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DeSantis, Gary G.
Penn state :
b symbol and myth
h [electronic resource] /
by Gary G. DeSantis.
[Tampa, Fla] :
University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 62 pages.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2009.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
ABSTRACT: This thesis will focus on the popular culture iconography of the Pennsylvania State University: the Nittany Lion-as a symbol and apolitical mascot; Happy Valley, the geographic area in which the university is located, as a kind of sacred place and utopia in the Keystone State; football-its hallowed shrines, legendary coaches, and heroic players; regional foods and delicacies-from the unique offerings of the area's diners to the University Creamery (where patrons yearly consume more than 750,000 ice cream cones); and Lion Shrine and the adjacent Nittany Lion Inn-where the faithful have made pilgrimages since the early-twentieth century. The sum of these parts contributes to the pastoral image of Happy Valley-an image that is a constant reality in the mind of the Penn Stater.The Happy Valley myth is perpetuated by socio-cultural activities indigenous to "Lion Country." Certain activities are mandatory to be a real Penn Stater: sitting on the Nittany Lion Statue, going to a football game, buying a sticky bun at the College Diner, eating an ice cream cone from the University Creamery, and staying the night at the Nittany Lion Inn. Sociological texts, such as Emile Durkheim's Elementary Forms of Religion, are central to the theme of the thesis. Durkheim's work explains how symbols or totems represent the force of the group, thereby giving religious meaning to secular institutions. Moreover, anthropological theories of Clifford Geertz-taken from Interpretations of Culture-are indispensable in realizing how integral the use of signs and symbols are to that of the group's fundamental understanding of its own worldview. These cultural phenomena occupy a large part in the mindset and mentality of students, alumni, locals, and fans alike.Furthermore, the sacred iconic image of the Nittany Lion permeates the local psyche, media, and overall reality of the area. Ultimately, this constant reinforcement of local cultural values contributes to the bucolic image of Happy Valley as a kind of utopia, where the problems of urban life dissipate into the mountain air.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
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Advisor: Robert E. Snyder, Ph.D.
x American Studies
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
Penn State: Symbol and Myth by Gary G. DeSantis A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Humanities and American Studies College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Robe rt E. Snyder, Ph.D. Daniel Belgrad, Ph.D. James Cavendish, Ph.D. Date of Approval: April 10, 2009 Iconography, Religion, Culture, Democracy, Education Copyright 2009, Gary G. DeSantis
i Table of Contents Table of Contents i Abstract ii Introduction 1 Notes 6 Chapter I The Totemic Image 7 Function of the Mascot 8 History of the Lion 10 The Nittany Lion Mascot 10 The Lion Shrine 12 The Nittany Lion Inn 16 The Logo 18 Notes 21 Chapter II Collective Effervescence and Rituals 23 Football During the Progressive Era 24 History of Beaver Field 27 The Paterno Era 31 Notes 36 Chapter III Food as Ritual 38 History of the Creamery 40 The Creamery as a Sacred Site 42 Diner History 45 The Sticky 46 Notes 48 Conclusion 51 Bibliography 55
ii Penn State: Symbol and Myth Gary G. DeSantis ABSTRACT This thesis will focus on the popular culture iconography of the Pennsylvania State University: the Nittany LionÂ—as a sy mbol and apolitical mascot; Happy Valley, the geographic area in which the university is located, as a kind of sacred place and utopia in the Keystone State; footballÂ— its hallowed shrines, legendary coaches, and heroic players; regional foods and delicac iesÂ—from the unique offerings of the areaÂ’s diners to the University Creamery (where patrons yearly consume more than 750,000 ice cream cones); and Lion Shrine and the adja cent Nittany Lion InnÂ—where the faithful have made pilgrimages since the early-twe ntieth century. The sum of these parts contributes to the pastoral image of Happy Valle yÂ—an image that is a constant reality in the mind of the Penn Stater. The Happy Valley myth is perpetuated by socio-cultural activities indigenous to Â“Lion Country.Â” Certain activities are mandatory to be a real Penn Stater: sitting on the Nittany Lion Statue, going to a football game, buying a sticky bun at the College Diner, eating an ice cream cone from the Univers ity Creamery, and staying the night at the Nittany Lion Inn. Sociological texts, such as Emile DurkheimÂ’s The Elementary Forms of Religious Life are central to the theme of the thesis. DurkheimÂ’s work explains how symbols or
iii totems represent the force of the group, th ereby giving religious meaning to secular institutions. Moreover, anthropological th eories of Clifford GeertzÂ—taken from The Interpretations of Culture Â—are indispensable in realizing how integral the use of signs and symbols are to that of the groupÂ’s fundame ntal understanding of its own worldview. These cultural phenomena occupy a large pa rt in the mindset and mentality of students, alumni, locals, and fa ns alike. Furthermore, the sacred iconic image of the Nittany Lion permeates the local psyche, media, and overall reality of the area. Ultimately, this constant reinforcement of local cultural values contributes to the bucolic image of Happy Valley as a kind of utopia, wh ere the problems of urban life dissipate into the mountain air.
1 Introduction Emile DurkheimÂ’s The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life defines religion as unified sets of beliefs and pr actices that revolve around a s acred focus, which serve to unify a community.1 Durkheim approaches religion fr om a functionalist perspective; his interest was in how a religion functions, or what functions it performs for a society or group. The overarching life system of the so ciety is represented by the groupÂ’s totemic image, which is the icon or symbol that re presents the group itself The groupÂ’s rituals are simply a way to worship the micro-societ y and its values. Much of DurkheimÂ’s analysis of religion is applicable to Penn State: Symbol and Myth. In this thesis, I examine Penn State a nd its iconography as a construction of secular religion. Using a Durkheimian Â“f unctionalÂ” approach to religion, one can establish how community iconsÂ—which appe ar everywhere, represent the community, function in the capacity of a re ligion, and are a means to exalt the societyÂ’s valuesÂ—play such an important role in the construction of a groupÂ’s belief system. This thesis applies DurkheimÂ’s Â“functionalÂ” definition of relig ion, whereby he envisions what functions religion performs for the society or group. One of the functions of the college religion at Penn State is to reinforce group solidarity a nd identity, which serv e to perpetuate the institution itself. Through the use of rituals, the group generates Â“collective effervescence.Â” These religious sentiments for the group rise and fall with repeated
2 group practices. The social energy created bi nds individuals to th e community through the shared emotional mood made possibl e by group practices and rites. This thesis defines college religion as a vernacular religion. A religion that is of and by the people, outside of formal organized religion, but draws upon iconography, beliefs, and practices related to sacred things of an instit utional religion. Sociologist Robert Bellah has termed this form of societ al self-worship Â“civil religionÂ”Â—a religion of American self-worship celebrated in symbols, rituals, and beliefs.2 As John Sears notes, important sacred symbols lend themselves to Â“cultural preeminence,Â”3 thereby endowing sacredness, and leading devotees to believe in the superior ity of its society. Charles Reagan Smith defines civil religion as a region al or cultural religi on used to Â“sanctifyÂ” the societyÂ’s experience, while gl orifying a cultureÂ’s way of life.4 Similarly, this cultural religion, which this thesis calls Â“college reli gionÂ”, is a religion of self-worship. The monuments, festivals, and mythic narratives function as ways to celebrate the social construction of Penn State life. Moreover, the resulting student a nd alumni loyalty is financially lucrative for the university, which allows the institution of the college to perpetuate itself indefinite ly. The Pennsylvania FarmerÂ’s High SchoolÂ— which after a series of name changes would eventually become the Pennsyl vania State UniversityÂ—was established in 1855 as part of the Morrill Act. Not only di d the Federal government provide financial assistance for the construction of agriculture a nd mechanical arts colleges, but also each state received 30,000 acres of land per Congr essional member to support the college.5 From the beginning, the college was very resour ceful in its use of socially constructed iconography. Local and national publications chronicled the changes in school symbols,
3 icons, signs, popular heroes, mascots, and ar chitecture, while simu ltaneously explaining the motives behind college students, alumni, and other interested indivi duals in doing so. Therefore, the history and iconography of la nd grant institutions, like Penn State, are significant to not only Pennsylvanians and coll ege students, but to our nation as well. This thesis engages an area of current scholarly interestÂ—the iconography of communities in the constructi on of college religion. This thesis establishes how community icons play such an important role in the construction of Penn StateÂ’s college religion. Michael Geisler, who has research ed the role of symbols, concludes that historical memory is reflected in signs and iconography. Subseque ntly, these signs or symbols are reinforced daily through constant rehearsal.6 Similarly, Lauren Berlant contends symbols Â“sutureÂ” individuals to the collective, thus defining the groupÂ’s identity.7 Anthony D. Smith, who has done research in a similar vein, adds to these symbols: Â“flags, anthems, paradesÂ…memo rialsÂ…as well asÂ…national recreations, the countryside, popular heroes, talesÂ…architect ure, artÂ…town planningÂ…and educational practices.Â”8 These customs and shared feelings of the members of a community are more than cultural symbols; these highly visible icons, which appear everywhere, represent the community, function in the capacity of a secu lar religion, and are a means to exalt the societyÂ’s values. This thesis illuminates, builds on, and challenges materials published by the Pennsylvania State University Press. Thes e books are Bibles to the faithful, and extremely important because they contain a wea lth of information about the history of the institution, including information about the Lion However, since these books are limited only to the history of the unive rsity, the authors give no furt her explanation or thought to
4 the sociological and anthropologi cal underpinnings of the college. This thesis reveals the socio-religious base of many of the schoolÂ’s traditions, which ar e purposely constructed to uphold the micro-societyÂ’s values, and bind members to the community. In chapter one, discussion centers on th e importance of the totemic image of the Nittany Lion to the institutionÂ—from the incar nation of the Lion as the schoolÂ’s mascot, and the later construction of the famed statue; to the establishment of the universityÂ’s own hotel, the Nittany Lion Inn; as well as th e importance of the marketable logo. The main point is how integral and essential the im age of the mascot is in the daily life of the Penn Stater. The Lion permeates the culture. Its presence is everywhere: mascots, logos, sports teams, a nd local businesses. The Nittany Lion Shrine offers an o ccasion to explore the nature and relationship of sacred space, and what it m eans to different cultures. The Nittany Lion Inn provides an opportunity to look into the general and architectur al history of the establishment, which functions as a training ground for majors in hotel management as well as a convenient resting place. Since the academic calendar plays an important part in many collegiate traditions, the peak times of the year for visitors are examined as well. The second chapter focuses on football hist ory at the storied institution, and the effect the secularized role of religion ha s had on the university over the years. In addition, the chapter delves into the history and rise of footba ll at the agricu ltural college, documenting the need for the sport, and the pur pose the game supplies for the institution. The nature of the paternalism in football, a nd the need for a charismatic hero, similar to legendary coach Joe Paterno, are also explore d. Moreover, the hist orically secularized role of religion in sports and what effect it has had on the university over the years is
5 documented. Furthermore, DurkheimÂ’s theory of collective effervescence is paramount to the chapter, showing just how large a place football occupies in the Penn State mindset, and why the fans and devotee s view the games as crusades. The last chapter, which is devoted to food rituals of the micro-society of Penn State, describes how the Creamery, and sticky buns, became symbols, within the context of the role of Penn State as a land grant college. This chapter provides a better understanding of the social and cultural dyna mics related to food consumption. The history of the Creamery, and another Penn St ate traditionÂ—the cinnamon stickyÂ—are the centerpiece of the third chapter, and used to show how powerful a symbol food is to group identity. The chapter discusses how the recipe for the cinnamon sticky evolved over time, and the different diners and supermarke ts that offer the local, buttery rolls. A system of ritualistic co nsumption has been ingrained within the micro-society of Penn State, whereby ice cream and grille d stickies have become synonymous with group identity and solidarity. These ritualistic foods are more than simply sustenance; the CreameryÂ’s ice cream and local diner grilled stickies are a cultural statement. Both of these foods, which successfully accomplish th e tasks of religion from a functionalist perspective, simultaneously integrate individu als to the larger community, while offering them a tasty treat. The aforementioned cultural iconography and group practices are only a few of the ways to illustrate how Penn State succe ssfully accomplishes these religious tasks as understood from a Durkheimian functionalist perspective. There are probably many other symbols that perform in the capacity of a college religion at Penn State.
