June 28, 2009, - 12:10 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Couple of interesting reads on events in the news and nostalgia, this weekend, regarding Michael Jackson and the 30th anniversary of one of my fave comedy movies, “Animal House.”
* Michael Jackson
While I’ve said and I still believe that Michael Jackson has never been proven to actually have molested kids, I’ve also said that he definitely engaged in extremely inappropriate and weird conduct.
This article, about Jackson’s first young friend, Terry George, is interesting (and disturbing). George met Jackson when he was a poor, ambitious 13-year-old and Jackson was 21. Now a multi-millionaire businessman and internet magnate, the 42-year-old George recounts his experiences, how he forgave Jackson, etc.
Although I knew what he did was wrong I believed him to be a very confused person rather than a paedophile [DS: I guess that’s the Brit spelling of the word].
Like I said, it’s an interesting read, and I think George has it right on Jackson. Still, it’s kind of queasiness-inducing.
* Feel Old?: “Animal House” Turns 30
Wow, when stuff turns 30 or idols from your childhood (Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, etc.) die, it makes you feel old–like aging hit you with a truck and you weren’t quite prepared. Like time flew at the speed of light, or close.
“Animal House” just turned 30. It’s one of the great classic guy movies. (On the other hand, it does glorify defying authority a little much.) While contemporary teens and 20-somethings flock to trash like “The Hangover” (read my review), it’s shlock in comparison to real guy buddy movies, like “Animal House.” It wasn’t just John Belushi that made it a great film. It was Tim Matheson and so many others. And it had a great soundtrack, with live performances by classic artists like Otis Day and the Knights.
The Wall Street Journal’s E. E. Knight has an interesting take on the pathetic ways far too many college students try to find their “inner Bluto” (the nickname of Belushi’s “John Blutarsky”).
When Animal House first came out just over 30 years ago, it dominated the cultural landscape. College students were nostalgic for the “raunchy, pre-1960s undergraduate ideal,” says Peter Rollins, who has been studying pop-culture academically for over 30 years. Mr. Rollins, who attended Dartmouth in the 1960s, says that students back then tried to live “the fantasy” on their own campuses. Some still do, taking Bluto’s counsel to heart: “My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.”
Yup, that was “raunch” yesterday, but today, it would be PG-13. Or maybe even just PG. And no, if I had kids, they would not be allowed to view it, until they were at least 16 or 17.
E. E. Knight has it right. Laugh at Bluto. Not with him.
Nowadays, he’d probably end up like Michael Jackson . . . minus the cash flow and Beatles song rights. And that’s essentially how Bluto’s real-life alter ego did end up.