Showing posts with label tradition. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tradition. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

FU2, Bo. Now, with the pleasantries all done. . . .

I can't get too mad at Nebraska's football coach and undisputed-champion F-bomb dropper, "Mad Man" Bo Pelini.

Yes, after a big comeback against Ohio State in 2011, the coach had some choice words about Husker fans and a couple of Omaha World-Herald sports columnists, as reported (and illustrated) by the website Deadspin. Then again, what the hell do you think I was saying about him Saturday afternoon?

Nebraska's second-half performance against UCLA would have been enough to make the pope drop a few choice expletives. I wonder how you say "stupid #@!*#+% a-hole" in Spanish? Or Italian or Latin . . . whichever.

Pelini's real problem is that his teams keep having UCLA-game meltdowns. Or is that Wisconsin-game meltdowns? Ohio State-game meltdowns? Maybe Texas A&M- or South Carolina-game or Georgia-game meltdowns.

You get the gist, I presume.

 Audio is exceptionally NSFW

ONE HAS to wonder whether Coach Bo's infamous id too often mucks about with his coaching superego. Whatever the reason, though, it looks like we have a foundational failure in the Nebraska football program, which follows on the heels of the somewhat more spectacular foundational failure that was Bill Callahan's Reign of Error down there in Lincoln.

That's no way to keep the fans streaming into Memorial Stadium, and no way to keep the Huskers' legendary home-sellout streak alive through Year 51 and into Year 52. Mess that up and you've just screwed up the one thing Callahan's benighted tenure as Nebraska coach couldn't.

That. Would. Be. Bad.

When you couple meltdowns on the gridiron like Saturday's with behavioral meltdowns like Pelini occasionally has both in public and in private (or in private that goes public), you're flirting with both Public Relations Armageddon and Sellout Streak Apocalypse. Especially when you insult the very fan base that's stuck with the Huskers through a lot more thin than thick for the past decade.

BARRING a drastic turnaround -- and a drastic change in the on-field character of his Nebraska football squads -- I think Coach Bo is gone. Involuntarily, despite his threat to walk on the leaked 2011 audio.

Pelini's foundational problem, to put it in LSU terms, where he was defensive coordinator before heading to Lincoln as the head man, is that he seems to be Gerry DiNardo following the abject disaster of Curley Hallman -- an improvement, but definitely not the guy.

I think this is as good as it gets under Pelini, and that's not where NU needs to be . . . and certainly not where Nebraska football has the potential to be.

The big question here is who's out there to get the Huskers where they need to be without sacrificing all the values that make Nebraska football special and keep the program's nose clean with the NCAA. Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst has some hard thinking to do as this season, like most of the rest under Pelini, remains mired in the muck of mediocrity.

Expect a rousing victory this week against South Dakota State. Whee!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Last night's leftovers

Gumbo . . . yummmm.

That's one of the great things about the week between Christmas and New Year's -- the leftovers. This is the leftovers from our traditional Christmas Eve chicken-and-sausage gumbo. And the thing about leftover gumbo is this: The gumbo is always better a day or two later.

And, yes, there's a story behind the Christmas Eve gumbo.

It has been said that this was my best gumbo ever. Now. modesty prevents me from saying this myself, but if other people want to say it, who am I to stifle free speech?

That would be un-American. Burrrrrp.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Yep, this is Bo's team, all right

You know how a football team ostensibly takes on the personality of the head coach?

Well, I think this little moment at Saturday night's 63-38 Husker implosion at Ohio State explains a lot -- about both the personality thing and why Nebraska's big-game meltdowns just keep coming and never get fixed. Long story short, this is Bo Pelini's team, and Bo's boys are just as clueless as their coach.

Who, for pity's sake, goes out on the field to warm up while the marching band is still playing . . . and marching? 

Who in the world takes the field to practice field goals when the Buckeye marching band is doing the sacred "Script Ohio" to close its halftime performance?

Who, for the love of Johnny Rodgers, is that clueless? Or maybe arrogant? Or, most likely, arrogantly and willfully clueless?

Bo's boys.

WHAT'S a little interfering with your opponent's most revered tradition on its home field when your coach can say this about the hiring of Nebraska's new athletic director: "You know, I've been concentrating on Ohio State. I don't know anything about that."

No, why should Bo know anything about that after serving on the chancellor's AD-search advisory committee? More importantly, though, what kind of clueless idiot fails to even fake some sincere enthusiasm for the guy who will have the power to fire his underperforming self?

That would be Bo Pelini. I'm a little surprised it took the Omaha World-Herald's Lee Barfknecht until this morning to put in print what Husker fans have been saying since Clueless Bo stepped in it Thursday afternoon.

I SWEAR, letting that man in front of a live microphone is like handing Barney Fife a loaded gun. Or letting Bo's boys on the field for a big game on national TV. Or, for that matter, letting 'em anywhere near Ohio Stadium when the Buckeye band is practicing its scarlet-and-gray penmanship.

"Look, Daddy! Teacher says every time a gunshot's fired, one of Bo's boys needs a new pair of shoes."

Thursday, March 05, 2009

When tradition goes psycho

Earth Mother conservatives like to ponder tradition . . . and whether moderns who seek out tradition are pretenders and hypocrites precisely because they "sought out" tradition.

Pretenders? Maybe, maybe not.

Overthinking the matter? Definitely.

AM I a "pretender" because I "sought out" a tradition, in Catholicism, that my mother and my paternal grandfather abandoned . . . one in which I was not raised? To be true to my "tradition" and my original place -- to achieve authenticity -- must I abandon the faith, move back to Baton Rouge, take a job at the chemical plant and become a racist redneck?

