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Well....we'll not take Samford lightly again, will we?
Other than the tribute, there wasn't anything nice to speak of from Saturday.
And now we find ourselves smack-dab in the middle of Iron Bowl Week. What better way to pay tribute to
the evil Red Army our rivals from across the state, than to conclude our little foray into the dystopic world of one of their fictional fans?
So, here's Part III, with -- I must say -- a remarkably small amount of editing from the original text. You've got to hand it to Orwell...when it comes to describing blind, dumb hatred and demonstration of groupthink (<cough>RBR<cough>) the man created a vision that is nearly universal in its application.:
Before the Hate had proceeded for thirty seconds, uncontrollable exclamations of rage were breaking out from half the people in the room. The self-satisfied face on the screen, and the terrifying power of the Auburn team behind it, were too much to be borne: besides, the sight or even the thought of Chizik produced fear and anger automatically. He was an object of hatred more constant than either Auburn or Tennessee, since when the Tide was at war with one of these Powers it was generally at peace with the other. But what was strange was that although Chizik was hated and despised by everybody, although every day and a thousand times a day, on platforms, on the telescreen, in newspapers, on the Finebaum show, and in AL.com comments, his theories were refuted, smashed, ridiculed, held up to the general gaze for the pitiful rubbish that they were in spite of all this, his influence never seemed to grow less. Always there were fresh dupes waiting to be seduced by Auburn fanhood. A day never passed when boosters and saboteurs acting under his directions were not unmasked by the Red Elephant Club. He was the commander of a vast shadowy army, an underground network of conspirators dedicated to the overthrow of the Process. The Auburn Family, its name was supposed to be. There were also whispered stories of a terrible book, a compendium of all the heresies, of which Chizik was the author and which circulated clandestinely here and there. It was a book without a title. Tide loyalists referred to it, if at all, simply as “All In”. But one knew of such things only through vague rumours, owing mostly to the Tide fanbase’s abysmally low literacy standards. Neither the Family nor the book was a subject that any ordinary Program loyalist would mention if there was a way of avoiding it.
In its second minute the Hate rose to a frenzy. People were leaping up and down in their places and shouting at the tops of their voices in an effort to drown the maddening grumbling voice that came from the screen. The little sandy-haired woman had turned bright pink, and her mouth was opening and shutting like that of a landed fish. Even Saban's scowling face was flushed. He was sitting very straight in his chair, his tiny shoulders swelling and quivering as though he were standing up to the assault of a wave. The dark-haired girl behind Winston had begun crying out “Barner! Barner! Barner!' and suddenly she picked up a heavy Tidespeak dictionary – having no practical use for it herself – and flung it at the screen. It struck Chizik's nose and bounced off; the voice continued inexorably. In a lucid moment Winston found that he was shouting with the others and kicking his heel violently against the rung of his chair. The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but, on the contrary, that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge-hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one's will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp. Thus, at one moment Winston's hatred was not turned against Chizik at all, but, on the contrary, against Bear Bryant, the Program, and the Red Elephant Club; and at such moments his heart went out to the lonely, derided heretic on the screen, sole guardian of truth and sanity in a world of lies. And yet the very next instant he was at one with the people about him, and all that was said of Chizik seemed to him to be true. At those moments his secret loathing of Bear Bryant changed into adoration, and Bear Bryant seemed to tower up, an invincible, fearless protector, standing like a rock against the hordes of Auburn, and Chizik, in spite of his isolation, his helplessness, and the doubt that hung about his very existence, seemed like some sinister enchanter, capable by the mere power of his voice of wrecking the structure of civilization (or The Process, as it had come to be known by all true Tide faithful).
It was even possible, at moments, to switch one's hatred this way or that by a voluntary act. Suddenly, by the sort of violent effort with which one wrenches one's head away from the pillow in a nightmare, Winston succeeded in transferring his hatred from the face on the screen to the dark-haired girl behind him. Vivid, beautiful hallucinations flashed through his mind. He would flog her to death with a rubber truncheon. He would tie her naked to a stake and whip her with the handle of his crimson and white shakers. He would watch the Iron Bowl with her and cut her throat during the game-winning drive. Better than before, moreover, he realized why it was that he hated her. He hated her because she was young and pretty, because he wanted to watch a football game with her and would never do so, because round her sweet supple waist, which seemed to ask you to encircle it with your arm, there was only the odious crimson sash, aggressive symbol of Program loyalty and abdication of actual football fanhood and understanding.
The Hate rose to its climax. The voice of Chizik had become the actual buzzing of bees, and for an instant the face changed into that of a swarm of insects. Then the bee-face melted into the figure of a Auburn player who seemed to be advancing, huge and terrible, juking and cutting, and seeming to spring out of the surface of the screen, so that some of the people in the front row actually flinched backwards in their seats. But in the same moment, drawing a deep sigh of relief from everybody, the hostile figure melted into the face of Bear Bryant, wrinkled and liver-spotted, topped by a houndstooth cap, full of power and mysterious calm, and so vast that it almost filled up the screen. Nobody heard what Bear Bryant was saying. It was merely a few words of encouragement, the sort of words that are uttered in some inane halftime speech, not distinguishable individually but restoring confidence by the fact of being spoken. Then the face of Bear Bryant faded away again, and instead the three slogans of the Program stood out in bold capitals:
ROLL TIDE ROLL
AUBS EAT BOOGS
But the face of Bear Bryant seemed to persist for several seconds on the screen, as though the impact that it had made on everyone's eyeballs was too vivid to wear off immediately. The little sandy-haired woman had flung herself forward over the back of the chair in front of her. With a tremulous murmur that sounded like 'My Saviour!' she extended her arms towards the screen. Then she buried her face in her hands. It was apparent that she was uttering a prayer.
