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Why It Feels Good to Be a Gangster – an Investiture

Pictured, from left to right: George Petrie, Mike Donahue, and John Heisman. No. Wait. That’s the Geto Boys.

I’ve caught a lot of flack over the past couple of weeks over my newest (NSFW) Auburn football video, almost entirely from fellow Auburn fans. My six minute and seventeen second self-proclaimed masterpiece — my entire summer’s work — was good enough to help earn me a regular column here at the Reader, but it did not please the masses. Why? Not because the clip selections were poor, or because of the “timing and subtleties” of what Jeremy called my “spot-on editing”, or because the video was unoriginal, uninspired, or uninteresting.

No, some people disliked the video because they didn’t like seeing members of the football team being portrayed as “gangsters”.

As one commenter put it: “Is that what Auburn’s all about? Being gangster?”

The answer, of course, is a resounding “YES”.

I responded by challenging the commenter to listen closely to the song’s lyrics, and told him that they might as well be the Auburn Creed. I bet he thought I was kidding.

I wasn’t.

I’ll spare you all the profanity (and there’s a lot of it), but the song basically disputes the modern stereotype of a “gangster” and insists that “real gangsters” actually have very different characteristics. (Of course, by ‘modern’ I mean 1992, and by ‘different characteristics’ I mean basic moral values.) The ballad describes the “real gangsters” as modern-day (again, 1992) heroes, who are “up 365 and 24/7”, who feed the poor and help them pay their bills, and who can apparently drive a convertible Mercedes Benz and a black 1964 Chevrolet Impala at the same time.

Why wouldn’t we want someone like that on our football team?

The song describes “real gangsters” as truth-tellers who don’t start fights, who never run from anything, who never boast or insult others, who come in all shapes and colors, and who live for the Lord. Sound familiar?

With this in mind, the question quickly turns from “Does this song represent Auburn men and women well?” to “Has any song ever represented Auburn men and women as well as this one?”

The answer, in my book at least, is no. If there was a song that more accurately represented to me everything that Auburn stands for, then I would have used that song. What I’m saying is that the song isn’t just an excusable or tolerable representation of Auburn, but it’s actually the perfect one.

Maybe I’m just entirely too new school. But, hey, these days, the Auburn Man might be a new school kind of guy. Never mind that Ben Tate and Craig Stevens gave the video their nods of approval. That probably isn’t surprising in an era where a few rounds of NCAA 11 is basically a rite of passage on this team. These days, it’s easier to count the players on the team that don’t have a Twitter account as opposed to those that do.

Auburn is growing and changing, each and every day. That’s not too hard to believe, especially when you consider that the majority of the town’s population is almost completely different from what it was five years ago, and will be almost completely different five years from now. It’s probably a little hard to keep up with. (Especially if you, y’know, don’t have an Xbox.)

I’d like to think that’s why I’m here. And why I’ll be here, every week, letting you know what the view of Auburn 2010 is like from right here on Cox Street. And what it’s like from Haley, and from the front porch of Chick-fil-a, and what it’s like on the Fridays before gameday and the Sundays after. Maybe being a current student will make my perspective a little more interesting. And maybe being a third generation one will give it a little more value.

Meanwhile, just enjoy the fact that in that song, and in my video, a “gangster” is described as a strong, caring, humble, wise, and all-around perfect man… and that Auburn fans are worried that that comparison isn’t flattering enough. Says a lot about what an Auburn Man really is, doesn’t it?  It feels good to be one.

Also, please enjoy that the song doesn’t brag about things in the past that may or may not have actually happened. (I’m looking at you, Alabama… and you too, Vanilla Ice.)

See you next week.

Justin Lee is a third generation Auburn man and proudly makes maybe the third best Auburn music videos on the internet today. In his spare time, he is a sophomore at Auburn, majoring in journalism. Curse him at [email protected].

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