Because all of those things, as certainly as I type this, are part of my "tradition." All those things are authentically part of my story, my narrative, my being. All those things have formed me -- either positively, or as a result of a visceral revulsion to them that grew in me as I matured and connected with a God who, at best, hovered on the periphery of the traditions of my upbringing.

Is it hypocritical that I have not held true to the redneckier traditions I was reared to regard as natural? Would it be more authentic of me, more respectful to the stability of tradition, hearth and home place, if I just cursed God, called the president a "nigger," stuck the barrel of a shotgun in my mouth and died?

Because, I gotta tell 'ya, my "tradition" was killing me, and dead is how I might have ended up if I hadn't at some point both consciously and unconsciously decided -- to quote a former LSU football coach's benediction to a referee -- "F*** that s***."

Sometimes, being a "natural man" can be highly overrated.

NOW, I'M NOT SAYING tradition is bad. Far from it. I chose to embrace the tradition of a faith that, two millennia ago, began as a proposition that both fulfilled a traditional belief system as it blew it all to hell. Or Heaven, as the case may be.

Jesus was not executed for being Grandma Moses. Or Wendell Berry. Or Pat Buchanan, for that matter.

Jesus Christ was the Ché Guevara of His day. The difference, however, was that He was God, as opposed to thinking He was God. The religious and political establishment of the time was not amused, as Calvary illustrates.

If Christ had been born a couple of thousand years later, the CIA, not the Romans, would have offed Him.

So . . . when I couldn't stand being what I was born to be anymore, was I being an inauthentic traditionalist or a bomb-throwing radical when I thought I might try to get serious about this Christ chap? I'm sorry . . . git serious about that ol' boy Jesus.

LIKEWISE, when I decided that living in Louisiana -- and dealing with the endemic fatalism, parochialism and corruption -- was starting to seriously drive me nuts, was I being a modernistic agent of disarray by moving away, marrying a Yankee and, with her, eventually settling for good in Omaha?

Or, was I being true to the sacred American tradition of setting out for new horizons and a better life?

Gets complicated, don't it?

That's something we need to keep in mind -- the complexity of it all -- when we're tempted to hearken back to a lost way of life. Recapture the magic, as it were, in hopes of curing what presently ails us.

No doubt, there is some truth behind our yearning for a simpler, and more intimately intimate, way of life. There is, no doubt, an equal amount of falsity and sentimentality behind it, too.

You want a big heaping helping of traditionalism and rootedness? Try Louisiana on for size.

The Gret Stet still is, in many respects, one of the most rooted, stable and tradition-bound places on the North American continent. When it comes to things like music, cuisine and tourism, traditionalism and rootedness have worked out well -- they are the stuff of a colorful and rich culture.

Too, it has worked out well for some families, and for having a sure sense of who -- and what -- you are.

BUT TRADITION can't be limited to just the good things. Racism is another longstanding tradition in my home state; for centuries it has been as natural as crawfishing in the Atchafalaya Basin.

It's a tradition that has left a trail of dead bodies and wasted lives through the generations. A history of segregated schools -- and, now, in this age of "desegregation," affluent, mostly white private schools and distressed, mostly black public schools.

Ignorance is another tradition. Louisianians didn't have a statewide vote in 1978 to decide that, from then on, their education system should suck. It wasn't a constitutional amendment that elevated "common sense" at the expense of "book learnin'." Or decreed that being educated was a supercilious affect for the foo-foo set.

That is a tradition reflected in ramshackle school buildings and failed school-tax levies. In abysmal test scores and pathetic high-school graduation rates. In full prisons and empty cupboards.

It also is a tradition that makes it possible to cut schools first when hard times deplete state coffers.

THERE ARE ALSO other sacred traditions going back generations. Like political corruption and cronyism. And civic "cheap grace" -- the unwavering belief that a functioning government (and society) can be willed into existence by merely saying you want it. And by having somebody else pay for it.

Finally, when one political messiah after another stumbles over his feet of clay, Louisiana always can fall back on another tradition dating back to the Old Country . . . fatalism. Nothing says Louisiana like complaining about "da crooks," offering a Gallic shrug, then finishing with "What'cha gonna do? Hahn?"

The key to this "tradition" thing is not worrying whether you're inauthentically putting on one tradition or another like a white boy in a dashiki. The key to this "tradition" thing is, "Does it work? Is it true? Is it good?"

No one can "put on" a tradition. One taps into a tradition. If it's true . . . if it's good . . . if you've been graced, it in time will become your tradition. And your family tradition.

The trouble with places like Louisiana isn't that they're steeped in tradition, just like the trouble with places like suburban McAmerica isn't that they're seemingly devoid of it.

The fault lies not in tradition, but in a fundamental inability to cull the bad traditions from the good. Because it's those bad ones that poison your soul and turn life's symphony orchestra into a caterwauling gaggle of vulgarians.

Louisiana, to use the example I know a little about, has no will -- and no stomach -- for mucking out the stable. For decades, I've held out hope that might change.

There comes a time, though, when you have to do a little culling and mucking of your own. When you stop investing in an emotional and cultural Ponzi scheme. When you rethink your concept of what home is.

Thomas Wolfe was right. And he wasn't even from Louisiana.

THE LAST STRAW for me came after I posted on that scandal at the New Iberia primate center. I made several obvious points of obvious relevance to my home state and the situation at hand . . . and wondered exactly how long I intended to keep repeating myself.

This is Louisiana. It could go on forever.

No, it won't. Maybe I'll find something interesting, now and again, to write about my home state. It will be rare, though. Tradition -- my tradition -- has its limits.