At this moment the entire group of people broke into a deep, slow, rhythmical chant of 'B-B! ...B-B!' -- over and over again, very slowly, with a long pause between the first 'B' and the second-a heavy, murmurous sound, somehow curiously savage, in the background of which one seemed to hear the stamp of naked feet and the rustling of pom-poms. For perhaps as much as thirty seconds they kept it up. It was a refrain that was often heard in moments of overwhelming emotion. Partly it was a sort of hymn to the wisdom and majesty of Bear Bryant, but still more it was an act of self-hypnosis, a deliberate drowning of consciousness by means of rhythmic noise. Winston's entrails seemed to grow cold. In the Two Minutes Hate he could not help sharing in the general delirium, but this sub-human chanting of 'B-B! ...B-B!' always filled him with horror. Of course he chanted with the rest: it was impossible to do otherwise. To dissemble your feelings, to control your face, to do what everyone else was doing, was an instinctive reaction. But there was a space of a couple of seconds during which the expression of his eyes might conceivably have betrayed him. And it was exactly at this moment that the significant thing happened – if, indeed, it did happen.
Momentarily he caught Saban's eye. Saban had stood up. He had unfolded his hands and was in the act of waving them about with his characteristic gesture. But there was a fraction of a second when their eyes met, and for as long as it took to happen Winston knew-yes, he knew!-that Saban was thinking the same thing as himself. An unmistakable message had passed. It was as though their two minds had opened and the thoughts were flowing from one into the other through their eyes. 'I am with you,' Saban seemed to be saying to him. 'I know precisely what you are feeling. I know all about your contempt, your hatred, your disgust. But don't worry, I once coached in the NFL!' And with that, the flash of intelligence was gone, and Saban's face was as inscrutable as everybody else's.
That was all, and he was already uncertain whether it had happened. Such incidents never had any sequel. All that they did was to keep alive in him the belief, or hope, that others besides himself were the enemies of the Program. Perhaps the rumours of vast underground conspiracies were true after all – perhaps the Family really existed! It was impossible, in spite of the endless arrests and confessions and executions, to be sure that the Family was not simply a myth. Some days he believed in it, some days not. There was no evidence, only fleeting glimpses that might mean anything or nothing: snatches of overheard conversation, faint scribbles on lavatory walls -- once, even, when two strangers met, a small movement of the hand which had looked as though it might be a signal of recognition. It was all guesswork: very likely he had imagined everything. He had gone back to his cubicle without looking at Saban again. The idea of following up their momentary contact hardly crossed his mind. It would have been inconceivably dangerous even if he had known how to set about doing it. For a second, two seconds, they had exchanged an equivocal glance, and that was the end of the story. But even that was a memorable event, in the locked loneliness in which one had to live.
Winston roused himself and sat up straighter. He let out a belch. The vintage Stabler was rising from his stomach.
His eyes re-focused on the page. He discovered that while he sat helplessly musing he had also been writing, as though by automatic action. And it was no longer the same cramped, awkward handwriting as before. His pen had slid voluptuously over the smooth paper, printing in large neat capitals –
DOWN WITH BEAR BRYANT
DOWN WITH BEAR BRYANT
DOWN WITH BEAR BRYANT
DOWN WITH BEAR BRYANT
DOWN WITH BEAR BRYANT
over and over again, filling half a page.
He could not help feeling a twinge of panic. It was absurd, since the writing of those particular words was not more dangerous than the initial act of opening the diary, but for a moment he was tempted to tear out the spoiled pages and abandon the enterprise altogether.
He did not do so, however, because he knew that it was useless. Whether he wrote DOWN WITH BEAR BRYANT, or whether he refrained from writing it, made no difference. Whether he went on with the diary, or whether he did not go on with it, made no difference. The Red Elephant Club would get him just the same. He had committed – would still have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper -- the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Tidecrime, they called it. Tidecrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you.
It was always at night – the arrests invariably happened at night. The sudden jerk out of sleep, the rough hand shaking your shoulder, the lights glaring in your eyes, the ring of hard faces round the bed. In the vast majority of cases there was no trial, no report of the arrest. People simply disappeared, always during the night. Your name was removed from the registers, every record of everything you had ever done was wiped out, your one-time existence was denied and then forgotten. You were abolished, annihilated: vaporized was the usual word.
For a moment he was seized by a kind of hysteria. He began writing in a hurried untidy scrawl:
theyll shoot me i don't care theyll shoot me in the back of the neck i dont care down with bear bryant they always shoot you in the back of the neck i dont care down with bear Bryant rammer jammer yellahammer go to hell alabammer –
He sat back in his chair, slightly ashamed of himself, and laid down the pen. The next moment he started violently. There was a knocking at the door.
Already! He sat as still as a mouse, in the futile hope that whoever it was might go away after a single attempt. But no, the knocking was repeated. The worst thing of all would be to delay. His heart was thumping like a drum, but his face, likely owing to the Shula and Dubose eras (or last year's Iron Bowl), was probably expressionless. He got up and moved heavily towards the door.