Saturday, July 23, 2011

And Now For Something Completely Different

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Billikens

It's very strange. The Billiken is the official mascot of St. Louis University, where I attended college and law school. The Wikipedia article in the first link says that it was created as a novelty doll from by a woman is St. Louis that became an international craze. But I've also read that the designer was from Independence, Missouri, near Kansas City. It eventually had a considerable presence in Alaska and Japan. There is a Billiken Gift Shop in Juneau (it doesn't have a web site) and I bought a little one there. We once walked into the living room of a guest house in Kyoto and wham, saw a large Billiken in the alcove with the television. The owners said it was a minor Shinto deity. If you look around on the Web there are conflicting stories about the order in which it moved among Japan, Alaska and the mainland US.

To my knowledge, its only competitor for weirdest college mascot is the Banana Slug of Cal State-Santa Cruz. The current version is kind of cute in a strange way but how seriously is it taken by athletes whose school mascot is the wildcat, eagle, lion or grizzly bear?

UPDATE: alert reader Birdman nominated a much weirder mascot - see his comment to this post. Then I found a web page with a purported list of the 10 weirdest college mascots in the country. It ranks the Banana Slug first (I disagree), Birdman's nominee second (it should be first), and our Billiken third. See the list here.

8 comments:

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Haha! you're right Bob, that is a 'little different' and slightly bizarre at the same time, but hey I'm sure there are weirder mascots out there......somewhere!!!!

cieldequimper said...

I kinda like it. It's so different from the mainstream.

Birdman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Birdman said...

And your school likes this? Very strange. btw There are plenty or mascots that seem foolish. You're in good company. hahaha

Birdman said...

The Biliken is looking pretty good. Ah, those art students! Check it out.
Scrotie (Rhode Island School of Design)

Without a doubt, one of the strangest college sports mascots has to be Scrotie, the unofficial mascot of the Rhode Island School of Design. The costume is unique and at the same time horrific, looking exactly like a giant penis wearing a red cape with the scrotum hanging beneath.

The school's basketball team is known as the Balls, and their slogan is, "When the heat is on, the Balls stick together." The hockey team is called the Nads, and their cheer is "Go Nads!" Scrotie was created to cheer on the Nads in 2001. Despite his status as an unofficial mascot, he's present at all the games and widely accepted by the student body. (Link)

Dave-CostaRicaDailyPhoto.com said...

Another nomination for a strange athletic mascot is the Scottsdale Community College Artichokes, selected by a vote of the students.

La Principessa Errante said...

I love the story, especially the Japanese connection. My husband was at RISD when they all came up with Scrotie, always thought that was a bit odd, but Billiken is right up there.

T. Becque said...

That's just strange, but good because like Ciel says, it's different. Interesting bit about it's history. When do you leave for France? I want to watch out for those posts so I can relive it through you!