandoned puppies swimming in Pepys' discarded old waistcoat.

    Why not more earnestly move on to bubonics, eubonics, whatever it is your land's natural an' proper language would be called ? Not like that movement's optional on the long term anyways, which takes us to the other point : your counter, that "if this were seriously applied, it would necessarily lead to us being no-one's nothing from nowhere" holds no sway. Inasmuch as that's precisely what you are, bereft of both culture and the capacity to create culture, you will live and die as no-one's nothing from nowhere, HeLA matter made in something other people used to call "America" but otherwise just as Togo as any other Togo.

    There's something to be said for frank abjection, you know ? In many circumstances that something's a lot more than anyone can say for idle pomp & pretense.

    Comment by Mircea Popescu — July 14, 2020 @ 16:16

  7. @Mircea Popescu

    The fundamental problem being that the opposition is actually in the right : you've no more grounds to appropriate old Scottish words than any other xenomorph.

    You're not Scottish, you can't be Scottish, you will never be Scottish. It isn't your culture, it's not something you're part of ; your notion that "we're doing the same things (same in the sense of similar [similar in the sense of in my oppinion]) and therefore we can use the same words" is ridiculous beyond self-serving -- you aren't doing the same things at all. Howsoever it may "feel" inside, or however you may think it feels, or whichever way you may "deem" adequate to express that feelin' on the transparent basis of "well, which ways '''are''' there ?!", it's still yours. It's not theirs.

    Even usage of the English language in England's former colonies occurs under the most dubious of licenses

    A reason I wrote this is I'd rather be correct than self-serving, while also understanding my commitment to such has waxed and waned. Do you have a link handy where I and other readers can learn how such licensing works in a functional society?

    it sure as fuck ain't your language, and moreover it looks so sadly maltreated in your hands. It looks so much like it absolutely doesn't belong there, it looks so drastically like mere grunts would both suffice and also make everyone happier...

    Apologies for evoking the distaste, it's what I get for not heeding your advice.

    Did you know that "important" is not as good an option as "strategic" to express the nothing you weren't going to express anyways ?

    No, I didn't know that and I'm not sure I take your meaning. I didn't use either important or strategic in the text. Would you be kind enough to clarify ?

    Modest and unpoetic as English may be, it still makes you lot look like abandoned puppies swimming in Pepys' discarded old waistcoat.

    I'm sure it does through your eyes, Sir.

    There's something to be said for frank abjection, you know ? In many circumstances that something's a lot more than anyone can say for idle pomp & pretense.

    I didn't realize it until you put it like so.

    Comment by Robinson Dorion — July 14, 2020 @ 17:08

  8. @Mircea Popescu, your point about what can be said for frank abjection called to mind your words from a few months ago on worthlessness.

    Comment by Robinson Dorion — July 14, 2020 @ 19:35

  9. I was born in rutland and as a kid I loved sports and all I ever wanted to do was suit up for the RUTLAND RED RAIDERS it's not about hate or bigotry its about TRADITION and honor and those that came before us I only wore the red and white in Jr high because I ended up moving but now I'm back with three kids of my own and nothing would make me prouder than to see them I. That classic red and white uniform representing Rutland and our TEAM THE RED RAIDERS

    Comment by Jordon Carvey — July 15, 2020 @ 01:01

  10. > can learn how such licensing works in a functional society

    The only thing that comes to mind is ye olde epistle dedicatory (which is worth a read in any case), specifically the part that goes "bequeath my skills to him who can have them and my sword to him who can lift it" or thereabouts.

    > Apologies for evoking the distaste

    As the bimbo spontaneously pointed out you personally aren't even a terrible writer, so don't take it that way. The problem's of the group not so much of the scant individuals thinking of it.

    > No, I didn't know that and I'm not sure I take your meaning.

    There's this ominously retarded online add blasted everywhichway.

    Comment by Mircea Popescu — July 15, 2020 @ 03:28

  11. @Mircea Popescu, thank you for the clarification and links and a hat tip to Nicole. The comment itself shows the trouble of modern English's lack of inflection : I inferred second person singular, while you meant second person plural. Not having separate words makes modern English less expressive.

    Jordon Carvey, cheers!

    Comment by Robinson Dorion — July 16, 2020 @ 18:42

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