April 25, 2005

Our local idol, Bucky.

I hear some shouting out on the Hill, and I turn away from my work to see what's going on. They're putting up a big Bucky Badger float. Do I have to take a picture of that? They did the same thing last year. It looked like this. It's the same today. I took some new pictures anyway, but I've left the cable at home, so I'll have to post them later. May last year's pictures satisfy your need to see Bucky now.

I'm trying to write up notes for a big semester-end review in Constitutional Law. I hear a tapping at my door. It's Tonya, asking if I've blogged the Bucky float yet and saying that Madison is starting to look like my blog.

I get back to work. No, I need more coffee. I go to the faculty library, and a woman is sitting in the lotus position on one of the low bookcases by the big windows that look out on the Hill.
ME: Meditating on Bucky?

SHE: Actually, I can't see him from this angle.

ME: Kind of like God. You can't see him but you know he's there.

UPDATE: Here's a picture taken from my office window today:

The Bucky float

ANOTHER UPDATE: In the comments, I throw down the gauntlet:
I'm not really into comparative mascots, but do you think maybe we've got the best one? And don't just disagree because you're from another school. Bucky is the best campus mascot, isn't he? Don't tell me a Trojan is better or a Wolverine. It's not even a specific Trojan or Wolverine, is it? No Tommy the Trojan or Wolfie the Wolverine.

Feel free to go in and argue!


leeontheroad said...

ah, so are you saying that, once again, the display of the graven (craven?)images of campus mascots casts doubt on the orthodox faith of the campus community?

Here, we have only folks who dress up as the campus mascot. I think a float woudl require a security detail. . .

Pancho said...

I think that I can say without hesitation that, that is the finest Badger Float I've seen anywhere, bar none!

Ann Althouse said...

I'm not really into comparative mascots, but do you think maybe we've got the best one? And don't just disagree because you're from another school. Bucky is the best campus mascot, isn't he? Don't tell me a Trojan is better or a Wolverine. It's not even a specific Trojan or Wolverine, is it? No Tommy the Trojan or Wolfie the Wolverine.

Contributors said...

"I go to the faculty library, and a woman is sitting in the lotus position on one of the low bookcases by the big windows that look out on the Hill."

It must be true. You can't make stuff like that up.

BTW Ann, your picture freaks me out. I couldn't tell you were looking at me. Then I clicked "enlarge" one day and you were. Now you always are. Could you please stop it? Please?

Pancho said...

Undergrad: The Trinity Univ. Tigers. A plain ol' Tiger. Everybody has a Tiger. A Badger is unique.

MBA: Pepperdine Univ. Home of the fightin'..what? Beach Bums? Couldn't really tell you.

The Management said...

The best mascot is, without question, Buzz - the mascot of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

A badger . . . ha!

Kid Handsome

EddieP said...

Ann, forget what Dirty Harry says. I love the way you look at me!

BTW the Badger mascot is much better than Noc-a-Homa of the Atlanta Braves.

Ann Althouse said...

Here are some cool Bucky photos, and here's a description of the origin of the mascot:

The original badger mascot, introduced by the football team in the 1890's. was too vicious to control. On more than one occasion, the live badger escaped handlers before a sideline hero recaptured the animal with a flying tackle.

And here's a nice kid's Bucky page, but silence your speakers before you click unless you want a blaring "On Wisconsin!" (Which really is the best fight song, too.)

TigerHawk said...

I dunno. It is hard to ignore the Fighting Gamecocks -- I don't know about the mascot per se, but the name is tough to beat.

This guy is pretty cool, too.

HaloJonesFan said...

The Hokie Bird has more personality than an inflatable rat.

(PS of course Professor Althouse is watching, and if you tick her off she'll come and lop off your limbs with a samurai sword! Remember what happened to Glenn Reynolds...and she's got that fancy car, now, so you can't get away! And it's got a convertible top for drive-by bi-sections! AAARRRRGHH I'M SCARED OF AUDIS NOW!!!!)

Anyway, the Hokie Bird is better, if only due to the complex process by which it arose. Most mascots are pretty simple, just "animal with giant letter applied". The Hokie Bird has an evolution.

mascotvote said...

Clearly the Hokie Bird is not the best mascot. A Hokie is a made up term, therefore throwing the word bird after that made up word does not make it a great mascot. Bucky the Badger ranks #2 on my mascot list. Only behind Brutus the Buckeye. Just what you were asking for Ann, a mascot with a name. Although Brutus and Buckey have many similar features, although Brutus appears to be much stronger.

Anonymous said...

And we branched into fight songs also.

Although not a Notre Dame fan, it would be hard to beat their fight song--maybe because it's gotten such wide play.

