Sunday, June 05, 2011

Jim Tressel: Nearer My God to the Shoe

“Alright, have it your way—you heard Brutus Buckeye yelling ‘Go Bucks!’”

On the occasion of the fall of Jim Tressel, I have taken the liberty (above) of photoshopping a famous James Thurber cartoon (shown below). But Thurber and his fellow Buckeye classmate Elliot Nugent provided a fuller treatment of the conflict between the body and the mind, or the flesh and the spirit, or between football and academic freedom at the Ohio State University in the play they co-authored, The Male Animal. Only in the play, it's not called The Ohio State University, it's called Midwestern University. A movie of The Male Animal was made in 1942, with Henry Fonda playing a prof who is suspected being a communist and, even worse, not a fan of the university football team. Jack Carson plays the lunkhead ex-football star who returns on Homecoming Weekend and tries to hook up with the prof's wife, whom he had dated when they were undergraduates. 
     If a play is ever written or a movie made about the Jim Tressel era at OSU, I think it will be called Nearer My God to The Shoe  ("The Shoe" is the nickname for the Buckeye's stadium) and the heavy will not be the lunkhead football player but the geeky president of the university who sells out the Coach as Judas did Jesus.

"Alright, have it your wayyou heard a seal barking."