Since his introduction to an “unprepared world” on September 24, 2018, Gritty, the mascot for the Philadelphia Flyers, has experienced an unlikely rise. He threatened Iceburgh the Pittsburgh Penguin, fell spectacularly, came in like a wrecking ball. A Philadephia city resolution declared Gritty a “ghastly empty-eyed muppet” and “an acid trip of a mascot,” before concluding that “Gritty may be a hideous monster, but he is our hideous monster.” Countering his vacant expression with an exuberant presence, Gritty was swiftly adopted by leftists in the US. Gritty has been described as “potentially insurrectionary”–or alternately, a “googly-eyed, outie-bellybuttoned” angel of history.
In this low-stakes mini-symposium, CSCL GSA and MIMSGG welcome 5-10 minute presentations on Gritty and more from graduate students in all disciplines at the U. Some possible topics include: leftism in popular culture, memes as political discourse, losers and anti-heroes in left cultural history, repurposing corporate branding for activist ends, and the uses (and limits) of the absurd in political discourse. But these are by no means restrictive! In the spirit of Gritty, we welcome your wildest, wooliest takes on this “weird and scary icon for weird and scary times.”