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Amy Donaldson: 'Utah Man' can stay or go, but altering the lyrics shouldn't be an option

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  • Johnny Moser Thayne, WY
    April 23, 2014 10:01 p.m.

    Here is my prediction: the sound of Utah Man in its appropriate spot will ring louder than normal for the next few years and the new words will n'er be spoken. Sometimes change makes the old all that much stronger. Think New Coke. Nice move ASUU, you have cemented the words for at least the next 5 years.
    Go Cougars.

  • Eliot Genola, UT
    April 23, 2014 10:46 p.m.

    At the rate the song has been sung of late, most people are bound to forget the words anyway.

  • StGtoSLC SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 23, 2014 10:55 p.m.

    Very nice points, Amy. While the MUSS has been building some fun fan traditions (Crazy Lady, 3rd Down Jump, the false start count, etc.), Utah Man is really the only long-standing fan tradition that the school has.

    Back when I was in high school, I never really had any horse in the race between the U, BYU or USU, I liked watching them all succeed pretty equally. But when Utah football really started to pick back up in 2003, I loved seeing the zeal and unity that the players, band, cheerleaders and fans all showed when Utah Man played! I picked up any musical instrument I could find to play it for fun whenever I could. I never heard any complaints of it from fellow students or faculty while I studied and worked at the U. Now it is deemed "divisive," and changing words in it will only make it all the more divisive. I'd rather see them abandon it officially, start something new for this soft generation of students, and let the men and women proud to be a Utah Man embrace it on their own. Don't water it down. That's my take.

  • RBN Salt Lake City, UT
    April 23, 2014 11:16 p.m.

    How many of those that find the song offensive even attend football games?

  • Sparkley Briefs New York, NY
    April 24, 2014 5:38 a.m.

    If you find the lyrics to "Utah Man" offensive, it's probably best that you blindfold yourself, stick wax in your ears, and hide out in the basement encased in bubble wrap so that you won't injure yourself in any way.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    April 24, 2014 6:03 a.m.

    Apparently the studentbody officers at U of U don't have anything of actual importance to spend their time on?

  • swoop alumnus SLC, UT
    April 24, 2014 7:15 a.m.

    I am offended that this song is not sung in other languages. That seems offensive to me and very divisive. It will be a challenge to write a non gender specific multilanguage interpretation of this song. I think including a verse on swoop (gender?) is appropriate. I don't think that using Ute would be appropriate as tthere is a possibility of offending indiginous peopple. Utah ought to "pac"up and move to california to become socially correct.

  • SportsFan Orem, UT
    April 24, 2014 7:33 a.m.

    Calling Utah's fight song "art" that needs to be protected from censorship is a bit of a stretch.

    The lyrics have already been changed at least once, so what's the big deal changing them again to reflect more enlightened cultural changes over the last century?

  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    April 24, 2014 7:54 a.m.

    Nice take Amy.

    Would they also like to quit offending BYU fans?

    Didn't think so...

  • loganma1 Orem, UT
    April 24, 2014 8:29 a.m.

    I love the group think that persists in the liberal mind. It is most often exhibited by using political correctness to attack those that have a different view. Fairness, inclusion and justice are code words used to make themselves feel superior to others. The lyrics of the song don't seem to be a pressing issue. I haven't even heard a big outcry, but Sam Ortiz has now made a name for himself in the liberal world. That was his goal. Congrats Sam, you have been attacked by those "crazy conservatives" in Utah. You will be welcomed in all the modern liberal salons with those bonafides. You will also make a great politician since you made controversy where there was none in order to be divisive.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    April 24, 2014 8:33 a.m.

    @Eliot

    We got plenty of chances to sing it when we played BYU.

  • STLute St. Louis, MO
    April 24, 2014 8:34 a.m.

    @SportsFan

    If you just read the article, she answers both of those things.

    People know the song and recite it with emotion. While it doesn't prove literary genius, it is still art.

