Saturday, July 13, 2013

T-Shirts for Non-Existant Colleges & Universities

I'd been thinking again about the "Invisible College" which existed as a research correspondence society of educated men in England, France and Switzerland in the mid 17th Century.  There's been a lot of speculation as to what they were up to (and more than a few conspiracy theories).  While many people thought they were "alchemists" forced underground by reactionary governments, it seems more likely that they were mailing each other copies of their research findings as they were trying to figure out the chemical components of "saltpetre", which is really Potassium Nitrate, which is used in food preserving and less volatile gunpowder.  Nonetheless, they used the technique of feigned secrecy and the new technology of dependable-mail-service to create a buzz about themselves, and to make a college that didn't exist.

I've been pretty amazed recently when I speak with colleagues who work at actually-existing colleges, and I make references to Dean Wormer and Delta House, and the cultural reference to "National Lampoon's Animal House" is not retrieved.  I'd have thought it would be difficult to grow up in the latter decades of the 20th century and attend college without having seen the film.  Although there's a brilliant twist, where 'Bluto' (John Belushi's character), well into his seventh year of 'study' wears a sweatshirt that says only...


Naturally, this sweatshirt (and the white Oxford shirt beneath it) are available for sale -- although no retailer seems to get the font quite right.

Belushi's character is directly quoted/retrieved/ripped-off by Jeremy Piven's performance in PCU some 15 years later.  Once again t-shirts play a small role when 'Droz' corrects an √¶sthetic faux-pas that 'Gutter' is about to make by wearing the t-shirt of the band whose concert he is about to attend:
"Don't be that guy."
Another clever film reference, that seems to have faded with time.

T-shirts for both  Faber College and Port Chester University are available from Zazzle and Caf√© Press...and possible others.

Faber's slogan is "Scientia est Bonus" (Knowledge is Good) PCU's is "Sic Mentem proba di Rectanus"
which isn't nearly as filthy as you might think...(Proof of Mind of the Gods is the Rectangle).

Given the huge number of Lovecraftians, there are a lot of different takes on the seal and graphic design for the fictional Miskatonic College in Arkham, Massachusetts. There are also several different designs for attire and other terrifying memorabilia.

Miskatonic has several mottos, some cannonical some less so.  The one on the seal above is roughly "Unknown Causes should be Feared."

Not to be outdone by Cthulu fans, Ayn Rand fans have made t-shirts for the fictional Patrick Henry University, which I believe is referenced in both The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged as the alma mater of several characters.  Although, it's a really subtle nod.

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