October 24 , 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 31  

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A horse of a different colour

What the Shuk?
Mark Polishuk

Opinions Editor

It was a dark and rainy day on the Concrete Beach and I stared out The Wave window to see nothing but a dull, grey sheen cloak across the entire campus.

Except, of course, for the hilariously enormous purple awning over the staircase down to the campus mall. It's like someone dropped the roof of a Pizza Hut in the middle of campus.

The sheer ostentatiousness of the awning caused me to wonder how old, traditional Western ended up with purple as the school colour. Despite its close relation to the V (violet) in the classic spectrum septet of Roy G. Biv, I think of purple as a hip new radical colour, dude. Purple isn't the colour of a school - it's the colour of T-shirts worn by early '90s kids named Jordy and Jesse. It's the colour of new-age sports uniforms, along with teal and burnt sienna. The Arizona Diamondbacks use all these colours: weep for their souls.

There is, of course, a reasonable explanation for it. Purple has long been associated as the colour of royalty and thus (since we're allegedly the snobbiest school this side of the Mississippi), it's only natural Western cloak itself in the chosen shade of Queen Victoria and King Ralph.

Western is not the only educational institution that takes its cue from grapes. Central, one of London's oldest high schools, has the nickname of the Golden Ghosts to go with its colours of gold and purple. Ghosts are purple? I guess they might be for all I know, given my lack of a degree in paranormal psychology like Drs. Egon Spengler and Peter Venkman. Maybe this means Grimace from McDonald's was really the spirit of a guy doomed to purgatory after having a McCoronary. Maybe Central didn't want a name too closely associated with the colours, lest the Central students be known as the Crown Royale Bags.

This isn't to suggest Western change its beloved silver and purple. Without it, The Gazette's headline writers wouldn't have the brilliantly alliterative "Purple Pride" to fall back on. Also, it's difficult to come up with a clever way to incorporate purple into a joke about the school's status. For example, the University of Toronto's nickname/colour of the Varsity Blues can be changed to the Varsity Blows. With Western, however, the best you can do is the Purple... uh... Burples?

Brock Student: Ha ha, burples! Because you stink! Like a burp does! Radical!

So, in summation, purple is a unique, but effective school colour that makes people sit up and take notice. One final question: a mustang as the mascot of a purple school? The only purple horse I can ever recall seeing was within the walls of the Emerald City. Perhaps this only confirms what I've always suspected: Paul Davenport is truly the great and mighty Oz.




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