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The Crimson Tide Will Die A Happy Death Prophecy

Screen_Shot_2014-08-20_at_2.08.40_PM [1]

What is the symbolism of this photograph? Answer me, people! It’s making me a little crazy since Ryan Booth brought it to my attention. People can’t figure it out. From an Alabama football fansite: [2]

Are they a family of twins, each of whom had that identical twin die in the past year? Did they murder these twins? If so, why are they so cool with each other after this? Does every Alabama fan have a cloudy Other awaiting them in the heavens? Are these cloud-giants, come to crush their tiny, human doppelgangers? If so, did they lose to Auburn last year, too? We have so many questions, and so few answers. Please help us, and make the terror go away.

I choose to interpret it as a prophecy that the Crimson Tide’s football season will be a disastrous one — the black clouds — but that this faithful family will rejoice in their crown of martyrdom, because being able to suffer for the sake of Satan Saban is its own reward. Speaking of suffering for the sake of Saban, ‘memba this [3]? And ‘memba this [4] [NSFW]? ‘Cause I sure do.

What the hell does the symbolism of this photograph mean? Please, semioticians of the SEC, lend us your expertise.

49 Comments (Open | Close)

49 Comments To "The Crimson Tide Will Die A Happy Death Prophecy"

#1 Comment By Jason C. On August 22, 2014 @ 5:47 pm

These Alabama fans are engaged in pure contemplation of the Platonic universal Alabama fan-family, that which exists only in a pure form, and finding that they measure up quite well.

#2 Comment By FL Transplant On August 22, 2014 @ 5:51 pm

Best college football game I ever watched, and I’m neither an Auburn or Alabama fan. But I do wonder who records themselves watching football games.

As far as understanding the picture–no clue. But then I don’t understand the fanaticism of SEC fans, either.

#3 Comment By charles cosimano On August 22, 2014 @ 6:11 pm

It is no worse than the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

#4 Comment By midtown On August 22, 2014 @ 6:12 pm

I also vote for Platonic shadows on the cave wall.

#5 Comment By thomas tucker On August 22, 2014 @ 6:15 pm

Jason, that’s excellent.

#6 Comment By Adam On August 22, 2014 @ 6:18 pm

It’s better than some family photos I’ve seen but it could be made better still if they were fleeing in terror from a giant Gator or Steve Spurrier.

#7 Comment By Michael Mercury On August 22, 2014 @ 6:55 pm

I hope Phyllis from Mulga doesn’t read this. [5]

#8 Comment By Lord Karth On August 22, 2014 @ 6:57 pm

There is an Alabama football “fan” with far, far too much time on his hands. And with his personal priorities decidedly in the wrong place.

Your servant,

Lord Karth

#9 Comment By Blog Goliard On August 22, 2014 @ 7:25 pm

There’s no tacky quite like ‘Bama tacky, is there?

(Bless their hearts.)

#10 Comment By arrScott On August 22, 2014 @ 7:45 pm

Well duh, dualism. The family with their backs to us, they’re the material, bodily presence of Alabama fandom. The family up in the clouds, they’re the non-material soul of Alabama fandom. The fact that the spiritual Alabama fan is identical to the material Alabama fan, that paradox is proof that if God is dead, the Crimson Tide killed him.

Of course, as the alumnus of two schools, one of which didn’t have a football team and the other of which was the post-Holtz Golden Gophers, I may not really be in a position to snark about Southern college football.

#11 Comment By curious On August 22, 2014 @ 8:02 pm

I see a family of future diabetics

#12 Comment By surly On August 22, 2014 @ 8:07 pm

I would like to go on record as “liking” Blog’s comment.

I hope somebody sent you the Bama mom video that went viral last year–as an LSU fan I’m sure you would have enjoyed it.

#13 Comment By Ryan Booth On August 22, 2014 @ 8:23 pm

I’ve been thinking about this for the last hour or two, wondering about the meaning of the photo. [insert double-rainbow video here]

My best guess is that they had it made last year after the Auburn loss. They are consoling each other, mourning the happy fans that they once were and who are now gone.

#14 Comment By Quiddity On August 22, 2014 @ 8:39 pm

Multiply the numbers on the jerseys.
14 * 22 * 13 * 3 * 1 * 1 = 12012

From Wikipedia:

12012 is a Japanese visual kei rock band. Formed in 2003 in Osaka Prefecture, the group centers its work around the concept of “madness inside a human”.

I think that’s a fair description of a Crimson Tide fan.

#15 Comment By Florence On August 22, 2014 @ 8:40 pm

It means they need to get their fat butts off the couch, get some exercise, and go on a diet or they will die an early death.

