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Thank God for Nebraska fans

BY DEAN TREFTZ | SEPTEMBER 19, 2011 7:20 AM

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Damn, do I hate Nebraska fans.

They have to be the most obnoxious group of slack-jawed knuckle draggers this side of Fenway. I understand it's been a couple of years since Earl put in new gas pumps, so they gotta talk about something, but, c'mon, Eric Crouch graduated nearly a decade ago.

Like some deranged former prom queen, it is perpetually 1997. They're still pretty, and Tommy Osborne still wants to go all the way with them. After a while you start to wonder if the old joke about the "N" standing for "Nowledge" might actually be a compliment, because then it would no longer stand for "Nebraska."

Sure, if I'm forced to, I'll admit Nebraskans aren't the inbred version of Ned Flanders I enjoy imagining them to be, but that's what sports are for. You get to dress up in your colors and joyously call for concussions upon their quarterbacks, locusts upon their crops, and STDs upon their inordinately unattractive sexual partners. For a time, we can lay down the yoke of reason and prudence to become the petty, provincial morons we all deeply want to be.

But this off-leash philosophical park isn't quite enough, is it?

Try as I may, I can't blame Nebraska fans when I get pissed remembering that I hadn't finished puberty the last time we weren't in some kind of war.

I can't help but sometimes feel that around 40 percent of this country is nothing but rednecks who miss the Cold War so much when they have sex, missionary of course, they pretend they're Slim Pickens riding that apocalyptic A-bomb in Dr. Strangelove.

That last paragraph was a complete load of crap, but sweet Jesus did it feel good to write.

Fantasies like that fall apart as soon as I remember the varied, compassionate people I've met from that 40 percent. This kind of visceral hate always melts away under scrutiny.

My smug, dickish, high-school assertions that God was merely a tool for those who couldn't handle the idea of oblivion evaporated under the works of such writers as Aquinas and Dostoevsky. The idea of a God who could know just how weak and pathetic you were in your heart of hearts and forgive you nonetheless felt so uplifting, necessary, and human, my old beliefs just seemed kind of sad.

Similarly, calling pro-lifers "fascists," as I've seen done must've felt great, but if you stop to consider that they fully believe a fetus is a child, their ethical decision transforms from an unwarranted infringement on women's rights to an extremely uncomfortable choice of life over liberty.

Unfortunately, working against these tribal instincts requires you to realize just how little of the world you understand. As ideologies fly from their pigeonholes and become filled with people with other aspirations than your oppression, you have to start considering where they come from and how that affects their points of view.

The political landscape (in most areas) becomes incredibly complicated and nuanced, and your thoughts start to sound like, "I guess I support that. Well, I don't really know about that — OK but what about —" People seem so damn sure of themselves, and you start to wonder if this is some sort of low-level insanity.

Ultimately, on days when your better angels don't feel like putting up a fight, you just want to crawl back into your cocoon of bullshit narratives and hatreds and huddle in their seductive comfort for a little longer.

Thank God for Nebraska fans.


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