  • Mormon Ute Kaysville, UT
    April 24, 2014 8:37 a.m.

    Well said Amy!!

  • SportsFan Orem, UT
    April 24, 2014 9:01 a.m.

    STLute

    She didn't address why it was okay to change the song once, but not okay to change it twice.

    Many things have changed over the years at the U, including the school name and nickname.

    What makes the fight song so sacrosanct?

  • ND95CA Lincoln Park, IL
    April 24, 2014 9:12 a.m.

    As a conservative who hates political correctness, even I can see that this would be a good change. Not because it's "offensive", but because it's stupid. And yes, it is sexist. Something doesn't have to be offensive to be a clear case of sexism. The song being only sung from a male POV with the possessive idea that "our" women are hotter than "your" women really has no place.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    April 24, 2014 9:37 a.m.

    Is "rise and shout" discriminatory against people in wheel chairs? Honestly, where does PC start and stop? It's kinda like a cat chasing it's tail.

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    April 24, 2014 10:23 a.m.

    Don't change the words; add an appropriate new verse. What's so hard about that? The song is not divisive. People are.

  • Vanceone Provo, UT
    April 24, 2014 10:37 a.m.

    The thing I find funny about the entire thing is that the current song boasts about how hot the Utah girls are. And that's apparently... a bad thing?

    I mean, is it bad that you have pretty girls? What does the current female population of the U think about this--are they pretty or not?

    The only thing I can conclude is that the Utah student council now believes that they do not have pretty girls on campus. As a Cougar fan, I will bow to their daily experience and take their word for it. I mean, I've seen pretty girls wearing Utah gear, but perhaps they aren't actual Utah girls?

    Did the U used to have pretty girls but no longer?

    It's all funny to me. Go ahead, remove the line about pretty girls! That would be far more insulting to the women at the University of Utah than leaving it in, in my opinion.

  • BlueBaron Murray, UT
    April 24, 2014 10:59 a.m.

    Attn: MOST HIGH & HONORABLE PAC-12 LOVERS , Independent Football fans occasionally find enough VALUE & HUMOR in SPORTS articles to comment on them...in this case the notion that all who profess to be a UTAH MAN must relent that title, and hereafter refer to themselves as a UTAH FAN...

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    April 24, 2014 11:28 a.m.

    I understand that a song written in 1904 by athletes who played football without a helmet has its charm, but let's not go overboard. "Utah Man" is not exactly the work of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Any song that rhymes "die" with "ki yi" is not a precious specimen of poetry we need to preserve for the ages. Even if you get past the obvious chauvinistic character of the song the other lyrics make little sense. Examples:

    1. "I am a Utah Man, sir, and I live across the green"
    The only thing that lies across "the green" is the west desert.

    2. "Our gang it is the jolliest that you have ever seen"
    We're going to be the first team to win a National Championship by being Jolly!

    3. "We're up to snuff, we never bluff, we're game for any fuss. No other gang of college men dare meet us in a muss."

    Freshman learn that MUSS stands for "Mighty Utah Student Section." Imagine their disillusionment when they learn it was only a lame attempt to find a word that rhymed with "fuss."

    The lyrics of this song definitely need some help.

  • TroyTown Anaheim, CA
    April 24, 2014 12:09 p.m.

    Henry Drummond

    Is it any surprise that the only words of that incredibly silly and chauvinistic song that they actually sing are "a Utah Man am I"?

    No wonder they don't want to change the words; those are the only words they know.

  • RockOn Spanish Fork, UT
    April 24, 2014 12:49 p.m.

    Amy is right. As a lyricist I say, "Use the whole set of lyrics or nothing at all." Simple. Unless you've bought all rights to the lyrics.

    It's a dumb song, but, hey, it's a college fight song. What did you want, War and Peace?

  • Naval Vet Philadelphia, PA
    April 24, 2014 1:21 p.m.