#16 Comment By SusanMcN On August 22, 2014 @ 9:12 pm

I have so many questions. Why is Dad’s number so small and Mom’s so big? Is that an optical illusion? Photoshop? Why did they want to immortalize their rears? And why aren’t they gazing up at Bear Bryant?

#17 Comment By Darth Thulhu On August 22, 2014 @ 9:24 pm

It’s all about the Numerology:

Mom and Boy = Two Kids minus Dad minus Boy

22 + 1 = 14 + 13 – 3 – 1 = 23!

Revealed twice in heaven and revealed twice on Earth, as foretold in the Sacred Scrolls of the SubGenii! The Crimson Tide refers, of course, to the lifeblood that they will all soon pour forth when this prophecy is fulfilled.


#18 Comment By Charles On August 22, 2014 @ 9:51 pm

What you can’t see is that the ones on the ground all have goatees. They’re the evil twin versions of the happy family in the crowds. Within every Bama fan resides both the potential for good and potential for evil. They can live on the ground, in the dirt, with the Harvey Updykes of Bama nation, or dwell among the clouds with the 15% of Bama fans who actually attended the University.

In closing, “I’m innocent. Roll Tide.”


#19 Comment By Charlieford On August 22, 2014 @ 10:03 pm

My guess is it’s from an advertisement for Slim-Fast.

#20 Comment By surly On August 22, 2014 @ 11:37 pm

Just in case y’all may have missed it: [7]

#21 Comment By EngineerScotty On August 23, 2014 @ 12:25 am

They’re simply reflecting over the fact that the current national champions of Division I football are from the ACC.

#22 Comment By PA Moderate On August 23, 2014 @ 12:56 am

I hope somebody sent you the Bama mom video that went viral last year–as an LSU fan I’m sure you would have enjoyed it.

She came in like a Wrecking Ball.

#23 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On August 23, 2014 @ 8:17 am

Instead of mobilizing an army to crush secession, Lincoln should have simply waited for a big game between LSU and the Crimson Tide, then sent a brigade in to pick up the pieces.

#24 Comment By Jordan Hylden On August 23, 2014 @ 8:36 am

They are Mormon Alabama fans, and when their great crimson tide rolls on into eternity, they will roll on together as an Alabama family, and Bear Bryant will say unto them: Well done…

#25 Comment By The Lost Dutchman On August 23, 2014 @ 9:08 am

It is a prophecy that, after the sign and wonder of last year’s national championship game, judgment is coming on the SEC and the true greatest conference in the South will be revealed. Surely the last shall be first, and the first shall be last. The stone Ole Miss rejected (David Cutcliffe) shall be the chief cornerstone- this is conference realignment’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.

#26 Comment By dominic1962 On August 23, 2014 @ 10:23 am

Get that picture within some rose and brandy snifter effects and it would be perfect…

#27 Comment By MC On August 23, 2014 @ 12:28 pm

Not often the thread winner is the first comment. Kudos to Jason C.

#28 Comment By Blog Goliard On August 23, 2014 @ 12:45 pm

It may just be the different angles we’re seeing them at, but I’m guessing that in sky family, #3 shares his food with #13; in earth family, not so much.

Good job advancing towards perfection, sky family!

#29 Comment By Leslie Fain On August 23, 2014 @ 1:43 pm

As a graduate of the University of Alabama, the only thing I can really determine is that none of the people in this photograph probably went to U of A. The strangest Bama fans are usually not graduates.

#30 Comment By BCaldwell On August 23, 2014 @ 1:57 pm

I’ve always considered “Alabuma’ football to be something akin to a cult. Think about it, they have their prophet/divine one “Coach Bryant” they still refer to him as if he were still alive and the new prophet in Nick “the Process” Saban. All actions done in the name of Alabama football such as poisoning old oak trees at Auburn, teabagging a passed out LSU fan at a Krystal in the French Quarter, Mom’s beating up other teams fans, etc. are considered permissible in this religion because it was done in the name of Alabuma Football. Any criticism of Alabuma football means you are jealous or a hater. For clarification on that please consult the Right Reverand Paul Finebaum of the First Church of the Sacred Saban.

#31 Comment By JonF On August 23, 2014 @ 2:03 pm

If I was the dad in this picture the thing would never have seen the light of day.

#32 Comment By Timothy F On August 23, 2014 @ 5:36 pm

It is simply a picture that can draw out jealousy from backwoods haters! LOL

#33 Comment By Gotta Love Haters On August 23, 2014 @ 5:38 pm

It is simply a picture designed to draw comments from jealous haters.

[NFR: How right you are. Who could possibly look upon that image without thinking, “I want what they have!”? — RD]

#34 Comment By William Dalton On August 23, 2014 @ 5:53 pm

Crimson Tide fans receive beatific vision of themselves in the promised land.

