588: Pep Rally
Title text: You know, pep rallies weirded me out in high school, and they've only gotten creepier in retrospect.
Any American who went to high school remembers the convocations they had during football or basketball season, in which class would be interrupted and everyone was crowded into the gymnasium for a pep rally. Cheerleaders would cheer, they'd play the school fight song, the cheerleaders might do a routine, and the team would be introduced.
This is used to inspire school spirit and get people excited about attending the games, so that they'd come to the games and spend money on tickets and concessions. A common boast at pep rallies is "Our school is the best!"
"But wait," says one of the students, quite logically. Why is our school the best? The student population is simply made up of students living in the general ZIP code of the school's location. There's no intrinsic reason why this school is any better than the rest of them in any way that really matters in real life. And even having the #1 basketball team in the state doesn't mean the students there are any "better" than anyone else.
This comic subverts the usual expectation of unanimous agreement with the cheerleader's sentiment, and reminds you that people who go to other schools, root for other teams, aren't bad people — and Randall would no doubt argue that this is the same of people who follow a different religion than you, are a different ethnicity, or have a different political party affiliation.
The title text says that Randall was weirded out by pep rallies growing up, and now that he's older, finds them even more creepy. Really, if you think about it, pep rallies are a less extreme example of any cult of personality gathering. There are (very) arguably a lot of parallels between a high school pep rally and, say, a military rally under a brutal dictatorship.
- [Ponytail stands in front of crowded bleachers, waving pompoms.]
- Ponytail: Lakeview High is the best!
- Crowd: Yeah!
- Someone: Wait, why?
- Ponytail: What?
- Voice: A guy on the North High football team helped me rebuild my deck. It seems ungrateful to presume we're better.
- Voice: I mean, school districts are just based on zip codes.
- Voice #2: Their principal donated a kidney to my dad.
- Voice: I'm texting with my friend there now. He says it's okay, and we're invited to their events if we want. But he sounded kind of hurt.
- Voice #2: Why are we doing this, rally, again?
- [Ponytail looks dejected.]