As far as mascots, being from Florida, Seminoles and Gators are great mascots. They have also given rise to the Tonahawk Chop and the Gator Chomp, things issuing from the mascots and not duplicated in many other places.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Bucky is so versatile. Going to Law School? Try the "Law Bucky". He's in his patented strut--blindfolded, carrying a sword in one hand, a scales of justice in the other. He's cute and ferocious all at the same time. [Like many lawyers I know].

Here's an added benefit. He teaches people Wisconsin history. We were dubbed "The Badger State" not because of the prevalence of these rodents, but because the miners ascending from underground looked like badgers.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Ruth. You can see what Law Bucky looks like here. And buy the frameable print for a mere $14 if you like. (I don't think he's carrying the sword properly, myself, but perhaps that expresses something distinctly Madisonian.)

HaloJonesFan said...


LizrdGizrd said...

You can't leave out Yosef. He's a mascot who's named and not an animal. Plus, he's from the mountains so you know he knows how to take care of those pesky little critters.

chardrian said...

Growing up and going to law school at Wisconsin, of course I can't argue about Bucky being the best. However, UC Santa Cruz does have a pretty unique mascot - a banana slug (although it appears to be nameless). My undergrad mascot at UCSB wasn't so bad either - a Gaucho (although once again nameless). The winner, however has to be Oglethorpe University. Not only is the name of the school a little wacko, its mascot is the super cool "Petey" the Stormy Petrel.

Justin said...

Buckingham U. Badger (a/k/a Bucky) went through a makeover a couple of years ago. See the difference from:


to here:


The Bucky that was on Bascom Mall on Monday is the old Bucky. They need to update...

Unless they love the old Bucky like I do.

PMM said...

That inflatable Bucky looks too much like the union rat that you occasionally see at demonstrations when it is being implied that a particular person or organization is selling out a union or otherwise trying to strip union benefits....

Brian Courts said...

While I share the Big 10’s affinity for rodent mascots, the best undoubtedly comes from a conference that at least knows how to count to ten (how many schools are in the Big 10 again?): Oregon State University’s Benny and Bernice Beaver. Not only are they hands down the smartest and most industrious rodents, as evidenced by their engineering prowess in dam building, but they have also demonstrated an unprecedented commitment to mascot gender equality. ;-)

Iris said...

Re: Blind Bucky's sword.

When I was in law school (ca. mid-90s) there was some flap about the Blind Bucky sword (at that time I think it was a dagger) and a bunch of law school t-shirts had to be reprinted. (I remember this becuase I ordered them as Xmas gifts and they didn't arrive in time.)

Why? Any UW people recall? Typical Madison mid-90s PC-ish-ness? Pointing up instead of down?

Ann Althouse said...

I got the answer, Iris, from the law school email list:

"Yes, I remember. I graduated in 1996. I think it was 1994 or 1995. The flap was that the sword in Bucky's hand was too "violent" and had to be removed from the shirt logo. I have a UW Law sweatshirt with an empty-handed Bucky from that year. He was blind, but unarmed. Our thought was "if med school Bucky gets to carry a needle, why can't we carry a sword?" Law Bucky was rearmed at some point later. "

BTW, what bothers me about Law Bucky is the way he's holding the sword, by the blade.

Ann Althouse said...

Okay -- a little more:

"I don't remember exactly when it happened or that it required redoing an order of shirts but the University did object to any Buckys with swords up -- too threatening. I think that the traditional image of Lady Justice has the sword down, demonstrating tempering of its power."

The University does guard its trademark. Bucky is feisty, in a collegiate, sportsmanlike way.

Ann Althouse said...

And even more:

"Ed Reisner effectively negotiated permission from the Director of Licensing and Sports Marketing for the use of the Blind Bucky image. Originally, the University office objected to the sword, on the ground that it 'sent the wrong message.' The classical allusion to Themis, the Roman goddess of justice and law, was initially lost on the person reviewing the request. Ultimately, the objection was withdrawn, when Ed appealed the decision to Melanie Newby, but by that time the image had already been changed from one portraying an upright sword, to one with the sword in the 'ready' position."

Well, our state has been opposed to the death penalty for over 100 years, so maybe the Roman image, with the sword should be questioned. And then there are those who don't like the blindfold.

Anonymous said...

For the record: Badgers are not rodents. We are in the Mustelidae family along with otters, polecats and — the black sheep of the family — wolverines.

The only rodents in the Big Ten Conference are the Minnesota Yellow Rodents, a.k.a. the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Oh, I kid the rodents! But the truth is, we badgers love gophers. They're delicious!