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Social Justice Warriors Have Finally Come for the Comedy Classic ‘Animal House’

Social Justice Warriors Have Finally Come for the Comedy Classic ‘Animal House’

“an issue in itself when it comes to toxic young male culture”

The 1978 classic film ‘Animal House’ turned 40 years old last weekend, if you can believe it. Since its release, it has stood the test of time as the college comedy which defined the genre. Even when it was originally released, it was considered provocative, but back then America had a sense of humor.

In the age of the campus social justice warrior, political correctness rules and you are obligated to be offended by everything. Can you even imagine the reaction if someone tried to hold a screening of ‘Animal House’ at Oberlin or UC Berkeley today? No way. The left has deemed it unacceptable. It was only a matter of time.

Harry Cheadle writes at Vice:

Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of ‘Animal House’ by Tossing It in the Trash

It’s difficult to imagine what it was like when Animal House dropped into theaters on July 28, 1978, exactly 40 years ago. It landed like the opening of a revolution and spread through the country like a virus, eventually grossing over $500 million in today’s dollars and becoming part of the DNA of every campus comedy for the next few decades.

The tropes more or less invented by the film include rebellious frats, disapproving deans, “double secret probation,” and toga parties. “Cult movie” doesn’t do it justice—it’s an entire religion. The poster of John Belushi in his “COLLEGE” sweater was still a staple of dorm rooms when I went to college in the 2000s, and for all I know it still is. Animal House will never die. The question is, should it?…

Just as it’s difficult to imagine watching Animal House in 1978, it’s difficult to imagine coming to it today never having seen it before. Drunken frat boys don’t seem so charming anymore, the film’s gender politics are fucked beyond repair, and there’s no one to latch onto as a sympathetic character, save for maybe Katy, or maybe the women exploited by the protagonists. If you went in knowing nothing about it, you might see it as a clunky piece of Boomer-made nostalgia.

The whole drinking-is-awesome ethos is tired, the nudity is boring unless you’re a horny 14-year-old, and so many of the movies Animal House inspired are terrible. If we didn’t have Animal House we wouldn’t have the American Pie franchise, which should tell you how much of a mixed bag its legacy has been. If you had an Animal House poster on your dorm wall, you were probably a sad, weird loser and if you have one in your dorm today, guess what?

The left has embraced its inner Dean Wormer and his philosophy of “No more fun of any kind!”

Vice isn’t alone in its efforts to apply the ‘new rules’ to Animal House.

Kristi Turnquist writes at Oregon Live:

40 years later, can we still stomach ‘Animal House’?

It’s 1962 at Delta House, the most notorious fraternity at Faber College. A toga party is raging, and the frat brothers are getting lucky. Upstairs, newbie Larry Kroger, nicknamed “Pinto” (Tom Hulce), is making out with an attractive girl.

But just after she removes her bra, the girl passes out, in a drunken stupor. Pinto pauses, as a little devil appears on one shoulder, encouraging Pinto to have his way with the girl. On Pinto’s other shoulder, an angel scolds, “For shame!”

In the next scene, Pinto is rolling the unconscious young lady home, in a grocery shopping cart.

That scene sums up a lot of what makes “Animal House” complicated to watch these days. What was portrayed as simple, raunchy fun back in 1978 can easily look like sexist, racially insensitive boorishness when viewed through contemporary eyes.

The #MeToo movement was launched by allegations of sexual abuse in Hollywood at the hands of creeps like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey. Yet somehow, this completely fictional movie which reflects the values of another time must be held up to new standards.

Hannah Yasharoff writes at USA Today:

In the era of #MeToo, is it still OK to laugh at ‘Animal House’?

National Lampoon’s raunchy frat house comedy “Animal House,” which celebrates its 40th anniversary Saturday, is widely regarded as an all-time great movie. But four decades later, it feels less like a comedy classic and more like a toxic showcase of racism, homophobia and jokes about sexual assault.

While parts of the film are still genuinely funny and enjoyable in 2018, the crueler moments beg the question: In the era of #MeToo, is it still OK to enjoy “Animal House”?…

This wasn’t a movie meant to be taken seriously, but that’s an issue in itself when it comes to toxic young male culture: Things found seriously offensive by some are deemed “just a joke,” and those who find it hurtful are berated for not understanding comedy. Using sexual assault as throwaway humor perpetuates the idea that the destruction these people leave in their path is meaningless simply because they didn’t intend to destroy it.

