SHEENA BARNETT: What ‘rebel’ are you?

Like it or not, we’re a society that lives and dies by the stereotype. We’re quick to label ourselves and everyone we encounter; it’s like a handy-dandy – but often derogatory – guide to life.
Nerds and jocks, socs and greasers, metalheads and hipsters. It seems we have a word to describe every part of everyone, from their hometown to their race to their social standing to their favorite kinds of music.
It all comes down to identity, really – who we think we are, who everyone else thinks we are, who we want to be.
And if anyone’s having an identity crisis these days, it’s Ole Miss.
They’re the Rebels … but what kind of rebel?
Are they landsharks? Puppets? Horses? Musicians?
None of those seem to fit. As an alumna, I could’ve voted in the Big Election a few weeks ago, but I didn’t. I just didn’t feel strongly enough, one way or another, to vote for any of those characters.
The vote made me think a lot about my three years at Ole Miss, and I wondered exactly what we mean when we say we’re the “Rebels.”
I get the historical meaning, but I do not feel a connection to that, either. That’s someone else’s past, not my own. It had nothing to do with my classmates there, or my professors, or what goals I set out to accomplish there.
At Ole Miss, I met people from all over the world, from all walks of life, and none of them fit into any stereotype my mind could create.
I guess, in everyone’s own way, they were all “rebels.”
I expected the stereotypical snobby Greek kids, but instead met some of the sweetest people ever. I expected the political science majors to be ruthless and shady, but most of them wanted to change the world for the better.
I expected the broadcast journalism majors to be vain, but … well, nevermind. (Just kidding.)
With that thought in mind, we’re back at square one, mascot-wise.
I’m afraid we’re going to end up with something as bland and supposedly politically correct as the Greendale Community College Human Beings (check out “Community” on NBC, you’ll be glad you did).
The only mascot idea I’ve heard that I actually dig is my mom’s. She suggests a “Rebel Without a Cause” James Dean-like character.
Decked out in a leather jacket and faded jeans, he can lead the team in on a motorcycle – hey, whatever happened to the one made for Ole Miss by the Orange County Choppers? – and be the school’s cool, sleek mascot. He’d be the guy every guy wanted to be and every girl wanted to be with.
Besides, students vote for a student to be crowned “Col. Reb” every year, so why can’t that be a part of his duties?
I don’t know if James Dean is the answer to our mascot problem, but it’s just as good as any other idea I have heard.
No matter the mascot we get, I’ll still cheer on my beloved Rebs.
After all, Ole Miss is home. It’s home for the Greeks, the nerds, the jocks, the hipsters and the punks, like me.

Contact Daily Journal writer Sheena Barnett at (662) 678-1580 or sheena.barnett@djournal.com. Also read her entertainment blog, Scene Now, at NEMS360.com/pages/scene_now.

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