Saturday, January 15, 2011

#4: The Real Animal House: A Mostly Lucid Memoir by Chris Miller (Foreward by Harold Ramis)

Why is Animal House my favorite film? The following three exchanges:

Jennings: I took this job until I finish my novel
Boone: How long ya been working on it?
Jennings: Three years
Pinto: It must be very good
Jennings: It's a piece of shit

Katy: Boone, I think I'm in love with a retard.
Boone: Is he bigger than me?

Pinto: They won't even let us enter a float in the homecoming parade.
Boone: Watch a bunch of zombies ride a pile of Kleenex down the street? Rah rah.

Well, I saw this book (written by the real life Pinto, named so because of the multi-varied hues of his member) and instantly grabbed it (book, not member). There is a sort of theme to the text, but it is mostly wrapped up with the following things: alcohol, dicks, boobs and trying to have all three appear at the same time. I have never read so many words for breasts: boobs, teats, milkbags, bazooms, gazongas, gabongas, wazoos...the list goes on and on. The characters of the house are all there, complete with debauchery and one guy who takes a jack-o-lantern, strips naked, and wraps the pumpkin around his crotch with his dick through the nose hole. Of course he goes trick or treating.
There are not many good female characters (most are hidden behind their funbags), but I suppose I expected this. Women are things in this text, things with yabos. Chased by men with tools, dicks, flagpoles; men who can projectile vomit onto a poster of Harriet Nelson. Men who hang out in a place which has a basement with a gutter along two of the walls. That's right, a gutter. At the end of parties they hose down the floor and the puke (boot in the parlance of the book), pee and god knows what else gets washed into a drain in the corner. Women tend to be ornaments to this chaos, added appendages that get in the way of the beer.

It took me a while to figure out what the book was missing when compared to the movie. It is the gleeful finger in the eye of the authority figures of the campus. The end "where are they now" segment, one of my favorite parts of the book, is quite poignant and sets off this dichotomy nicely. Many of the drunken louts who listened to Little Richard and Ruth Brown instead of Pat Boone became what Dartmouth grads in the 1960s became: lawyers, bankers, doctors. People who retired to Napa and Marin to complain about social inequality while ensconced in $1.8 million dollar houses, those 40-50 year olds that brought you the 1980s "Me" Generation, voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 and thought "fiscal conservatism and social liberalism" was one A-Duke Idea for the Democratic party.

While they can act out and be "rebellious", they almost never did so much as to get thrown out. And if they did get thrown out, the buddy system of the frats and the administration would keep them afloat and back in class. Money in this book talks while bullshit walks. The main character complains about his more "beatnik" friends, and finds them shallow compared to his housemates. You see, his housemates sometimes hang out with black guys. But, they are gone after the concert is over. He bitches about a Joanie Baez concert infringing on important grab-the-boobies time. We can check out the tits on the local chick at the grocery store, but we certainly don't want her around in the morning. In other words, we can act like drunk townies (called Emmets, and never more than that) but we don't mix with them.

These are the guys that are fun at parties, telling you stories of that crazy frat house they were in where the one guy did the thing in a gorilla suit with four midgets, a fire extinguisher and a can of cheese whiz. It's funny, and we all laugh, and we all go on to the next one. But, they are the guys who are always looking back to become again what they were. Many of them have chalked up 3-4 marriages, several of them are dead due to various causes related to alcohol and drugs. I'm no prude, and I don't give a shit how many times someone has tied the knot (my grandmother was married no less than 6 times). What I don't like is living in the past, and this book is soaking in it.

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