March 13, 2014

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 5 comments

That guy with the axe looks kinda familiar

posted by tommytrump at 08:55 PM on March 13

Seeing as how the college seems to have knocked off Paul Bunyan depictions that predate their mascot, not sure they really have the moral high ground here. In the U.S., I doubt you could even get trademark or other protection for a character of this type based on it effectively being in the public domain.

posted by holden at 09:02 AM on March 14

The burly man in the checkered shirt has long been a thread deeply woven into the American cultural tapestry.

You've got the beef stew and paper towel guys

And two notables who make their living with the hardwood:

Homer Formby and Former Homeboy

posted by beaverboard at 09:27 AM on March 14

Bunyan is what we around here call "Fakelore." From the Wikipedia entry:

Much of the Paul Bunyan legend, and specifically the idea of Bunyan as a giant lumberjack with a giant blue ox sidekick, was created in the 20th century for an advertising campaign. Although it is claimed in some sources that "there is no documentary evidence of any Paul Bunyan story being told before James MacGillivray's story 'The Round River Drive,' published in 1910," MacGillivray had published some stories in the Oscoda, Michigan, Press on August 10, 1906, and Governor of Michigan Jennifer M. Granholm proclaimed the centennial of that date as "Paul Bunyan Day".

MacGillivray's story does not suggest that Paul Bunyan was a giant and contains no mention of a blue ox companion. But J.E. Rockwell had written about lumberjack tales of Paul Bunyan, and mentioned the (unnamed) blue ox in the February 1910 issue of the magazine The Outer's Book. According to one tale noted by Rockwell, Bunyan was "eight feet tall and weighed 300 pounds." Historian Carleton C. Ames (whose son Aldrich Ames would later become a notorious spy) claimed in a 1940 article that Paul Bunyan was a 20th-century invention rather than a 19th-century lumber camp folk hero. William Laughead, an advertising copywriter who had once worked in lumber camps, took the stories of an old lumberjack and reworked them into the modern character. He sold his character to the Red River Lumber Company, which published "Introducing Mr. Paul Bunyan of Westwood, California" in 1916 as an advertising pamphlet. Among other things, Laughead gave the name "Babe" to the blue ox, originated the idea that Paul Bunyan and Babe were of enormous size, and created the first pictorial representation of Bunyan. Authors Richard Dorson and Marshall Fitwick cite Paul Bunyan as an example of "fakelore", or a modern story passed off as an older folktale.

So it would make just as much sense for them to use the Brawny dude or the Marlboro Man as a mascot.

posted by Joey Michaels at 02:44 PM on March 14

Perhaps the team should be named the Red Greens. Duct tape on the sticks, amazing things built with left over washing machine and Zamboni parts, and the "manly" image typified by the members of the "Possum Lodge" would be irresistible attractions. This might require the team be relocated to Port Asbestos, but that's just a small detail.

posted by Howard_T at 02:53 PM on March 14

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