January 23, 2007

Baraboo High School bans the "U.S.A., U.S.A." chant.

It's considered an obscenity:
The "U.S.A." some of the students were chanting stands for a three-word insult, an unsporting acronym the first letter of which stands for "You."

Fans at athletic events have been trying to sneak a few such cheers with double meanings past officials, leading administrators to tighten enforcement of WIAA rules and causing some students and parents to wonder what's wrong with a little team spirit.
So, kids, if there is something you don't like, make up a second meaning for it, pass it around, have a few laughs, and make the adults go nuts and ban it.

I remember the fun we had in 9th grade biology by deciding that the word "mutate" would refer a particular rude bodily function. What are you kids laughing about??!!

29 comments:

bill said...

Hey, we'd chant that at the bar after a rough day at the bank: USA = you save annuities

A high school created by drunken carnies doesn't have anything else to worry about?

Could be worse. Then again, it can always be worse.

Anonymous said...

I'm waiting for the kids to get together and decide that every day is opposite day. The whole school system will collapse within a week.

Parent: What is the problem with little Johnny? Why did you suspend him?
Principal: He told Mrs. Jones that she was a very beautiful woman and he liked her very much. Even worse he said she was an excellent teacher and he hoped she lived a long healthy life!!! Mrs. Jones is still crying.

At which point the parent would probably sue the school system and win. Having taught various age levels without much in the way of school support for discipline I feel for the teachers. I personally will never teach again.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Does anyone else have the sense that this is so past its season, so stale? Some feverish clot of old Baby Boomers fretting whether somebody might possibly feel "uncomfortable" because of what some kids chant?

Talk about out of touch. There are large groups of young people in mosques around the world chanting "Death to America [and all it stands for]." Some of those mosques are in places like Detroit and New Jersey.

And they worry about "U Suck Ass."

There's probably no better vignette of what's wrong with 'education' in America. Repeated, persistent emphasis on things that do not matter, to the detriment of those that do -- social, geo-political, and academic.

MadisonMan said...

U Spell Atrociously?

This might be overkill by the Baraboovians, but maybe it's an unceasing chant. That would be annoying. Maybe they can chant, to the same cadence, Not That Chant. Or, I propose some alternatives from my own past:

Interception, Contraception, Stop that ball!

Munch munch munch. The ref forgot his lunch. Eat it ref, Eat it!

Gahrie said...

I think this is indictative of the crudity, boorishness and rudeness of today's youth.

Most of which they get from the thug culture transferred to them by today's mass media.

dix said...

But the bottom line to us was that the Badger Conference approves only positive cheers for your team

All Little Leaguers eagerly await the ruling on the legality of the 'we want a pitcher, not a belly itcher' chant.

Pogo said...

Schools are burdened by that curious modern Puritanism of PC, either permitting or forbidding expression and behavior according to a complex rulebook.

Generally, the following maxim works: if it is favored by white males, especially if Christian, it's probably wrong, and is therefore forbidden.

Anonymous said...

Does Katha Pollitt work at Baraboo High?

Anonymous said...

How about my favorite high school football cheer: Repel them....Repel them...Cause them to relinquish the spheroid. I suppose sopmething in that can have double meaing and should be banned.

MadisonMan said...

I think this is indictative of the crudity, boorishness and rudeness of today's youth.


Good authors, too, who once knew better words now only use four-letter words writing prose!

Kids are disobedient, disrespectful oafs! Noisy, crazy, dirty, lazy, loafers!

And while we're on the subject....

I'm reminded of a quote Paul Soglin trots out occasionally. Some townsperson is complaining about generally bad behavior in students...in 16th-century Italy.

Doug said...

I went to college with some guys from Grosse Pointe, which is an upscale area. They said when their high school was losing to a school from a blue collar area, they would chant:

That's alright

That's OK

You'll work for us one day

Their principal was not amused

Pogo said...

I prefer my Dad's 1950s high school cheer:

Rah rah reee
Kick em in the knee
Rah rah rass
kick em in the other knee!

Dave said...

Well, no one has mentioned it yet so I will: See you next Tuesday.

If you don't get it google the phrase after the colon.

Anonymous said...

Best team chant:

"Crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentations of their women!!!"

Anonymous said...

Rick 'em, rack'em, rock'em, ruck'em!
Get that ball and really fight!

Anonymous said...

Back when I worked for Square D, we had to attend a series of "Quality" seminars for whatever the latest management fad was. Someone suggested that the word "amazing" should be our code word for "bullshit". So, "that's amazing" became one of the more frequent comments heard at the training sessions. (In an unrelated development, the company closed up shop within 5 years.)

Joe said...

I love the comment that the authorities knew about this because students told them. Is it not a time honored tradition for students to prank adults by telling them all sorts of crap? We did the same as teenagers but not as successfully, damn it.

(I recall a group of us once putting music together for a church dance. We got one borderline song through by making up positive shit about what it meant and nuked a song none of us liked by doing the opposite. [In more than one case, the adult leader was on to us, but played along since all he needed was credible cover.])

ModNewt said...

A similar chant to Doug's from a wealthy private school when I was growing up:

WE'VE GOT SPIRIT
WE'VE GOT RULE
WE'VE GOT THE MONEY TO BUY YOUR SCHOOL

I guess I can't be too bothered by kids being kids. They try to hurt each other's feelings and in some ways are probably have less sensitive feelings than we do.