The left’s problem is that they identify with the guitar playing guy in this classic scene. We could all learn a lot from Bluto:

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Comments

DieJustAsHappy | August 1, 2018 at 3:10 pm

“Ain’t We Got Fun”* – I guess not if you’re of a particular political persuasion.

* Song as recorded by Peggy Lee. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeWL4J6SziM

Yet things like ’50 Shades’ get made and ‘Game of Thrones’ is well known for its gratuitous nudity (as are many other shows/movies). Things have not changed one bit.

One more thing: college students aren’t getting drunk and hooking up because of ‘Animal House’.

“The left has embraced its inner Dean Wormer and his philosophy of ‘No more fun of any kind!’”

Psst, don’t tell them just yet, but most of the left are quite prepared to accept Islam,

Ayatollah Khomeini, “Allah did not create man so that he could have fun. The aim of creation was for mankind to be put to the test through hardship and prayer. An Islamic regime must be serious in every field. There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun and joy in whatever is serious.”

Real American | August 1, 2018 at 3:50 pm

the problem is that to the SJWs EVERYTHING looks “sexist, racially insensitive boorishness when viewed through contemporary eyes” especially things that are just “simple, raunchy fun.” These people can’t tell the difference and are the last people who should be dictating what humor is permissible or not.

It’s not just that they don’t “understand comedy.” They’re are AGAINST COMEDY! SJWs HAVE NO SENSE OF HUMOR. If you watch Animal House and find parts of it “seriously offensive” then you should be berated for being a humorless scold. There is nothing to be taken seriously about the movie. That’s the point! Find it unseriously offensive if you must, but no one should take the movie or themselves too seriously.

Bottom line is that if don’t like the movie, don’t watch it. Don’t be the person who has to try to stop others from watching and enjoying it because you of your own hangups.

    Dathurtz in reply to Real American. | August 1, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    I’ve been a teacher for about a decade now. Even in a conservative area, it is almost impossible to find another teacher or administrator that can laugh at themselves or at our work. I haven’t been able to figure out why. I think this is the kind of thing that leads to “THAT’S NOT FUNNY!!!” and an inability to see our own foibles and laugh at them. We don’t seem to have time for humor, but we sure do have a lot of occasion for it.

    “Bottom line is that if don’t like the movie, don’t watch it.”

    That is the antithesis of the Left.

least lot of the usa yesterday comments support the movie.
sort of surprised me.

Knowledge is Good. Of course Blazing Saddles is still good family fun. The 70s was so fun – Mel Brooks movies, Archie Bunker, Chico & the Man, Flip Wilson, Richard Pryor & Gene Wilder, then Rodney Daingerfield…much more cerebral and self-deprecating than the current ‘let them poop-on-the-sidewalk’ ‘culture’…

    fscarn in reply to DallasMatt. | August 1, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    SNL started in Fall 1975, and was real fun for its irreverence, having some lefty politics but by and large tame. The Sting, Godfathers 1 & 2, the Dirty Harry series, Carol Burnett, Jaws, Exorcist, Patton, Rocky, French Connection, the Pythons, Deliverance, Close Encounters, Breaking Away, and more. Yep, I wish I knew then that I was in the good old days.

    blazing saddles dvd also had the pilot for tv series based on it called black bart starring Louis Gossett, Jr
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blazing_Saddles#TV_pilot

    it was pretty good but never got produced, and today never would be.
    got the dvd stored on nas and watch the 2 often.

    02sbxstr in reply to DallasMatt. | August 1, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    Always had to chuckle at “knowledge is good.” It was just to close to my and my wife’s alma mater at Renssalear, “knowledge and thoroughness.”

Ha ha! Animal House will be on my viewing list tonight!

Good times!
A great double bill would be Animal House and Blazing Saddles.

I still love Smokey and the Bandit. And the Dukes of Hazzard.

Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

    tkc882 in reply to DLDarrow. | August 1, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    Clearly Bluto was extolling the virtue of white supremacy that goes with such fascist thinking that permeates the movie.

    I’ll just show myself out.

Otter stated the core philosophy of the left:

“I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part!”

