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Honolulu Lite

by Charles Memminger

Monday, July 10, 2000

Rainbow logo an
insult to alphabet

THE call came from a group I had never heard of: the Alphabet Protection and Preservation League. An angry voice demanded my attention.

"Have you heard what those anti-alphabetics at the University of Hawaii are doing now?," he shouted. "They are planning to shamelessly exploit and abuse the letter H in the new football logo. Will the horror ever end?"

What are you talking about? I asked.

"The new logo, for the UH Rainbow Warrior football team," he said. "My sources inside the athletic department tell me it's going to be the letter H decorated with a tapa pattern.

"Just when you think a letter of the alphabet can't be any more humiliated. The last logo was bad enough, the letter H trailing a hokey-looking rainbow, like it was shot out of a cartoon cannon."

I'm kind of missing the point here, I said.

"Look, just because the APPL doesn't have its own building and a lot of money, we still object to the objectification and exploitation of our members. The university dumped that Alii mascot guy with the big foam muscles because he wasn't politically correct.

"Now it is afraid to come up with any mascot or logo that has anything to do with Hawaiian culture. So what do they do? They decided to dump on the alphabet. Dress our members up in funny fonts and costumes. Slander any old letter you want. We can't defend ourselves."

How can a letter be slandered? I asked.

"Take the letter 'F' for instance," he said. "It's a perfectly outstanding letter. It's got just as much pride as any other of the 26 letters. But throughout history it has been vilified as the representation of failure. The last thing you want to get on a test is an F pal. And a D isn't much better.

"These two self-respecting letters have arbitrarily been branded as bad. They can never reclaim their reputations as fine, contributing members of the alphabet."

I think you're being a little sensitive, I said.

"Sensitive! The alphabet has been abused for hundreds of years! Mind your Ps and Qs! V is for victory! X marks the spot! Those represent letter exploitation, my friend."

Well, V does stand for victory. What's wrong with that? I asked.

"Who says?" he yelled. "What alpha-centric human made that decision. We at the APPL happen to think that V stands for verve, veracity and verisimilitude.

"It's a multitalented letter. And yet just because you can make a V with that ham hock you call a hand, for the rest of time V is for Victory. Now the UH (two wonderfully good letters which don't need to be stuck together like Siamese twins) is going to thoughtlessly turn the letter H into a football logo, all gussied up in a costume that has nothing to do with the letter's historical culture.

"Next, they'll have someone wearing a big foam H mascot running up and down the sidelines during games. It's an insult to the entire alphabet."

It's all for fun, I said. Why is everyone so touchy about logos and mascots for sporting teams? The whole point is to bring a little happiness to people.

"People, people, people," he sniffed. "That's all you people think about. How about thinking about other things for a change. We're tired of being discriminated against. Do you know what a certain immune disorder has done to the reputation of four previously respected letters? Please, write a column begging not to relegate H to logo-dom. Give the alphabet a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T for a change."

Charles Memminger, winner of
National Society of Newspaper Columnists
awards in 1994 and 1992, writes "Honolulu Lite"
Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Write to him at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, 96802
or send E-mail to or

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