Sorry to be the one to break this to you, but the Phillie Phanatic is a dick.
I know. You’re very angry right now. You really love the Phanatic. Honestly, I do, too.
But sit with it for a minute: The Phillie Phanatic is a raging, first-class asshole.
I know, it stings. It’s hard when you love someone who’s no good for you. Who triggers all your bad reflexes. Who enables all the dark impulses that keep you from reaching your full potential. Philadelphia, your love affair with the Phanatic is what Lady Gaga calls a bad romance.
After all, what is the Phanatic if not a strutting, gyrating, grotesque-snouted embodiment of the loutish, bullying, I-do-what-I-want reputation Philly sports fans will never, ever shake? He’s the devil whispering in our ear. Our bad instinct. Our throbbing green id with a hair-trigger tongue. And we think he is hil-ar-i-ous.
The rest of the country thinks he’s a hoot, too. What’s sad is that they’re not laughing with us. Where we see his perpetually extended party horn and ever-thrusting “rally pelvis” as an exaggerated, fun-house-mirror version of ourselves, the rest of America sees the petulant, front-twerking creep as our direct proxy.
Recall, if you will, Tommy Lasorda and the Slim-Fast bit. Sure, everyone remembers — fondly — the gag where the Phanatic worked the former Dodgers skipper’s last nerve by running over an effigy of him with his ATV. (Pantomimed vehicular homicide. How rich.) But nobody recalls quite so readily the time that, while Lasorda was a pitchman for Slim-Fast, the Phanatic lined up several cans of the powdered meal supplement atop the visiting Dodgers’ dugout and dramatically smashed each with a field tamper. Fat shaming. For comedy. What is this, Mean Girls? Lord of the Flies?
Any Internet montage of the Phanatic’s “best” bits is littered with sucker punches, goosings, unwanted amorous touches and oh so much crotch-rubbing.
The Phanatic is a terrible driver. He recklessly brandishes a gun. And he’s a superstitious rube who believes in jinxes. If you did most of what the Phanatic does in Citizens Bank Park to strangers on the street, you’d be arrested and placed on a sex-offender registry.
And Philadelphians not only reward this antisocial behavior — we encourage it. Nay, we demand it. We idolize the perpetrator. And then, like a bunch of morons, we wonder why the rest of the country seems to think we’re all jerks, too.
We’ve got plenty more Philly heresies where that came from in our “Fighting Words” package. See the lineup here, then go buy the July 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine, on newsstands now, or subscribe today.