Some of those kids will grow up and look back on it with some disgust but mostly a chuckle. Some others will continue on being idiots. Is this any different that the generations before this one? I think not.

Richard Dolan said...

This story was right in keeping with the cupcake fatwa Ann featured a month or so ago -- file it away under oxymoron, as in more nonsense from the public school bureaucracy.

That high school kids come up with rude, sex-focused chants to berate the other team can't be news to anyone (I assume that's the intended meaning of "USA, USA" to the gnostic initiates here). The wonderful PC sentiments of the school bureaucrats -- the article says they only allow positive, clean-cut cheers for the home team, but nothing aimed at the opposing team -- has the inane features of all other PC speech codes. It also has the added feature of being self defeating, since if "USA, USA" can be banned on these grounds, pretty much anything else is open to the same fate since the kids will always be free to give the most innocuous chant whatever secondary meaning they want.

It's as if the school authorities see themselves as the idiotic heavies in pretty much every movie set in an American high school ever made -- Grease, the Ramones, you name it -- and insist on playing to type. Sadly, nothing new there either.

Lawyapalooza said...

The article doesn't really go into the full background of the cheers and related rude behavior of the students. I have friends who are school administrators in that athletic conference. The USA cheer is the closest they come to clever. The majority of the cheers are picking on the economic or racial characteristics (real or perceived) of the players. While they are careful never to use the obvious words to get them tossed, it is equally obvious to everyone, including the players, as to what is going on. They truly have crossed the line.

These kids are emulating the student section at UW Madison, which consistently cheers such profound chants as "Eat Shit" (one side of the section) "Fuck You" (the other side of the section. Call me old fashioned, but sporting events used to be a great place for me to take my 10 year old. Not anymore.

cold pizza said...

A sport, in biology, is a mutation. Therefore, I counsel people to be good sports about the whole thing. Give 'em a sporting chance (down at the sporting house). -cp

Anonymous said...

LOL, this has little to do with PCism and much to do with the time-honored tradition of students finding new ways to do something taboo without appearing to break the rules followed by adults futilely trying to quash those attempts.

So they'll ban chanting "USA" and the kids will just come up with something else.

Anonymous said...

I think this is indictative of the crudity, boorishness and rudeness of today's youth.

Most of which they get from the thug culture transferred to them by today's mass media.


We don't really have a lot to look up to, what with vice presidents dropping F-bombs on the Senate floor. We are such mindless beings, you know, so easily corruptible, and very unlike our parents.

(I'm 20, but given that I have joined in the chants at UW-Madison football games, I'll assume that I am "indictative" of the crude, boorish youth that has been brainwashed by Thug Culture.)

Anonymous said...

I think this is indictative of the crudity, boorishness and rudeness of today's youth.

Most of which they get from the thug culture transferred to them by today's mass media.


We don't really have a lot to look up to, what with vice presidents dropping F-bombs on the Senate floor. We are such mindless beings, you know, so easily corruptible, and very unlike our parents.

(I'm 20, but given that I have joined in the chants at UW-Madison football games, I'll assume that I am "indictative" of the crude, boorish youth that has been brainwashed by Thug Culture.)

Anonymous said...

I think this is indictative of the crudity, boorishness and rudeness of today's youth.

Most of which they get from the thug culture transferred to them by today's mass media.


We don't really have a lot to look up to, what with vice presidents dropping F-bombs on the Senate floor. We are such mindless beings, you know, so easily corruptible, and very unlike our parents.

(I'm 20, but given that I have joined in the chants at UW-Madison football games, I'll assume that I am "indictative" of the crude, boorish youth that has been brainwashed by Thug Culture.)

vbspurs said...


That's alright

That's OK

You'll work for us one day


Hey! We chanted that too.

I was told by friends who went there, that backpacking, non-soccer loving American kids went to USA games this past World Cup in Germany, not knowing what to chant.

So they started doing "Team USA: World Police" chants of:

AMERICA! F-CK YEAH!

Take that, Mr. Principal.

Cheers,
Victoria

Anonymous said...

jackie said...

We don't really have a lot to look up to, what with vice presidents dropping F-bombs on the Senate floor. We are such mindless beings, you know, so easily corruptible, and very unlike our parents.

(I'm 20, but given that I have joined in the chants at UW-Madison football games, I'll assume that I am "indictative" of the crude, boorish youth that has been brainwashed by Thug Culture.)

5:40 PM


I wish I'd said that. Everyone's repeating it around the club.

James said...

In The Crying of Lot 49 according to Wikipedia,


After being defeated by Thurn und Taxis in the 1700s, the Tristero organization goes underground and continues to exist, with its mailboxes in the least suspected places, often appearing under their slogan W.A.S.T.E., an acronym for We Await Silent Tristero's Empire, and also a smart way of hiding their post-boxes disguised as regular waste-bins.


I never read that one, but I read about in it in one of Robert Anton Wilson's books, where one of the characters believes it, partly as a result of too much speed.

Adidas is sometimes said to stand for "All Day I Dreamed About Sex" or "Scoring"--actually the company was owned by a guy called Adi Dassler.

Laura said...

As a student who was there during the USA chant I can tell you that it didn't actually stand for anything. This is just a classic case of people assuming that teens are rude delinquents.