6 Notes 1 Emile Durkheim. Elementary Forms of Religious Life. New York: Free Press, 1915. 62. 2 Robert Bellah. Â“Civil Religion in America.Â” Daedalus: Journal of American Academy of Arts and Sciences. v 96. n2. Winter, 1967. 349. 3 John F. Sears. Sacred Places New York: Oxford, 1989. 12. 4 Charle R. Smith. Judgement and Grace in Dixie. Athens: University of Georgia, 1995. xv. 5 John E. Wise. The History of Education: An Analytic Survey. New York: Sheed and Ward, 1964. 357. 6 Michael Geisler, National Symbols, Fractured Identities. Hanover: University Press of New England, 2005, pp.5-34. 7 Lauren Berlant, Anatomy of National Fantasy. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1991, p. 25. 8 Anthony D. Smith, National Identity. Reno: University of Nevada, 1991, p. 77.
7 Chapter I The Totemic Image The importance of the Nittany Lion to the Pennsylvania State University is tantamount to a sacred icon; its importance in myth and reality cannot be understated. The image of the totemÂ—in this case the Ni ttany LionÂ—is integral and essential in the daily life of the Penn Stater. Freud referred to Â“totemismÂ” as both a religion and a social system, citing how members of the same clan call themselves by the name of the totem, and in some instances believe themselv es to be actually descended from it.9 In addition, the group is bound together by common obligations to each other, and by a common faith in the totem.10 Similarly, Emile Durkheim, one of the founders of sociology, believed totems to be not only the outward and visible form of the clanÂ’s god, but also the symbol, sign, flag, and emblem marked on everything. This led Durkhiem to believe that the god of the clan or totemic principle, whether it is in the form of an animal or vegetable, represents and personifies the clan its elf, thus giving the group its power.11 Therefore, social life is centered on the totemic emblem. In the case of Penn State, the Nittany Lion functions as the clanÂ’s totem, and re presents the society or group itself. Such totemic images, icons, symbols, and logos, which are repeatedly seen, form the basis of the groupÂ’s belief system.12 These sentiments embed themselves in each individual consciousness, and consequently one believes him or herself as acting naturally, instead of just being caught up in the shared emotional mood of the group.13
8 Therefore, social life is made po ssible strictly by vast symbolism.14 In the case of Penn State, oft-repeated rituals, such as attendi ng football games and sitting on the Lion statue, are a way of exalting the micro-soci ety of the college and its values.15 In a similar vein, childrenÂ’s books, such as When I Grow Up I Want to be a Nittany Lion glorify school traditions and memorials to children of alumni, instilling a love for the institution, its colors, and its iconsÂ—especially the Lion. The little boy in the story Â“is named after a great educator and legendary coac hÂ”; his parents call him Joey for short. The first thing Joey encounters when he and his parents visit the institution is a Nittany Lion Â“prowling through the trees.Â” The child is unde rstandably scared, until he gets closer and realizes the Lion is Â“just a bi g statue.Â” Moreover, the book ac quaints youngsters with other influential landmarks of local iconography, in cluding Beaver Stadium, the Creamery, and the Happy ValleyÂ—home of the Nittany Lion.16 Function of the Mascot Every school relies on some kind of mascot for identi ty, Penn State being no exception. However, the Nittany Lion has not always been the schoolÂ’s symbol. Students utilized different traditions and symbol s to suit their particular tastes and needs. During different eras, there have been no le ss than a handful of different mascots. Among the most colorful were a bulldog and Â“Old Coaly,Â” the mule. Coaly had been instrumental in hauling stone for the cons truction of the schoolÂ’s first buildingÂ—Old Main.17 In the spring of 1904, Joe Mason, a Penn St ate baseball player and editor of the unsanctioned student-published newspaper, The Lemon boasted the land-grant schoolÂ’s indigenous Nittany Lion was more ferocious th an the opponentÂ’s Princeton Bengal Tiger,
9 the mascot of the elite school the State team was to play that afternoon. While the State team won the baseball game that day, more importantly, the fledgi ng school gained an invaluable iconÂ—the apolitical image of the Nittany Lion. A totemic image or mascot is essential in creating group identity. Society uses positive integration to instill admirable values, build solidarity, and reinforce acceptable behavior. Conversely, communities often use negative integration to exclude outsiders, and to protect the cultura l interests of the group.18 Unlike Penn State, other schools and sports teams that have adopted less politic ally correct mascotsÂ— The University of Illinois Fighting Illini, Wa shington Redskins, and Atla nta BravesÂ—are racially insensitive and demeaning and lend themselves to controversy. As a result, many team mascots have come under attack in recent ye ars. By way of example, fellow Big Ten (and land grant) school, The University of Illinois has been using Chief Illiniwek to represent its sports teams since 1926. Unfortuna tely, the mascot is a misrepresentation of Native American woodland peoples, and adds to a dangerous set of stereotypes that create a negative climate through misundersta nding, undermining the ed ucational role of the university. Furthermore, the sentimental attachment many students hold for the Chief precludes any desire for accurate understanding.19 By way of comparison, the apolitical image of the Nittany LionÂ—a ferocious opponent, on or off the field, standing for pride and integrityÂ—is not controversial in the least.
10 History of the Lion The word Â“NittanyÂ” derived from a Na tive American term meaning Â“single mountain.Â” The first settlers in the 1700s, adopted the term when they named the mountainÂ—Mount Nittany.20 Subsequently, the local mount ain lions that roamed central Pennsylvania until the 1880s were also known by the same moniker. The hills of central Pennsylvania once were plentiful with m ountain lions; however, at the end of 1856, a local hunter named Samuel Brush shot one of the last in Susquehanna County.21 The last reported kill in Centre County (the county in which Penn State is located) occurred in 1893. During the same year, the Brush Lion was donated to the State College. Later that year, the cat was part of the Pennsylvania ex hibit at the storied Â“White CityÂ” of the Columbian Exposition in Chicago; the Brus h Lion was located near the Liberty Bell.22 The specimen returned to State College wher e it was successively installed at several locations: the wildlife museum in Old Ma in, the Zoology Departme nt, and finally the basement of the Agriculture Build ing, where it languished for years.23 Eventually, it ended up on an extended hiatus at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh. The famed Brush Lion would be away from the university for the next forty years.24 Remarkably, the Brush Lion is one of the be st examples of mid-nineteenth century taxidermy. More importantly, it is the mo st complete specimen of the Pennsylvania mountain lionÂ— Felis concolorÂ— in existence.25 The Nittany Lion Mascot At any university, the most well known of collegiate symbols is undoubtedly the school mascot. To promote loyalty to oneÂ’s campus, colleges adopted institutional colors and mascots during the late nineteenth century to the early part of the twentieth century.26
11 For the purposes of this paper, the person in the mascot costume will be referred to as the living mascot. A living mascot, who plays a role similar to a high priest, embodies group sentiment and spirit by performing ritual istic dances and chanting, which greatly contribute to group solidarity.27 The Nittany Lion living mascot becomes the focus of attention, and is the literal em bodiment of school spirit and al so the main cheerleader. Â“You never see the Lion standing still. Even if heÂ’s just standing th ere, heÂ’s kicking his feet. You never get bored watching the Lion, because he is always active, always doing something,Â” says Mike Zollars, who wore the suit in 2003.28 The first mascot, Â“Nittany Leo I,Â” appear ed in 1921 to the delight of football fans.29 The second Â“man in the suitÂ” was a student who worked in the Creamery, and was involved in the cheese-making laboratory.30 By the 1950s, the initial costume had seen better days. Occasionally, the sometimes worn-out looking suit (which was actually made of rabbit fur) was sewn up, and patched with sheepskin.31 The living mascot is important not only in building group solidarity, but also an arbiter of powerful magicalit y. Therefore, the living mascotÂ’s anonymity is essential, similar to a shaman that guards ritualistic dances.32 No one should know the power the living mascot possesses, or there is the danger that the mascot will become less powerful. In the past, there was such an allure and my stique surrounding the te am mascot that many of the performers remained anonymous until fo rced to reveal their identities. Today the Lion mascot, after removing a de tachable tail, dives into the student section at Beaver Stadium and Â“crowd surfs.Â”33 This ever-popular crowd activity, which often finds the living mascot approaching th e upper reaches of Beaver Stadium, is equivalent to similar acts engaged in by other religions in an attempt to raise the sacred
12 above the earthly plane. Thus, the celebrat ory act of touching the living mascot as the costumed individual is passed overhead through the crowd34 simply reinforces group identity, giving members a sense of belonging to the Penn State community.35 The Lion, as a living mascot, is so popular among sports enthusiasts that in a 2002 Mascot of the Year Contest sponsored by the bank Capital One, the Lion started with a strong lead and garnered over thirty percent of the vote. Georgia TechÂ’s Â“Buzz the Yellow jacket,Â” and The University of Florid aÂ’s Â“Albert the Gator,Â” were next in the voting, receiving eleven and ni ne percent respectively.36 The most-telling cultural and entertainment statistic of all might be that the giant of sports ne ws, ESPN, cites the Lion as the countryÂ’s most recognizable mascot.37 The Lion Shrine Every religion seeks to set the sacred as ide from the merely profane. Sacred places, such as temples, churches, and shrines are constructed to give devotees a place to gather and to exalt the groupÂ’s values. T hus, the group creates sacred space physically and figuratively, out of the environment.38 It is no different for a college religion such as Penn StateÂ’s. For many years, there had been talk and speculation of some kind about a shrine on campus to instill pride in students and alumni. Nothing was done until 1940, when the graduating class took a special interest in th e project, and actively pursued a permanent Lion shrine on campus. The idea had been proposed years earl ier in an issue of The Lemon by none other than Joe Mason. In an impa ssioned plea for school spirit, he wrote, Â“What a lasting and fitting memorial it woul d be for some class to place on campus a huge figure of this champion of the forest, Â‘Old Nittany!Â’Â”39
13 The Lion Shrine was voted the Senior Cl ass Gift of 1940Â—the class had raised $5,340, a sizeable amount at the time.40 Initially, two noted sculptors, Heinz Warneke and John B. Flanagan, signified interest in the project.41 Coincidentally, Warneke had displayed work earlier at the collegeÂ’s firs t international sculpt ure exhibition in 1937.42 Eventually, Warneke, a noted German animal sculptor, who is responsible for the bronze elephants that stand guard at the entrance of the Philadelphia Zoo, was chosen to be the shrineÂ’s sculptor. Warneke is one sculptor who Â“spurns the Â‘crushed automobileÂ’ school of modernism.Â”43 That was what art professor, Francis Hyslop, who was on a faculty committee that recommended the German sculptor for the project, said of Warneke.44 Warneke himself said, Â“I believe in the work th e College is doing for the sake of art, and I will try to traditionali ze the figure of the lion.Â”45 According to the contract, the work wa s to take place in the open air of the campus. Joseph Garatti did the Â“roughing outÂ” work, which consisted of cutting the huge block of white Indiana limestone down to within a half-inch of the final size of the Lion. GarattiÂ’s part of the work finished ahead of schedule; he quietly left campus, and received very little cr edit from students for having done anything.46 Warneke proceeded to sculpt a masterpiece in front of wide-e yed spectators and students on the college lawn.47 The Nittany Lion Shrine was completed in less than four months, and dedicated during the seasonÂ’s first f ootball game with Bucknell.48 Warneke was not present that day, but he sent a letter stating, Â“Tell the students that I hope the Lion roars them to victory after victory.Â”49 Although not specifically religious in nature, some rituals mark a sacred event that celebrates the values of the group, while simultaneously referring to the
