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OTE’s Authoritative Guide to The Michigan Fan: An Anthropological Study of the Species

The long-awaited second entry in the Deranged and Delusional: The Fanbases of the Big Ten series just dropped, and not a moment too soon.

It is time.

Dedicated readers of this site may remember a dark time in 2021 when Iowa was ripping through their schedule with unsettling ease and a pox settled on Internetland with a proliferation of Asinorum Stultus Hawkalis. Eager to be both a source of mirth AND usefulness (have you seen our soup/viewing guide?), we published the first guide in the Deranged and Delusional: The Fanbases of the Big Ten series. While there was no set publication timeline, as such anthropological guides take considerable research and study, we knew that when the time came to educate our readers about the next fanbase, the proper subject would appear.

That time is now, and the subject, is, of course, the Michigan Wolverines.

While most Big Ten fans are long accustomed to spotting the Wolverine fan in the wild (his very nature making him difficult to ignore), a re-acquaintance with the species is always helpful as a matter of routine protection. And, for our new conference mates, the Canes Nivis of Washington, this guide is, I daresay, indispensable. We, after all, know well the pitfalls of dealing with the men of the Michigan Mustelidae - but these poor souls do not, yet, know. Allow the long-awaited second entry in the Deranged and Delusional: The Fanbases of the Big Ten to be your invaluable guide to the pox you’ll be dealing with this next week, and beyond.

Thanks to a stunning cocktail of rule bending, non-repentance, a man with a stripper’s name, Jim Harbaugh and all that he entails, a soft conference schedule, and an annoyingly unblemished record... we find ourselves here, at the threshold of hell, with Michigan fans loud, proud, sanctimonious (my GOD, the sanctimony), and playing for a National Championship.

When you get to the point that your fanbase unifies the other thirteen fanbases in your conference in cheering for Ohio State as the lesser evil in The Game, you’ve erred greatly. When you make them cheer for Alabama, you’ve really done something awful. And so, it is time. Knowledge is power. Read, learn, and protect yourself and your loved ones. It’s time to meet the Arogans Mustelidae.

(Special thanks to my co-writers, who helped brainstorm the many different, yet horrible, manifestations of the Michigan Fan.)

I. The Legal Expert (Lex Domini)

Because of the unique series of events shaping Michigan’s season, this previously rare species experienced a population boom this year, and threatened, for a time, to overwhelm other species of Arogans Mustelidae. Of course, wet seasons or catastrophic injury events can cause a rise in various species, but for this anthropologist, the prevalence of Lex Domini was a noteworthy development. Given its prevalence, it has become easy for most to identify this species, but for those lucky enough to have avoided an infestation, the hallmarks are thus:

  • Self-proclaimed expertise in the ins-and-outs of NCAA investigations, jurisdictions, rules regarding cheating, resultant lawsuits and appeals. Under no circumstances should proof of said expertise be produced, and if it is claimed, the falsity of the claim will be immediately evident to the thoughtful observer.
  • Argumentation tends toward the verbose, if not well-informed. The Lex Domini often assumes that length will be persuasive to other fandoms. Typically, it is very ineffective, but often screeds are met with great acclamation from other Lex Domini, which appears to confuse them into genuine belief that they are “proving” their claims.
  • Assertions of “witch hunts.” Notably, a witch hunt is a very un-legal concept, yet this dissonance is not apparent to the Lex Domini and claims of “witch hunts” typically will appear side-by-side with the “legal evidence” presented by the Lex Domini.

What To Do If You Encounter Lex Domini:

The best thing to do if (or rather, when) you encounter this type of Arogans Mustelidae is AVOIDANCE. As is clear from the hallmarks outlined above, this is not a species that is firmly attached to reality. No matter how sound your reasoning, how real your own legal credentials, or how well-considered your points, they will all fall on deaf ears. (In fact, something for further scientific follow-up with this now-prevalent type will be intensive study of whether or not Lex Domini indeed possesses eyes and ears.) Engagement will be a waste of your time, and a test of your sanity.

II. The Whataboutist (Quid De Te)

As every observer of college football knows, few are the football clans with no scandal attached to them. It is how they have evolved, and a fact of the present moment we are living in. If it does not excuse the existence of these scandals, it certainly adds context to the milieu in which the Arogans Mustelidae exist.