I loved the movie.

“What was portrayed as simple, raunchy fun back in 1978 can easily look like sexist, racially insensitive boorishness” What, pray tell, was “racially insensitive”about this. And, by he way, she was the aggressor here. The real message was watch your drinking, just as good then as now. And, by the way, I lived this along with my wife of 47 years.

    tkc882 in reply to 02sbxstr. | August 1, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    If you check your sense of humor at the door then the whole, “Do you mind if we dance with your dates?” scene probably looks racist.

    Then again, if you are taking comedy as a serious commentary on society then you might need to have your head examined.

    I lived it as an “outside agitator” around ’67.

The Friendly Grizzly | August 1, 2018 at 5:15 pm

02sbxstr: because everything is racially insensitive today.

RSConsulting | August 1, 2018 at 5:38 pm

Can’t wait until Blazing Saddles next anniversary.

Book burnings come next…

Rick

    pwaldoch in reply to RSConsulting. | August 8, 2018 at 9:46 am

    Damn that’s easily the next movie on the SJW Hit parade. Excuse me while I go buy that too!
    I see old comedies like these that don’t toe the SJW line, as future contraband movies in the future. One day after I’m gone I’m hoping some future owner of my copies of these movies will one day bring a smile to someone that has never even heard of them and wonder what happened in the early 2000’s to comedy?!

The Red Guard didn’t have much of a sense of humor either.

The sixties children grew up and became what they hated: Tipper Gore and Joe McCarthy.

    Tom Servo in reply to elle. | August 1, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    and now Democrats are the party of Censorship and Republicans are the party of unrestrained comedy! What a world, what a world!!!

    (I mean really, aren’t they? Paul Ryan and his team are one of the biggest running jokes I can think of today!)

DDsModernLife | August 1, 2018 at 6:23 pm

“the film’s gender politics are f***ed beyond repair,..”

Thus we are lectured by our moral and intellectual superior.

Heh.

Dr Strangelove will be censors chopping block.

Animal House, all Mel Brooks movies, all of Monty Python, all of George Carlin’s standup routines, etc.- all would be BANNED by the Left now. No wonder comedians won’t go to college campuses any more- no sense of humor, no ability to laugh at themselves, no understanding of the human condition, no belief that there’s anything greater than themselves. Pathetic…and sad.

I like dogs. And dogs love humans. But dogs also love vomit and shit. And mark off territory by pissing on it.

I see that Animal House, which was very funny, but also poison, is marked off territory. If as a youth you saw the incredible humor and joy in to, I ask just what ageing has brought you, if you do not also see the poison.

I remember my college (Middlebury) showing a screening of “Animal House” during spring term, 1999, as a sort of exam-week stress-relief offering. I’ve no doubt such a screening would never take place today, what with the goose-stepping SJW’s policing every aspect of our culture, in order to ensure that all forms of expression and content conform to Dumb-o-crat/Leftist Party orthodoxies, to the letter.

Shortly after Animal House came out, our ship was undergoing overhaul in a shipyard politically chosen. Needless to say, the USN, taxpayers and the men assigned to the ship were screwed. Every so often when the Officers got fed up with the civilian yardbirds, we would go and watch Animal House to laugh and to regain a little sanity. That epic, Airplane and Used Cars were great releases we all needed.

franciscodanconia | August 1, 2018 at 10:30 pm

Figures some lefties with no sense of humor would have a problem with a silly flick.

Blazing Saddles must make them apoplectic.

To pathetic narcissistic ‘social justice’ wimps: drop dead.

I let my son watch Animal House when he was 9. If you mute and tell him to close his eyes while you 30-sec button through the few topless scenes, I’d say 97-98% of it was perfectly suitable for a young boys sense of humor. I think he even got the “thanks God” scene.

As a friend stated in 1984, “all humor is thinly veiled aggression against women.”

I wonder if any of the offended SJWs ever read “Tales from the Adelphian Lodge,” which was the National Lampoon story where Animal House first appeared. That would keep them from sleeping at night.

https://www.review-mag.com/article/house-rules-chris-miller-takes-us-back-to-the-real-animal-house

One of my favorite movie lines is Dean Wormer’s advice: “Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”

From telling us what we can’t watch it is only a short step to telling us what we CAN watch. And from there it is a mere nod from telling us what we MUST watch.

