Article Comment 

Steve Mullen: Keeping Uncle Haley out of the kitchen


Steve Mullen



We thought, over the past several years with two elementary-age kids, that we''d seen all the cutesy Thanksgiving-themed things students could possibly produce. Of course, there''s the perennial favorite: Drawings and cutouts of turkeys made by tracing their hands. We''ve seen the Indian feathers and headbands from construction paper, and the Pilgrim hats and buckles. We''ve seen turkeys made out of pine cones and Coke cans. 


This year, a teacher threw us a curve. 


The first-grader came home the other day with a "recipe book" -- a folder full of turkey recipes from each kid in her class, recorded by the teacher exactly as dictated to her. The result is a bunch of those "Kids Say the Darndest Things" moments only parents and grandparents -- and no one else -- can probably appreciate. 


One example:  




2 Bacon Meat 


2 Cups Hot Sauce 


1 White Powder 


Any Kind of Meat 


Mix bacon, powder and hot sauce. Stuff it with any kind if meat. Bake at warm degrees for 30 min. It''s done when the light comes on and it looks just like a turkey! 


Aw. Precious. What pearls fall from the mouths of babes. 


Grown-ups can play this game too, though. Look at all the different recipes out there for the same dish -- a palatable Mississippi University for Women. 


The consensus seems to be that for years, we had a great Thanksgiving feast before us, but what''s sitting on the plate right now isn''t very tasty. Yes, it''s still grandma''s home-cooked Thanksgiving that you''re used to getting. But Grandma is getting up in years now, and she''s losing her touch. She''s putting too much salt in the green beans. She just sneezed in the sweet potatoes. She forgot what time the turkey went in, and at what temperature -- friends, we have a salmonella cocktail on our hands here.  


We know we need to break it to Grandma: Time to get out of the kitchen. 


We know we can''t continue with low enrollment, empty dorms, low impact on the community, a general lack of excitement. Something has to change. 


To her credit, President Claudia Limbert has been in the kitchen with Grandma for many years now. She tried to take charge and add a little spice to Grandma''s cooking, with her drive for a new name. That''s all well and good, but without the unified alumni behind you, you may as well be cooking a turkey in a cold oven, and serving it to a half-empty table. Many continue to force it down, unable or unwilling to face down Grandma. So, Limbert''s Reneau University announcement added no spice to this meal. 


Plenty of armchair chefs are whispering into Limbert''s ear -- those well-meaning uncles who dart in and out of the kitchen with half-brained suggestions on how to get the meal back on track. 


One suggestion: Merge The W and East Mississippi Community College. EMCC, which is looking for room to expand, could close up shop in Scooba, shelve plans to buy land in Maben and build dorms at Mayhew, and instead share the MUW campus.  


And, here comes Uncle Haley, muscling into the kitchen, with his idea: Merge The W and Mississippi State University.  


We don''t think Uncle Haley cares about how the meal tastes, as much as he wants it done. We''re not running back to the store to get any ingredients we might have forgotten. We''re cooking this thing up now, with what we''ve got. In fact, if all we have is White Powder and Any Kind of Meat, let''s do that. 


We all have our ideas. But that doesn''t change the fact that Grandma''s still in the kitchen. Still, most of us, no matter how much we might want to, don''t have the stomach to kick her out. 


Limbert''s our friend in the kitchen. She''s been dealing with Grandma for years now. Grandma''s rearing back to sneeze, and Limbert strategically moves the sweet potatoes away from the spray zone, just in time. She even puts the little marshmallows on top just right. 


Limbert might not be the best chef --she''s no Emeril. But she''s the one in the kitchen. Grandma ain''t letting Uncle Haley or anyone else in, anytime soon.  


The Legislature isn''t going to merge The W with MSU -- they have Grandma''s respect, and dare not face her down. But they should realize Limbert has the key to a better meal. We need to give her recipe for a name change a chance. We need to ease Grandma into the living room, and let Limbert take over.  


Given a chance, Limbert''s Reneau University is going to taste better than what Grandma''s been giving us lately -- and can only be better than Uncle Haley''s recipe. 


Otherwise, we may as well pass around the Any Kind of Meat.


Steve Mullen is Managing Editor of The Dispatch.


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Reader Comments

Article Comment Megan Morgan commented at 11/18/2009 7:40:00 PM:

I thought I'd seen all the sexist arguments for merging MUW out there. Guess I was wrong.