14 beginnings of institutional traditions.50 The collegiate religion of Penn State differs little from other religious systems, which are also grounded in authorita tive mythic accounts.51 No other than Joe Mason, the man who had fixed the sacred totem, which would become synonymous with the college that fatefu l day versus Princeton in 1906, was in attendance. Never one to shy away from an opportunity to speak, Mason chose his words carefully. Â“The origin of the Nittany Lion, which in truth, I cannot give you, as Old Man Lion was in charge over yonder on Mount Ni ttany long before Columbus discovered America, and likely fifty-t housand years before that.Â”52 Quite fittingly, years later, as testament to the immortality ascribed to the totem in transcending even the death of its creator, the Nittany Lion mascot was among those who attended a tribute to Harrison Denning Â‘JoeÂ’ Mason at MasonÂ’s gravesite outside Pittsburgh.53 Myth orders time in terms of what is timeless.54 Accordingly, a cultureÂ’s identity depends heavily on narratives that disclose the f undamental basis of life, while articulating the relationship of the believer to this reality.55 The micro-society of the college rallies around its totem, lives a common lifestyle, denoted by participating in the common rituals wh ile at the university. Rituals, such as a pilgrimage to the shrine or sitting on the Nittany Lion statue, se rve to endow social identity and support social order.56 Thus, it is strictly a matter of reinforcing group identity. Consequently, the Lion Shrine ha s taken on a life of its own. On graduation day, everyone wants his or her picture taken with the Lion. It is the place that Penn Staters return to with their loved ones and fa milies. Many alumniÂ’s children have been photographed sitting on top of the Lion. The Lion is not only the athl etic symbol of the
15 university; it is also one of the universityÂ’s most famous trademarks and attractions.57 Moreover, the shrine is the mo st photographed site on campus.58 While religion brings together those w ho espouse the same behaviors and values, it often simply highlights diffe rences between opposing groups.59 As a result, not every visitor to the Shrine is a school booster. Opposing fans have committed acts of vandalism, such as dumping paint over the Lion. Much of this can be attributed to Sue Paterno, the wife of the legendary Penn Stat e coach. One football weekend, with an impending game against Syracuse, she and tw o other women covered the Lion in orange tempera paint to incite local fans to rally behind their mascot and team.60 In a tradition that began in 1966, up to eight hundred students ha ve guarded the Shrine to keep it safe from vandalism during particularly hostile ga mes with other teams. Â“We wouldnÂ’t have the Guard the Lion Shrine tradition without Su e Paterno, so sheÂ’s definitely an important part of Penn State history and tradition,Â” said Kristin Avagliano, an avid booster.61 Other more sacrilegious acts have re sulted in damage to the Lion. In the fall of 1978, Warneke had to return to repair the LionÂ’s broken right ear.62 The replacement ear was damaged by vandals again in 1994, at which time a speci al bonding adhesive was used to reattach the broken piece. The statue was damaged again in 2003.63 The nature of sacred space and its re lationship to the surrounding landscape is important to community identity.64 To many Penn Staters, the Lion Shrine is a sacred place and site specific; the sacred shrine is endowed with a magicality that emanates from its surroundings. Similar to other specialized religious architecture, such as Native American kivas or sweat lodges, the Lion Sh rine is where the faithful come to purify themselves.65 However, from time to time, there is heated debate and speculation if the
16 Lion Shrine should be moved to an indoor faci lity. Traditionalists favor keeping the Lion Shrine where it is located, while progressives would like to see it as the focal point of, perhaps, a sports complex.66 The Nittany Lion Inn Another sacred locus to the Penn Stater The Nittany Lion Inn, which opened in 1931, is as an important part of Pe nn State tradition as football itself.67 The inn is within walking distance of many attractions on campus, including the Nittany Lion Shrine located directly across the street. The innÂ’ s location was paramount when deciding where to build the Shrine, as it would ensure a constant stream of visitors attracted to the sacred site.68 Similar to other religions, which celebrate sp ecific rituals at a ce rtain time of year, the college religion of Penn State, too, regul arly follows a yearly calendar, which marks different points of the academic semester.69 Typically, homecoming is a major event in the fall at many universities in cluding Penn State. Over the years, many alumni have looked forward to spending their homecoming weekend at the Nittany Lion Inn, which is the only hotel located on campus. Â“The build ing, to the alumni who come back, is a gathering place,Â” University President, John W. Oswald, said. Â“ItÂ’s very, very important to them to stay at the Nittany Lion Inn becau se the inn has been a part of the college atmosphere.Â”70 This is additional evidence of the sacred quality of the Nittany Lion Inn as sacred space to practitioners.71 Originally, the inn was ad ministered by the Treadway Corporation of New York City, a hotel management firm that operated hotels at private eastern colleges with an emphasis on liberal arts, such as Dartm outh, Middlebury, Amherst, and Williams.72
17 However, none of them offered hotel, and re staurant management, like Penn State. At first, the College was not directly involved with the management and operations of the inn. The original contract was to be fo r twenty-five years, but in 1947, the College established control and became sole operator of the inn.73 The inn, which featured the CreameryÂ’s vanilla, chocolate, or stra wberry ice cream for twenty-five cents,74 continued to be a hub of activities during the fifties. The facility a dded seventy-five rooms in 1954, and restaurant management students began training at the inn in 1955. Murals are an important ingredient to sacred space. Prof essor Milton Osborne began painting murals on the wall s of the Penn State room in 1957.75 Similar to the symbolic themes of Henry Varnum PoorÂ’s land -grant murals that grace the walls of the schoolÂ’s oldest building, Old Main,76 OsborneÂ’s hand-painted mu rals glorify important school landmarks and depict Penn StateÂ’s histor y. As is the case in many other cultures, murals and designs are used as symbolic expressions depicting the origins of institutions.77 The inn, which has been called Â“Penn StateÂ’ s living room,Â” celebrated its seventyfifth anniversary in 2006 by servi ng ice cream and cake to the public.78 Perhaps, a 1967 promotional brochure for the inn, sums up a true Penn StaterÂ’s feelings best:79 When the breezes of summer are sighing Or the leaves of fall are dying, When the snowflakes of winter are flying Or in the spring when the flowers are vying Come for the beauteous scenery,
18 Clean air, sports, and whatÂ’s bestÂ— Old loved friends and new, The finest of food and sweet rest Come to the Nittany Lion Inn! This poem serves to recall not only the f ond days spent at Penn State, but also elevates and separates the sacred from the me rely profane by endowing specific attributes of timelessness and immortality that are rela ted in some fashion to the totemic imageÂ— the landscape, sports and group activities, and sacred spaces. Furthermore, the poem fits in well with DurkheimÂ’s functionalist appro ach to religion, where by certain beliefs and practices revolve around a sacred fo cus serving to unify a community.80 The Logo Simply put, the relation between the l ogo and the mascot, which is generally recognizable even to outsiders, is that the more these myth s are communicated, the greater their religious significance becomes.81 A logo is more than a distinctive trademark or symbol it is a merchandisable totem. A logo allows fans the opportuni ty to show not only which team or clan they support, but also contributes enormous ly to group identity. Even though Penn State has been using the symbol of the Nittany Lion since 1906, the logo of the Nittany Lion itself was not designed until 198282when the familiar symbol referred to by sports fans as Â“the chipmunkÂ” appeared. It is called so because of the LionÂ’s sloping, chipmunk-like head. Another more stately depi ction of the Lion, which is called Â“Pride of the Lions,Â” was released in 1998. Since the n, the blue and white logo has become well known to sports fans across the country. Si milar to other popular collegiate logos, Penn
19 StateÂ’s revered iconÂ—the Nittany LionÂ— is emblazoned on popular culture memorabilia limited only by the imagination of entrepreneurs. Community membership is denoted through consumption. TodayÂ’s sports market extends beyond male buyers. Last year, 105 billion dollars was spent on womenÂ’s and childrenÂ’s apparel in the United States.83 In order not to miss any potential sales, outfitters have begun courting female sports apparel buyers as well. Ne w to the market this past year, lingerie giant, VictoriaÂ’s Secret, joined with thirty-three unive rsities (including Penn State) to introduce its Pink brand collegiate li ne of apparel designed with college logos. The new line of Penn State-themed T-shirts sweat pants, and hoodies sell for between thirty-five and fifty-two dolla rs on the companyÂ’s website.84 In addition, sports merchandisers not onl y cater to adults; the induction of new community members begins with birth. Team Baby Entertainment, a media company that is owned by former Disney executives, promises to Â“Raise tomorrowÂ’s fanÂ—today.Â” The company hopes exposing children to th e basics of Happy Valley solidarityÂ—team mascots, songs, colors, and more, through a thirty-five minute videoÂ—will make children fans for life. Lee Corso, an ESPN analyst, who lends his voice to the animated baby Nittany Lion in the video, acknowledges this fact saying, Â“You talk about getting them young? WeÂ’re getting them young.Â”85 Through repetition, endearing sentiments associated with the totemic image are aroused within the group, and subsequently attach themselves to the clanÂ’s symbol. Thus, th e totemic image builds solidarity, and gives an identity to the group, which ultimately serv es to reinforce Penn StateÂ’s socially constructed reality on a daily basis.
20 A sacred character tends to emanate from the totemic image to everything that is connected with it.86 The Nittany Lion is more than just a symbol, mascot, or memorial to the tens of thousands of Penn State students, alumni, and fans. On or off the field, the Nittany Lion has come to represent the academ ic integrity, school pride, aspirations, and commitment to a better way of life. No less than coaching legend, Joe Paterno, has observed about the Nittany Lion: Â“He ha s a lot of character, patience, and determination.Â”87 Ironically, these are the exact words football fans use to describe Paterno. In this way, the group ascribes desira ble personal attributes to the totem that it expects to see reflected in its champions and idols.
21 Notes 9 Sigmund Freud. Totem and Taboo. New York: W.W. Norton, 1950. 104. 10 Ibid. 193. 11 Emile Durkheim. The Elementarty Forms of the Religious Life. New York: Free Press, 1965. 236. 12 Ibid. 464. 13 Ibid. 256. 14 Ibid. 264. 15 Clifford Geertz. The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic, 1973. 11. In any attempt to understand cultural iconography, the importance of the semiotic, or the relationship between symbols and what they represent, cannot be over looked. Cultural anthropologist, Clifford Geertz explores the process of interpreting culture as text in what he calls Â“thickÂ” description. Geertz explains how a set of lived and integrated values in a system of symbols makes the world understandable, contributing greatly to a societyÂ’s worldview. Culture consis ts of whatever it takes to understand in order to operate within a society. Similar to Durkheim, Geertz asserts religious belief is mutually confirmed and reinforced by the groupÂ’s sacred icons and rituals. 16 Jon Franckowiak. When I Grow Up I Want to be a Nittany Lion! York: Poor Boy, 2002. passim. 17 Jackie Esposito. The Nittany Lion: An Illustrated Tale. University Park: Penn State, 1997. 18. 18 Bruce D. Forbes. Religion and Popular Culture in America. Berkeley: University of California, 2005. 227. 19 Circe Strum. Â“In Whose Honor? Amer ican Indian Mascots in Sports.Â” American Anthropologist. v102, n2. June 2000. 352. 20 What is a Nittany Lion? (University Park: Penn State Departme nt of University Publications, 2003.) passim. 21 Esposito. The Nittany Lion: An Illustrated Tale. 23. 22 Ibid. 23 Ibid. 24 Ibid. 25 Ibid. 26 John R. Thelin. A History of American Higher Education. Baltimore: John Hopkins, 2004. 159. 27 Steven J. Overman. The Influence of the Protestant Ethic on Sport and Recreation. Avebury: Aldershot, 1997. 6. 28 Chris A. Courogen. Â“Watch the Lion.Â” Patriot-News. 13 July 2003: L30. 29 Esposito. The Nittany Lion: An Illustrated Tale. 76. 30 Ibid. 31 Ibid. 32 Overman. The Influence of the Protestant Ethic on Sport and Recreation. 6. 33 Penn State Football: Success with Honor. DVD. Narrated by Rosi e Grier. Warner, 2006. 34 Esposito. The Nittany Lion: An Illustrated Tale. 225. Inside the living mascot LionÂ’s head is a football helmet, which provides protection from the occasional fan that drops the living mascot on his or her head. 35 William Kornblum. Sociology in a Changing World. Belmont: Thompson, 2008. 127. 36 Â“Untitled.Â” Patriot-News. 8 Dec. 2002: 1. 37 Elise Christenson. Â“Mas cots: Is Lion King?Â” Newsweek. 25 Nov. 2002: p. 25 38 Jacob Neusner. World Religions in America. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1994. 241. 39 Esposito. The Nittany Lion: An Illustrated Tale. 91. 40 Ibid. 113. 41 Â“Sculptors Like Shrine Project.Â” Penn State Collegian. 9 Jan 1940: 1. 42 Â“Sculpture Pieces To Go on Display.Â” Penn State Collegian. 23 Mar 1937: 1. 43 Francis E. Hyslop. Â“A Ra re Spiritual I nnocence.Â” Penn State Alumni News. 12 Oct. 1965: 4 44 Â“Shrine History.Â” Pennsylvania Mirror. 11 Nov 1975: A2. 45 Â“Heinz Warneke Chosen As Lion Shrine Sculptor.Â” Daily Collegian. 30 Apr 1941: 1.
