More Jackson County Opinions...

MARCH 12, 2003


Column
By:Bill Shipp
The Jackson Herald
March 12, 2003

A tale of two presidents
Michael Adams probably wishes he could change places with Kirby Godsey.
Godsey, on the brink of retirement as the accomplished president of Mercer University, is edging toward a race for the U.S. Senate to succeed Zell Miller.
Adams, the UGA president and recognized national champion of ethics in collegiate athletics, is hurtling toward becoming the center of attention in one of the worst sports scandals in university history.
Until the current allegations of corruption erupted in Bulldogs basketball, Adams, 55, looked on paper like a near-perfect candidate for high political office in Georgia.
A former chief aide to GOP Sen. Howard Baker, Adams has presided over an unprecedented era of expansion since becoming UGA president in 1997. Though he is not universally beloved in Athens, Adams has received, until recently, high marks across the state for his political acumen and sense of timing.
He has adroitly maneuvered the university through the choppy waters of litigation involving racial preferences. He has attracted some of the most talented faculty in the country. The student body tests among the top 20 in public universities in the nation. Infrastructure improvements abound on the campus.
Alas, Adams’ tenure may be most remembered for his involvement in sports. He played a major role in sacking UGA football coach Jim Donnan, when he decided the coach had lost control of the football team. (Besides, it wasn’t winning.) The university president next ordered the firing of Ron Jirsa, a losing basketball coach. Then Adams led the recruitment of nationally known (notorious in some quarters) Jim Harrick Sr. to coach basketball.
To his everlasting credit, Adams was instrumental in bringing to Georgia Mark Richt - a head football coach who could both win ball games and speak passable English. Old-timers at Georgia thought Adams unnecessarily invaded the turf of venerable athletic director Vince Dooley in his zeal to refashion Bulldog sports.
So be it. Adams was on a roll. He became a leading voice on the nationally acclaimed Knight Commission, impaneled to return purity to intercollegiate athletics. Then, back in Athens, the Adams yarn started to unravel. The first inkling: Adams announces a multimillion-dollar contract for Coach Richt just days after the state reveals it could not find enough public money for academic scholarships. Sure, Richt’s fat raise came from private funds, while the scholarships were underwritten by taxpayers. In a time of austerity, however, awarding such a whopping salary increase was seen as plainly arrogant and uncaring.
Now comes the Harrick affair with tales of academic fraud, player payoffs, unbridled nepotism and who knows what else.
Nothing like this has happened at UGA since the 1980s when the Jan Kemp football-academics uproar led to the resignation of Fred Davison as president.
Meanwhile, in Macon, a Baptist preacher named Kirby Godsey, 66, is winding up a controversy-marked career as president of Mercer University. He says he is considering a bid for the Senate.
Like Adams, Godsey has led his school to new heights. The Mercer School of Medicine is widely recognized for training hard-to-find primary-care physicians for rural areas. Mercer’s law and theology schools have received national accolades. Also like Adams, Godsey is not without detractors. Conservatives in the Southern Baptist Convention and the Georgia Baptist Convention have labeled him a heretic for failure to subscribe to the literal meaning of the Bible. The conservative Baptists have repeatedly threatened to withdraw support from Mercer because of Godsey’s “liberal views.” (A “liberal” in Baptist land is often regarded as an arch-conservative in the rest of the universe.)
Despite the squabbles, Godsey enjoys the loyal support of thousands of wealthy Baptists and others who have given record sums to Mercer. Under Godsey, Mercer University Press has become one of the most active academic publishers in the country.
But Godsey has no experience in seeking elective office. Like many others before him, he may find that his talents, which served him well at Mercer, are liabilities in an election campaign. He also may not understand that success in academics or business or even the pulpit does not translate into victory in a knock-down, drag-out statewide campaign against veteran political candidates.
So, for the sake of Georgia, it would be nice if Adams and Godsey could swap career paths. If the sports scandal has not already bruised him too badly, Adams appears perfect in manner, speech and background for a run for the Senate. He could leave the athletics tangle behind and set his aim on Washington.
And the athletic department in Athens appears ripe for salvation before it’s too late. The Rev. Dr. Godsey might be just the right man for the job.
You can reach Bill Shipp at P.O. Box 440755, Kennesaw, GA 30160 or by calling (770) 422-2543, e-mail: bshipp@bellsouth.net, Web address: http://www.billshipp.com