#35 Comment By Blog Goliard On August 23, 2014 @ 6:45 pm

If we’re talking Alabama football as a cult, these people aren’t a patch on good ol’ “Rammer Lammer”.


P.S. I meant to mention that I never thought I’d see an EDSBS/Dreher crossover thread. Mind blown.

For the benefit of those not familiar with EDSBS (not anything like an “Alabama football fansite”, by the way), it and its founder Spencer Hall have been serving up hilarity (often slightly hallucinogenic and/or flamboyantly profane) for almost a decade now. The rollicking comment threads are a trip too.

Despite the fact that it requires all manner of content warnings, and is unaccountably fond of deeply delporable music–just like the world of college football itself–I still treasure long-running EDSBS institutions such as the Fulmer Cup, and Howard Schnellenberger’s Top 25, and the animated-GIF stylings of “LSUFreek”.

#36 Comment By JamesP On August 23, 2014 @ 9:01 pm

It’s an infographic of Bama narcissism.

#37 Comment By Dave On August 24, 2014 @ 8:12 am

Rod, I’m taking it that you and the family don’t have a family portrait in LSU jerseys?

This is in the spirit of “The Ascension of Saint Nick”. For it to rate as a true SEC classic, at least one member of the family on earth would be in an Auburn jersey, and they would be absent from the heavenly host.

[NFR: True. We are a nerd family. I am not a Doctor Who fan, but Julie and Matthew watched the premiere of the new Doctor Who season this weekend, and you would have thought they were lying prostrate on Mount Tabor. — RD]

#38 Comment By Andrea On August 24, 2014 @ 9:21 am

Honestly, all I see is a picture of a young family wearing athletic jerseys, using double exposure or some such photographic trick. I have no idea what team it’s supposed to represent, much less whether it has any symbolic value. Sometimes a dumb picture is just a dumb picture.

#39 Comment By Marvin On August 24, 2014 @ 12:42 pm

Many Bama fans were impacted by the series of deadly tornados that hit West AL in April 2011. The jerseys the family is wearing are those of players from the 2010/2011 seasons. My guess is that this is some kind of “silver lining”-esque, inspirational commentary on that tragedy. Bama won the championship in 2011 and their success that season gave a lot of people something to cheer about when they really needed a boost

#40 Comment By Gene Callahan On August 24, 2014 @ 2:50 pm

@Jason C.: “These Alabama fans are engaged in pure contemplation of the Platonic universal Alabama fan-family, that which exists only in a pure form, and finding that they measure up quite well.”

I’m using the wifi in my town library, and you are making me laugh out loud. No good.

#41 Comment By mightypeon On August 24, 2014 @ 5:49 pm

Crimson tide? Is someone worried about a time travelling Soviet invasion of the USA?

Oh wait, just football.

#42 Comment By TBOU On August 24, 2014 @ 6:43 pm

It symbolizes the apotheosis of the ‘true fan.’ While their lives are apparently utterly meaningless by themselves, they achieve true greatness through their wanton consumerism by spending untold cash to make it look like Bama threw up on them. By default they are great by wearing the clothes of the great one (Paul Fussell wrote books about this garbage).

If they’re lucky, junior may one day walk those hallowed halls…if they’re really lucky, junior will be on the team, concussions and all…

#43 Comment By Artur Sebastian Rosman On August 24, 2014 @ 10:56 pm

This is clearly Ascension/glorification imagery.

That Eastern stuff needs a bit more time to sink in, it seems.

#44 Comment By Derek Leaberry On August 25, 2014 @ 8:34 am

Southeastern “College” Football- where the sons of slaveowners get drunk watching the sons of slaves knock each other about for three hours on Saturday afternoons. Very little is as hypocritical than SEC football fans.

[NFR: Oh, come on. You could just as easily say that SEC football offers a mode of reconciliation and shared effort. In any case, I feel confident in predicting that 99.9 percent of all the white LSU fans gathered in Tiger Stadium on a Saturday night in the fall are not descended from slaveowners. — RD]

#45 Comment By Jim On August 25, 2014 @ 1:15 pm

I believe it to be inspired by timeless art,specifically, a 14th century fresco by Andrea da Firenze in the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella in Florence:


Or maybe that’s just a coincidence.