22 46 Robert E. Kinter. Â“Presentation of Nittany Li on Climaxes Two Years of Planning, Hard Work, Controversy.Â” Daily Collegian. 24 Oct 1942: 12. 47 Esposito. The Nittany Lion: An Illustrated Tale. 121. 48 Ibid. 121. 49 Ibid. 127. 50 Jack Santino. All Around the Year. Urbana: University of Illinois, 1995. 10. 51 William E. Paden. Religious Worlds. Boston: Beacon, 1988. 69. 52 Â“Dedication of Lion Shrine.Â” Penn State Alumni News. 1 Nov 1942: 1. 53 Steve Mellon. Â“Untitled.Â” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.com 21 Apr 2004. 54 Paden. Religious Worlds. Boston: Beacon, 1988. 75. 55 Dell deChant. Religion and Culture in the West. Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt, 2008. 10. 56 Santino. All Around the Year. 11. 57 Steve Ostrosky. Â“Old Main, Lion Remain Favorite Tourist Attractions.Â” Daily Collegian. 4 Sep 1973: 3. 58 What is a Nittany Lion? 2003. 59 Bellah. Â“Civil Religion in America.Â” Daedalus. 352. 60 Esposito. The Nittany Lion: An Illustrated Tale. 136. 61 Matthew Spolar. Â“Lion Shrine Safe from Vandalism.Â” Daily Collegian. 23 Oct 2006: 1 62 Esposito. The Nittany Lion: An Illustrated Tale. 138. 63 Ford Turner. Â“Nittany Lion Has Something to Growl About.Â” Patriot-News. 31 July 2003: 1. 64 John F. Sears. Sacred Places. New York: Oxford, 1989. viii. 65 Neusner. World Religions. 12. 66 Lloyd Dell. Â“Nittany Lion May be Moved to New Center.Â” Daily Collegian. 24 Oct 1988: 1. 67 Esposito. The Nittany Lion: An Illustrated Tale. 222. 68 Ibid. 111. 69 Santino. All Around the Year. 6. 70 Jeffery Bosserman. Â“Inn Restorations Cost $160,000.Â” Daily Collegian. 31 Mar 1982: 2. 71 deChant. The Sacred Santa. Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2002. 85. 72 Louis E. Silvi. A History of the Nittany Lion Inn. passim. MSVF File PSU Special Collections. Accessed 12 July 2008. 73 Dina Defaro. Â“The Inn: Institute of Variety.Â” Daily Collegian. 18 May 1981: 20. 74 Nittany Lion Inn Menu. (State College: Pennsylvania State College, 1951) 75 Silvi. A History of the Nittany Lion Inn. passim. 76 AuthorÂ’s note: The Land Grant murals in Old Main, which depict the founding of the institution, replete with President Abraham Lincoln bestowing a new kind of school devoted to the agricultural arts, are among the most important public murals ev er created in the United States. 77 William Haviland. Anthropology: the Human Challenge. Belmont: Wadsworth, 2008. 208. 78 Live PSU. The Pennsylvania State University. 5 May 2006. 79 Nittany Lion Inn. (University Park: Penn State Hospitality Services, 1967) 80 Bruce Forbes. Religion and Pop Culture in America. Berkeley: University of California, 2005. 228. 81 de Chant. All Around the Year. 85. 82 AuthorÂ’s note: 1982 was a pivotal year in ma ss mediaÂ—unprecedented corporate mergers, the nascent stages of cable television, and the rapid growth of televangelism due to the conservative social mood. 83 Bureau of Economic Activity, U.S. Department of Commerce, www.bea.gov/nati onal/nipaweb/index.asp: accessed 19 Jan 2009. 84 Jennifer Lynch. Â“Penn State Pink.Â” Daily Collegian. 10 July 2008: 6. 85 Lini S. Kadaba. Â“Firing Up Nittany Lion Fans Early.Â” Philadelphia Inquirer. 19 Aug 2007: A1. 86 Durkheim. The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. 254. 87 Esposito. The Nittany Lion: An Illustrated Tale. 134.
23 Chapter II Collective Effervescence and Rituals Emile Durkheim was interested in how religion functions, and what purpose it serves, for society. According to his theory of Â“collective effervescence,Â” religious sentiments of the group rise and fall with the practice of group rituals. Systematic rituals and other regularly recreated ac ts, such as prayers but also cheers, rallies, and songs, produce this effervescence. When rituals requi re members of the clan to organize, share a mutual focus, and share an emotional need, the social outcomes are monumental, leading to such things as group solidarit y, emotional energy, and commitment to the norms of the group. Rituals such as attending football games are a means of worshiping the group and its values.88 Additionally, football has all the characteristics of a revival: the religious dedication and devotion displaye d by participants, and a large congregation gathered to witness a ritual combat.89 Football, which has always b een enormously popular at Penn State, is a symbolic ritual that places events in a traditional and orderly view.90 Social intensity and group fervor are the re sult of frequent ritual assemblies.91 To fans, football is a religion as well and has become a more appropriate display of personal religiosity than many traditional faiths.92 Furthermore, football, wh ich contributes greatly to group identity and solidarity,93 has been called Â“civil relig ionÂ” by Michael Novak, Â“folk religionÂ” by sociologist James Mathisen, a nd Â“cultural religionÂ” by Catherine Albanese.94
24 The sport is yet another tool the college uses to successively accomplish this religious task. A winning football season motivates more students to apply for admission at Penn State, which, in turn, c ontributes greatly to group solid arity. Over seven years of declining applications ended abruptly after the 19 94 squad went unbeaten, easily defeating Oregon in the Rose Bowl. More recently, applications were up 12.3%, leading Penn State President, Graham Spanier, to boa st to trustees, Â“It probably didnÂ’t hurt that we were ranked third in the nation in football.Â”95 Football During the Progressive Era Football emerged in eastern private collegesÂ—Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.96 American football officially began w ith the Princeton-Rutgers match in 1869.97 During the Progressive Era, football provided a ba ttleground which was used to test a young manÂ’s mettle for future business endeavors. Â“Courage, coolness, steadiness of nerve, quickness of apprehension, resourcefulness, self-knowledge, and self-reliance,Â” were the words of a college president in the 1 890s describing an ideal football player.98 Football fever had spread quickly. Â“Football seems to be more popular at State this year than ever before,Â” the student newspaper observed. Th e paper further noted, Â“The coach has been working hard to bring the football te am to a high state of efficiency.Â”99 During the latenineteenth century, team sports, such as f ootball, became very important because they encouraged young men to be physically fit, while simultaneously developing Â“team spirit.Â”100 In 1881, Penn StateÂ’s football tradition began unofficially. A Penn State team beat Bucknell in a game that wa s more closely re lated to rugby.101 Two freshmen
25 students formed the schoolÂ’s firs t official team. Penn StateÂ’s first intercollegiate contest in 1887Â—which was played according to the mo re traditional American football rulesÂ— took the team to play against Bucknell. State was victorious that day, drubbing the opposing squad 54-0. Evidence attesting to how football builds group solidarity appears in a 1908 editorial in the schoolÂ’s newspaper, The State Collegian Â“We want the team to feel that every loyal State man stands back of it, and that win or lo se, we know that they will do their best to uphold the honor of Penn State.Â”102 In addition to regularly scheduled intercollegiate matc hes with perennial favorites, such as Lehigh, Dickinson, Penn, and aforementioned Bucknell, there were matches (or crusades) against professional and religious athletic clubs from Pittsburgh, Wilkinsburg, Homestead, and all over the state. Ambivalence to football at Penn StateÂ— there were conflicting opinions on the sportÂ—attests to a means of growing identi fication. Despite footballÂ’s overwhelming popularity at Penn State, some clearly did not see any need for the sport in the college sector. One female student wrote of her disp leasure, Â“I think it is ridiculous the way people are raving over football. It is a brutal game, fit only for savages and barbarians.Â” The writer conceded she was among the minor ity, and qualified her argument. Â“I know very few agree with me. Jack (her brother) says it is a noble sport.Â”103 Still, others wrote apologetically, Â“There is nothi ng occurring outside to divert our minds, and we have to furnish our own diversions.Â”104 In this way, group member s are bound together by a set of membership rights and mutu al obligations, which prove hi ghly effective in reinforcing group solidarity and community identity.105
26 Since identity is so important in build ing team spirit and solidarity, groups differentiate themselves from outsiders thr ough team colors. As mentioned in chapter one, in the late-nineteenth century colleges adopted institutional colors to promote loyalty to oneÂ’s campus.106 In the same spirit, shortly before departing for the Bucknell game, team members had decided that the team s hould have some sort of uniform. Team members picked pink and black for jerseys and pants.107 Due to the sun and repeated launderings, the colors soon faded. Unfort unately, many school boosters had already bought pink and white blazers with matching straw hats, which were quite fashionable in the late nineteenth century.108 In the same spirit of the Pr ogressive era, a 1899 Penn State student newspaper editorial implored, Â“F ellow studentsÂ’ presence at games lends enthusiasm and is an incentive to those wo rking nobly to give the college a name worthy in the great field of college football.Â”109 The colors most people associate with Penn StateÂ—blue and whiteÂ—officially became the school colors in 1890. Cheers to rally the crowd facilitate th e shared emotional mood of the group. The Free Lance the school newspaper during the Pr ogressive era, avidly reported the actions, cheers, and rallies fans incorporated to enliven the group. T ypical of the reports attesting to the Â“collective effervescenceÂ” generated by the football crowd is an 1896 editorial: Â“My usually well-behaved and deco rous brother yelled and howled like a red Indian, and jumped up and down and waved his flag so violen tly that I would have been mortified had not all the men and half th e girls around us been doing the same thing.Â”110 Around the turn of the century, students devise d cheers and songs to make one feel part of the campus tribe at athletic events.111 Fans quickly developed Penn StateÂ’s first college cheer: Â“Yah! Yah! (pause) Yah! Yah! Yah! Wish, WackÂ—Pink, Black! P! S!