However, the Quid De Te species of the Arogans Mustelidae is primarily identifiable by the common logical fallacy he resorts to in the face of this grim reality: namely, that wrongdoing by others negates wrongdoing by his own chosen group. If others have done wrong, he reasons (wrongly), then the wrongdoing of the clan leader of the Mustelidae shan’t carry weight, nor bear consequences. In his interactions with other fanbases, he interprets this as a call for a kind of immunity from criticism, as though those from rival clans are incapable of speaking to or identifying wrongdoing on the part of the Mustelidae because of their own clan’s former scandal. Attempts to point this out that this does not make any sense at all will likely be futile.

While the Quid De Te Mustelidae may single out other circumstances from other clans’ histories to better suit the battle opponent at hand, by far their most common choice of cited antecedent concerns the arch-rival Arbor Nucis of the State of Ohio and a well-known event regarding stigmati, or tattoos. In 2010 CE, five members of the Arbor Nucis clan received permanent skin markings for a discount in exchange for memorabilia branded with the Arbor Nucis logo. This brouhaha resulted in five-game suspensions for the involved players, vacating the wins of an entire season, and eventually, the pressured resignation of Head Nut, Jim Tressel. The Quid De Te Mustelidae intends this to be proof of others’ lack of moral standing in this matter, but will usually fail to appreciate that the consequences of this infraction 1) happened; and 2) were much more severe than those visited on Jim Harbaugh and the Mustelidae, so perhaps this isn’t a stone they ought to hurl.

What To Do If You Encounter the Quid De Te:

If your safari through the Big Ten has afforded you leisure time, this is one of the more entertaining forms of Mustelidae to encounter. If you can appreciate the absurdity of one who thinks he is making a Very Important point while he is clearly very much not, you may enjoy teasing the Quid De Te. It is often fun to see how much trouble he has taken to learn about your own clan, while at the same time touting its “jealousy” and “insignificance.” Of course, the writers of the Deranged and Delusional: The Fanbases of the Big Ten urge you to use caution, and think very carefully about how much of your one wild and precious life you wish to spend engaged in such pursuits.

III. The Harbaugh Acolyte (Acolytus Harbaughi)

If there is one thing the Arogans Mustelidae love, it is Jim Harbaugh. Except, of course, for all of the years that they did not love him, did not think he could beat Ohio State, and reckoned he might be better suited for the NFL than for their beloved environs of Ann Arbor. (Do not bother to remind them of this long period of enmity, they will steadfastly not recall it.)

Now, of course, he is their savior, their beloved, their guiding light through the dark Michigan winters, and he can do no wrong. Pure as the driven snow, he is a victim of JEALOUSY and OHIO STATE and THE MEDIA and THE BIG TEN and THE 1950S QUIZ SHOW SCANDALS and JOSEPH MCCARTHY and AL QAEDA. His persecutors, you see, are many. While criticism of Harbaugh might, to an objective observer, seem to be primarily a problem for Jim Harbaugh himself, and furthermore, a situation that is largely of his own making; to the acolytus Harbaughi, this is his own personal problem—and you are going to hear about it.

Anthropologists remain baffled as to why this happens, though they can see evidence of this personality fusion present in the wider society among the angry and uneducated and a certain felonious orange-hued man. It seems that some, stifled in some way in their own personal life, yoke their entire personality toward devotion toward one they perceive as a deity. This is common in religious communities, of course, with it only recently becoming a phenomenon in non-religious settings.

For the acolytus Harbaughi, Jim Harbaugh can do no wrong. Sleepovers are a normal recruiting tool. Rants about witch hunts are evidence of deep righteousness and are definitely not whining. And cheating... well, Jim would never! Unless he did, in which case, everyone else does it too, and he is taking the fall from all of the jealous/OSU/media/B1G/quiz show/McCarthyist/Al Qaeda haters. That Jim Harbaugh has only coached a little over half of Michigan’s total games this season courtesy of two different rules infractions only strengthens their certainty and devotion. Figures 1-3 illustrate these tendencies, and this author finds the use of the “outrage dogpile” in Fig. 3 especially telling.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

While many in the fanbase exhibit this neurosis, the most notable example of this can be found in the quarterback of the Mustelidae football team:

Fig. 4 Note the near-hypnotized stare of the acolytus Harbaughi, glazed over in fervent, blind devotion.

What To Do If You Encounter the Acolytus Harbaughi:

When engaging with this specimen, it is vital that the amateur anthropologist understand the mental condition with which he is dealing. Knowing that the specimen has so completely fused their personality with that of their idol means that there will be no rational, objective conversation that is possible, and any attempt at it will be interpreted as a personal attack. Therefore, caution is imperative. For casual encounters, we recommend avoiding the subject as much as possible, or offering only the most oblique comments on “the situation.” For cases where you may, unfortunately, be more intimately involved, we recommend seeking professional resources for help in deprogramming.