#46 Comment By Marvin On August 25, 2014 @ 2:53 pm

Derek Leaberry,

Your comment is historically idiotic and ironically demonstrates the same kind of prejudice you presumably aim to criticize. Even in the era before the civil war, very few southern whites owned slaves. Since that time, there has been a great deal of cross migration of people from different regions of the country, as well as from other countries. Most significantly there was the “Air Conditioning Revolution” of the 60s and 70s, when the hot summers ceased to balance out the mild winters, and many northern whites began relocating to the south. Basically, you grossly overestimate the number of southern whites whose ancestors owned slaves. That’s just you running your mouth about something you don’t understand, which a lot of people do, so I can forgive it. What I find truly ignorant about your post is the racism. You suggest that black southerners are out there playing sports, but that none of them are watching it. In fact, there are plenty of gainfully employed, hard-working people who contribute to society in the South, including being loyal sports fans, who also happen to be black. I’m glad that I was able to clear this up for you, and hope that you try to be more respectful and considerate before you make racist comments online in the future.

#47 Comment By Derek Leaberry On August 25, 2014 @ 3:49 pm

Just to shoot a few friendlies across Rod Dreher’s bow.

First, “college” football is a farce and acts as 1) a farm system for the NFL; 2) provides vicarious thrills for the fans, and 3) helps student recruitment for the colleges. The SEC colleges have the lowest standards for their athletes of any major conference and is the reason why it has been the dominant football conference for two decades. And I write this as a Southerner and not some sort of Yankee squeaker.

Second, Joseph Glatthaar in his seminal study “General Lee’s Army” pretty much explodes the 10-15 % slave ownership theory to something closer to 40-50 % of Southerners had some close personal gain in the slave system as sons, daughters and overseers. I feel assured that more than 0.1 % of LSU football fans have ancestors who owned slaves. Furthermore, almost all had some ancestor that fought like hell to keep segregation as Louisiana’s social system. Some of those ancestors are alive today.

Third, Eugene Genovese presents in his outstanding “Roll, Jordan, Roll” a South where almost all aspects of white society had an interest in slavery and not just the owners. For instance, peckerwood whites often earned extra money on slave patrols.

Fourth, as an aside that is somewhat relevant, the estimable Pat Buchanan vigorously defends Richard Nixon on the racism question and I believe that Nixon was personally no racist. Yet the cynical Nixon always played to political advantage all issues. For instance, he attended in 1969 what was tantamount to the college football championship game of that year. Segregated Texas, 9-0, played at segregated Arkansas, 9-0, in a game I am old enough to have seen. Texas won 15-14 in dramatic fashion and Nixon congratulated the Longhorns in their locker room. Although Nixon was a fan of football, attending the game was part of Nixon’s southern strategy as well.

[NFR: Try as you might, you are not going to get me to do anything but laugh at the idea that enjoying watching SEC teams play football is a racist act. Besides, if the great-great-grandson of a plantation owner buys a ticket to the LSU-Ole Miss game, and enjoys himself, so what? Is he forbidden from rooting for his college team because great-great-grandpap was a slaveowner? This is crazy. Do you find moral fault in fans of the German national soccer team, because some may have had ancestors who were Nazis? — RD]

#48 Comment By The Mighty Favog On August 25, 2014 @ 4:52 pm

Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar . . . and a family of Bammers is just another bunch of self-obsessed goobers.

To quote a great LSU sage, “Around the bowl and down the hole, roll, Tide, roll!”

#49 Comment By Marvin On August 25, 2014 @ 6:14 pm

Derek Leaberry,

Your first post unequivocally said “slaveowners.” You can cite as many pop history books as you like, but it’s still a transparent backpedal. To entertain your red herring, though, the further you abstract away from your original declaration of actual slave holding, the more you open the north, west, and everywhere else to the same criticism. The southern economy was a slave economy, so, in effect, pretty much every southerner took part in slavery by these looser metrics you’re retreating into. Of course, that economy was a part of the larger economy of the nation, and as such, every American from the era is implicated in the practice. As we’re all implicated in the abuse of the Native Americans. Not that any of has any relevnce to people who are currently living, except maybe those who for some reason remain fixated on these issues, seemingly for the sole purpose of making blanket criticisms based on stereotypes that most of us are trying to disabuse ourselves of. As a white man from the South who’s lived outside the region for 10 years, I’m continually unimpressed by perspectives like the one you’ve articulated. The “thinking” takes for granted that any white person from the South is affiliated in spirit with the slaveholders of 2 plus centuries ago and the segregationists of last century. It also takes for granted that any black southerner is somehow “them” and never “you.” As if being a white southerner precludes me from seeing MLK as a hero. We’re both from the south, both lived in AL, and yet I can’t possibly be congenial with MLK bc we have different skin color. I see your master/spectator, servant/athlete metaphor as part and parcel of this pernicious stereotype that only serves to facilitate race problems in the south by mythologizing them. It’s also just dumb as hell. Anyone who sees little white boys running around in the jerseys of black athletes, cheering for them, being inspired by their performances and patterning their game after them as they become athletes themselves, would never characterize this dynamic as master/servant. Unless they’re just a troll…