Just watch this...
Wow, doesn't that director look like something straight out of Entourage? Wavy, greasy hair, the nasaly voice used to smugly spout off commands, and the "ugh, I don't wanna be here" look on his face? I bet the lack of a Whole Foods in Oxford really bugged the shit out of that guy.
Anyway, Joseph Katool, or Jojo as I call him (yeah, I know the guy, so what) is featured in this video as the seemingly proud albeit nervous founder of the Ole Miss Rebel Alliance. He's nervous because he didn't want this. He didn't want all of this attention and responsibility over a little website and photoshoppery; but he got it. And, don't get me wrong, he's excited about it and a little proud of his creation, but I can't help but feel that he's being misrepresented here or that, maybe, he's being used a little.
What you're seeing is the filming of an upcoming segment or mini-documentary or something along those lines which will air on ESPN this fall. Joseph and a few other founders of the Ole Miss Rebel Alliance actually told me this was going down a couple of weeks ago (and even offered to namedrop The Cup during filming. I'm expecting my royalties checks to start rolling in any day now) and were really excited about it. But what we see here just doesn't feel "right," right?
As you all know, the Ackbar for Mascot campaign or Ole Miss Rebel Alliance or whatever it is you want to call it didn't go down like this. There weren't on-campus demonstrations. There weren't outspoken advocates of Ackbar's (that I'm aware of). There weren't people on campus wearing Mon Calamari masks. So what exactly is ESPN trying to do there?
You can even hear the guy encouraging Jojo to get up in there and dance around screaming "it's not a trap!" or whatever it was he wanted him to do, saying he's the "face of the movement," to which Jojo replies, "it's viral."
Viral, in this context, means the Ackbar campaign wasn't a real, tangible campaign (signs aside) or movement on the Ole Miss campus, complete with demonstrations, signs, and chants. It was mostly done over Facebook, Twitter, and this here Blogosphere.
But that's not cool. It's not hip. It's hardly ESPN-worthy. "Oh so a bunch of bloggers and students Tweeted and wrote 'it's a trap' back and forth on eachother's Facebook walls? Booooo-ring! C'mon, we've got pictures of Jamal Anderson doing coke off of a toilet in the Peachtree Tavern, we're ESPN, remember?" So what do they do? They make it hip. They portray the story to be something that it was not.
When you really look at it, the Ackbar for Mascot campaign was smaller than most people think. Yes, it's going to be on ESPN and was in multiple newspapers, blogs, websites, and was even featured on NPR. Hell, I even had a new acquaintance ask "oh, like Admiral Ackbar?" when I told her that I graduated from Ole Miss. But the campaign's Facebook page, despite the incredibly powerful viral nature of the endeavor, only boasts a few thousand fans. The same can be said about Ackbar's page and Twitter feed.
It was goofy, fun, and, upon the introduction of the mascot concepts, quite short lived. That, of course, is not sexy enough for television. Let's just hope Jojo and the rest of us aren't far too misprepesented once this is completed and broadcast. I have my doubts, but also my faith in this being, in the end, a good thing. That's because I do not see this making Ole Miss look bad. It may make Ole Miss look dorky, but when compared to the media's love of making Ole Miss look racist, I'll take that any day.
Oh, and finally, some people really need to hear what Jojo has to say here:
The Ole Miss Rebel Alliance...pushed for the "yes" vote [on the creation of a student-led committee to choose a new mascot]...using Admiral Ackbar as a vehicle...Oh, well we never really wanted Ackbar to be the mascot...we just wanted to make sure we could get the student-led [mascot] committee.
That's straight out of the campaign's creator's mouth. All of you ignorant, shallow-minded rubes who got angered and embarrassed over the Ackbar campaign because "Star Wars is for nerdfaggots" and "Kernel Reb ain't a bigot" need to do everyone on this fucking planet a favor and
The Ackbar campaign was nothing more than a few friends making light of the pomp and ado surrounding a, frankly, insignificant issue. They thought that if they could demonstrate the silliness of the entire situation - an active, heated debate over a guy who wears a foam head while dancing during sporting events - they could ease most students into realizing that a new mascot isn't that bad of a prospect and can, frankly, be kind of fun to see and be a part of developing. And they did it for the lulz. Lulz are good, y'all.
What ESPN appears to be doing in this video is pretty slimy, but it won't end up nearly as slimy or embarrassing as the actions of Colonel Reb's biggest supporters, b'lee dat. Lying, whether it be falsifying events to make your news story look cool or distorting information to support your cause, is never the means with which to justify an end. Never.
*While writing this, I spoke with Jojo. I just wanna let y'all know what what I say here is me and only me. I'm hardly his mouthpiece here. He tells me that he got along very well with the ESPN folks, false rallies or not.
**Yeah, I'm overreacting. That's what I do.