Franklin Street vs Main Street

January17/ 2000

… “your new penpal, Erksy” .  Four little words but enough to incite panic in the village of Chapel Hill… The President of THE University of North Carolina System has bridged the ideological chasm to personally engage The Cyber Samurai hisownself.  Does this nighmarish union declare open season on “faculty squirrels”?  Not quite, but the mood ‘round campus is decidedly “somber”.  To quote one ink-stained wretch – “Oh My God!”.

    To no one’s surprise, “Ersky vs The We-Bees” set off a cyber Tsunami that roared across the UNC SystemNation.  We heard from the Dom P wing of the wine & cheese crowd as well as from down by the mill ponds in the East and from up the hollows on The Blue Ridge.  The good citizens of The Olde North State rallied and thundered.  It was 99% in accord with us…  Not surprising since we made total sense.  The question on all lips was would there be an acknowledgement from “the bespectacled two-time Senatorial silver medalist”.   At 7:45 PM EDT on Friday night, everyone holding a “Yes, Ersky WILL respond to BobLee” ticket cashed in.  

President Erskine Bowles’ personal note to BobLee was sincere, cordial, and with a generous sprinkling of joviality as befits both parties.  It was obvious that PEB had had his security elves compile an extensive dossier on BLS.  Reference was made to BLS’ associations with known radical media personalities.  The Mattamuskeet duck shoot was tabled but “taking a .410 to pintails” was discussed.  

An entreaty was made as to BLS’ interest in being EB’s speech writer … “our people” might do lunch on the possibility but it is presumed a “long shot” by all concerned. BobLee would require the phrase “no-count sumbitches” to be used in all remarks and that seems an insurmountable obstacle. 

BobLee did agree to provide the Ultimate Solution to his new best friend Erskine’s daily dilemma.  That Solution follows.


NOTE:  This column is attracting very enthusiastic responses.  We have a “unique” audience from very bright high achievers to mouth-breathing bipeds.  This column is scoring high with the former.  Our purpose is to entertain our readers and encourage thought.  Changing the course of mighty rivers is a bonus.  All comments are welcomed. … BLS


    It is so easy to lampoon the UNC System.  First, you make the broad assumption that “UNC” is “the Chapel Hill campus”.  Then you make that image some rag tag raging atheistic anarchist of indeterminate sexual orientation who eschews the use of soap and anything made by Halliburton.

If that is too frightening then simply make “the face of UNC” lovable Ol’ Roy.  Everybody loves Ol’ Roy even folks of rival affiliation.  If “UNC” to you is lovable Ol’ Roy gazing up into the rafters of The Legend’s Lair then “All is right with UNC … Hark The freakin’ Sound … and God Bless Thomas freakin’ Wolfe & Choo Choo freakin’ Justice”.

But what about “that land grant school” near Meredith where Todd Turner worked?  What about UNC-By-the-Sea and AppyState and EasyU and Pembroke and “that commuter school where Cornbread went” and all those others … what about them?  Are they really part of the family?  Does that mean they are included in the Will and have to be invited to Thanksgiving.  Well, no on the Thanksgiving part, but yes on the “part of the family” part.

The reality is that UNC @ Chapel Hill IS the primary public face of The University of North Carolina “system”.  Like Kipling’s Blind Men and The Elephant, even that might depend on how you interact with UNC.  If you or a loved one is medivaced into UNC Hospitals you likely have a positive image.  They do a fine job over there especially that Burn Center … outstanding folks.  If you only visit on a Football Saturday you see a Norman Rockwellian collage of “what a college campus is supposed to look like”.

    “Old grads” reminisce with ribald tales of endless post pubescent baccanals all with the classic “I threw up all over her new dress”.  “I had this one professor who never … … … and this one roommate with a glass eye who always ….”  It should be noted that the timeline for most of these “best years of my life” stories pre-dates cassette tapes, touch-tone phones and teflon.

If you glean your opinions from the media,  UNC is an island of pseudo-intellectual bloviates plopped down in a sea of Mayberry rubes and Jesse-votin’ bumpkins.  8,000,000 bumpkins and 500 angry anarchists … excuse me General Custer but we got us “a situation”.

Unless you think Faber College and “the Deltas” were spiffy, or you are content with Ol’ Roy as YOUR UNC … there is an ever-widening disconnect between Bill Friday’s Dream and Ersky’s Reality in 2006.

Does it have to be this way … no commonality between a state-supported university system and the mainstreet residents of the State that supports that system?

The solution is NOT “Get rid of those hideous tenured radicals”.  Contrarian opinions are not bad, wrong maybe, but not “bad”.  They can lead the work-a-day philosophy of a region to a socio-cultural middle-earth that is better than either extreme.

    That a rage-filled student-forever, fueled by Che Guevara wannabee faculty squirrels, doesn’t see society thru the same lens as a farmer in Jones County or a Family Dollar Store manager in Salisbury is understandable.   That those factions have less and less respect for each other with each passing hour is tragic.

I lampoon the bejebbers out of James Moeser because I think he was a very unfortunate choice as UNC Chancellor.  Nothing personal, but he looks and acts like an academic dilettante with a PhD in organ.  Moeser has apparently had success siphoning donations out of deep pockets among alumni.  That’s a skill for sure … thanks Jim.  But as “a face of The University out among ‘the people” … well, there’s a reason that David O. Selznick did NOT pick Stan Laurel to play Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind.  Michael Hooker did look the part … Michael Hooker is dead.  That was very unfortunate.  I’m hearing Moeser might retire this summer … I hope so.