Article Comment Mary Smith commented at 11/18/2009 8:14:00 PM:

Stupid article.


Article Comment Go away, caveman Mullen commented at 11/19/2009 11:41:00 AM:

WOW....way to take the Dispatch backwards 50 years. Please crawl back in your cave!


Article Comment rm commented at 11/19/2009 1:53:00 PM:

Repulsive,sexist and just plain dumb commentary. Really, who do you think you are?


Article Comment Not a Good Ole Boy commented at 11/19/2009 2:31:00 PM:

This is shockingly sexist, especially coming from a man with a wife and two daughters. You're certainly entitled to your opinions, but I hope you realize the negative impact they'll have on your daughters.


Article Comment pam commented at 11/19/2009 3:02:00 PM:

Sexist and probably NOT politically correct---but so WHAT ?? The same people complaining about your article are the same ones that are taking themselves WAY TO SERIOUSLY and have their head buried in the red clay mud down by the river. Maybe you should have used a football analogy, then they could complain about you being a "good ole boy" ......


Article Comment Steve Mullen commented at 11/19/2009 3:29:00 PM:

"Stupid article," maybe. They can't all be gems. But it wasn't my intent to be sexist, much less "shockingly sexist." Metaphors aside, the intended message is: MUW's best shot at remaining independent and viable into the future is to embrace a gender-neutral name. To deny that is to deny reality. And isn't clinging to "For Women" a bit sexist in itself?


Article Comment Megan Morgan commented at 11/19/2009 6:25:00 PM:

Actually, no, it's not. Asserting the necessity of maintaining a women's focus in education, a field which IS still "shockingly sexist," is far from sexism. People like to claim "reverse sexism" without understanding the intricate workings of prejudice. Women still face a great deal of prejudice and opposition in higher education, and to attempt to elide that by pretending everything's okay is simply objectionable. It's rather like claiming that racism is dead because we elected Barack Obama, so now we don't need schools that are focused on providing opportunities for minorities (hmm, another item on the Barbour agenda, come to think of it!).


Article Comment Reality commented at 11/19/2009 6:43:00 PM:

I think your message was quite clear, if and when one made it to the end of the article! The idea that a name change is the only salvation for MUW is also only your opinion, not reality. The reality is that the name change needs to be dropped at the point, so that all groups can come together to oppose the merger of The W with MSU. Should merger happen you won't have to worry about a name change, because it WILL be MSU - Columbus. (hmm, maybe that is what you really want!)


Article Comment Jack commented at 11/20/2009 10:28:00 AM:

The article is in the OPINIONS section. An opinion piece from the writer, with no ties to the W or Columbus not-so-incidentally, is merely a vehicle to provoke discussion among those who might actually care about the W's future. Goal one accomplished. Sexist?? Accusing someone, anyone, to be sexist without either considering the facts and situation entirely is far worse than being sexist. At least a true sexist carries a self-inflicted wound. Your shameful assault on the writer is deplorable. It appears that some readers anticipate being maligned simply for being a woman and supporter of the W. How incredibly simple. The article obviously tied a real-life experience, probably too generously shared to undeserving venemous readers, with a thought provoking opinion piece.

All those crying sexism should be ashamed of yourselves. If not for people like you, there might actually be progress on projects like the W. How ironic that those who are so ignorant and socially insensitive are doing it in the name of education and woman's right to an institution bearing her name. If this actually is Grandma's last Thanksgiving at least she'll die knowing that what her generation did to move women's rights forward is now in the hands of women too bitter to see reality. What a shame.


Article Comment A reader commented at 11/20/2009 2:36:00 PM:

Megan, your argument that the name Miss Univ for Women is NOT sexist while arguing that Mullen's column IS sexist is a great example of the sheer lunacy behind the effort to retain the archaic name. Very entertaining column, Mr. Mullen. Thank you. Made me laugh out loud.


Article Comment Jack O''Lanten commented at 11/20/2009 6:33:00 PM:

What ever happen to the "good sense" writters??


Article Comment Todd in Jackson commented at 11/23/2009 9:33:00 PM:

Nice article, Steve. What's sexist about low enrollment, empty dorms, low impact on the community, a general lack of excitement? Those are measurable characteristics about the university that none of your detractors mention. I would have hoped they might want to comment on facts rather than call names.

I agree that a name change is imminent and think that none of the university mergers will happen. No need to waste time opposing it.

It's just a Barber ploy to get attention away from the drastic cuts he's going to have to make in the budget.


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