Wednesday, October 17, 2007

So What Is the Deal with Corndogs Anyway?

In 1992, The Simpsons (arguably the greatest TV show ever made) aired an episode entitled Homer at the Bat. In this episode, the nuclear power plant was playing a high stakes softball game, and local wealthy, ancient tyrant Monty Burns hired several ringers from Major League Baseball to stack the odds in his favor.

One of the players hired was Don Mattingly, whom Mr. Burns repeatedly told to shave his sideburns, even though he didn't have any sideburns. Finally, Mattingly presents himself to Mr. Burns with the sides of his head entirely shaved off. Mr. Burns still tells Mr. Baseball, "I told you to get rid of those sideburns." Mattingly responds "I don't know what you think sideburns are, but..." and quits the team.

The humor comes from the confused and exasperated responses of Don Mattingly, who is repeatedly admonished for something that is clearly untrue, until he decides to simply give up rather than continue defending himself.

I feel the same is true of the standard Auburn refrain of calling LSU fans "corndogs". It is so bizarre and out of place that it, in its own way, becomes really funny. If you ask an Auburn fan why they call us "corndogs", they'll respond, "because they smell like corndogs."

A little background. Corndogs are not, in any sense of the word, a typical Louisiana food. In fact, I do not know a single Louisianian who eats corn dogs regularly. I for one doubt I've had one since my age was in single digits. Yet, despite this, Auburn fans insist we smell of corndogs.

I've been told that this epithet originated when Auburn visited Oklahoma some decades ago, and learned that Oklahoma fans called Nebraska fans "the corndogs" and said they smelled of corndogs. Nebraska grows a lot of corn. They liked the insult so much they decided to import it back to the SEC and apply it to LSU, where corn is not a big staple crop or a major part of the diet. Its sheer inappropriateness has bewildered LSU fans ever since.

It's like if LSU fans decided to start calling Bama fans "the hippies" because of their progressive attitudes towards race relations and the environment.

If you go to an LSU game, you will see endless tailgates featuring a variety of gumbos, jambalayas, etouffes, soups, grilled meats, and seafood featuring local ingredients prepared in distinctly local ways. And in response to this variegated culinary attack on the senses, the Auburn fans, bizarrely, decided we smelled of corndogs. It's strangely brilliant in how it cuts right at our pride in local culinary achievement. Despite our famous skill in combining ingredients and adding heat, it is all a waste because we may as well have just had corndogs for all of its effect on outsiders. I don't know if they meant it to be this complicated of a form of humor, but that's how I see it.

7 comments:

gerry dorsey said...

it is pretty ridiculous. i actually heard it started with someone busting on iowa fans somehow, but that a barner took it and basically replaced "iowa" with "lsu." either way i think you should move forward with the calling bama fans "hippies" idea. the bewilderment alone would make it worth it.

Joe Blow said...

I couldn't tell you why, either. I always thought it had to do with carnies, or something. I do know some Bama fans that call you the same as well. I'd imagine that it stuck because it got under people's skin.

Personally, I've always enjoyed the smell of Cajun cooking (not corndogs) on Auburn's campus when LSU comes to town. And most of the LSU fans I've been around will welcome anyone, no matter what shirt you're wearing, to join in on their tailgate.

Being a huge Simpsons fan, I have to correct you on this. Mattingly is thrown off the team by Mr. Burns before the championship game. He then quips, "I still like him better then Steinbrenner."

Good luck this Saturday by the way. This has the makings of an epic defensive battle. Then again, this year has been kind of strange across the board.

Anonymous said...

Of all the odors coming from from LSU tailgating, the smell of corndogs would be one of the last possible foods that I would think of. Their olfactory nerves must be absolutely dead.

Anonymous said...

I think it has more to do with how Baton Rogue smells more like a corn dog or urine and bourbon then corn...just clear that up..

LSUfan71 said...

Seems more like a lack of creativity from a 2nd rate fan base. The usual response from LSU fans is just a "?", just doesn't make any sense.

Anonymous said...

It seems that the corn dog is the closest thing that Baton Rouge has to native cuisine considering the fact that they steal food and recipes from the areas of Louisiana that actually have unique cultures.

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