Animal House and the rise of Trump
“Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor!”
Who can forget John Belushi’s pivotal scene in the greatest comedy epic of all time, Animal House? The Delta House had just been expelled from Faber College and had until the following Monday to be off campus.
The entire fraternity of Delta Tau Chi sits in their house, such as it is, moping about their circumstances. Until of course, Belushi’s character, Bluto, jumps up to rally the troops! He doesn’t say a whole lot in the movie, up until that scene, although Bluto is the centerpiece of, or in, many of the film’s memorable moments. Like killing the horse in Dean Wormer’s office or window peeping on the girls of the sorority — now I can’t remember the name of the sorority!
Belushi’s other great line: “My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.” Right after the Delta’s wreck the Lincoln Town Car Flounder borrowed from his brother Fred.
Since its release in 1978, I’ve seen that movie more times than I can count, but every time I laugh at all the same scenes, all the same lines — Animal House stands with the comedies that came 30-40 earlier with the Marx Brothers and Buster Keaton.
It’s funny, talking about a movie that was released over 37 years ago. There have been a lot of comedies, including romantic comedies, released in the past 32 years, but National Lampoon’s Animal House stands as the standard for comedies in these three-plus decades.
One of the more recent and hilarious comedies was The Hangover and its sequels. Now that was a funny movie! Four friends go to Vegas, get the most expensive suite in the hotel, have some drinks and the goofy one, Zach Galifianakis, slips everyone roofies, thinking they are ecstasy. The rest, as they say, is lost in a blackout. Including the groom.
Mel Brooks always made funny movies in the 1970’s and ’80’s, but still, the irreverence of Animal House went beyond even Brooks’ masterpiece, Blazing Saddles.
We need a lot of laughs these days, as we did in 1978. With North Korea messing around on the Korean Peninsula, the rise of ISIL, terrorism, crazy people with guns committing mass murder faster than we can mourn them all.
During the 1930’s, the Marx Brothers, Buster Keaton and their contemporaries entertained the nation through the Great Depression. In the late 1970’s, there were the comedians like Richard Pryor, Steve Martin and Robin Williams. TV shows like Saturday Night Live, The Bob Newhart Show and Mork and Mindy, and of course the movie Animal House
Now, with this, the worst recession since then, we need something to laugh at. Or someone.
Remember when we had Sarah Palin and Michele Bachman around for comedy relief? Palin still entertains us from time-to-time, She and her family. And then there was her rambling, disjointed endorsement of The Donald.
Palin has put on the cloak of victimhood and worn it proudly. Everyone is picking on poor Sarah and her family. People are picking on poor Bristol Palin because she got knocked up out of wedlock again — after that “don’t do what I do” charade.
The real tragedy though is that we’ve been stuck with the do nothing Republicants controlling both houses of Congress for the past couple of years. It’s actually been a little longer because the Senate GOP filibustered so much, very little was accomplished.
It was funny, in a “I’m not laughing” sort of way to hear Republicans blast the Democrats for not getting their agenda done when they controlled the Senate — when it was they who blocked most of the legislation, including annual budgets, from going forward with their constant filibusters and tactics to stop the government from working. It was the Republicants that shut down government, the Republicants that forced the government into the “sequester” that drastically cut spending across the board — including defense. Now they have the temerity to blame President Obama for the reduction in military spending.
Hypocritical, lying SOBs.
The truth is, it’s all about power and control. The Republicans want to be Dean Wormer and Mayor DePasto — and Paul Ryan, well he would be Class President, Greg Marmalard.
The Democrats, who knows what they want to be when they grow up. They need to grow a pair, philosophically speaking.
The funny thing going on during this election season is of course Donald Trump cruising to the GOP nomination for president. The Dump Trump crowd can’t really get off the ground. You have Ted Cruz and his parade of minkies saying John Kasich needs to get out of the race, which Kasich and his smaller parade of minkies are saying Cruz needs to exit — even though Cruz has more delegates than Kasich.
Not so funny is all the violence at the Trump rallies. Another protestor was kicked and beaten, but the police arrested the assailant. And of course there is video of Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski grabbing a protestor by the shirt as security escorts the man away from Trump.
Here’s something that’s funny: Fox News has just given the boot to Donald Trump. Not because they don’t like his less than half-baked ideas, but because he’s going on this completely irrational rage against one of their news anchors: Megyn Kelly. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine taking Megyn Kelly’s side in anything — until Trump decided to declare war on Kelly.
It started with the first GOP debate in … last year. You remember: Trump said Kelly had blood coming out of her … wherever.” But after the second Super Tuesday Trump was kind enough to tweet, “Everybody should boycott the @megynkelly show. Never worth watching. Always a hit on Trump! She is sick, & the most overrated person on tv.”
You don’t say, Donald. Fox news responded with a statement:
“Donald Trump’s vitriolic attacks against Megyn Kelly and his extreme, sick obsession with her is beneath the dignity of a presidential candidate who wants to occupy the highest office in the land. Megyn is an exemplary journalist and one of the leading anchors in America — we’re extremely proud of her phenomenal work and continue to fully support her throughout every day of Trump’s endless barrage of crude and sexist verbal assaults. As the mother of three young children, with a successful law career and the second highest rated show in cable news, it’s especially deplorable for her to be repeatedly abused just for doing her job.”
Of course Trump had to respond, via Twitter once again: “If crazy @megynkelly didn’t cover me so much on her terrible show, her ratings would totally tank. She is so average in so many ways!”
That’s not quite true, Donald. She’s quite an accomplished news anchor, lawyer and mother. Can’t believe I’m defending Megan Kelly. Did someone put LSD in my Diet Coke?
Adding to that feud, the rift between Kelly and Trump exposed another big feurd — this one between Kelly and Fox’s Bill O’Reilly. Apparetly O”Reilly is threatened by Kelly’s quick rise in the ratings, which challenges O’Reilly’s ratings. And now neither one likes the other.
Trump was on O’Reilly’s show about two months ago, and the host didn’t defend his Fox News colleague. In an interview with More magazine, Kelly said, “”I do wish that O’Reilly had defended me more in his interview with Trump. I would have defended him more.”
She probably would have — if the Trump had the guts to go on her show — or show up at debate featuring Kelly as one of the moderators.
Who is the Delta Tau Chi Fraternity in all this? The comedians and comedy shows who lampoon our elected leaders every day and night. They will continue to point out what is going wrong with our country, politically and socially, just as they have always done for centuries. Satire has been the antidote to what ails us for millennia.
Time to watch again. It’s a timeless classic, relevant again in this election year. In case you didn’t know, Martha Smith, of “Selling LA” fame (HGTV), plays Babs Jansen. She’s famous for other things as well.
To quote the inimitable John “Bluto” Blutarsky (John Belushi) “Seven years of college, down the drain!”
Well, maybe not seven years of college, but ten minutes you’ve spent reading this that you’ll never get back.
All photos YouTube screen shots.
Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the elected government officials and business were so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that.