27 C!Â”112 Other cheers soon followed. The student newspaper penned a cheer in hopes of Â“adding a little noiseÂ” to Beaver Field: Â“Hit Â‘em up! Hit Â‘em up! Anyway to get Â‘em up! Eat Â‘em up! Eat Â‘em up! Eat Â‘em up! State!Â”113 In this way, repeated group acts, such as cheers, rallies, and songs, which are purposely designed to produce the required Â“collective effervescence,Â” contribute gr eatly to group solidarity by Â“suturingÂ” individuals to the collective thus defining group identity.114 History of Beaver Field As in the Ivy League, football at Penn State was invested with manliness and godliness.115 Devotees have always thought of the site where Penn StateÂ’s knights of the gridiron battle as a sacred place similar to the Lion Shrine. Here, college trustees created sacred space physically and figurativ ely out of the natural environment.116 In 1887, StateÂ’s home scheduled games were first play ed in front of Old Main. Upgrades were made to existing facilities, and a five-hundr ed-seat grandstand was installed. In 1893, just in time for football season, the or iginal Beaver Field was christened.117 The field was named for General James A. Beaver, a former Pennsylvania governor and president of the board of trustees.118 Sporting venues are similar to specialized religious architecture, such as Native American kivas and sweat lodges, where th e faithful come to purify themselves.119 Modern Penn State football history really began in 1909, with the construction of New Beaver Field, which, at the time, was the largest athletic field in the country.120 Throughout the twentieth century, football cont inued to be very popul ar at Penn State as evidenced by the many expansions of Beav er Field to accommodate ever-increasing throngs of football devotees. There were upgrades to Beaver Field each decade of the
28 twentieth centuryÂ—even during the trying time s of the Great Depression and after World War II. The actual structure is believed to be so sacred by devotees that in 1959 when plans were made for a new stadium, th e steel structure was movedÂ—bolt-by-boltÂ—one mile east to the present site.121 Currently, Beaver Stadium is the larg est collegiate venue, with a seating capacity of a whopping 107,282 raucous football fans. Devotees are so emotionally charged by the collective effervescence genera ted by the group that the stadium becomes deafening loud. Recently, senior middle linebacker Dan Conner, commenting on the sheer size of Beaver StadiumÂ’s crowd, said, Â“That was the loudest crowd I have ever been aroundÂ…it was a great feelingÂ”122 In addition, fans are whipped up in such an emotional frenzy that the sheer volume of the crowd has been known to cause the stadiumÂ’s steel girders to vibrate. Commen ting on the elated masses of fans, defensive guard Bob White said, Â“You could feel the ea rth under your feet vibrate. I remember looking back in the standsÂ—the crowd literally looked like human lava.Â”123 Students make up a large contingent at foot ball games, and as witnessed by their actions are deeply committed to the standards of the micro-society of Penn State. Even early in Penn StateÂ’s footba ll history, some students found it morally wrong to admit unpaid guests to the sacred football shrine thus denoting some sort of right of membership. The writer of an 1894 student ne wspaper editorial want ed to Â“protect the groupÂ’s interests by seeing that every admission to Beaver Field is paid for.Â” The editorial further lamented, Â“It is becoming quite common for pe ople to gather at a little distance to view the contests, while refusing to pay for them.Â”124 To the dismay of some students, admission was not charged until 1910; before that time, it was customary to
29 pass the hat.125 In this way, the micro-society uses so cialization to recruit, attract, orient, train, and govern new members.126 Today, ESPNÂ’s College Gameday ranks the student section at Beaver Stadium, which is the second largest in college sports with 21,520 s eats, as among the best in collegiate football. The student section has sold out in less than fifty-nine minutes.127 Students pay homage to the legendary footba ll coach by lovingly referring to University Park as Â“Paternoville,Â” regular ly setting up tents to wait fo r tickets outside of Beaver StadiumÂ—rain or shine.128 During particularly important victories, Beaver StadiumÂ’s goal-posts, which are believed to be sacred ob jects by student devotees, are ritually torn down and carried through the streets. On a football weekend, it is not uncommon to witness a procession of more than one thous and over enthusiastic students carrying the sacred goal-posts (or pieces of them) through the downtown streets.129 Costume is an important ingredient in the quasi-religious festival of college football.130 Not only do some fans engage in face painting to assume the identity of the team, but also, since 2005, Penn State has e ffectively used the whiteoutÂ—fans uniformly clad in white t-shirtsÂ—to build crowd solidarity.131 Additionally, devotees may paint and decorate their bodies, homes, children, pets, yards, and vehicles to show allegiance.132 Another example of group solidarity is the blue busÂ—not a luxury busÂ—the team uses to go from the locker room to Beav er Stadium. Â“ItÂ’s not a fancy thing; youÂ’re waiting for it to break down.Â”133 To the devotees of the coll egiate religion of Penn State, waiting for the team to arrive is a group ritu al. Similar to a conquering hero, Paterno sits in the front seat; the starting qua rterback sits in the left seat Â“So, if you want to know the starting quarterback that da y, just stand on the left side of the bus,Â” says one
30 sportswriter.134 On game day, throngs of anxious devotees line the streets to Beaver Stadium. Defensive End, Bob White commented, Â“On Saturdays, when youÂ’re taking that drive it doesnÂ’t take long to get focused. You realize how important this is to so many people. ItÂ’s like a religion to them.Â”135 Referring to the fansÂ—the blue and white faithful of the Â“Nittany NationÂ”Â—Jay Paterno, son of the legendary coach (who is ne xt in the dynasty) explained, Â“They believe in more than just what happens between the goa l lines and the sidelines. They believe in the entire thing.Â”136 Through these assemblies, the mi cro-society of Penn State binds individuals to the group; the in tensity acts as Â“social glue.Â”137 Alumni are equally committed to upholdi ng the standards and norms of the Penn State community, actively partaking in ritualistic affairs a nd making donations to enable further crusades. Some engage in th e ceremonial ritual of pregame Â“tailgating.Â” Similar to a religious feast, fans assemble in the parking lot outside the hallowed shrine (Beaver Stadium) to stage elaborate picnics repl ete with coolers and grills in team colors. Additionally, the 19,000-member Nittany Lion Booster Club controls most of the sections at Beaver Stadium. To qualify fo r mid-field seats, prospective members must donate in excess of $25,000.138 The seating plan generates over $9 million annually, which rewards boosters based on the size of contributions.139 In this way, fans are financially segregated along material culture lines in sections. T hose unwilling to pay for premium seats are relegated to the less de sirable sections or the Â“cheap seats.Â”140 Similar to missionaries of other faiths who hope to gain converts and win b ack apostolates, the forty-five year old booster club sends out a glossy brochure to alumni, who are not already season-ticket holders.141 During home football games, Beaver Stadium, which is
31 the largest architectural structure in central Pennsylvania, becomes the fifth largest city (in terms of population) in Pennsylvania. On ly the cities of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Erie, and Allentown have bigger populationsÂ—a fact th at speaks volumes about Penn StateÂ’s storied football program and loyal base of rabid Lion fans. The Paterno Era By its nature, football is a paternalistic sport, which is similar to a religious crusade: a squad of gladiators or knights (the players) take s the field, under the tutelage of a patriarchal hero (the h ead coach), and in order to score and triumph, must acquire territory (holy land) in inches or yards by battling the opposing team. In this way, football promotes a shared identity, while contributing to group solidarity,142 and is Â“a form of religion,Â” as Michael Novak puts it, because it provides Â“organization and discipline while recreating cosmic struggle.Â”143 According to anthr opologists, leadership is paramount in the organizati on of group activity in society.144 This is part of the function of the head coachÂ—to provide l eadership, while simultaneously building solidarity and integrating individuals to the larger group through the social energy created by team victory. In all societies (great or small), ther e are individuals who stand out from the crowd and take the lead in group activity.145 These paternalistic heroes are idolized by society. The heroic status of coaches stems fr om the belief that football coaches have a great bearing on determini ng the outcome of games.146 As the patriarchal leader, the football coach uses his authorit y on behalf of the group, and exer cises it in the interests of group members. In this way, the leader clai ms moral authority and, therefore, legitimacy for required actions.147 As a result, obedience is owed to the leader.
32 Often in patriarchies, the leader is de signated by a rule of inheritance whereby the leader chooses the successor.148 The protg is usually a personal disciple, who has exhibited loyalty to the leader a nd enthusiasm for the groupÂ’s cause.149 In addition, the leader attributes charismatic qualities to th e successor, and assigns the protg tasks to perform. This is exactly the case at Penn Stat e. Joe Paterno arrived at Penn State in 1950 at the invitation of the head coach at the tim e, Rip Engle. In 1966, Paterno became head coach when he took over the job from Engle. This is quite similar to what Benedict Anderson refers to as the Â“dynastic realm.Â” The rulerÂ’s legitimacy derives from a divine lineage, thereby enabling the organizati on to sustain its rule for long periods.150 However, new leaders are often Â“put to the testÂ” by the larger group, and must prove that charismatic qualities are i ndeed genuine and worthy of recognition by followers.151 Winning is paramount in college footba ll. Penn State, who earlier had been just an average, hard-working football t eam, started to have winning seasons under the guidance of Paterno, thus solidifying the coach Â’s position of power. As further evidence of increased group solidarity and emotional energy through team victory, when Paterno became head coach, Beaver StadiumÂ’s modest steel structure only had a seating capacity of 46,284.152 Thus, recognition by the group, which has become emotionally charged to fervor, legitimizes the charismatic heroÂ’s claim to authority.153 Furthermore, the leader or chieftain of the clan is ascribed awesome or mysterious powers, and above al l is believed to be sacred.154 Similar to the high priest (by way of example, the head of priests at th e Temple in Jerusalem was also the leader of the Jewish nation),155 Paterno is responsible for perform ing rituals pertaining to worship at the temple (Beaver Stadium), and is the head of the Â“Nittany NationÂ” as well. Similar
33 to the high priest, there are conspicuous sacred garments and tools, which denote the head coach as such. Only the head coach carries the Holy Scripture (t he playbook); only the head coach wears a headset (to communicat e with deacons and assistants), and a windbreaker emblazoned with the team colors and logo. Ultimately, however, the only thing that bri ngs legitimacy to the institution and the patriarchal hero is winningÂ—the Holy Grail of college footballÂ—the national championship. Finally, in 1982, after years of building statewide in terest, Paterno and the Nittany Lions claimed the National Championship. When Penn State won the National Championship there was an incredible wave of enthusiasm that swept through the state of Pennsylvania. This was during a time of a severe ec onomic recession, and the collective effervescence of the micro-society of Penn State spilled over into the larger statewide community. Parades, fire engine s, and blaring car horns greeted the team, which flew into the state capitol and had to dr ive back to State College. People lined the road along State Highway 322, the entire distance back to State College. Reflecting on the time, Paterno said, Â“I di dnÂ’t realize how important it wa s for Pennsylvania to have a National Championship.Â”156 In 1987, a year that marked one-hundred years of Penn State football, PaternoÂ’s Nittany Lions won a sec ond National Title, defeating a brash Miami team in the Fiesta Bowl. Recognition came steadily, but surelyÂ—win by win, seat by seat, adding greatly to the legendary myth of the patriarchal he ro. Over his career, PaternoÂ’s image as a charismatic leader has become a multimillion dollar promotional device for the university. For instance, cardboard replicas bearing the coachÂ’s likeness, and affectionately called Â“JoePas,Â” have been ma rketed successfully since the mid-eighties,
34 and are mandatory at any real Penn StaterÂ’s party or tailgate. Likewise, the Penn State coach has been honored on perhaps the pi nnacle of American pop culture sporting achievementÂ—the front cover of General Mi llsÂ’ Â“Breakfast of ChampionsÂ” Wheaties cereal boxes. Along the way, Joe Paterno, who is perhaps the quintessential patriarchal hero, has transformed Penn State football into a perennial powerhouse. Penn StateÂ’s high priest of football has showed his loyalty and love for Penn Stat e and intercollegiate athletics by turning down multi-million dollar cont racts to coach professional football. He would not give up the coll ege game for the money of pr ofessional football, and not give up the values of educati ng young warriors for any amount of money. Â“But he stayed here because he could walk to work ,Â” mused wide receiver, Kenny Jackson.157 No major college football coach has won more games at one school than Paterno.158 At last count, the eighty-one year old coach, who has just renewed his contract, had 383 wins. The only schools th at have won more are Michigan, Notre Dame, Alabama, Texas, and Nebraska.159 Commenting on AlabamaÂ’s legendary coach Â– Paul Â“BearÂ” Bryant -but perh aps inadvertently referring to himself, Paterno has said, Â“He was a man who set standard s not easily attainable by men.Â”160 It is through the many mentioned ri tuals, which generate collective effervescence by entailing assembly of the group and a mutual focus, that Penn State football games are perceived as religious crusad es by fans and players alike. The players (Christian knights) are led in to battle by the patriarchal he ro (Paterno) un der the banner of the totem (the Nittany Lion) to engage in r itualistic combat in front of a crowd charged with emotional energy, all which aim to reinfo rce group solidarity. Football fits in well
35 with the college religion of Penn State, because the sport is one of the rituals and practices used to reinforce social solidarity and unify the community.161
36 Notes 88 James Cavendish. Personal communication. 17 July 2008. 89 Steven J. Overman. The Influence of the Protestant Et hic on Sport and Recreation. Aldershot: Avebury, 1997. 6. 90 Ibid. 6. 91 N.J. Allen. On DurkheimÂ’s Sociology of Religion. London: Routledge, 1998. 136. 92 Robert J. Higgs. God in the Stadium. Lexington: University of Kentucky, 1995. 19. 93 Richard Giulianotti. Football: A Sociology of the Game. Cambridge: Polity, 1999. 15. 94 Bruce D. Forbes. Religion and Popular Culture in America. Berkeley: University of California, 2005. 197. 95 Frank Fitzpatrick. Â“Applications Up.Â” Philadelphia Inquirer. 30 May 2006: C1. 96 Leroy Ashby. With Amusement for All. Lexington: University of Kentucky, 2006. 101. 97 Frederick Rudolph. The American College and University. Athens: University of Georgia, 1990. 373. 98 Ibid. 380. 99 Â“Football More Popular.Â” Free Lance. 1 Oct 1901: 34. 100 Harvey Green. Fit for America. Baltimore: John Hopkins, 1986. 233. 101 Michael Bezilla. Penn State: An Illustrated History. University Park: Penn State, 1985. 40. 102 Â“Editorial.Â” State Collegian. 29 Oct 1908: 6. 103 Â“A Football Victory.Â” Free Lance. 1 Jan 1986: 4. 104 Â“Scrub Football.Â” Free Lance. 1 Oct 1893: 6. 105 William Kornblum. Sociology in a Changing World. Belmont: Thomson, 2008. 127. 106 John R. Thelin. A History of American Higher Education. Baltimore: John Hopkins, 2004. 159. 107 Mickey Edwards. Â“PSU Football from Pink and Black to Blue and White.Â” Daily Collegian. 20 Oct 1978: 33. 108 Michael Bezilla. Penn State: An Illustrated History. University Park: Penn State, 1985. 41. 109 Â“Editorial.Â” Free Lance. 1 Oct 1899: 15. 110 Â“A Football Victory.Â” 4. 111 Thelin. A History of American Higher Education. 160. 112 Ridge Riley. Road to Number One. New York: Doubleday, 1977. 6 113 Â“Editorial.Â” Free Lance. 1 May 1899: 52. 114 Lauren Berlant. Anatomy of National Fantasy. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1991. 25. 115 Higgs. God in the Stadium. 238. 116 Jacob Neusner. World Religions in America. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1994. 241. 117 Bezilla. Penn State: An Illustrated History. 41. 118 Matt Matthews. Â“Beaver Field Set for Third Location.Â” Daily Collegian. 15 Nov 1958: 6. 119 Neusner. World Religions in America. 12. 120 Â“The New Athletic Field.Â” State Collegian. 22 Oct 1908: 3. 121 Penn State Football: Success with Honor. DVD. Narrated by Rosie Grier. Warner, 2006. 122 Erik Boland. Â“Ohio State Braces for Noise.Â” Newsday. 27 Oct 2007: A30. 123 Penn State Football: Success with Honor. 2006. 124 Â“ItÂ’s About Time.Â” Free Lance. 1 May 1894: 6. 125 Â“First Admission Charged in 1910.Â” Daily Collegian. 22 Feb 1955: 37. 126 James A. Forte. Human Behavior and the Social Environment. Belmont: Thomson, 2007. 386. 127 Kathy Boccella. Â“Ticket Quick Snap, Fifty-Nine Minute Sellout.Â” Philadelphia Inquirer. 13 June 2007: A1. 128 Jeff McLane. Â“Exam is OverÂ—Time for Real Test.Â” Philadelphia Inquirer. 25 Oct 2007: D1. 129 Andrew Staub. Â“An Irish Tale.Â” Daily Collegian. 6 Sep 2006: 1. 130 Karl B. Raitz. Theater of Sport. Baltimore: John Hopkins, 1995. 211.
