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Missouri/Kansas Rivalry: KU Alum Compares Missouri Rep. Stephen Webber To Napoleon Dynamite

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Missouri State Rep. Stephen Webber
Missouri State Rep. Stephen Webber

YouTube is the new front in the 162-year-old war between Kansas and Missouri, after a Missouri lawmaker who opposes allowing a Kansas logo on Show Me State license plates was compared to movie character Napoleon Dynamite.

Andy Greenhaw, a 2009 University of Kansas alum, created a video spoofing Missouri Rep. Stephen Webber's (D-Columbia) speech in the Missouri House earlier this month opposing a Missouri license plate with the University of Kansas Jayhawk logo on it. Webber, who jokingly spoke of "the dreaded, disgusting Jayhawks symbol" being placed on the license plates, is depicted in the video as the quirky and isolated 2004 teen movie character, Napoleon Dynamite.

"As for why I chose Napoleon, Webber seemed like he was trying to come off as a super passionate sports jock, but if you match his rant with Napoleon Dynamite he sounds like the opposite of that," Greenhaw told HuffPost. "Either way, I think he was only doing it to look cool to Mizzou fans and win their votes, but I suspect he accomplished the opposite of that as well."

The war between the two states started in 1850 over slavery. Residents of pro-slave Missouri invaded and burned parts of Lawrence, Kan., and abolitionist John Brown led anti-slave Kansans in an invasion of western Missouri. The rivalry has continued, but is primarily carried on through University of Kansas and University of Missouri athletics.

Still, it has come to include almost anything else the two states can find to disagree on.

In his blog, Greenhaw, a Denver resident, described Webber, a 29-year-old Marine veteran, as having the "confident voice of a wasted frat bro who left his keys at a strip club." Greenhaw said he was joking but stands behind the description.

In the video, Greenhaw also pokes fun at the collegiate rivalry, playing up Kansas victories over Missouri and the fact that Mizzou moved to a new conference, temporarily ending the rivalry with KU. Webber has said he will introduce legislation to restore the KU license plate if games between the two schools continue.

Webber told HuffPost that he has seen the video and couldn't stop laughing. He said Greenhaw's efforts fit what he was trying to do with the bill.

"I think it's hilarious, I put it on Facebook," Webber said. "Obviously, since he's from Kansas he got his facts wrong. The video is the spirit of the rivalry. It was what I was trying to do. Trying to be funny and show school pride."

Webber also mentioned Greenhaw's description of Webber as a state senator, which Greenhaw said he heard from a radio shock jock. Greenshaw said he now knows Webber is a representative.

Webber laughed it off. "He gave me a promotion, I'm happy about that," he said.

Webber, who attended a Mizzou preschool and is now a Mizzou law student, said the KU plate ban legislation is on Gov. Jay Nixon's (D) desk, awaiting a final decision.

Greenhaw is not the first Kansan to oppose Webber's speech. Kansas Rep. Mike Slattery (D-Mission) laughingly called it"the most ridiculous display and a waste of time." Greenhaw said that he believes the rivalry is good for the two states, and hopes KU and Mizzou face off again soon.

"Our statistics are so much better than them," Greenhaw said. "We have more championships and they get so angry. It is so good to have this rivalry. In the short term, though, we want to teach them a lesson."

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