The latest in our series "Stuff ____ People Like, brazenly stolen from Stuff White People Like, focuses on Michigan, our neighbor to the north and legendary football power. Hoover Street Rag has the real, lovely, affectionate, honest list over on their blog, and we suggest you visit it. For cheap, painful stereotypes, please continue and read ours, put together in a true team effort by the EDSBS staff and reviewed by traitorous Wolverines fans who shall remain nameless. Enjoy?
Things Maize and Blue People Like
Weltschmerz. Grrrrr: Sodden gray skies, the biting wind, and tight white underpants. Show Michigan fans a twenty dollar bill, and they will tell you its not a sawbuck, but rather two thousand sad pennies waiting to clatter on the ground and roll into the sewer grate of life.
Michigan fandom: the mast is broken, and you are surrounded by sharks. Let's not even talk about the weather.
Lifes a bitch, and doesnt deserve the reward of your tears or your joy. 9-0 isnt an accomplishment: its only the brokedick ineptitude of the nine chumps they had to play to that point that allowed them to get that far...and even then, the light that theyre seeing is the oncoming train, or the massive lantern fish hanging out a lure to get them within gobbling range.
Life is pain. Pain is life. And the bright summer day of joy is just waiting until you relax to toss a rogue lighting strike right up your ass, chum-o. Thats why they dont stand at football games: because fate only strikes those brainless enough to attract notice by standing. If Icarus could be added to the Zodiac, Michigan fans would all fall under its sign. The month of November would have to be its calendar slot to accommodate the inevitable loss to Ohio State.
Immobile White Quarterbacks. Remember these categories are not exclusive: many schools have had a jones for cannons in snowshoes. (See: USC, Florida, Miami, Texas Tech.) None, though, approach the consistency with which Michigan has planted catapult-equipped honkie statuary in the backfield.
Navarre, Griese, Brady, Henne, Harmon, Grbac; a long and revered history of quarterbacks who not only threw beautiful post patterns with both feet planted firmly in the pocket, but who could also double as J. Crew catalog models with ease AND get picked last in pickup basketball games at the campus rec center.
My Outstanding GRE Score. If you do beat them, Michigan fans may pull the unique trick of taking comfort in the warmth of their fine GRE score. If they do not have a GRE score, they will eventually--theyre just taking the Kaplan classes right now, or are studying for the MCAT, GMAT, LSAT, or other such professional test required for a grad degree. Maize and Blue people love professional degrees, because they allow them to purchase tastefully expensive cars like Audis, Range Rovers, and Acuras.
The New Republic. Maize and Blue fans know what a single-payer health care system would look like, and they have measured and easily enumerated concerns with the idea given the current policy environment. They know theres another side to this issue, and that you perhaps havent fully considered the implications of your thoughts on the proper approach to re-establishing a proper democracy in Pakistan.
They also know that all of this should be done with some detachment and irony, since no one likes a drudge. And frankly, your extreme viewpoint disturbs them a little, but maybe its just them, you know. Plus, its run by a Michigan man, and Bo would like that. And if Bo would like it, it must be biblical truth---or, you know, the major tome your particular faith respects as divine truth. No offense.
They know that the NPR sticker on the back of the car is slightly funny/ironic, not funny/ha-ha...but theyre not taking it off, even if theyre driving to Columbus for the game next week. Let those troglodytes take it off my car with my own cold, dead, and well-moisturized hands. Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me keeps them alive after another miserable November defeat by tOSU. (Ahh, Mo Rocca, do your jibes hang evergreen on the trees of intellect? Willst they never wilt?)
Layers. In a casserole dish or on your feet, it's always best to be prepared. Take a gander at SEC Poon. Now, Big Ten poon. There is an immeasurable gulf separating the two. Michigan may be rocking its fair share of beddable, biddable, beautiful women, but their radiance, if applicable, is cloaked in turtlenecks, vests, and moisture-wicking socks.
A Nice Deli Plate. A twofold preference: one, because of Zingermans and the Maize and Blue, and also because Michigan, like Emory in Atlanta, is a well-worn landing spot for Jewish kids from the northeast whose parents want to expose them to the rest of middle America without actually having them eaten by the wolf-men and heartless greaser killers roaming the Wal-Martian core of our country. Good deli products are to Michigan fans what having a 24 pack of rotgut beer is to an Ohio State fan: an indispensable utility fan that, like life, is necessary, sometimes tasty, served cold, and will spoil eventually*.
Corollary: Scotch. The good stuff. Tumblers for it. Neat, because it's already forty degrees in the room. Observe how your aging Michigan fan's teeth pull back from his lips in a near-permanent rictus. Trick hip? Rheumatism? Piffle---it's nothing but the mark of a life of bracing against the whiskey, the cold, and the futility of human existence, a stiff upper lip that just stuck that way.
You bastards, you. Schembechlerism writ large: see Invictus, where theres a lot of I am the captain of my ship metaphor floating around. Or this handy graph, summing up the grim public face of the Michigan football program since Bo/Carr:
Contrast with the Ohio State mindset:
A trial does not pass that cant be grimaced away; a press conference without an obvious display of contempt for the media is not a proper press conference. Even the simplest of public interactions must be borne with the displayed agony of a man shitting out an entire masonry brick--preferably the phase where hes passing the corners through, mind you.
Bob Seger. Goddammit, he's grizzled. It was all better so much longer ago. Remember that? Back when we were skinny, and all we had to worry about was boning our hot girlfriend in the back of our 5,000 pound American car. Down on Main Street, where all the ramblin', gamblin' men could watch the girls strut? God, that was awesome. If someone had a drum machine, we beat them with tire irons and threw them into the woods like, "Shakedown! Breakdown! You're busted, Japanese drum machine user!" Our music's so ungay we don't even have an offbeat, man--counting "and" is for commies, and playing on it's worse.
We'd get back to being that awesome, but man, there's all this lost innocence, nostalgia, and old beards and leather jackets in the way. Oh, and we drive Toyotas now, and can't bang anyone in the back at all, thanks to the size constraints and the bad back we got from, well, all that backseat-fucking on those Hollywood nights, man. Today sucks. Yesterday ruled. Where's our truss, dammit?
Dignity. Above all else, dignity, in the face of harsh winters, urban decay, a crumbling industrial infrastructure, seasonal affective disorder, yet another lashing at the grimy hands of Buckeye Nation. (Failing that, contemptuous silence---see "press conferences".)
Michigan fans will throw out the spoiled deli plate and recycle the packaging. Ohio State fans will likely "man up," drink the beer, and then leave the package on the ground.