37 131 Michael Weinreb. Â“The Quad.Â” New York Times. 28 Oct 2007: P6. The whiteout is not an entirely original idea. The Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League have been using it since the franchise was the Winnipeg Jets in the 1980s. 132 Raitz. Theater of Sport. 211. 133 Penn State Football: Success with Honor. 2006. 134 Ibid. 135 Ibid. 136 Ibid. 137 Allen. On DurkheimÂ’s Sociology of Religion. 137. 138 Frank Fitzpatrick. Â“Applications Up.Â” Philadelphia Inquirer. 30 May 2006: C1. 139 D. Stanley Eitzen. Fair and Foul: Beyond the Myths and Paradoxes of Sport. Lanham: Rowan and Littlefield, 2006. 126. 140 Raitz. Theater of Sport. 211. 141 Frank Fitzpatrick. Â“Applications Up.Â” Philadelphia Inquirer. 30 May 2006: C1. 142 Giulianotti. Football: A Sociology of the Game. 15. 143 Forbes. Religion and Popular Culture in America. 203. 144 Herbert S. Lewis. Leaders and Followers: Some Anthropological Perspectives. Reading: AddisonWesley, 1974. 3. 145 Ibid. 4. 146 Benjamin G. Rader. American Sports: From the Age of Folk Games to the Age of Televised Sports. Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall, 2004. 192. 147 Max Weber. Theory of Social and Economic Organization. New York: Oxford, 1947. 65. 148 Ibid. 346. 149 Ibid. 65. 150 Benedict Anderson. Imagined Communities. London: Verso, 1991. 19. 151 Ibid. 65. 152 Lou Prato. Penn State Football Encyclopedia. University Park: Penn State, 2003. 254. 153 Weber. Theory of Social and Economic Organization. 65. 154 Peter L. Berger. Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion. New York: Anchor, 1967. 25. 155 Richard P. McBrian. Harper Collins Encyclopedi a of Catholicism. San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1995. 614. 156 Penn State Football: Success with Honor. 2006. 157 Ibid. 158 Prato. Penn State Football Encyclopedia. 3. 159 Ibid. 3. 160 Charles R. Wilson. Judgment and Grace in Dixie. Athens: University of Georgia, 1995. 45. 161 Ronald M. Green. Religious and Moral Reason. New York: Oxford, 1988. 134.
38 Chapter III Food as Ritual Rituals, sacred and secular, play a major role in group and individual celebration. Rituals refer to repeated symbolic custom s and ceremonies that are carried out with reference to the sacred.162 Through rituals, the believer experiences the sacred realm.163 Penn State food rituals, such as buying an ice cream cone from the Creamery or a sticky bun from one of many local diners, are a m eans of exalting the micro-society and its values. Often to devotees, religiously sancti oned foods are seen as a measure of piety and allegiance to the group.164 Rituals are prescribed behavior that is periodically repe ated to link the actions of group members to the larger metaphysical order.165 When a Penn Stater stops by the Creamery for an ice cream cone or eats a sticky, he or she is carrying on a cultural tradition repeated generation af ter generation. Not only is th e Penn Stater engaging in a consumer ritual (because consumption is a primary tool in social integration),166 but also, the micro-society is collectively focused on cultural codes167Â—in the case of Penn State: ice cream and sticky rolls. Moreover, rituals contribute cons iderably to the social order.168 One must know where to partake in these consumer-oriente d rituals. Thus, group members are easily differentiated from outsiders, who simply would not have knowledge of local food culture, or even where to find these commoditie s. To use the parlance of anthropologist
39 Victor Turner, Â“manipulations of ritual creat e solidarity.Â”169 In turn, food choices are shaped by social experiences, with each societ y selecting appropriate foods to suit its particular social environment.170 A college student is more likely to be able to survive on a steady diet of ice cream and sticky rolls (and often does!) more than a middle-aged, health conscious individual might. In part icular, young male student s deliberately eat at diners as a way of scoffing at the danger of a diet high in sugar and cholesterol.171 Therefore, taste and food preference may be defined as a cultural experience that is appropriate in some contexts and not in others.172 Besides, rituals enable groups to form a social identity.173 Through rituals, communities convey to group members an understanding of their society.174 From a functionalist perspective, foods, such as an ice cream cone from the Creamery and local diner sticky buns, are collective representations of social re ality, which further serve to reinforce social identity.175 Easily dismissed as junk f ood by critics, the CreameryÂ’s ice cream and grilled stickies are more than just high calorie snacks. These food symbols are the vehicles for meaning that intersect to form culture.176 Anthropologist Mary Douglas has stated a meal is a poem that is created wi thin certain rules, expresses much about the social group.177 Similarly, habits and behaviors are crucia l to the very definition of community because they reaffirm the social order.178 As Freud observed, Â“To eat and drink with someone was a symbol and a confirmation of social community and of the assumption of mutual obligations.Â”179 Additionally, foods are capt ured through symbols, images, practices, and beliefs, which not only hold a significant place in popul ar culture, but also generate important
40 revenue.180 More importantly, food reaffirms a community identity based on shared consumption.181 At Penn StateÂ—stickies and ice cream are two of the most popular foods, and take on a wide variety of social meanings. These two foods, which are simply yet another way to worship the micro-society of Penn Stat e, are not only eaten during celebrations (team victories, graduations, homecoming, and lo cal holidays), they are also eaten as a source of comfort during trying times (studyi ng, cramming for finals, personal setbacks, and team losses) as well. Similar to the aforementioned pilgrimages to the Nittany Lion Shrine, Nittany Lion Inn, and Beaver Stadium, locals, student s, visitors, and alumni undertake additional journeys to holy places rich in the cultural tradition of Penn State182Â— the Creamery and local diners. Here devotees can indulge in the communityÂ’s sacred objects of ritual consumption.183 More than just inexpensive places to eat, due to the great sense of nostalgia, traditional eateries are an integr al part of the Â“brandingÂ” of a college campus.184 History of the Creamery Originally, as a school dedicated to the st udy of agriculture in an extremely rural areaÂ—Pennsylvania FarmerÂ’s High School wa s its first nameÂ—emphasis was placed on food science, animal husbandry, and cultivation techniques. The mid to late nineteenth century was also an era when science, albe it in its nascent stages, was gaining prestige and respect with the American public. Duri ng this time, many Pennsylvanian farmers were still quite skeptical of scientific agriculture.185 Evidence of this well-timed agricultural and scientific significance is the sc hoolÂ’s dairy barns were first established in
41 1865. Similarly, the agriculture department bene fited significantly from the Hatch Act in 1887, which made funds available for agricult ural experiment stations at land-grant institutions.186 The original dairy facility was c onstructed in 1889 with part of a $7,000 state appropriation. The college Â’s instruction and research wa s an immediate asset to the stateÂ’s dairy farmers.187 Soon after, in 1892, due to the need for better-trained workers throughout the American dairy industry,188 the school established the first university course in ice cream making.189 In 1903, $100,000 was appropriated from the state for the erection of experimental stations and a new dairy building.190 In 1905, an increasing amount of agriculture classes had been added, with the ice cream c ourse being the most popular.191 During the early twentieth cen tury, ice cream had become increasingly more popular. The time was ideal to build a newer facility at Penn State.192 During the Great Depression, the Creamery was moved from the old Dairy Barns, and in 1932 was relocated to Patterson Building at a cost of approximately $5,000.193 The Creamery, which sold most of its products in the Stat e College and nearby Altoona markets, would become known for its rigorous standards and high-quality milk, butter, cheese, and ice cream. Even today, the Creamery is operated by the University as a laboratory for instructional and educational purposes.194 The Creamery, which employs 60 to 80 students part-time, and another 22 full-time ( up from 9 workers 23 years ago), boasts in the history of the program 100% job placement for its 90 undergraduate and 50 graduate students.195 Despite this lofty goal, the Cream ery has long operated a salesroom that carries many of the products made in the plant. Over the years, many students have made
42 a habit of eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Cream ery. Manager Tom Palachak said, Â“TheyÂ’d be eating ice cream at seven in the morning if the store was open. The line looks like a World War II breadline.Â”196 Undoubtedly, the Creamery is one of the highlights of a visit to Penn State for students, alumni, and visitors al ike. Additionally, to a devotee of the civil religion of Penn State, the Creamery constitutes a sacred site. The Creamery as a Sacred Site Local newspaper reporter, Daryl Lang, has commented, Â“If the frozen dairy industry were church, Penn St ate would be its Vatican.Â”197 While this remark on the surface appears to be quite patronizing, a clos er look at the religious dynamic of sacred sites suggests the Creamery is a shrine to cons umption complete with a hierarchal system of devotees, priests, and caretakers, e ach carefully assigned a specific task. One of the longest running Penn State trad itions is enjoying an ice cream cone from the Creamery. Â“I know many people who come here for football games and meetings who make the trip to the creamery stor e as if it were a religi ous experience. ItÂ’s definitely a pilgrimage-type trek,Â” says Dr. Aru Pollar, professor of the ice cream short course.198 Similar to the hajj Â—the pilgrimage to Mecca made to the most sacred site in the Muslim worldÂ—Penn State devotees make pilgrimages to the Creamery. In this way, participants identify with other pilgrims, and gain a sense of solidarity as a group.199 The manager, who is similar to a high priest, oversees the ritual, and is responsible for preserving the sacredness and purity of the site.200 In fact, the managerÂ’s most immediate concern is to stock the consumer temple (t he CreameryÂ’s freezer shelves) with a large variety of sacred items (hence, 110 flavors in a rotating repertoire).201 However, it is not
