Fonticulus Fides

Friday, October 08, 2004

A mind is a terrible thing to get wasted...

If you haven't already heard, Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee will be attending the University of Nebraksa-Lincoln as part of an NBC reality show. A friend of mine who works at UNL forwarded me an e-mail from the chancellor, who insists, "The essence of the show is that a rock star, with a questionable past, seeks redemption through higher education...we believe NBC is a responsible network and the show will be responsibly produced."

Hey, how could the network that brought Fear Factor to the airwaves steer us wrong?

The chancellor continues, "We understand the background of Tommy Lee. We do not approve of some of his past conduct. On the other hand, education is one of the ways a person can redeem himself for past mistakes."

Officially, Tommy has agreed to live by the UNL student code of conduct while enrolled at the university. (He's already violated items 4.1.b., c. and f. but we won't quibble.) He'll live off campus and take chemistry, lit and the history of rock and roll (my husband took that class -- loved it. But it was cake.). Rumor has it, Tommy auditioned for the university marching band and hopes to play the quads (four drums strapped to the waist) at the Nebraska vs. Baylor home game in a few weeks.

Some local women's advocacy groups are concerned about the safety of the young, impressionable college girls who will be in classes and extracurriculars with Tommy Lee. He did, after all, do some jail time for kicking his wife around.

My thoughts? Well, I used to teach at this university until Edyn's birth coincided with budget cutbacks that pretty much eliminated the advertising department's adjunct professor program. My husband, his brother and his grandmother are all alumni. I do understand that the university is desperate for money, desperate to wrench itself from the third tier of American institutions of higher education and get some prestige. Somehow, though, I doubt this will do the trick.

Why would a 42-year-old rock star who has spent most of the last two decades damaging ear drums and living a flayboyantly decadent life style suddenly feel the need to get a university degree...from Nebraska? The local university may excel at sports medicine and agricultural research, but we're not exactly the bastion of music, television, or entertainment arts in general. It feels a little too much like that Paris Hilton show.

Tommy says he enrolled at UNL for, "A little music, some education, some partying, the whole college experience."

That's what I was afraid of.



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