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“Funny is as funny does,” Mama Gump once told me. You can’t have your pie and throw it in someone’s face as well. But here’s one for us all to chuckle about (in that dark perverse way). In The Unofficial, Unbiased, Insiders Guide to the 320 Most Interesting Colleges, the results were tallied by a survey of thousands (!) of high-school guidance counselors across America. The question was posed, “If Animal House was remade today, on what campus would it be filmed?” Chico State and San Jose State tied for first. In fact they were the only two colleges from California listed in the top 20.
I tend to have my finger up my ass more than on the pulse of Chico, but it seems that all I have heard for years now is that Chico’s mid-'80s reputation as the No. 1 party school in the country has changed and that we are now seen as a respectable, wholesome place for young adults to go to school. Though nothing chimes louder in the face of rhetoric than an “Unofficial Guide,” thousands of high school counselors can’t be wrong, can they?
You can imagine windowless cubicles across the country, half-drunk seniors showing up for their mandatory guidance session. “I jusssh want to party.” “Well,” starts the counselor, “I took the liberty of filling out your college application, and I’m somewhat proud to say you got accepted to Chico State.”
What I consider to be the bigger problem is that Animal House is being tossed around as a “party” movie. You can look at it two ways: If fraternities in Chico partied like Bluto and his brothers, they would welcome the weird and wonderful in their lives and seek being individuals instead of sheep. Bluto hated blind conformity and rebelled against all authority. He was kind to the weak and indulgent of the stupid. On the other hand, if the Animal House gang partied like Chico State students, they would be ponying up a half a million dollars to pay for the senseless death of pledges they poisoned with alcohol.