The University of Mississippi has recently undertaken a move to replace its mascot, Colonel Reb. Apparently the university has realized that associating itself with a figure tied so closely with the Confederacy and slavery is probably not smart from a PR perspective. So instead of a mascot that represented what most people see as an immoral cause that was a loss, Ole Miss is looking at a rebel figure that pioneered a noble cause, and won. Admiral Ackbar. No sh-kidding. And better yet, Lucasfilm has indicated they may allow the licensing.
Ilya Somin at the Volokh Conspiracy comments on the story:
Both science fiction fans and Confederacy-haters have reason to cheer this development. Given my view of the Confederacy (see here and here, and here), I fall into both categories. From a competitive standpoint, it also makes good sense to replace a mascot who represented an evil cause that failed with one that symbolizes a just cause that won. Winners make better mascots than losers.
Since the 1960s, scholars have spoken of the rise of a New South that is beginning to transcend the region’s legacy of slavery and segregation. The state of Mississippi was once one of the most segregationist of all, and the University of Mississippi was famously resistant to the admission of black students. This change is a small but interesting indication of the broader changes in the South over the last two generations. The legacy of segregation and the Myth of the Lost Cause certainly aren’t completely dead. But even at Ole Miss they are on their way out.
This will be a major boon to nerd-dom everywhere. Can you imagine the indimidation factor? Perhaps the school’s seal can be altered to include a Mon Calamari star cruiser?