IV. The Nervous Nelly (Timere Homines Rocky Mountainus)

Though a relatively rare form of the Mustelidae given the prevalence of the Arogans strain in their breeding, the Timere Homines may still be found among the less extreme encampments of the Mustelidae. Indeed, this species may be found among all Big Ten classifications, as you can see in the Iowa edition of Deranged and Delusional: The Fanbases of the Big Ten. The Michigan version has the additional specificity of Rocky Mountainus in honor of its foremost exemplar, RockyMountainBlue, who has not watched more than fifteen minutes of live Mustelidae football this season out of fear and superstition. Perhaps he is correct, and this preventative action has given his team the success he desires.

While it is impossible to prove the efficacy of these folkloric traditions by any current scientific or social-scientific means, practitioners remain devoted to their ritual significance. Anthropologists speculate that belief that this serves the football team is only part of its allure, and that much of its practice stems from a desire to emotionally insulate the timere homines in the event of disappointed hopes and dashed dreams.

Fig. 5 Even in victory, the Timere Homines Rocky Mountainus would like you to know that he was worried the whole time.

What To Do If You Encounter the Timere Homines:

If you encounter the Timere Homines Rocky Mountainus, you’re in luck! This is usually the least obnoxious of all of the Arogans Mustelidae. While you may find the veneer of entitlement and faux humility irritating, the at least passing awareness of the possibility of a clean loss is a refreshing change unique to this species.

V. The Victim (Victima)

Like the Lex Domini, the Mustelidae Victima has proliferated this season for reasons largely explained in our dissection of the acolytus Harbaughi. Similar in many ways to the acolytus, the victima is distinguished by a more generalized sense of injury, often self-identifying as part of the harmed (see, in Fig. 6 the use of “we broke a rule” and “our enemies”). Frighteningly, the victima often indulges in extended flights of paranoia and delusion, seeing the world as made up of “Mustelidae” and “non-Mustelidae” only, and imagining that the only purpose of the non-Mustelidae is to sabotage and destroy anything related to the Mustelidae. As the reader can deduct, this is not a species that is likely to be able to engage in rational conversation.

Note in Fig. 7, an illustrative case. Here, the mustelid YoOoBoMoLloRoHo actually invokes traditional mob imagery and applies it to the case of Michigan’s encounter with some mild consequences for their actions. “The mob has lit their torches and lifted their pitchforks,” he intones, before describing the irreparable harm that punishment for rule-breaking has visited on his guilty program that is now poised to play for a National Championship.

Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8 The pack leader of the Mustelidae can often be seen actively encouraging the victima in their disordered thinking.

But of course, some find the victima a useful tool of unification, namely, the pack leader of the mustelidae, Jim Harbaugh. Unrepentant and with an eye toward the usefulness of spinning his punishment into a tale of woe and persecution, Harbaugh has chosen to frame this season as one of “redemption,” and “overcoming adversity,” as seen in Fig. 8 in his comments following a playoff win over the Alabama Crimson Tide Rubrum Fluctus. He makes it clear to his followers that this was nothing so morally murky as cheaters prospering, but rather, the more palatable and heartwarming lesson that “Haters Gonna Hate” and that Michigan, always, deserves victory.

What To Do If You Encounter the Victima:

Irritating and delusional though this species is, he is not without his potential for fun. With careful management, he can often be made to engage in a kind of self-immolation, storming off in rage and fury at a lack of perceived respect, never mind that he himself has never paid the least amount of respect to any other clan.


Thus concludes the second installment of Deranged and Delusional: The Fanbases of the Big Ten. In many ways, it is surprising that Michigan was not our debut entry, and this author wants to assure them that it was indeed meant as an insult.

Remember: “Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice,” et si molestus vis, hominem invenio Michigan. Fuckis Michigandis, aeternum.


Which is your "favorite" Arogans Mustelidae?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Lex Domini
    (13 votes)
  • 4%
    Quid De Te
    (9 votes)
  • 3%
    Acolytus Harbaughi
    (7 votes)
  • 15%
    Timere Homines Rocky Mountainus
    (28 votes)
  • 9%
    (17 votes)
  • 1%
    Another that I’ll propose in the comments!
    (3 votes)
  • 57%
    Fuckis Michigandis
    (106 votes)
183 votes total Vote Now