War on Monuments Moves to a New Front: Animals Jennifer Van Laar Posted: Aug 20, 2017
Many have warned that capitulating to the demand to remove statues won't satisfy progressives, and some students at the University of Southern California are proving them correct. At each USC football home game, a sword-waving costumed Trojan warrior rides onto the field on a white horse while the processional march "Conquest" plays.
This tradition started as a "one-time stunt" in 1961 when Richard Saukko, who rode his horse, Traveler, in the Rose Parade earlier that year, was asked to perform at the season opener that fall. Saukko "used Charlton Heston’s leftover costumes from 'Ben Hur' to assemble a Trojan warrior outfit — though the armor bruised his arms" and rode his chalk-white Arabian onto the field.
The performance has since become a well-known tradition, but a group of students claim Traveler is linked to confederate General Robert E. Lee, whose horse was named Traveller - with two L's. The issue came up at a campus rally last week designed to show solidarity with Charlottesville.
At the rally, according to the student newspaper the Daily Trojan, Saphia Jackson, co-director of the USC Black Student Assembly, asked students not to be quiet, and reminded that “white supremacy hits close to home” and referenced the name of the Trojans mascot.A USC spokesperson referred the LA Times to the USC website when asked about the name issue:
“USC’s mascot horse is a symbol of ancient Troy. Its rider, with costume and sword, is a symbol of a Trojan warrior. The name Traveler, spelled with one ‘l,’ is a common name among horses. . . . USC’s Traveler is and has always been a proud symbol of Troy. There is no truth to any other claims or rumors about its name.”Saukko's widow, Pat, said the horse was already named Traveler when her husband acquired him in 1958 and told reporters:
“The problem is this: maybe three weeks ago it was fine. So now the flavor of the day is . . . we all have to be in hysteria. . . . It’s more of a political issue. The horse isn’t political and neither am I.”We're quickly approaching a day where nothing will be able to have any name, when no monuments or statues can be erected, because somebody, somewhere, will be offended or claim the person or name has something to do with oppressing people. You've overplayed your hand, progressives.