Yesterday I stumbled across some Olympic propaganda from 1995 — a few boxes of bumper stickers and books suggesting that Brer Rabbit should be Atlanta’s Olympic Mascot.
These were published well after the actual mascot was chosen. Izzy (né WhatIzIt) was, let’s say, not the most popular choice.
Here’s the bumper sticker–
And the book–
To be fair, anything would have been better than Izzy. Even I knew that as a nine year-old, and trust me — I was not a very bright nine year-old.
The book does make a pretty good case for Brer Rabbit–
“I mighta known you’d have a fit about the blue fuzzball,” said Brer Buzzard. “So have most of the rest of the folks. But it seems like what happened is that, when it came to the pickin’ of the mascot, the big guys in charge didn’t do their homework.”
“Don’t they know that we come from a proud tradition?” Brer Rabbit said. “Why, I can trace my own line back to Anansi and the great trickster heroes of Africa! Brer Fox ‘n Brer Bear ‘n the other critters, they go ‘way back too! Why, there’s trickster stories told about critters like us in just about every country in the world!”
“…don’t they know that the ordinary folks around here are proud of us? We kinda remind the people of Atlanta of themselves ’cause we’ve got the local sassy spirit ‘n quick wits! Whoever it was that decided to choose that blue thing, it was folks that don’t event know us!”
“They thought they knew who you were,” said Brer Buzzard. “They thought you and the other critters were stereotypes.”
“Whaddya mean stereotypes?” said Brer Rabbit. “We come from the real history of Atlanta. What’s that dumb lookin’ blue gizmo got for a history?”
Not much! Though given the reputation of the Atlanta Games, Izzy was perhaps the most appropriate mascot.
The final image in the book is particularly inspiring–
We’re totally going to start selling the book and the bumper sticker in the gift shop. Believe it or not, the campaign for nothing left us with a few extras.