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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 18, 2018

Herky needs to smile more?

Aug 26, 2016

Herky the Hawkeye just doesn’t smile enough.

That’s why a University of Iowa professor is asking the Department of Athletics to let the Iowa mascot display other emotions in university fliers, athletic posters and other university publications (according to the Iowa City Press-Citizen).

The professor argues that students should be met with “welcoming, nurturing, calm, accepting and happy messages” instead of the more angry face he currently shows.

The professor says images of Herky are against the “nonviolent, all accepting, nondiscriminatory messages” the school is trying to convey throughout campus.

I was a human service major for like four weeks in college, so I am uniquely qualified to comment on this matter, which has been met with some backlash from the pro-angry Herky camp.

As a person who smiles a lot, let me tell you, smiling is kind of overrated. Did the Mona Lisa smile? No. Uncle Sam? No way. George Washington? Not in any non-photoshopped pictures that I have seen.

And all those people totally rock. You’re not depressed when you look at Uncle Sam. You feel patriotic. You feel motivated. You feel ready to go face whatever the world throws your way.

In fact, sometimes smiling can be straight up creepy. Try smiling the entire day no matter what is going on and see how you feel.

When I think of someone who likes to smile, I think of three people; the Joker from the Batman movies, Charles Manson and the Grinch who stole Christmas.

None of those people put me at ease in any way, and I wouldn’t want any of them welcoming me to a place of higher education.

When I think of Herky the Hawkeye, I think of a giant bird with a huge beak, wearing a helmet and carrying a giant Hawkeye flag.

Now let me ask you, do you want that coming at you with a big smile on its face; a giant bird with a football helmet and something that can be used as a weapon? No way!

We need to accept Herky for who he is. A mascot. A mascot who has seen some pretty messed up stuff.

Who was there when Northwestern State upset Iowa in the first round of the 2006 NCAA tournament? Herky.

Who’s there taking heat from Iowa State fans every time the Cyclones pull off a huge upset over Iowa at the beginning of football season? Herky.

Who flapped his wings and got all the way to Pasadena Cali., just to see us get blasted by Stanford last year? Herky.

Were you smiling after all that stuff happens? No. But you could just crawl into your bed at home and forget about it. Herky has to still go out there and wave that flag and interact with fans. That’s tough on a bird.

Herky has every right to be angry, and when you tell him to smile, you’re not helping at all.

In fact, you’re emotion-shaming him. You’re trying to make him mask his feelings, and that’s just not cool, man. Lay off!

When the season starts on Sept. 3, against Eastern Delaware Tech or whatever else cupcake we scheduled for our first game, Herky will be right out there at Kinnick Stadium running down that sideline. And we, as Hawkeye fans and as Iowans in general, should support our big angry bird, smile or not.

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