    Henry Drummond:

    Well said Henry. The "Utah Fight Song" IS offensive...but not because it's sexist. It's offensive because it really is THAT lame! The tune? The lyrics? Horrible. Scrap it all I say. Dump the whole song, and try to come up with a better one.

    Go Utes!

  • JohnInSLC Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 24, 2014 1:25 p.m.

    "it was only a lame attempt to find a word that rhymed with 'fuss.'"

    Henry:

    Wasn't your dictionary handy? Or your mom never mussed up your hair?

  • loganma1 Orem, UT
    April 24, 2014 1:45 p.m.

    Simple solution. This is a football fight song so let the football team keep it (and any of the other men's teams that so choose). Let the womyn's teams write their own song. They can use it all of their contests, if they so choose. Choice for all.

  • TheBleak West Jordan, UT
    April 24, 2014 1:44 p.m.

    Henry-

    A fight song written by a coach and his players, what did you expect?
    It was written a long time ago, of course the vernacular is dated.

    How does everyone miss that it was written by football PLAYERS to support their TEAM. Do women play football? No, so it was not written to represent them, but the boys playing football.
    They did not write it to represent the school, that is what school songs are for. How about instead of changing it, you use it only for football, its original intention?
    If you find it offensive, do not sing it. It will never have any impact on your life, at all, unless you CHOOSE to feel offended. That is your problem.

    This is such a dumb debate and one of the biggest non issues to arise that I have seen in a while.
    "Our coeds are the fairest and each one a shining star."
    How dare you talk about my sister (UofU graduate) that way! She is ugly and a dud!!!
    Really? That line is offensive? Give me a break...

    The AASU is not representing the school; outside the small group, nobody cares.
    Leave it alone and walk away.

  • Go Utes! Go Yale! Salt Lake City, UT
    April 24, 2014 2:29 p.m.

    This song lyric controversy, ridiculous as it may be, will only prove to strengthen Ute Nation's conviction for the Fight Song. What the ASUU needs to focus on, is challenging each of the attending students to sing every single lyric at the top of their lungs during each game this year. Now that would be some actual progress!

    Ki-Yi! A Utah Man Am I Sir! Go Utah Man! Go Utah Woman! Go Utes!

  • Bob Santaquin, UT
    April 24, 2014 4:45 p.m.

    And all this time I thought "Utah Man was just a drinking song!"

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    April 24, 2014 8:10 p.m.

    @Bob
    You're right. Utah Man is a drinking song, not a fight song. Go look up the original lyrics. They are even more embarrassing and racist. I wouldn't repeat them in the Trib much less here.

  • souptwins Lindon, UT
    April 24, 2014 11:23 p.m.

    I've always thought it was an embarrassingly lame & cheesy fight song for many reasons. This whole story just brought out the history enough to understand why. The guys who wrote it probably never thought it would actually get adopted much less would last this long. Holding on to tradition just for the sake of tradition is a poor excuse for keeping something that was never intended to be a "fight song" in the first place.

  • Christianman SLC, UT
    April 25, 2014 1:30 a.m.

    Are we talking about the Utah Redskins? I mean Utes. Or is Utes being dropped too? What is going on up there?

  • B C Park City, UT
    April 25, 2014 8:32 a.m.

    JohnInSLC

    "muss" is an action, NOT, a thing.

    Would you meet someone in the "stir"?

  • JohnInSLC Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 25, 2014 12:26 p.m.

    BC:

    No, but I'd meet you in the tangle. Some words are both nouns and verbs and the lyricists probably had access to a dictionary. According to mine:

    MUSS
    noun
    1. a state of disorder or untidiness.
    verb (used with object)
    2. to put into disorder; make messy; rumple (often followed by up ).
    Origin:
    1820–30; perhaps blend of mess and fuss

    Synonyms
    2. mess, disturb, tangle, bedraggle.

  • alphablue Provo, UT
    April 26, 2014 9:16 p.m.

    True Blue Cougar here....leave the fight song alone...