New Post: February, 2013

I can see the back door of Tennessee Temple University from my front porch. This month the university began installing a ginormous fence around the entire campus. I’ve >written about fences< before (a lifetime and a whole different girl ago) and the message they can sometimes send. I’ve been looking through my internet, but all I can find is this one >very tiny mention< of the project on the TTU website. A few ironies I’d like to point out:

1. Tennessee Temple’s tagline is “Training to Transform.” I get it, I get it. But I just can’t help but wonder how this fence plays into the scheme on a symbolic level. I imagine in such training sessions, the real-world simulations might not include an 8-foot tall metal fence topped with spikes, and I fear its presence will overall negatively affect students’ possible effectiveness in post-graduation transforming missions when there is no literal fence to protect them. Also, it’s gonna be hard to “think outside the box” when you’ve been trained in one. I could go all day on the symbolism of this thing.

2. This official press release is titled “TTU Committed to Highland Park.” Honestly, I’ve not been around too long, but I get the impression that when you build big fences, it’s a way of either trying to keep something OUT, or a way of keeping something IN. I’m not certain which of those is the goal here, as our neighborhood is riddled with crime and Temple does have a history of psychotic control over its students. So maybe both. Either way, the message I am getting from this fence is anything but a commitment to the neighborhood. I see this as more of an insulation from the neighborhood.

3. Nowhere in this press release does it mention how said gargantuan fence will affect the drug traffic for current students. Additionally, what will become of campus safety, creatively named “Eagle Force One”?

OK, so in complete fairness I have not talked about the fence with anyone from TTU except our neighbor, and I doubt the powers-that-be discuss their campus decisions with the groundskeeper. His overall impression, however, is that TTU is attempting to boost enrollment by showing students and their parents just how safe campus is.  It is in this light that I propose that Tennessee Temple University should come up with a new tagline. Something catchy, with as much alliteration as “Training to Transform,” that can more accurately reflect the mission–and snazzy new look–of the school. This week, as those construction workers and their giant cement mixer inch their way closer to my home, I’ve been working on my list of possible taglines, and I’d like to share it now.

1. Enclosure of Evangelicalism
2. Stronghold (poss. Stockade) against Secularism
3. Penitentiary for Punitive Christianity
4. Compound of Conservatism
5. Fortress of Fundamentalism
6. Bastion of Baptists who don’t wear pants

That last one’s a little iffy. They’ve since changed the laws around campus, so you see girls in those awful short pants all the time. But, since it’s part of their history, I thought it’d be a nice throwback. If they don’t like it I could always change it to Bastion of Biblical Literalism.

Gosh, I just re-read that, and I sound kind of cranky. But I’m not! I definitely giggled my way through writing all of that. (Honestly, my real concerns are only two-fold: dammit, now I’m gonna have to drive an extra block around this nonsense to the Post Office, and this better not affect my property value.)

  1. LaLa said:

    Oh, Temple. Trying to spin an 8-foot tall metal fence topped with spikes as “attractive”. Now it will feel even more like a prison then it already did.

    • alltheseblessedthings said:

      At least you’re on the right side of the fence! ;)

  2. AE-- :-) said:

    I adore this. You always make me giggle. I’d like to point out that our dear alma mater has no fence, that it is so community focused some days I worry that less fortunate wouldn’t know what to do if the university stopped their outreach efforts. I currently work in the neighborhood where I received my “training to transform” and think I’m pretty happy with the training I got.

  3. AE-- :-) said:

    Oh and my personal favorite tagline? Fortress of Fundamentalism.

    • alltheseblessedthings said:

      Ha! That’s mine, too. I told Daniel I’m going to start calling it the fortress.

      I’ve often compared the two campuses, and the differences are astounding. I, too, am grateful for a school that influenced us to look beyond the comfortable borders and work toward making things better.

  4. meldenius said:

    It’s sad on a number of levels. I can understand the rationale, but as a graduate of a place modeled on same sort of TTU values, and just as unaccredited, I can attest that the Fence is a very real metaphor for lots of things going on there. So here is a tagline for you: “TTU–of this world, but not in it.”

    • alltheseblessedthings said:

      “Just as unaccredited” made me laugh in an unladylike way. I’m sure that what’s happening *behind* the fence is actually more frightening to me than what happens on my side of it. Wow. . . I realized I actually mean that. Yikes.

      I like your proposal, too. Quite fitting. :)

  5. Champion Egg-Chucker said:

    Oh this is laugh-out-loud funny! Love it!! Ditto on driving the extra block to the P.O. and property values, unless those values are go up in relation to the increased amount of metal in close proximity that can be turned into the local scrap yard for ca$h. Biding my time for the following news headlines: “Sections Of TTU fence missing overnight. WANTED, anyone with a blowtorch and a truck.” Or “Local idiot impaled while trying to climb over TTU fence.” You know it’s going to happen…

  6. alltheseblessedthings said:

    Hey, Champ! Just got back to WordPress and saw your comment. The scrap metal idea is a winner for sure! You’ve got the truck, and I just happen to know a guy with enough blowtorch experience to do some damage. ;)

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