For most of us, Ole Miss 's quixotic search for a mascot to replace the outdated Colonel Reb -- and the delightful groundswell of support for a Star Wars character best described as "obscure" anywhere but the Internet to take over the job -- has been an amusing diversion at worst and downright endearing at its (Ackbarian) best. Even the eventual choice of the most generic, unMississippi mascot possible couldn't entirely take off the shine fron the neutral perspective.
But it's not surprising that from the perspective of Rebel fans themselves, this decision was something much more important. And this being a politically-loaded decision in the Deep South, it's unfortunately not surprising that the decision was something much, much, much more important to a particular subset of those fans. Important enough to sever and ties with the university and defiantly build a memorial statue of the deposed Colonel Reb? As the Ole Miss student paper the Daily Mississippian reports, yes, most definitely that important :
Speculation has arisen that a group of Ole Miss alumni seeks to erect a statue of Colonel Reb in Oxford in light of the recent decision by the Mascot Selection Committee.It's not just the, ahem, gallantry-focused alumni that believe a couple tons' worth of concrete antebellum gentleman is a great idea; the two Ole Miss students quoted in the article offer the project its unqualified support as well.
In an e-mail to Chancellor Dan Jones and athletic director Pete Boone, Fairest Boyd, a graduate of Ole Miss and self-proclaimed long-time Rebel fanatic, politely requests an address to which she, along with her husband and several more family members and friends, may mail their diplomas back with wishes of officially terminating their association with the University ...
As for the Colonel Reb statue, Boyd said in the message that the monument will serve as a reminder that Ole Miss once stood as a great, public university, full of southern tradition, gallantry and honor, before becoming a “generic, so-called politically correct college.”
But no matter how much alumni, student, or black bear support the statue accumulates, it's not likely to ever come to fruition. As the story reports:
One member of the Board of Aldermen said that Boyd’s idea of erecting a statue is too controversial to discuss at this time. Furthermore, before the statue could be erected, it would have to be discussed, planned and approved by the city.The odds of Oxford discussing, planning, and approving a Colonel Reb statue are probably longer than for an Admiral Ackbar statue, I'm guessing. Fairest Boyd may be entirely correct that such a statue would be "the next wonder of the world," but Ole Miss has worked too hard to rehabilitate its Old South image -- in spite of the efforts of the Fairest Boyds of the world -- for that wonder to ever become reality.
HT: TeamSpeedKills .