43 the manager, but the templeÂ’s caretakers, the sales attendants, who allow participants to fulfill the final stage of the ritualÂ—consumption.202 Similar to other religions, the colleg iate dogma of Penn State encourages offerings to its hallowed shrines. While mo st devotees only engage in this consumer ritual two scoops at a time fo r $1.75, others bequeath more substantial sums. In 2006, the new $45 million Food Science Building opene d, which contains the sparkling new Berkey Creamery. The Berkeys are Dairy Sc ience alumni, and had not been back to State College for years. In the summer of 2001, the couple was standing in line waiting for an ice cream cone at the Creamery. A sign on the wall indicated a new facility would soon be built. The signÂ’s message conc luded by stating, Â“For naming rights and donations callÂ…Â”203 Following a $3 million donation to the facility, the new ultramodern facility bears their name. Quite fittingly, in the new building, which can hold enough ice cream to satisfy campus demand for months,204 the totemic image of the Nittany Lion is prominently featured above the ice cream scooping area.205 Today, the Creamery sells more than thre e-quarters of a million ice cream cones every year. Much of the CreameryÂ’s business is done during festive times that celebrate the college religion of Penn State. Column ist Erma Bombeck clai ms, Â“The stuff comes close to being a re ligious experience.Â”206 The busiest times are Homecoming Weekend, football weekends, graduati ons, and during the summer.207 Certain rituals, which are enacted seasonally, translate enduring message s, values, and sentiments to the group.208 Â“ Penn State football may be number one around here,Â” said the CreameryÂ’s Ray Binkley, Â“But the Creamery is number two. The alum ni hit the creamery first when they come up.Â”209 Â“During a football weeke nd, weÂ’ll gross about $12,000 worth of sales,Â” Creamery
44 Manager John Foley said.210 Â“The Creamery is history, it is tradition, tw enty-five years from now, youÂ’ll be heading back to the Creamery, too.Â”211 Similar to all religions, which impose so me sort of rules or regulations on devotees, one of the more unusual traditions or ri tes of the Creamery is that customers are not allowed to mix flavors. In fact, becau se of concerns over food allergens, Creamery rules strictly prohibit the mixing of ice cream flavors in cones and cups. An urban legend suggests that the federal government has kept the CreameryÂ’s ice cream from being sold off-campus, due to the excessively high fat cont ent. No such ban exists as the federal government does not impose a fat content limit on ice cream. The CreameryÂ’s ice creams contain a fat content of 14%, while FDA sta ndards call for a 10% minimum fat content in dairy products that are listed as ice cream.212 The CreameryÂ’s ice cream is such a part of the fabric of Penn State that the dairy facility bestows Â“canonizationÂ” on ca mpus academic and sports heroes.213 Of course, Peachy Paterno is named for the schoolÂ’s lege ndary football coach, while Keeney Beanie (a coffee-flavored ice cream) is named afte r a noted food science professor. Most recently in 2005, to celebrate the UniversityÂ’s 150th anniversary, the Creamery released a new flavor appropriately enti tled Â“Sesquicentennial Sundae.Â” The name was chosen from over 2,500 suggestions from avid fans and devotees who suggested flavors such as, Happy Valley Vanilla, Nittany Lion Tracks, Joe Pa Stachio, and Cookies and Creamery. Â“The reaction was phenomenal,Â” said Eston Ma rtz, agricultural publis hing coordinator. Â“ItÂ’s a great way to raise awareness of the celebration.Â”214 In addition to the ice cream that is sold on premises in half gallons, and fourounce novelty cups, chocolate covered ice cream bars, and milk have been sold through
45 vending machines in the dormitories,215 while ice cream has always been available in the dining halls. In this way, shared consum ption comprises a ritual, while serving to reinforce allegiance to the micro-society of Penn State. Furthermore, the ice cream is available over the internet, and is shipped around the worl d in dry ice allowing devotees to indulge and reconfirm group rituals and identity while apart from the group. Ice cream has become synonymous with Â“t he good old days.Â” Undoubtedly, this longing for nostalgia makes up an important part of the allure of th e Creamery; it is one of the highlights of any visit to University Park. Typical of devotees, Maria Schreffler, a 1985 graduate says, Â“We stop for the Creamer y, stop for the stickies, and stock up on Penn State gear.Â”216 Furthermore, an earlier mentioned shrine and traditional landmark, the Nittany Lion Inn serves ice cream from the Creamery, and another local treat that Â“reflects a Penn State traditionÂ” Â—the sticky, a sugary bun. Diner History Simply putÂ—a restaurant is a place that expresses the world around us. It is a mirror of its society.217 Therefore, the dine r (there are several local diners that serve stickies) holds a significant place in the Penn StaterÂ’s identity. Sharing a meal brings people together; food is used to forge friendship.218 In this way, the micro-society of Penn State bestows collective identi ty through gastronomical experience.219 Despite the American dinerÂ’s reputation as second-rate eating establishment to some, to many patrons at State CollegeÂ’s dine rs the diner is a sacred place. Throughout much of the first half of the twentieth century, there was little in common between respectable restaurants and Â“greasy spoons Â” that slung hash for the poorer classes.220 To cater to a wider clientele, the diner incr easingly found its way into a wide array of
46 marketsÂ—including the small college town.221 Diners have long been popular in State College. Often, they offered bargain-priced meals to students who were strapped for cash. The authorÂ’s father (Class of 1957), who attended on the G.I. Bill recalls: Â“You could get a lot of food for the money.Â”222 The Sticky Originally a traditional German recipe (as Pennsylvania contains a large population of German heritage), sticky buns are little sweet rolls believed to originate from German cinnamon rolls known as schnecken .223 In State College one can trace the history and development of the sticky to the introduction of the areaÂ’s first diner. In 1926, the Club Diner was the first diner to open in State College. S hortly thereafter in 1930, Russ Adamwitz pulled a diner onto a vacant lot, and named his establishment the College Diner.224 The fledging restaurateur deve loped a Penn State traditionÂ—stickiesÂ— essentially a buttery cinnamon roll. As a waitress at the neighboring Corner Room restaurant puts it, Â“ItÂ’s a cinnamon roll with a lot of goo on it. You grill them in butter and thatÂ’s what makes them really good.Â”225 Heating up the sticky buns in a pan over low heat is an essential part of the r itual, which cannot be emphasized enough. Stickies are popular with students, alumni visitors, and Â“towniesÂ” (w hat Penn State students call State College natives) alike. Similar to a religious pilgrimage, hordes of students regularly partake in this Penn State tradition.226 Often, students survive on a diet that subsists of cheese steaks, pizzas, sticky rolls, and coffee.227 The demand for grilled stickies is enormous at Penn State and in the surrounding State College area. Â“When students come back, we sell twice as many stickies,Â” one cashier said.228 State College diners sell over twenty-four dozen stickies on
47 an average weeknight, and over sixty dozen on a weekend night.229 On Homecoming Weekend, diners are quite busy as ravenous al umni devour every sticky in sight. Â“Last year, on Homecoming Weekend, we were busy fo r six or seven hours straight, and sold out of our famous stickies,Â” said a diner employee.230 Not only is there an annual calendar of co llege religion replete with its own rites, but there is a weekly ritual schedule as we ll that follows the rhythm of student life. Alcohol, which often plays a large part in th e studentÂ’s weekly sche dule, is the favored substance of abuse on college campuses.231 Similar to the Jewish festival of Purim, where faithful are obliged to drink,232 group drinking (as part of the diner pilgrimage) is condoned by the micro-society of Penn State. Besides, group drinking works quite well as a social lubricant by bindi ng members to the community.233 Although considerably less palatable, when the cinnamon rolls are grilled they become quite tastyÂ—especially when one is inebriated at five in the morning.234 College students tend to use diners later in the evening using the diner as a late-night rendezvous. This is additional evidence of a time-specific routine use of di ners by college students.235 At the College Diner, the crew calls the midnight shift Â“the sticky rush,Â” this is the time when the demand for sticky buns peaks.236 Droves of students descend upon State CollegeÂ’s diners nightly observing this ancient Penn Stat e ritual, which inevitably includes stickies topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.237 Â“ThatÂ’s when we get people or dering stickies, singing, laughing, and having a good time after the bars,Â” said th e manager of Ye Olde College Diner. However, a diner waiter implied night customer s are often difficult to serve. Â“TheyÂ’re drunk. A lot of them will make your job as hard as they can,Â” he said.238 Nevertheless, societies deliberately allow such drinking to provide a release from daily tensions.239
48 Due to popular demand in the State College area, stickies are available 24 hours a day at several diners.240 For those Pennsylvanians who cannot make a pilgrimage to State College, grilled sticki es are on store shelves rangi ng from central Pennsylvania supermarkets to Pittsburgh area SamÂ’s Clubs.241 Reflecting its origins, the blue and white box in which the grilled stickies are marketed is highly reminiscent of a stainless-steel clad diner from the machine-inspired Popul uxe era of the mid-twentieth century. Additionally, the top of the box has a small im age of steaming cup of coffee. The image is two-fold: it allows new consumers (prosp ective converts to the college religion of Penn State) who are unfamiliar with grilled stickies the opportunity to see that this simple treat can be enjoyed with a cup of coffee, while allowing devotees to recall fond days of collegiate life by participating in a time-honored ritual. A visitor from South Carolina, who was astounded by the dinerÂ’s specialt y, summed it up best, Â“Stickies are just something you do.Â”242 While this statement may seem like an oversimplification, people make food choices that are cultural stat ements, and their eat ing patterns reflect contemporary social formations,243 in which consumption is vital to social integration.244 Notes 162 Jack Santino. All Around the Year. Urbana: University of Illinois, 1995. 10. 163 Dell deChant. Religion and Culture in the West. Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt, 2008. 11. 164 Marvin Harris. Good to Eat. Long Grove: Waveland, 1995. 86. 165 Paula Erikson and Liam D. Murphy. Readings for a History of Anthropological Theory. North York: University of Toronto, 2006. 540. 166 Douglas Kellner. Jean Baudrillard: From Marxism to Postmodernism and Beyond. Stanford: Stanford, 1989. 16.
