“When you think of JMU, is a three-eyed antlered pig what you think of?”

JMU Duke Dog as painted in "Duke Dog Alley"Amazing what you find when you hit the Web really fast in the wee hours of the morning. If you’ve been to JMU even as a visitor, you know that JMU’s athletic program takes “Dukes” as their name, after Samuel Page Duke, the university’s second president. The mascot of the Dukes is the Duke Dog, which is a gray bulldog wearing a spiked collar and a crown, as well as a purple cloak. A depiction of the Duke Dog, this one from the wall of the tunnel under Interstate 81, can be seen at left. I was surfing the Internet one night, and actually ran across a page run by Kembrew McLeod, where one of the pranks he pulled as a student at JMU in the early 1990s was a “Replace the Duke Dog” campaign. The idea was to replace the “symbol of historical patriarchal oppression”, the Duke Dog, with a three-eyed, antlered pig named “Dukie”. To show how dedicated they were to the idea, they had a mass wedding to bananas on the commons plus an “open mic” to voice opinions. This whole prank was actually a project for an interdisciplinary arts class, to orchestrate a media prank. And boy, oh, boy did it work. The Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Roanoke Times & World News ran stories on the happening. NBC-29 (WVIR) from Charlottesville also covered the happening on their news program. It even went so far that during the homecoming game that year, the Marching Royal Dukes spelled out “We love the Duke Dog” on the field, plus wore plastic dog bones around their necks in support of their cause. It kind of makes you think, doesn’t it? What’s in a mascot? What if it were all for real, and “Dukie” was the mascot? What does this say of the media in their coverage of the whole thing? Makes you wonder. But it is indeed authentic, judging by the news photos, which clearly show Warren Hall in the background of some shots, as well as the RMH parking garage in another. Take a look at Three-Eyed Pig With Antlers, part of Kembrew McLeod’s page, which told of the event.

Date posted: April 1, 2001