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Here’s To Hippos

BOTSWANA - 2014/06/12: Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) in river near Chitabe in the Okavango Delta in northern part of Botswana. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

Comrade McQuade's piquant analysis of the George Washington University nickname controversette is the perfect example of why college administrators never want to admit that college is supposed to be for its students rather than its donors. You should read it, as we know you already read everything on the site that isn't detailed breakdowns of the Arizona Coyotes' current points streak.

Anyway, a brief summary. The students wanted Hippos, a great name that is almost completely untouched by other educational institutions outside sub-saharan Africa (we assume). Hippos are temperamental bastards. They'd eat you just as soon as look at you, and before they ate you they'd turn you into chew toys. They meet both the requirements of ferocity and societal correctness. So of course the barnacle-encrusted suits hated the idea and replaced it with 10 other suggestions, all of which … well, Comrade McQuade has covered that already, and we already told you to go read it again.

But in our fevered attempt to find out if anyone else had the temerity to use Hippos as a school mascot, we stumbled upon the good folks of Hutto, Texas, a smallish town north-northeast of Austin, whose elementary and high schools have proudly used Hippos as their mascot since 1923. That's a full century of honoring the properly rotund menace around which a school community can coalesce.

In fact, the whole town is devoted to Hippopotamus amphibius. Hutto is so hippocentric that the plan for a second high school in town has been attached with a rider by the city council that that school's nickname also be Hippos. That's commitment to the bit.

As such, while Hippos would be a great nickname for GW, it would appropriate the thing Hutto is proudest of—cornering and closing the market on hippomania. In that particular and now-dormant debate, we're rooting for the Hutto, and sadly, coming down on the side of the stiffs back at GW. After all, as a local was quoted as saying back in 2020, "Hutto is the Hippos. The Hippos are Hutto."

But we would also encourage GW students to fight back by finding and adopting another animal to their liking and refuse to accept whatever gangrenous moniker the school board tries to inflict upon them. This is the weakest kind of activism there is, true, but it's also one small step toward democratizing education.

So go forth, GW students. Reject "Shaping the Future, Free to Be Bold, and At the Center of Power." Rage against the machine. Defend your prerogatives while allowing the Hutto Hippos in all their many guises to roam free. Find an animal and make it your own mascot. We recommend the capybara. It's a particular favorite here at the blog foundry, and we won't get all proprietary about it. You deserve the mascot you want. Make some George Washington Capybaras merch out of it. We'll trade you straight up—one subscription for one hoodie, maximum of 25.

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