OPINION: Gritty is what we deserve

Cameron Gorman headshot

Cameron Gorman

By now, you’ve no doubt heard of Gritty, the new, orange, rolling-eyed mascot for the Philadelphia Flyers. I won’t pull punches with you, reader. If you’ve seen Gritty, then you already know what I’m talking about. It’s hard to erase his visage from your eyes once he’s burned himself into your retinas. And it’s very possible, with the

neon hue of his fur, that the image

did cause a burn.

I don’t know if the editorial staff of KentWired will allow an image of such a monstrosity to grace its pages. They may — and you can witness the thousand-yard stare of Gritty for yourself. But if they remain aligned with their deepest morals — if they decide to do what is probably right for the public and do not publish the image — let me describe it for you now.

Picture Jim Henson, in his studio late one night. He is hunched over a slab. Young Frankenstein-style music plays in the background. The camera pans in on the cold, shadowed figure on the cot. We see a shock of orange fur in a flash of lightning. Jim’s hands shake. It is finished, but at what cost? At what betrayal to his legacy?

Gritty’s eyes burst open, their pupils rolling in their white expanse like some tortured animal. His flowing orange-yellow mane billows in the drafty air. Henson lets out a gasp. Gritty rises from the darkness. He seems to reach out for something — Henson scrambles for what he knows his creation wants. He hands him what is waiting on the side table — a helmet.

Since Gritty was pulled from whatever circle of the shadow world he previously inhabited and into our mortal realm, he has been called many things. 

. An agent of chaos. Potential future mural subject. Above all, though, he’s become ubiquitous in both the realm of social media and the hearts of the nation.

Right now, Gritty has already guested on the Tonight Show with Ricky Gervais. Gritty has been roasted by John Oliver. Gritty has over 116,000 Twitter followers. (Compare that with Columbus’ NHL equivalent Stinger, who only has 8,447.) The world, though once horrified and seemingly strangely enamored with Gritty, can’t get enough.

I promised you, reader, I would not wax (too) poetic. I’ll keep that promise now. Reader, I think I know why we’re all so in love with Gritty. Oh, reader. I think Gritty is simply what we deserve.

There is an overwhelming feeling lately, in the media and popular culture, that nothing is too unbelievable anymore. We could wake up tomorrow and see that the government has decided to implement a fall break. That North Korea is now going to be visiting us for Thanksgiving. That any number of things could have changed. We are a jaded country. We would probably just shrug. Perhaps, reader, Gritty feels like the aggregate of this madness.

Perhaps Gritty feels comfortable to us precisely because he is, like Lovecraft’s monsters before him, simply too horrible to comprehend. The human mind cannot take in his true form. We have finally found something so ridiculous, so horrifying, so carrot-colored, that it has united us in our disgust. Finally, something is awful enough to make us feel something again, to shock us out of our monotone disregard. Even if we’re grimacing, at least we’re emoting.

So, Philadelphia, I say bring it on. (Not literally, as I can’t handle your cheesesteak anger.) Bring on the Gritty. Give him to us! The people demand him! Put his face on shirts, on mugs, on disturbing recreations of Kim Kardashian erotic photoshoots! Because yes. We deserve Gritty. And I think we need him, too.

Cameron Gorman is a columnist. Contact her at [email protected]