ERIC Number: EJ812075
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Sep-5
Reference Count: 0
"Animal House" at 30: O Bluto, Where Art Thou?
Chronicle of Higher Education, v55 n2 pA1 Sep 2008
A gentleman does not steal horses, spit food across the table, or pee on peoples' shoes. By that definition, John "Bluto" Blutarsky is not a gentleman, but something more extraordinary. The fictional antihero of "National Lampoon's Animal House," Bluto is a slovenly symbol of irreverence, a bloated personification of the id. Bored by the past and future, he lives to party in an endless now. Alas, even icons must turn 30. "Animal House," the most infamous movie ever made about college, first hit theaters in the summer of 1978. Since then it has inspired three decades of big-screen imitations soaked in booze, rebellion, and sophomoric gags. It remains a keg of cultural references. Thirty, however, is always an ambiguous milestone. Although "Animal House" continues to shape popular understandings of fraternity life and student culture, the world it caricatured has been transformed. The law has redefined the traditional relationship between students and colleges. Many administrators see themselves no longer as disciplinarians, but as partners in student "success" and "wellness." Customer care is the new campus creed. Today's students--ambitious, competitive, diverse--demand all the services they can imagine. As the patron saint of parties, the toga-wearing buffoon also represents the enduring appeal of raucous bashes in an era of alcohol prevention and risk management. "Animal House" still reflects a warped, but true, image of higher education's beer-drenched belly. Perhaps that's why people tend to love the movie or curse it.
Descriptors: Laws, Films, Popular Culture, Fraternities, College Students, Student College Relationship, Administrator Role, Risk Management, Alcohol Abuse, Prevention, Higher Education, Educational Change
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http://chronicle.com/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A