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Whomst Has Brought The Ass?

A photo of the scoreboard screen at the Target Center in Minneapolis displaying the words "Bring Ya Ass"
Target Center/Twitter

On Wednesday morning Minnesota Governor Tim Walz took the bold political step of declaring May 22, 2024 as "WOLVES BACK DAY." As far as acts of state go, celebrating the Timberwolves' ascension to the Western Conference Finals is probably more inclusive than "Nordic Ski Opener Day" and less problematic than declaring "police week" in close proximity to the anniversary of a horrific murder of an unarmed man by a cop. A special time indeed in the North Star State! How could it not be? The Wolves face the Mavericks tonight in Game 1, the team's first trip to the conference finals since 2004, when I was as convinced in the staying power of Kevin Garnett's team-up with Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell as I was in the job security my newfound journalism degree would provide.

It's not often Minnesotans get to celebrate things like this. Let's examine the text of the proclamation, shall we?

"Reigning champions Denver Nuggets fell to the Wolves on their home court after a lively seven game series that included the largest Game 7 comeback in NBA history." Sentence feels a little clipped but hey, stay petty. I've seen far worse from Shams.

What else do we have here? "Whereas, Naz Reid." Say no more.

"Young and old sports fans have a sense of optimism not often felt in Minnesota." My soul has been dragged across every word of that sentence and every missed Vikings field goal and blown lead from the Twins. And yet, we must respect our winning Lynx.

"At 7:30 pm on Wednesday, May 22, 2024, all eyes will be North as the Timberwolves conference championship basketball back to Minnesota again." OK, that was a little weird. How long is this thing gonna go?

"Anthony Edwards extended a warm invitation to NBA legend Charles Barkley to come witness the greatness that is Minnesota." Aha.

If you strain your eyes and engage in some very elementary code breaking, a careful reading will note that the first letters in each sentence of this very real and serious document bearing the state seal of Minnesota spells out "Bring Ya Ass."

Ever since Anthony Edwards set Charles Barkley straight after the Wolves beat Denver in Game 7 Sunday night, the upper Midwest has been set aflame by those three words. You can find it on T-shirts, on the Jumbotron at the Target Center, even as an unofficial state motto from the state's tourism bureau. Running a close second to its history of losing sports franchises, Minnesota is most known for its stoic Scandinavian vibes and repressed emotions that borders on hostility. Who could blame Minnesotans for getting a little spicy with the hotdish?

Enter The New York Times, an august institution that has yet to find an event in the news that it could not bend to a humorless and condescending worldview. "Dearest Times readers: The following article contains a three-letter word beginning with an A that is considered vulgar. We would avoid the term, but it doesn’t seem possible. Profoundest apologies in advance." So begins writer Victor Mather, typing one-handed—we can only assume, as the other clutches pearls—in a bizarre fit of word-smarm. Is Mather so troubled even by the "more informal pronunciation and spelling of 'you,'" that he could commit several hundred words to a prurient investigation on the proliferation of such profanity? You know he is. Why, he wonders do so "[f]ew seem to be wringing their hands" over the use of the word "ass." Whither civility?

"With athletes, city leaders and, for all we know, maybe ministers and even English teachers, proclaiming Minnesota’s new slogan throughout the Twin Cities, another blow has been landed against the efforts of blue stockings to regulate public discourse and purge the language of naughty words," Mather writes.

What decade was this column faxed from, and how bad are the TV dinners there? What will the Times do if the Timberwolves actually win a title? We can only shudder to think how the Style section will react if someone decides to Milly Rock. At least, I'm sure, the Times' institutional snobbishness doesn't manifest as punching down at other, more important areas of coverage, like trans kids and college protesters. Ah.

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