Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tournament of Everything, Round 3: Devil's Lake, ND

At the DevilDome

14 Estes Kefauver v. 2 Animal House


I found myself behind schedule with this post, not because I've been busy with other things but because the Estes Kefauver/Animal House match-up requires deep consideration.

On the one hand, Estes Kefauver could be a proxy for Dean Wormer. He was a white male authority figure who hit his peak in late-middle age. He might have gone after the Delta House to the fullest extent of the law, with superior effectiveness and prosecutorial efficiency. Estes Kefauver wasn't going to take no guff from no ruffians. Take, for instance, the voice-over introduction that Senator Kefauver provided to the 1955 movie Mad at the World:
When young people become angry and violent, it affects the whole community -- your town and mine. Anger breeds anger, until finally it sweeps over all age groups. Here now, is a story of how one police department in a great American city fought to bring this destructive human fire under control.
He prophesied the end of Animal House 20 years early. Would Eric Stratton have been intimidated or amused?

There's Animal House, a favorite movie that after 20 viewings still seems to have untouched surprises and pleasures. Kefauver was antithetical to Animal House values: A beacon of good order, the rule of law, adult responsibility and earnestness.

Like the Delta House guys, though, Estes was known as a bit of a drinker. He liked to hit the sauce. He was on the vanguard of anti-segregation Southerners: He might have liked Otis Day and the Nights.

Like the Delta House guys, he raged against the machine. As Estes said, "I may be a pet coon, but I'm not Boss Crump's pet coon."

I hate Boss Crump.

If this site had its genesis in something other than a late-night brain fart that I thought would last for five posts, it might have been esteskefauver dot blogspot. He's a conversational mascot -- the best thing to come out of Tennessee on a shortlist limited to our friend Bitey and a song by Arrested Development. Otherwise this is a state that whose noteworthy contributions include gumless banjo pickers, Philip Fulmer, a numbskulled Peyton-for-Heisman campaign that still exists ten years ex post, Bill Frist, the massively retarded Andrew Johnson, Graceland, and some song called "Walking in Memphis." Take me to another place, take me to another land. How Kefauver managed to rise from this blight is anyone's guess.

But I am still thirsty.

At the close of regulation: Animal House 66, Estes Kefauver 66.

It looked like Animal House was about to pull away. The foodfight scene would leave Estes confounded and immobile. He would be mortified at Bluto's voyeurism.

Remember at the close of the movie, where the credits roll and the leading players' futures were described? Bluto went on to become a U.S. Senator. While he was a great frat brother, he was not cut from Senatorial cloth. Kefauver could have ran parliamentary circles around him. The late Senator rallies.

At the close of 1OT: Animal House 84, Estes Kefauver 84.

This is no longer a battle between the Delta House and the late Tennessee bad-ass. This is a contest between Estes and his inner Kefauver. Who is he? Is he the aspiring presidential candidate who battled organized crime and promoted rigorous antitrust enforcement, or is he the quirky populist who wore a coonskin cap and defied convention by resisting segregation and machine politics?

Estes pours himself a glass of bourbon and puts on a toga.

2OT: Animal House 100, Estes Kefauver 99.

1 Sistine Chapel v. 5 The Enlightenment


A few things about the Sistine Chapel. First, it has basically devolved into a tourist trap. A visitor takes a long trek through numerous spectacular galleries (the map room was my favorite) only to be disrupted every five feet by a glass counter manned by employees selling kitsch (hooray, more postcards) to German tourists. The whole thing has the feel of the Epcot Center, plus 500 years.

Then there was the restoration of the frescoes, which took some great old paintings by Michelangelo and defaced them into ultra-pastel Pixar-type reproductions. (I realize this is arbitrary.)

So okay, there are all of those problems, but still, there's the kind of overpowering stimulation and just the plain weirdness of the damn thing. I mean, it's weird, the same way that so much great art (Inferno, Guernica, Full House) is weird. It's wall-to-wall naked Bible art. Try getting away with that on Justice Sunday.

One of the Enlightenment's major breakthroughs was its rejection of religious orthodoxy, true. If this just came down to personal preference, the Enlightenment would win in a rout. I fucking love the Enlightenment. Separate that church from that muthafuckin' state, bitch, and hurry! My ass would prefer Montesquieu, Kant and scientific method over Bible art any day of the week.

The Tournament of Everything doesn't work that way. The Sistine Chapel is a subject of enduring popular fascination, and probably for good reason. It's kind of good. Sistine Chapel 78, The Enlightenment 76.

3 comments:

Crunk Raconteur said...

"a numbskulled Peyton-for-Heisman campaign that still exists ten years ex post"

Seriously, what is it with the two of you and this? Where does this supposedly exist? I'm unaware of these legions supposedly still griping about this in anywhere near the amount that would call for the amount of times you guys (mostly Flop) bitch about it? Hell, I don't even remember all that much complaining about it even one year later, in 1998 and 1999...and I lived in the state of Tennessee at that time!

Sweet jeebus, I have never heard two people bitch more about something their guy WON...

All that said, if you guys are so sensitive to instances where people narrowly defeated gentlemen from Tennessee and then proceeded to be a mix of occasionally mediocre and just plain bad from then on, remind me not to mention the events of November 7, 2000 again...

CrimeNotes said...

Seriously, what is it with the two of you and this? Where does this supposedly exist?

You wouldn't ask this if you read the comments sections on football blogs, or saw the google hits that we receive. The best was when the governor of Tennessee denounced the results as a product of an anti-Tennessee conspiracy.

Flop said...

It's also far from complaining. I'd say we're bemused and amazed by it more than anything.

But go on and cast your lot with the Vols and George W. Bush if it makes you feel better.