If Moeser does retire, I am confident that Ersky will direct the search committee to find someone who can bridge the widening chasm between The University and the people of its State.  Otherwise lets just hand the keys to Randall Patrick McMurphy and say to hell with it.  

Too many folks at UNC-Chapel Hill want it to be Haaavad South.  There are MAYBE 36-37 people beyond the Chapel Hill city limits that share that objective.  Harvard is a private institution.  It is what its investors want it to be.  Same for Duke.  UNC’s role relative to it’s “investors and stockholders” bears no similarity to any other academic looney bin relative to its primary constituents..

EVERY state-supported Liberal Arts Institution in America has it’s “spider’s nest of tenured radicals”.  Liberal Arts schools breed them like Engineering schools breed geeks with pocket protectors and Ag-schools breed jug-eared kids named Earl with “a pinch between their cheek and gum”.  Every Liberal Arts campus has its bohemian bistros brimming with “hatred for all things Republican and Rush” like every Bond movie has its hollowed out volcano.

The TILT factor w/ UNC and its “public face” of Chapel Hill is that it Glorifies its radical element well above its responsibility to “serve the People of the State” that supports it’s existence.

In his short tenure, Michael Hooker made strides to modify “the UNC image”.  He dealt quickly and decisively with faculty squirrels bent on embarrassing the University for their own agenda.  Hooker’s successor has acquiesced to every over-the-top radical ploy during his tenure.  The Great Book Controversies was so easily preventable via compromise.  The never-ending harrassment of non-Liberal political groups is ridiculous … again, compromise called for but never employed.  The Meez has been naught but a sock puppet allowing the most radical outriders of his faculty to hijack the University.  Susan Estroff might as well take his South Building parking spot

A publicly-supported institution should have NO perceived ideological bent … Left or Right.  

The institution should be solely dedicated 

to Education … not Indoctrination.  

… STOP THE PRESSES AUNT AGNES … and needlepoint that sumbitch on a dining room chair.

Are we suppose to pat Meezie on his bald pate for forking over mega-$$$ for Marv The Coordinator?  Lord Love A Duck … why is a Chancellor even involved with hiring an assistant football coach?  Is that truly all that REALLY matters … go to a Bowl and make it to The Final Four and who the hell cares what else goes on in the UNC system?  If Bill Friday was dead, he’d been spinning in his grave. 

Indeed, changing (“modifying”) the public image of such a deeply entrenched bureaucratic monolith is akin to turning an aircraft carrier using a ski rope and a rowboat.  But we’re not talking about converting UNC into Liberty or Bob Jones … broadbrushes are oh so convenient to stifle dialogue, aren’t they?

What I’m suggesting is a sincere attempt to bring UNC’s Franklin Street and North Carolina’s Main Street at least on to the same planet.  The two sides will not get together on their own.  It will take a masterful diplomat.  Ersky, you CAN cause that to happen. What say you, my new best friend?

Erskine Bowles, and UNC-CH’s next chancellor, will have the opportunity to do that.  Fifteen other campuses have a stake in this along with 8,050,000 residents of this State of North Carolina.   Many of those residents voted for John Edwards, most did not … regardless, ALL of them have a vested interest, and should have a voice, in THEIR University.

    No, I am not a candidate for UNC Chancellor.  I’m flattered you would ask but I don’t wear socks or ties and I think a Chancellor probably should … at least socks.


 Swagger’s Stumper

 Which of the following is dearest to Prez Ersky’s heart?

 National Gypsum  – The Ervin Company – Springs Industries  – Bojangles


R.I.P.(Don Knotts and Darren McGavin both died 2/25)

 Barney, You beat all.. “Ralphie’s Daddy”

    Phil Bengston replaced Vince Lombardi.  Phil Bengston does NOT have a street named for him in Green Bay.

   Stacy Keibler WAS ROBBED on Dancing With The Stars.  No problem w/ Drew Lachey winning, he was terrific; but Stacy being eliminated before Jerry Rice was a TRAVESTY!  

   Mike O’Cain is headed to ACC team #4 … as VaTech QB Coach.  The Guiness record boys are watching his attempt to collect coaching shirts from all twelve schools in “the New ACC”.   We like MO’C a lot … First class fellow.  We always thought he whould be happiest at an Elon, Lenoir Rhyne, or VMI … teaching football and building character.  Some men are not meant to juggle hand grenades.  Good luck at VaTech, Coach O’Cain. 

    Speaking of “resurfacing” … “RayMondFelTon” the “Ernest T. Bass of UNC boards” is on the warpath again.  Chunkin’ rocks, demanding Dickie’s disembowelment … and banned from more forums than John Daly has been expelled from AA chapters.  RayMond doesn’t stick around anywhere too long.   

     With the A-rabs taking over US ports … what’s next? The ACC has taken note and will be turning over “refereeing” to a consortium of loons from various fan asylums.  The first test will be next weekend’s Duke-UNC rematch. will be supplying three refs and a clock operator.

    The “bug-eyed tadpole” leads Lady Heels to another exorcism of the hated Lady Devils.   Ivory Latta is THE most compelling player in the history of girl’s basketball … not necessarily the best … but the most compelling to watch.

    BobLee speaking to Matthews Rotarians on Monday at noon … and to Durham Sertomans at Croasdaile CC on Tuesday.  He will be sneaking around UNC’s Kenan Flagler Tuesday evening but under a tight security blanket.

Wanna e-mail BobLee?

[email protected]

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