As a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln I am disgusted and disappointed UNL allowed felon/porn star Tommy Lee to “audit” classes for a fake reality television show that debuted on NBC last night in order to build a promotional bandwagon for the prairie school.

Five other universities turned down the Tommy Lee show before Nebraska bought into the idea. The phrase “whore for attention” immediately comes to mind as an entire university bends over. I am uncertain why UNL was eager to get in bed with convicted wife batterer Tommy Lee and let him pretend to be a “real” student at the university.

Did UNL want to example what school life is like? Is there no better choice to be found to demonstrate on a national scale the UNL experience than a 42-year-old washed-up rock star who kicked his wife and was sent to jail?

What message is UNL sending to its current students and future students? We don’t discriminate against indiscretions? Convicted felons welcome? We’ll drop our standards, and our pants, if the price is right? UNL, like other “fly over” schools, are desperate for national attention and acceptance beyond the plains and that urge to be liked is sorry and unfortunate and completely unnecessary.

The Tommy Lee Does Lincoln reality show plays into all the painfully naive, bowl haircut and backward Midwestern stereotypes native Nebraskans like me fight so hard to vanquish.

UNL has, in fact, officially bonded so closely with Tommy Lee that the university created a website hailing him on the UNL server — and even made a special website address by wedding his initials with their previously good name: UNL recently raised admissions standards in order to get the best students on campus.

By acquiescing their moral responsibility to the good people of Nebraska by participating in the Tommy Lee debacle, UNL shows the world just how far the mighty have fallen by whoring out their hard-won reputation in exchange for a few breathy moments of exposure.


  1. I saw the show last night. It was awful. No freshman with his brains would be allowed to take 200 level courses at the start and putting him in those hard classes ensures his failure. Nebraska did not do a good job of advising him and isn’t that the premise? That he is a real student? They are on purpose trying to have him fail to save him and that is not how a college show should happen. “The Scholar” on ABC on the USC campus did what this show should have done and that is show how people learn and get smart in a college setting.

  2. I could not agree with you more David. To call Tommy Lee a step above performing chimpanzee in terms of evolution only serves to insult the chimp.
    I grew up on Motley Crue and other hair bands in the 80’s, but the antics of all these groups is just so pathetic. To listen to TL speak is comedy in and of itself.
    I keep praying for the day when our culture stops idolizing idiots just because of fame, money, and I hate to even type it, Bling.
    On a different, but just as silly note, two days ago “Posh” Beckham admited that she has never read a book in her life, only beauty mags. She admits this even as she has an autobiography on the shelf. So funny and sad.
    Did you see the news today where circulation of celeb mags is up while news periodicals are way down? It is sad, so sad.
    Have a great day David!

  3. Dear Darcy — I agree with your comments. The entire show is not real and is set up and the “acting” is pretty bad all around. “The Scholar” was a wonderful show and I enjoyed watching every bit of it all summer.
    Eban! — Ah! You say it all so well. Tommy Lee is the poster boy for the dumbing down of America and UNL willingly went along for the ride as part of the dumbing. What were they thinking? I would much prefer to watch a reality show where a 13 year-old genius attends UNL — that would be engaging and real and you’d have someone to root for in the end. Who wants to root for Tommy Lee? Smart people run from Tommy Lee and everything he represents! Yes, I did see that news magazine readership is down and celebrity rags are up and it all goes to show just how far the entire intellect of a nation is seeping away bit by bit and page by page. We gotta fight the decline by continuing to demand perfection from ourselves even when we are goaded into lessening quality and teased for our high belief systems. We gotta hang in there together!

  4. Yeah, I wondered if we’d hear your thoughts on this when I realized that Tommy Lee was going to your alma mater. You know, it’s not just this show but all the other that feature second-rate celebrities trying to get another 15 minutes that are quickly becoming trite.
    Oh, and “The phrase “whore for attention” immediately comes to mind as an entire university bends over.” – awesomely hilarious! 🙂

  5. David, I cannot agree more with your comments. I, too, am outraged by the “selling out” of the university. Wouldn’t you like to say that this sort of situation is an anomaly? It isn’t. One of the best new books out is called “University, Inc.” by Jennifer Washburn. Ms. Washburn is an author and journalist whose work focuses on the emerging trend of educational institutions losing touch with their mission in the interest of fiscal stability. Here is an Amazon link to her book.
    Washburn’s comments chastise universities that sell out for corporate grants and contracts, which in turn can lead to a loss of focus on the purpose of an educational institution. Sadly, I think the Tommy Lee issue takes this concern even a level beyond her book.
    A simple question– what can the university hope to accomplish by doing this? I mean what is the point?

  6. Sorry for the rapid second post. I read your linked article from the University of Nebraska. It is sad that Chancellor Perlman seems to have such an inferiority complex about his institution. I think most of us would agree that there are better ways of highlighting the fine qualities of a university than co-branding it with a person of questionable character. Also, I think that he underestimates the intellect of the larger academic community who look at his university from the outside.

  7. Hi Jeff!
    Thanks again for your always interesting and insightful comments. I love the URL post to the book and I will order it and read it!
    UNL have been hard hit by unicameral budget cuts across the board. The university was basically bled dry by a lack of appropriate, basic, funding for many years and I have to guess this Tommy Lee experiment was a way to try to get new bodies into seats to help raise money for the institution.
    However, I can’t help but think there must be better ways to get PR and money in the university’s coffers than striking a deal starring Tommy Lee.
    This show will cause long term psychic damage to the university and its faculty and its students and its alumni because one cannot easily recover from an emotional and aesthetic tarring of a mission and a goal than what happened last night for an hour on NBC television.
    Thanks for the second follow up post to your message, Jeff. Do you mind re-stating your university credentials here for those who may be reading you from afar in this particular thread?

  8. Sure, David. I have been a faculty member at the medical school at UC Davis since 1986. At this phase of my career, I am the Associate Medical Director of the Sports Medicine program at UC Davis, and here is a link to our site.
    I am a fan of Oliver Sacks, as well as Joan Didion, so I find a wonderful community at your site.

  9. Jeff!
    I had no idea you had such a cool job.
    I am completely available to move to California and join your team! 🙂
    Yes, I love Didion and Sacks and Harlan Lane and Edward Said and and and and… 🙂

  10. I think the show is very entertaining. I’m 45 years of age, and I was into Motley Crew but I never got a chance to see them in concert. A friend of mine went to the concert in Detroit Michigan on Wednesday August 24, at DTE I’ll never get to ask him how the concert was because that night after him and his wife got home from the concert he died in his sleep. He name was Paul Zebrowski.

  11. I think the point of this series is to demonstrate traditional humor, the fish-out-of-water device. Tommy is supposed to look stupid, because it makes people laugh. He’s set up,like the classic buffoons and straight men in comic routines from decades past.
    It’s a farce and not to be taken seriously…lighten up.

  12. Yes, David, I do indeed work for Image. I even did post production graphic design for this very title. What would that disclosure have to say about anything, as I make nothing more nor less if it sells or bombs. That’s funny, my “Vested business bias!” You got me where it hurts, Dave.

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