49 167 Alberto Melucci. Nomads of the Present. London: Hutchinson/Radius, 1989. 60. 168 Santino. All Around the Year. 11. 169 Erikson and Liam D. Murphy. Readings for a History of Anthropological Theory. North York: University of Toronto, 2006. 541. 170 Alan Beardsworth. Sociology on the Menu. London: Routledge, 1997. 243. 171 Jeremy MacClancy. Consuming Culture. New York: Henry Holt, 1992. 202. 172 Beardsworth. Sociology on the Menu. 249. 173 Santino. All Around the Year. 11. 174 Ronald M. Green. Religious and Moral Reason. New York: Oxford, 1988. 134. 175 Beardsworth. Sociology on the Menu. 532. 176 Ibid. 541. 177 Ibid. 25. 178 Carole M. Counihan. The Anthropology of Food and Body. New York: Routledge, 1999. 13. 179 Sigmund Freud. Totem and Taboo. New York: W.W. Norton, 1950. 174. 180 Fabio Parasecoli. Bite Me: Food in Popular Culture. New York: Berg, 2008. 14. 181 Ibid. 150. 182 Jacob Neusner. World Religions. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1994. 112. 183 Dell deChant. The Religious Dynamic of Consumer Culture: Selections from the Sacred Santa. Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2008. 63. 184 David Burrick. Â“The Destination Eatery.Â” 185 Michael Bezilla. Penn State: An Illustrated History. University Park: Penn State, 1985. 37. 186 Ibid. 35. 187 Bezilla. Â“The Creamery.Â” College of Agricultural History. 1987. 5. 188 AuthorÂ’s note: Following the Civil War, not only did the American market for ice cream expand greatly, but also the number of ice cream vendors on the streets of such cities as New York and Philadelphia significantly increased as well. These street vendors were referred to commonly as hokeypokey men; the stereotypical vendor was an Italian i mmigrant. Even in places like Philadelphia, where vendors had a reputation for selling a quality product, hokey-pokey often denoted an inferior product that was highly suspect due to concerns regarding the ofte n less than sanitary production methods. Linguists trace the development of Â“hokey-p okeyÂ”: to an Italian expressi on uttered by street hawkersÂ— O, che poco Â— meaning Â“Oh, how little! Or Â“Oh, how cheap! 189 Ann Funderburg. Chocolate, Strawberry, and Vanilla. Lexington: University of Kentucky, 2003. 66. 190 Â“Untitled.Â” Free Lance. 1 June 1903: 34. 191 Bezilla. Penn State: An Illustrated History. 49. 192 AuthorÂ’s note: The democratization and subseque nt popular acceptance of Am ericaÂ’s favorite frosty treat can be attributed to advances in refrigeration during the 1830s; growth in transportation and marketing also fueled development. Moreover ice cream has a long and colorful history in America that dates back to the introduction by Italian confectioners, who mainly catered to the elite. During the eighteenth century, ice cream was a decadent treat reserved for a few priv ileged European aristocrats. Landed gentry-types such as Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, and MadisonÂ—a list that reads like the founding fathersÂ— enjoyed the fashionable dessert at lavish dinners and balls. 193 William Collins. Summer Practicum. 1942. 1. 194 Ibid. 1. 195 Adam Smeltz. Â“The Big Mooove.Â” Centre Daily Times. 24 July 2006: 1. 196 Tom Gibb. Â“Grilled Stickies On Shelves.Â” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 12 Sep 1999: C1. 197 Daryl Lang. Â“Getting the Scoop.Â” Patriot-News. 14 Jan 2001: B17. 198 Ice Cream Show. WPBS. Air date: 18 July 2008. 199 Conrad Phillip Kottak. On Being Different. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2008. 90. 200 deChant. The Religious Dynamic of Consumer Culture: Selections from the Sacred Santa. 83. 201 Ibid. 84. 202 Ibid. 82. 203 Dawn Fallik. Â“How a Cone Led to a Heap of Cash.Â” Philadelphia Inquirer. 3 Jan 2007: D1.
50 204 Smeltz. Â“The Big Mooove.Â” 1. 205 Travis Larchuk. Â“Ice-Cold Flop or Cream of the Crop.Â” Daily Collegian. 6 Sep 2006: 1. 206 Maria Koklanaris. Â“Creamery Fare Cream of Crop.Â” Daily Collegian. 17 Jan 1986: 2. 207 Brandy Winemiller. Â“Weather-Weary Get Licks In.Â” Daily Collegian. 14 Feb 1982: 8. 208 Kottak. On Being Different. 91. 209 Debbie Golini. Â“Crme de la Creamery.Â” Perceptions. spring 1986: 9. 210 Lisa Marrongelli. Â“CreameryÂ—Ice Cream and More.Â” Daily Collegian. 15 March 1979: 6. 211 Ibid. 8. 212 Smeltz. Â“The Big Mooove.Â” 1. 213 Gibb. Â“Grilled Stickies on Shelves.Â” C1. 214 Â“Ice Cream Flavor Marks Penn State Sesquicentennial.Â” accessed 18 March 18, 2009. 215 Steve Cimbala. Â“Growth of University Creamery Traced.Â” Daily Collegian. 7 Nov 1962: 2. 216 Keith Frederick. Â“Finding Flavors.Â” 16 Aug 2006. accessed 10 July 2008. 217 R. Pillsbury. From Boarding House to Bistro. Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1990. 225. 218 MacClancy. Consuming Culture. 108. 219 N.J. Allen. On DurkheimÂ’s Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. London: Routledge, 1998. 102. 220 Andrew Hurley. Diners, Bowling Alleys, and Trailer Parks. New York: Basic, 2001. 33. 221 Ibid. 43. 222 Interview by the author: 17 Jul 2007. 223 Pamela G. Kittler. Food and Culture in America. Belmont: Wadsworth, 1998. 207. 224 accessed 23 Oct 2007. 225 John Schlander. Â“Grilled Sticky Tradition History.Â” Daily Collegian. 27 Jan 1981: 12. 226 Jeanne Ann Curry. Â“WhatÂ’s InÂ—WhatÂ’s Out.Â” Daily Collegian. 6 Sep 1983: 5. 227 Cheryl Watson. Â“Subordinates, Superiors, and Gods.Â” Daily Collegian. 18 Jan 1964: 2. 228 Mary Annessi. Â“StudentsÂ’ Return Boosts Food Sales.Â” Daily Collegian. 31 Aug 1979: 1. 229 Jerry Hinkle. Â“Restaurants Handle Late Crowds.Â” Daily Collegian. 29 March 1979: 1. 230 Suzanne M. Cassidy. Â“Some Predicting Large Turnout.Â” Daily Collegian. 9 Oct 1981: 33. 231 accessed 18 Mar 2009. 232 Louis Jacobs. Concise Companion to the Jewish Religion. New York: Oxford, 1999. 189. 233 Thomas M. Wilson. Drinking Cultures. New York: Berg, 2005. 244. 234 Callas Rishardary. Â“A Fresh Glossa ry of Useful Facts and Phrases.Â” Daily Collegian. 25 Jun 1980: 1. 235 Hurley. Diners, Bowling Alleys, and Trailer Parks. 84. 236 Karen Nagle. Â“Working the Graveyard.Â” Daily Collegian. 9 Oct 1984: 3. 237 Jeanne Ann Curry. Â“WhatÂ’s InÂ—WhatÂ’s Out.Â” Daily Collegian. 6 Sep 1983: 5. 238 Nagle. Â“Working the Graveyard.Â” Daily Collegian. 9 Oct 1984: 3. 239 Dwight B. Heath. Drinking Occasions. Ann Arbor: Sheridan, 2000. 79. 240 Sara Hendricks. Â“Sticky Situation.Â” Daily Collegian. 24 Sep 1980: 1. 241 Gibb. Â“Grilled Stickies on Shelves.Â” C1. 242 Lisa MacDonald. Â“DinerÂ’s Owner Dies Tuesday.Â” Daily Collegian. 28 Sep 1987: 4. 243 Beardsworth. Sociology on the Menu. 111. 244 Kellner. Jean Baudrillard: From Marxism to Postmodernism and Beyond. 16.
51 Conclusion This thesis engaged the iconography of co mmunities in the cons truction of secular religion. Utilizing a Durkheimian functionalis t approach, which theorizes how a religion functions for a particular group or micro-so ciety, the thesis looked at how community iconography, and rituals, genera te feelings among members of Â“collective effervescence.Â” Social life consists of symbols, while rituals are a m eans to worship the micro-society and its values. These repetitive images and pr acticesÂ—a type of self-worship this thesis termed Â“college religionÂ”Â—form the basis of the micro-societyÂ’s belief system. The importance of the Nittany Lion to the Pennsylvania State University is equal to a sacred icon. The totemic image of the Lion is the single uni fying factor in the college religion of the microsociety of Penn State. The image permeates the local community, which forms the basis of the gr oupÂ’s belief system. A sacred icon spreads from the totemic image to everything connected with it. Thus, the resulting group solidarity and identity reinforce the socially constructed world of Penn State on a daily basis. Mascots are essential in creating group solidarity. While many different ones have been utilized by the school over the year s, Penn State can trac e the creation of its mascot to the collegeÂ’s early-tw entieth century sporting heritage. The most familiar collegiate symbol is the living mascotÂ—the person who dons the garb of the mascot. Similar to a religious leader, the living mascot is also the groupÂ’s
52 main cheerleader, rallying the crowd through animated cheers and songs. Again, these activities reinforce group solidarity, which bi nd members firmly to the micro-society. Societies intentionally set the sacred aside from the profane. Sacred places give devotees a place to gather together to exalt the groupÂ’s values, which reinforce commitment to community norms. Similar to other specialized religi ous architecture, the Lion Shrine is where the blue a nd white faithful of Penn State come to purify themselves. The Lion Shrine was endowed as a class gift, and because of its sacredness to devotees, many engage in routine pilgrimages, making it the most photographed site on campus. The only hotel on campusÂ—the Nittany Lion InnÂ—is a another sacred place, and an important part of Penn St ate tradition. Many alumni and devotees of the college religion of Penn State look forward to staying at Â“Penn StateÂ’s living room,Â” because it is such a large part of the college atmosphere. A logo is another symbol that contribute s greatly to group solidarity. More than just a marketable icon, the merchandisable to tem allows devotees to show which team they support, which contributes greatly to co mmunity identity. Since group membership is denoted through consumption, fans of all ag es and genders are avidly courted: men, women, and children alike. Rituals, such as attending Penn State football games, are paramount in worshipping the community and it values. Repeated group actions, such as cheers, rallies, and songs produce Â“collective efferv escence,Â” which lead to group solidarity, emotional energy, and commitment to the norms of the community. Due to the extraordinary benefits genera ted through collective effervescence, such as cheers to
53 facilitate the shared emotions of the gr oup, football has been used to successively accomplish the schoolÂ’s task of building solidarity. Similar to the Lion Shrine, Beaver StadiumÂ—the home of the Nittany LionsÂ—is also thought of as a sacred site or temple by devotees. This Â“collective effervescenceÂ” is evidenced by the constant upgrades to Beav er Stadium to accommodate the ever-growing number of Penn Staters that want to atte nd a football game. Due to the extremely committed devotees (who engage in the many ritu als designed to build solidarity), Beaver Stadium is the largest collegi ate stadium in the nation. Football fits in well with the college re ligion of Penn State. The rituals and practices, related to football, reinforce solid arity and unify the comm unity. Football is a paternalistic sport, which is very similar to a religious crusade. Th erefore, it is only appropriate that the patriarcha l hero (the head coach) lead s the team (gladiators) into battle in order to acquire territory (holy la nd), which enables the team to triumph. The head coach is similar to a religious leader The coach performs the rituals for the congregation in the temple (sta dium), and is denoted by particular garments and tools, which are indicative of the sacred position. However, victory is the only thing that bri ngs legitimacy to the paternalistic hero. In college football, winning the National Ch ampionship is everything, and can propel a head coach to fame, replete with an unpr ecedented level of multi-million endorsements. The final chapter gives the reader a bette r understanding of the social and cultural dynamics of foods of the micro-society of Penn State. Rituals also play a major part in this group celebration. Through ri tuals, devotees experience th e sacred realm. Foods at Penn State, such as ice cream and stickie buns, are another way to worship the micro-
54 society and its values. Not only is the Penn St ater carrying on a cultural tradition that has been repeated generation after generation, but also in this way, participants are focusing on cultural codes (ice cream and stic kies) pertinent to the community. Moreover, these consumer rituals constitute an important ingredient in group solidarity and the construction of identity. Si milar to treks made to the Lion Shrine, the Nittany Lion Inn, and Beaver Stadium, devot ees of Penn StateÂ’s college religion also make pilgrimages to the Penn State Creamery a nd local diners, where they can indulge in the sacred foods of the micro-society. In summation, community iconography is paramount in the construction of secular religion. The college religion of the micro-society of Penn State is constructed via the use of repetitive images and practices described herein. These symbols and rites, which are reinforced through constant rehearsal, are ve ry important because they integrate the individual to th e larger group. Finally, these hi ghly visible icons, and shared customs are more than just cultural symbol s, which represent the Penn State community. These cultural icons are speci fically designed to function in the capacity of religion, and represent a means to exalt the values of the micro-society. The ensuing loyalty of students, alumni, and fans, which is the result of the intense social energy cr eated through regularly enacted group rituals, is financially lucrative fo r the university. Moreover, devotees of the micro-society of Penn St ate (namely alumni) bequeath substantial endowments and donations to the university, wh ich allows the institu tion to continue its mission of education and socialization, ther eby perpetuating itsel f indefinitely.
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