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Never Criticize The Chicago Cubs Mascot

In early January of this year, the Chicago Cubs announced their new mascot: Clark the Cub.  Cute little guy, dressed without pants like Donald Duck.  I thought it was fine, except for one thing: that backwards hat.

Clark the Cub: 0% Pants, 100% Charming.  Oh, wait...

Clark the Cub: 0% Pants, 100% Charming.

What follows is an equally adorable cautionary tale about criticizing mascots.

Now, I’m not a graphic designer- nor am I always on top of trends- but that backwards hat really irked me.  I’m not a cool guy, either, but I do know that trying really hard to be cool is uncool.  A backwards hat on a mascot is the equivalent of a white guy in overalls beat boxing and singing “Rappers Delight”.

“A a hippie to the hippie to the hip hip hop you don’t stop!”  = LAME.

Having done creative work for many, many years, on both a freelance and full-time level, I had a strong feeling that Clark’s backwards hat was the result of an out-of-touch creative director pulling rank and forcing it to happen.

 

BOSS:

 “Hey, you know what the cool kids do?  Wear their hats informally!”

ARTIST:

“No, actually, wearing a hat backwards to try and look cool is really uncool.”

BOSS:

 “NO, I’m in charge here, and when I was a kid I wore my hat backwards, so that’s what’s going to happen.”

 

I’ve been there before in my own work.  Maybe I’m wrong, but it seemed like it was an attempt for somebody to justify their own job and put their own greasy fingerprint on somebody else’s creation.  If I am wrong, then a really good artist put a lot of thought into the mascot and did a great job drawing it, and blew a perfect game in the bottom of the 9th.

DeadSpin felt similarly to me, and encouraged their followers to edit Clark in a funny way.  That’s where I found this image:

Which is cooler?  The answer: neither.

Which is cooler? The answer: neither.

A DeadSpin user named ChicagoVince NAILED IT.  Clark is just like Poochie from The Simpsons, a representation of a show clamoring for ratings by trying to be cool.

He made that comparison, so all credit is due to him.  Here’s the page I found it on (NSFW but absolutely hilarious).  Maybe it’ll give you some perspective on how benign my criticism was by comparison.  For example, I didn’t give Clark a fuzzy brown bear penis.  http://deadspin.com/contest-do-something-horrible-to-the-cubs-new-perver-1500558877/all

So I posted the image on my Facebook comedy page with the awesome picture by ChicagoVince.  It got a handful of likes and that was that.  Nothing drastic.

A storm's a brewin'...

A storm’s a brewin’…

 

Not until the hugely popular/awesome Chicago Apparel shop, Chicago Hoody, saw my post and shared it to 114,000 people around Chicago.  I was delighted that they found my post relevant enough to be seen.

Cue the baseball fans.

Cue the baseball fans.

Some people agreed with me, and others didn’t.  Oooh, and the ones that didn’t… they weren’t happy.  The negative comments entertained me for several hours, until they realized that they could go elsewhere on the internet to find something to be pissed about.

EXHIBIT A:

Whoa, there, tiger.

Whoa, there, tiger.

I’ll be the first to say that this guy doesn’t represent most Sox fans.  Or maybe he isn’t a Sox fan- just somebody I never want to hang out with.

 

EXHIBIT B:

If your opinion differs from somebody else's, it means you need to get a life.

If your opinion differs from somebody else’s, it means you need to get a life.

A few people agreed with him and clicked like on his comment.  I figured what the hell, and liked the comment as well.  I can’t say I disagree with him.

Maybe we all need to get a fucking life.

Maybe we all need to “get a fucking life”.

It’s not like I was hating on the Cubs themselves.  I like the Cubs.  To be more precise, I’m a Tigers fan, and since the Cubs are in another division, rooting for them is fine.  And even if they were in the same division, I’d love to see them have a strong season.

Perhaps I was giving the impression that this was something that I deeply cared about.  I didn’t really care what the Cubs did with their marketing.  I was concerned more as a creative person than as a baseball fan.  The mere fact that I’ve written this article would suggest I’m deeply impacted by this mascot.  I was actually delighted by all the furious Cubs fans that likened me to the physical manifestation of every setback the teams has ever had.  “He’s the enemy!  Get him!”

EXHIBIT C:

Maybe that's my problem.

Maybe that’s my problem.

Strange to see such anger coming from a baby.  Let’s take a  closer look at that girl’s profile.

So far, it looks like a lot of girls' cover photos...

So far, it looks like a lot of girls’ cover photos…

And what about that angry baby?  What’s that say beneath it?

 

WHAT THE HELL?!

WHAT THE HELL?!

“I… hate… black… peop—OH MY GOD!”

Where the hell do these people come from?  The way things are going, I wouldn’t be surprised if this wasn’t the last time a racist baby told me to get a hooker.

(IMPORTANT NOTE: This was her actual profile photo.  I did not doctor this.  Kind of takes a shot to her credibility as a decent human being.)

Look, I’m not going to take any low blows, but these Cubs fans strike me as just a tad hypersensitive.  I wasn’t even talking about the 100+ years since they’d last won a championship, because it’s a touchy subject.  I get it.  But I was talking about creative execution, not MLB standings.

Look at the White Sox.  Sox fans took their fair share of jabs at Clark the Cub.  And as a Tigers fan, I have a reason to dislike the White Sox.  They’re our direct competition.  They’ve won a World Series more recently than the Tigers.  Their mascot looks like a fuzzy green sock, but he has the common sense to wear his hat forwards, because the fuzzy green sock doesn’t want to look like an idiot.

That’s all I was really trying to say.  But, no—hands off the mascot.  Make fun of a poorly placed hat and people lose their shit.

But baseball in general?  I still love you.

 

For the complete set of comments, visit facebook.com/owenweberlive and scroll down to January 14th, 2014.

 

 

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