That’s so funny –
Yesterday I was watching the new Mission Impossible movie, and as much as I enjoyed the suspenseful plot and the amazing action scenes, all I was thinking about was GENDER POLITICS!

There are no film critics any more. Just woke box checkers.

“which reflects the values of another time”
I’m going to disagree with that. It reflected *reality*, but not necessarily the values. That was the point of the movie – almost everything and everyone in the movie was awful. None of them were held up to be icons or heroes (with the possible exception of the guys who I think are implied to be the folks who go on to run National Lampoon).

It always seemed to me like the point (besides laughing at the absurdity) was that “Holy cow! Look what this vaunted institution of higher learning is really all about! And you’re paying good money for the ‘education’!” It’s a pretty darned conservative message, despite it’s libertine attitude.

Oh, and slamming the movie for racism…. Folks (that is, the complainers), the racism is treated as a bad thing. If you can’t even allow it so that it can be mocked, then you’re devouring your own tail.

(* “reality” in an exaggerated, cartoonish fashion, of course, which is how satire works.)

DINORightMarie | August 4, 2018 at 9:39 am

I “bookmarked” this to read later, because I could not the day it was posted. Again – awesome work here Mike LaChance!

I noticed in all the critics’ articles a similar judgmental, hypocritical projection showing – to wit:

From the Vice snippet:

…It’s difficult to imagine coming to it today never having seen it before. Drunken frat boys don’t seem so charming anymore, the film’s gender politics are fucked beyond repair, and there’s no one to latch onto as a sympathetic character….

and:

…If you had an Animal House poster on your dorm wall, you were probably a sad, weird loser and if you have one in your dorm today, guess what?

From the Oregon Live snip:

…What was portrayed as simple, raunchy fun back in 1978 can easily look like sexist, racially insensitive boorishness when viewed through contemporary eyes. [emphasis in bold, mine]

And finally – and perhaps proving my point most clearly – from the USA Today snip:

…Things found seriously offensive by some are deemed “just a joke,” and those who find it hurtful are berated for not understanding comedy.

Point that at yourselves, judgmental cretans, at YOUR toxic SJW culture! Start living by those standards! Guess what – YOU CAN’T DO IT!

As Mr. LaChance points out quite correctly, their inner embrace of Dean Wormer (i.e. the stereotypical fascist dictator, aka every Univ. administrator they have cow-towed to of late), their inability to have fun (or even have a sense of humor), their inability to laugh at themselves, their wont to take themselves OH SO SO seriously (no wonder they are anxious all the time, who can step back and breathe when you have to HATE EVERYTHING(TM) while saying “no h8”!), and finally – the most important point Mr. LaChance makes, IMHO – their self-righteous, egomaniacal belief that they are, as outrageously outraged judges of the past, able and RIGHT to apply “new rules” to a time when those rules DID NOT APPLY. Who died and made you JUDGES OF THE PAST?! Must be a heavy burden of guilt and an unimaginably large EGO to think you are qualified to be the JUDGE OF ALL THINGS PAST – yikes! (And you all dare to criticize Trump’s ego?! Give me a break!!)

Frankly, on that last point – their “new rules” should NEVER apply! These so-called “rules” are simply neo-Marxist (note: that is NOT an “anti-Semitic dog whistle”), fascistic rules which millions have died to stand and defend against, to stop them from taking over our world (e.g. WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, the millions executed by Mao, Stalin, Lenin, and all the fascist socialist dictators, which is simply a point on the Marxist progression).

As you SJWs like to say, “Check your privilege!” and by that I mean LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND DO SOME SERIOUS SELF-EXAMINATION BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT QUALIFIED TO FILL THAT JOB!!! It is NO ONE’S JOB to judge the past by some more current standard!! No one is qualified to judge and condemn those of the past using more modern standards. Period. (That thinking is what led to the tragic, horrid events like Mao’s Cultural Revolution.)

Long post, but bottom line: you small-minded critics — LOOK IN THE MIRROR. That enemy you keep calling out….is YOU, times 100.

Just for the targeting in case “they” decide it’s time to memory hole the movie, like Song of the South, I never got a personal copy of Animal House so I just bought it online.

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