Tuesday, September 03, 2013

9 questions about the University of Michigan you were too embarrassed to ask

Notre Dame and its allies are preparing for a possibly imminent series of football plays against a school called the "University of Michigan", in retaliation for President Hoke's suspected use of Geneva Convention-violating poultry metaphors against civilians. They've already launched some nasty verbal volleys, but things are likely to get "kinetic" sometime around Saturday night.

If you found that sentence confusing, or aren't exactly sure why Notre Dame is gearing up for physical competition against the University of Michigan (also sometimes called The Univ of Michi), or even where the Univ of Michi is located, this article is for you. What's happening in An-Urbur (pronounced "Ann Arbor") is really important, but it also can be confusing and difficult to follow for casual Notre Dame fans who only follow their team and their traditional rivals, and as such do not know anything about the Un of Mi (another nickname for the University of Michigan).

Here, then, are the most basic answers to your most basic questions. First, though, a disclaimer: the University of Michigan is a complicated place. Many things about it (i.e., its exact location, enrollment, fight song, and school colors) are the subject of fierce debate among historians. I'll do my best here to give you a basic background primer.

1. What is the University of Michigan?

The University of Michigan is a public research institution. It was formed in 1817 by the British as part of reparations mandated by the Treaty of Ghent after their unconditional surrender to the United States following the War of 1812.

2. Why with all the fighting?

Short answer, the relationship has been fractious since the 19th century, when Notre Dame was colonized by Michigan and run by the Raj, a ruthless proxy dictator. A series of guerrilla uprisings and violent repressions took place over that span, usually in the large enclosed fields on the two campuses. These were bloody affairs, often involving points totals well into the double digits.

Oh the humanity.

Following the Paprika Act of 1910, Notre Dame launched a nonviolent popular uprising led by head coach and guru Frank Longman. Following Notre Dame independence, the two schools enjoyed 92 years of peace, never once devolving into on-field football combat to resolve their problems. Tackling and hitting gave way to icy indifference. In fact, both Universities moved their campuses 25 feet further away from the other each year, explaining the now-179 mile gap between them.

3. So why are things heating up now?

Oh, right. So after nearly a century of peace, the two sides resumed open hostility in 2002 with a series of violent annual skirmishes. Neither side was able to obtain a permanent advantage due to wildly amateur battlefield tactics on both sides, and by 2012 the conflict had ground into a gruesome and unwatchable stalemate.

Exhibit A

Pivoting off of a victory at the Battle of South Bend in 2012, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick used his newfound leverage to sue for peace, courageously handing a peace treaty to his counterpart at the University of Michigan on the very field where the battle was fought.

4. Why didn't the peace last?

As events in America's recent past have shown, it's not that simple to extricate yourself from a decade-long conflict fraught with historical grudges. The treaty calls for a phased withdrawal over the next few years, but that still means both sides will still be around for a few more fighting seasons.

The obvious question as the cessation of hostilities approaches, though, is what do we tell our last wave of players we send into harm's way? To paraphrase the Secretary of State, how exactly do you ask a player to be the last man to get tackled for a mistake?

5. I hear a lot about how Russia and Iran both love the University of Michigan. What up with that?

Nobody loves the University of Michigan.

6. This is all bleak and hopeless. Can we take a music break?

According to Wikipedia, Iggy Pop dropped out of the University of Michigan.

7. Will dropping bombs on one or both of these teams help?

What? No. Why would you think that?

8. Are you sure? I feel like blowing something up somewhere would be a good thing.

That's... what? No. No. Jeez.

9. Hi I have no attention span and so I just scrolled here to the bottom for a summary oh hey look videos of puppets bye bye.

Okay, bye. Now that that weirdo's gone, here's a summary:
  • The University of Michigan is a school.
  • Their nickname is the Wolves or Wolfpack or something.
  • No matter what you've heard, Vladimir Putin does not like them.
  • They have a coach, who is rumored to be named Chester Bradyhoke. This is unconfirmed.
  • Lots of young men with promising futures will get tackled on Saturday, many of who will not get up for several seconds or perhaps even a minute or more.
  • Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence. (A. Solzhenitsyn)

God help us all.


Further reading: mgoblog, the Free Michigan Army's main digital propaganda arm.