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Watch out for a school named Bob

Tuesday, March 14, 2000

The news that Bob Jones University has lifted its ban on interracial dating comes just in time for spring, when a young person's fancy turns lightly to thoughts of love.

Unfortunately, if you attend Bob Jones University, there is no such thing as light thoughts on this subject. Never mind interracial dating; dating of any sort is viewed by campus officials with evident concern.

As President Bob Jones III explained recently on "Larry King Live," dancing, listening to music, going to the movies and holding hands are frowned upon at his school.

Quite right, too! Shameless hand holding is the very thing that has made liberal colleges such dens of iniquity.

But what is there left for Bob Jones students to do? Taking a date to a World Federalists meeting is probably out, given the university's objection to universal government.

I suppose one could take a date to watch the Republican presidential hopefuls come to pay their respects. After all, it is almost spring. And, as they say of Bob Jones University, when the sap is rising, George W. Bush is getting out of his chair.

The students at Tehran U. don't have this much fun.

And if it's not to everybody's taste, why, that is what one gets for attending a school named for someone called Bob.

My view -- as always, it is offensively elitist -- is that all the great universities of the world have one thing in common: i.e., none of them includes Bob as part of its name.

Not to knock the name Bob by any means. Bob is a wonderful name. Why, Bob's your uncle. Any outfit called, say, Bob's Tire and Battery is excellently named. Bob's Bait Shop, there's another good one.

And it's not that there aren't many respected institutions of higher learning that include first names. William and Mary is an excellent school. Our own Robert Morris College has a fine reputation and a dignified name, thanks to its wise decision to forgo the Bob option.

But just as it wouldn't be wise to go to a restaurant named Fred's Superior French Cuisine and Grill, students would be well advised to stay clear of a university called Bob. It is a certain clue that, however good and upright the school might be, it is a dwelling place for people with tin ears.

Indeed, there is a delicious irony in the fact that Bob Jones University, with its restrictive dating rules, should have been a stop on the Republican presidential primary circuit. For what is this process other than a courtship of the voters? It's a somewhat indecent one at that, in which no holds are barred.

Now there are some citizens who would deny this obvious fact of life. They insist that the issues are what this process is really about. They watch debates, read position papers, go to town meetings and generally make goo-goo noises in their civic enthusiasm.

This is most admirable. It is also a huge waste of their time.

If there's one thing you learn on the dating scene, it's that people will say anything to get what they want. Even the most naive Bob Jones University freshman realizes that when her date agrees with her that dinosaurs were on the ark, he is just trying to get to third base (hand holding).

Politicians are no different, and the Democrats are no better than the Republicans. They are all shameless! You see, it's not what they say (because they all make promises and then break them) but how they say it. It's not the economy, stupid! It's the personality!

John McCain is a perfect example of this. All those Democrats and independents who were swooning over him were not enraptured by his conservative views. They just thought he was one happy-go-lucky, likable right-wing loon they disagreed with.

In the Democratic contest, Bill Bradley was favored on the issues by many liberals. And where is he now? Thinking about getting a charisma transplant for the next time around.

In the university of life, you make your dates, you take your chances.

Reg Henry's e-mail address is rhenry@post-gazette.com.

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