The New Billiken Is Awful. What Was Saint Louis University Thinking?
The Saint Louis University Billikens Unveiled A New Mascot Yesterday And It’s Awful
The new, new Billiken was unveiled earlier this week.
Your new Billiken mascot! pic.twitter.com/raNh75aqSD
— SaintLouisUniversity (@SLU_Official) January 26, 2017
It’s a new era for the Saint Louis University Billikens. A new Billiken logo was unveiled last year. The women’s basketball team was co-champions of the Atlantic 10 last season. The women’s soccer team is off to a strong start this season and Travis Ford was hired to coach the men’s basketball team during this past off-season.
The Saint Louis University Athletic department attempted another change last night with the unveiling of a new Billikens mascot in between the men’s and women’s soccer games. The debut itself wasn’t really a disaster. It’s not like the mascot head was missing or the Billiken attempted to jump through fire and went up in flames or anything. Everything else about the debut was a disaster that someone should have seen coming a mile away.
It’s a running joke among the Saint Louis University faithful that the Billiken makes some kids cry when they see it at games and events. This new Billiken will not only make kids cry, it will lead to years of necessary counseling. It wouldn’t surprise me if there were adults who saw this new Billiken last night and woke up in the middle of the night screaming because of a nightmare.
It’s not like SLU just had the Billiken show up. They tried real hard to make this a thing and act like this wasn’t a complete failure.
The unveiling was teased on Twitter with collection of photos of previous Billikens.
Ready for the new @The_Billiken mascot? We’ll help you prep for the big unveiling with this historical review. #SLU pic.twitter.com/xLudhsN43B
— SLU Archives (@SLUArchives) September 20, 2016
For those not at the event, a training montage video was put out on Twitter and Facebook.
The new me. pic.twitter.com/MaMnb5FPWJ
— The Billiken (@The_Billiken) September 21, 2016
Students at the event even seemed happy to have their picture taken with the Billiken.
A few photos of the new Billiken mascot from tonight’s reveal pic.twitter.com/DdfmE924YM
— Billiken Athletics (@SLU_Billikens) September 21, 2016
The hate for the new Billiken came on quick and strong. A post announcing new mascot on the University’s Facebook page is flooded with comments about how awful it is. A thread on the Billikens.com message board is full of hate.
SB Nation noted the overall hatred for the new look. Deadspin is pretty sure the new Billiken is “hungry for your soul.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Ben Frederickson could only say that it could have been worse.
To be fair, when the original new logo came out last year I was against it. Why is the face two colors? Design people tell me that it’s to imply depth on the flat image. Personally, I find that to be a bunch of baloney. But, say we are going with that explanation. The mascot is an actual thing. A three-dimensional object. You don’t need to “imply” depth. Here’s what it would look like as one color.
Much better, right? I think so.
There was plenty of talk on Twitter last night that the Billiken looks like it got a really bad tan on one side of its face and only its face. The body of the mascot is gray. That’s pretty confusing as well. Why is the two-tone look only on the face?
Moving on from the color, the new Billiken logo is winking, just like the old logo. I understand sticking with that, but why is the mascot perpetually winking? The mascot is supposed to be like a living, breathing character. Was it not creepy enough? You had to up the creepiness factor?
The Saint Louis University Billiken is perhaps the best college mascot in all the land. Truman the Tiger at the University of Missouri is awesome, but he doesn’t have the uniqueness factor the Billiken has.
Saint Louis University has a whole webpage explaining what a Billiken is. Florence Petz, a Kansas City, Missouri art teacher came up with the Billiken in 1908 after seeing it in a dream. The figurine became a national and worldwide sensation as a good luck charm in the early 1900s. In 1910, just four years after the Saint Louis University football team completed the first forward pass, they had a coach that people said looked a lot like a Billiken. As one story goes, coach John Bender walked into a local drug store one day and the owner, Billy Gunn, noted his striking resemblance to a Billiken. A local sportswriter overheard and the “Bender’s Billikens” moniker was born.
Saint Louis University is the only college in the land to use the Billiken as its mascot. A local private Jesuit High School, Saint Louis University High School, is called the Junior Billikens. Though created in Kansas City and sometimes claimed by Canada, the Billiken is uniquely St. Louis. It deserves to be treated as the treasure it is.
The Saint Louis University Department of Athletics and whomever else was involved royally screwed this up. Hopefully they can and will fix it. Someone needs to hold them accountable.
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