The other day, whilst communicating with Holly about the genius of her "Stuff Orange and White People Like" opus, I was duly warned that she and Orson Swindle of EDSBS were working on a follow-up about Red and Black People, i.e. me and my Georgia brethren. If you're thinking that nothing coming out of a collaboration between a Tennessee grad and a Florida grad could be all that affectionate toward Bulldog Nation, you would be right, and the sheer volume of bright-orange-tinted venom in which that upcoming post will almost surely be soaked is almost too scary to contemplate. I thought about heading them off at the pass with a "Stuff Red and Black People Like" of my own, but somebody already beat me to it.
Like all ripoff artists, though, I am nothing if not resourceful, so I'm flipping the script a little, and knocking out this week's +5 in the bargain: It's Five Things Red And Black People Don't Like. Trust me, this is a far more accurate portrait of the Georgia fan base than whatever those two dillwipes come up with.
Ask the typical Georgia fan whether he’d rather a game start at noon or at 2 a.m., and he’ll pick the game that ends just as the sun is coming up. Why? Because noon kickoffs give you less time to get drunk. Yeah, the South Georgia fans love them because a game that ends at 4 p.m. lets ’em make it back to Cordele before bedtime, but the rest of us are seething about the fact that even if we get up, gear up, and get to Athens by 9 a.m., we still have only a couple hours to pound an entire six-pack before we have to start edging our way toward the stadium. Not only that, but a Natty Light following directly on the heels of a bowl of Cocoa Puffs is just . . . eeeugggh. We don’t care if it’s a gimme contest against some D-IAA scrub; give us until 3:30 p.m. and let us tailgate as God intended.
Testy relationships between university presidents and their respective fan bases are probably a recurring leitmotif throughout most of Division I-A, but frequently that’s because the Top Egghead is seen as being aloof and apathetic toward all things athletic. At Georgia, we have the opposite problem: Our prez is a megalomaniacal meddler who just can’t keep from fucking with our sports and the way we choose to enjoy them. Mikey ungratefully forced the retirement of athletic director Vince Dooley, who, while not the Georgia football program’s George Washington, was almost certainly its FDR; against Dooley’s wishes, Adams had previously engineered the hiring of old buddy Jim Harrick as Georgia’s basketball coach, a move which could be described as sending UGA hoops back to the Stone Age if that wasn’t such an insult to the Stone Age. Even the fans are subject to Mikey’s micromanaging: His War on Booze resulted in alcohol-free “Family-Friendly Tailgate Zones,” which on a typical day make Wyoming look crowded and bustling, and an Orwellian attempt to strike the phrase “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” from Bulldog Nation’s lexicon, because cocktails are a gateway drug to marijuana and glue-sniffing and make the baby Jesus cry besides. No matter how bad your university president is, we’ll trade you, and even sweeten the deal with a case of Budweiser for your troubles.
All the stereotypes you’ve heard about SEC chauvinism are true, and as the patricians riding high above the rest of college football’s plebeians, by golly, we’re gonna dress like it. That means collared shirts for the guys, even a necktie or two, and nice summer dresses for the ladies. And unlike the rest of the country, our fashion sense does not take a holiday as soon as the temperature drops. Yes, it was 38 degrees and drizzling at the kickoff of last year’s Michigan-Ohio State game, but God almighty, people, that’s no excuse to be walking around in sweatpants! Even the daintiest sorority girl on the UGA campus still has enough fortitude to face weather like that in a cocktail dress. Besides, you guzzle enough Jack Daniels and you can’t even feel the cold to begin with.
God help the Georgia fan base when 2020 rolls around — that’s the year Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards are due to hit 35 mpg, and it may be the death knell for the fleets of Navigators, Yukons, Suburbans and Hummers that descend upon Athens each gameday. You can’t even get comfortable in a little car, much less tailgate out of one; if you want the true experience, you need to be tending your barbecue grill from the immediate vicinity of a Cadillac Escalade. Leave the econoboxes and hybrids to the art-school weirdos trying to escape the football crowds for a weekend; this is America, dammit.
Despite the fact that UGA is, generally speaking, a safer haven for liberalism than most Southern colleges probably are, the fan base as a whole still skews toward the conservative, the authority-respectin', and the law-abidin'. So it's kind of ironic that the vast majority of us harbor an almost Dead Kennedys-level mistrust of John Q. Law. For the most part, our experience with the police involves only a few select situations: getting pulled over for going just a few dozen over the speed limit on Ga. 316; being told we have to pour our beers out before we can stagger outside onto the sidewalk; being told we can't wander around in the street whilst tailgating; or the ultimate disgrace, having one of our beloved football players thrown in the pokey simply for driving his moped on a suspended license. It's bad enough you make us pour out precious booze when all we're trying to do is get in our cars and drive home, but when you start endangering our football players’ eligibility over petty traffic offenses, you've gone too far, Serpico. As a result, even the most straightlaced and conservative among us still harbor fantasies of a Hobbesian state of nature in which we are free to carry open containers outside as we stumble into the paths of football players driving the wrong way on their scooters. Incidentally, I'm fairly certain it's that same kind of rebellious spirit that results in bench-clearing end-zone celebrations.
Huzzah, huzzah. And now the Ten:
1. Sting, "Russians"
2. Bobby Womack, "Across 110th Street"
3. The Who, "Substitute"
4. Randy Newman, "Birmingham"
5. Fugees, "The Score"
6. DJ Shadow, "What Does Your Soul Look Like (Part 4)"
7. Johnny Cash, "The Long Black Veil"
8. Avenue Q cast, "Fantasies Come True"
9. Pearl Jam, "Daughter"
10. The Pixies, "Here Comes Your Man"
One last thing that Red and Black People don't like: thunderstorms when we're trying to tailgate. Unfortunately, it looks like that's precisely what we're in for as far as tomorrow's G-Day tailgate is concerned. So the plan is as follows: If the weather somehow manages to hold up, we'll set up shop on the north quad right in front of the Main Library, as scheduled. If it's pouring down rain, we'll fall back to the North Campus Parking Deck, gather a little bit before 11 a.m., and decide whether we want to tailgate in the deck or just say fuck it and find a bar downtown. If you're thinking you might attend, e-mail me and I can hook you up with my cell number so that we can all communicate. Whether or not the weather cooperates, I hope to see you there, if not for the tailgate then for the game. Happy weekend, and drive safe.