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Column
By: Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
March 12, 2003

Covering up with makeup — and stuff
I’ve heard all my life that beauty is only skin deep.
The problem these days is getting down to the skin to see if that old saying is true. A lot of images are getting in the way of reality.
Did you see where Frank, in the comic strip Frank and Ernest, told his psychiatrist, “It’s not my grip on reality I’m worried about — it’s reality’s grip on me?”
Question: If the skin is beautiful, why do we cover it up?
I’m not talking about the most obvious cover-ups: tattoos, body piercings with hanging jewelry, and clothes.
I said sometime ago that “we all wear masks, and I guess the most obvious one is our clothes.”
We wear clothes, one of our many image addictions, because we don’t want anybody to see the real thing. I suppose we can blame Adam and Eve for that.
But like I said, I’m not talking about clothes, tattoos and jewelry this week. I’m zeroing in on the more subtle cover-ups which, for the most part, are caused by makeup — and stuff. In this day and age there are layers upon layers of bodily deceptions. And that’s just from the neck up. I have not yet researched what goes on below the neck.
However, I am looking at an ad in People Magazine for “body enhances” that promise “No hose. No lines. Just curves. Now you can be smooth, sleek, firm. Without hose. Without pantylines.”
Sounds to me like this stuff — whatever it is — not only covers up the skin, but confines, imprisons and entraps it. Either that, or frees it up for all the world to see. I am not knowledgeable in this area of fashion.
Another ad in the same magazines promises “Holistic beauty from head to soul. Feel beautiful inside and out.”
So I guess beauty is a lot more than skin deep. You can’t get much deeper than the soul.
But for the time being, let’s concentrate on the part of the skin we can see, namely the face.
Facial image enhancements come in many hues and colors: pale to bright, light to dark. I don’t know for sure, but I bet some of that stuff glows when the sun goes down and the moon comes up. If you watch the evangelists on TBN, you’ll notice that a couple of their wives look like walking Christmas trees. (Didn’t the Apostle Paul have something to say about that?)
How many of you are old enough to remember when lips were red and cheeks were rosy? And eyes were either brown or blue?
Now some women’s faces (some men’s, too) are a potpourri of colors. You see chartreuse and fuchsia lips, and cheeks that would make a rainbow blush.
All in the name of beauty. You looking good, girl! Cool, dude!
As if looking good were not enough, now we have to smell good, too.
If you ask me, nothing smells better than a freshly washed, bathed, clean body.
Which brings me to the campaign, protest, march and sit-in that I am trying to organize. Please, won’t you join me?
Restaurants have no-smoking sections. That’s fine. Cigarettes and the people who smoke them stink. They cancel the good aroma of a freshly washed, bathed, clean body.
So does all that other stuff.
So tell me: why don’t restaurants also designate no-perfume and no-cologne sections? I’m for a total ban on the smelly stuff.
A lot of people — men, women, boys and girls — think that, if a little of that stuff does a little good, then a lot of it will do a lot of good. Their thinking is disgustingly flawed, and they ought to keep their stinking bodies out of restaurants and use the drive-through at one of the fast food emporiums.
I read somewhere (I think it was in a high school biology course) that wild animals exude certain body fluids in order to be attractive to others of the species.
It would be politically incorrect for Homo sapiens to do that. In fact, it would be rude, crude, gross and socially unacceptable.
So we do the next best thing; we spray on artificial stuff, which also stinks. There ought to be a law.
Stinking up the neighborhood is bad enough in and of itself, not to mention the wasted time and resources that could be spent on something worthwhile. Wonder what would happen if our investment in researching, manufacturing, merchandising, purchasing and applying cosmetics and related stuff were used to alleviate human suffering here and abroad?
We might not look and smell as good (although that’s debatable), but I’m thinking we’d feel a lot better about ourselves and our neighbors.
You may be interested to know that I am researching the steps involved, and the time it takes, to apply some of these artificial image enhancements. You will be amazed. If parents devote that much energy to reading to their kids, no kid would be deficient in his or her own reading skills, and no kid would be left behind.
I will keep you posted on my plans and progress on the campaign, protest, march and sit-in to do away with these artificial cover-ups that hide us from reality. . . and each other.
What?
Of course, I’m serious. Would ol’ Virgil pull your leg?
Virgil Adams is a former owner and editor of The Jackson Herald.


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