I don’t get fired up about things enough to violently berate them on the internet very often. In fact, I only have done that once. And it was a private matter. Hashtag Bills Mafia is no exception. I am not fired up, offended or even the least bit anxious about this hashtag and its wake. This is exactly why I must write about it. I am completely centered, here. I am in #BillsZen.
Sometimes, I hate #BillsMafia. Not because knuckdraggers or mouthbreathers or bellybutton farters or whatever insulting term we have made for those that fit snugly in the middle of the bell curve. Ignorant racists are allowed to like the same things I like. I can handle that. That’s not why I hate this hashtag. I hate it because it is exclusive.
When I first got on twitter, I saw people using it. Nick Barnett was using it. When I read it, I was immediately confused. Is this a club? Am I in the club by virtue of being a Bills fan? May I use it? Is it ok? Wait, why are we the mafia now?
I was uncomfortable using it in my tweets because I didn’t understand it.
THIS IS THE BRAND THAT BINDS US TOGETHER ON TWITTER, RIGHT? That’s a problem.
Come to realize, I’m not the only one who feels this way. Others feel strange about using this term as the SEAL of Buffalo Bills Nation or whatever. It sometimes feels like it attracts those who don’t really consider or give a shit about what the “mafia” is/was does/did. So by its very nature, the use of the word “mafia” excludes those of us who are none too psyched using it to represent our favorite football team and their fans. Makes me wonder if #BillsKlan would have flown…
Sometimes, I love #BillsMafia. It was natural, no silicone. This was not a bunch of dudes who sat down and consciously created a brand name hashtag to cram in our faces. It just happened. That shit is cool, even if a little fucked up (see above). By the time the “Dons” of the Bills Mafia even considered that this could be a little more tasteful (#BillsBackers, #BillsNation, #BillsFans, #BillsBoners) it had just gotten out of control and was too late. “Like a virus.”
The same thing happened with our Buffalo Sports Band, The Jambrones. This is easily the worst fucking named band I have ever been involved with. It only happened because we parodied a Ramones song, and went with “Jambrones” as an intentionally bad play off of it, and 97 Rock actually played it...a lot. So, when 97 Rock had a “best hockey song” contest, we opted to stick with the name so they would recognize us. Of course we fuckin’ WON. Well, 4 World Tours, 3 Grammy appearances and 175 twitter followers later, do you think we’re changing it? No fucking way, man. Our fan base would totally flip out. Our agent would never allow it. We’re on top of the world now! Same happened with Green Day. They HATE that name. But when it all blew up, it was too late. The brand had stuck.
So I love and hate that #BillsMafia was a natural growth process of people who don’t think using the word mafia is all that inappropriate. It’s fun to watch it spin out of control at the mercy of Buffalo Bills Twitter Nation. I sympathize. I’ve been there. It’s a good story. But may I suggest we all just use #BM from now on. It keeps the reference to the Mafia that so many love, yet provides a suitable butt reference for the rest of the fan base.